There are few places in the world that can compare to the laid back atmosphere and care free attitude of South Beach, Miami. With long stretches of white, sandy beaches, music blaring along Ocean Drive at any time of day, and people dancing down the streets in swim suits – life is one big party here!
In fact everything is big here – the food, the cars, the personalities, the entertainment. Miami people don’t do anything by halves.
The beauty of Miami is not only the year round sunshine but the diversity.
The Latin American influence is in everything, from the lifestyle and food, to the music and lingo. Spanish is as commonly spoken here as it is in parts of Central and South America.
Away from the glamour and glitz of South Beach, the Little Havana district, home to many of the city’s Cuban and other Latino nationalities, is the more laid back part of the city. Tourists are advised to stay away from there at night and not to go wandering without a local tour guide, but for me there was something special and authentic about the place.
This was how the real Miami folk lived. Walking along 8th Street (or Calle Ocho as it is known) you see men sitting outside shops smoking cigars, people on outdoor bar stools sipping on mojitos and every day men and women of a certain age gather in Maximo Gomez Park to play dominoes and chess. This is really is the life and there is something kind of cute and timeless about how these older Latinos meet up to play games you rarely see people playing any more.
This was my third visit to the US Sunshine State and I still haven’t put my finger on what it is that keeps bringing me (and everyone else) back. Is it the weather? the loud and friendly people? Or the all-year-round party atmosphere?
What it is I still can’t put my finger on it. I suppose I’ll just have to visit once more to figure it out!
What we did: Everglades Tour, MIllionaire’s Row cruise, watch a Miami Heat basketball game (we bought tickets in advance before leaving the UK)