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mistybleu Miami - A travel report by Amanda
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Miami,  United States - flag United States -  Florida
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mistybleu's travel reports

Going MIA...

  9 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6
MIA - Missing in Action, well it's more the code for Miami International Airport, where I spent the weekend shopping, sightseeing and enjoying a little modern culture.


Colours of Miami Beach
Colours of Miami Beach
From Trinidad & Tobago, Miami is only 3 hours away and there are some great competitive prices to be had.

Miami is located on a broad plain that is bordered by two national parks: to the west Everglades National Park, - east Biscayne National Park; in the north by Lake Okeechobee and in the south by the Florida Bay. The main portion of the city lines on the coast (Biscayne Bay) that has man-made and natural islands that form a barrier to the mainland. The largest island contains the district of Miami Beach and the area of South Beach that are popular tourists spots.

Tourism plays an important role in the city's survival as it greets over 12 million tourists per year with 3 million coming from cruise liners, as the largest number of cruise ships in the world sets sail from the Port of Miami yearly.

Miami has a wonderful tropical climate, really hot summers and mild dry winters. From May to October is hurricane season where they experience monsoon type rain. From October to March the area cools down to an average of 17 degrees.

Miami has been widely regarded as a Cuban/Caribbean city and the racial make-up includes: whites 66% (of that only 12% is non-hispanic), Black 22% and others 11%. 67% speaks Spanish as their first language, only 24% English and 6% citizens speak French/French Creole. An intersting fact is that 34% of the citizens are Cubans with 59% being born outside of the United States.

It has the largest concentration of bank/financial instistutions in the country and many blue chip companies are headquartered there; also owing to its proximity to Latin American, it houses a lot of corporation's regional HQ as well.

Some not so nice things about Miami: back in 2001 the local government went bankrupt; the 2004 census showed that many families lived below the federal poverty line making it the poorest city in the USA; and it is said that Miami is where the main supply of cocaine enters the States.

Favourite spots:
On the Everglades
On the Everglades
The name River Glade - glade means natural prairie or open grassy place in a forest, river was changed to ever that later became Everglades. This river of grass (mainly sawgrass) is subtropical wetlands and is naturally maintained by fire (mostly from lightning) and water (mostly by flooding).

It is located in the southern region of Florida and is a 45-minute drive from central Miami. It starts in Orlando, flowing until it meets the vast shallow waters of Lake Okeechobee, once leaving the lake it forms a slow moving river that empties into Florida Bay. The river is 60 miles at is widest point and 100 miles long.

In the late 19th Century they built canals in the Everglades as a way of controlling the water flow and to make farm lands. However in the 1970s it was designated a World Heritage Site so most of the canals have been removed.

Many animals can be sighted here including: alligators, iguanas, wild pigs, toads, turtles, manatees, birds and many more.

What's really great:
South Beach in  Miami
South Beach in Miami
Miami is a large built up city that enjoys the best of both worlds. Firstly you have the big buildings, malls and everything is available; then there is the beach life - miles and miles of white coral beaches and with the amount of sunshine that Miami gets, it makes it a perfect place to vacation.

The main hot spots are South Beach in Miami Beach and it is a place to see and be seen. South Beach is of particular interest because of its Art Deco District, with its wonderfully brightly coloured curved buildings that is now considered a historic area.

The area is affluent with many international hotels and shops; the weekend I visited they hosted the Victoria Secrets party.

There are a large number of boutiques, restaurants, clubs and bars; I found the main area was on Collins Avenue, Lincoln Road (shopping/restaurants), Washington (nightclubs), Bay Road, Ocean Drive (nightclubs) and Bayside (market). It really is a happening part of town with so many beautiful people.

Sights:
On the Everglades
On the Everglades
A few of the intersting places to visit in Miami are:

Miami Beach - fun; lazy days enjoying the beach life.

South Beach - culture and excitement; a great hot spot for eating, drinking, clubbing and shopping.

Art Deco District - modern culture and colour.

Everglades - natural beauty; noisy airboats rides and seeing the American alligator.

Metrozoo - children's fun.

Seaquarium - children's fun.

Miami Museum of Science - educational.

Miami Children's Museum - children's fun.

Parrot Jungle Park - educational fun.

Monkey Jungle - children's fun; with caged humans.

Coral Castle - fantasy; garden filled with giant sculptures.

Vizcaya - culture at this 50 acre historic estate; take a glimpse into life at the turn of the century from the European arrivals.

Dolphin Mall / Aventura Shopping Mall / Bayside Marketplace - indulgence; shopping to your hearts content.

Accommodations:
An American motel
An American motel
There are so many wonderful hotels in Miami and staying on the island as opposed to downtown has a uniqueness about it. There were a lot of hotels on Collins Avenue and a lot with art deco frontages that was so appealing; even the modern ones are built with the art deco features.

As I was doing a cheap shopping weekend, my accomodation was less grand and cost $50 per night. This was more of the motels that you see in the movies, where people live or they just roll in and rollout the following day. The motel wasn't great but it was on the waterfront and had a nice view over the Bay looking at downtown Miami.

Travel here was either a taxi or the 'L' bus that cost $2 per journey and an additional 50 cents for a transfer. But the L did go all the way down to Collins so I could see how the other half lived. If you don't have too much luggage you could take the bus from the airport which is only a few miles (8km) out of the heart of Miami.

Restaurants:
Typically Miami
Typically Miami
I think you are spoilt for choice in Miami, there are so many wonderful choice to be made, but as expected there are quite a few Cuban restaurants.

On Lincoln (a pedestrianised road) there are many restaurants/cafes that serve a wide variety of dishes. I saw a Paul's patisserie which is popular in Europe, plus a lot of other cafes that offered alfresco dining and with the Florida weather it was a perfect experience.

I tried a nice French place; it cost me over $30 for breakfast but it did last me the entire day and I didn't fancy eating until dinner; it was located adjacent to the Ritz Carlton which now makes the cost seem reasonable. They sold croissants with ham, chesse, omlettes, spinach, bacon, pain aux raisins, tartes, coffee and Tazo teas etc.

Also one of the most famous restaurants in Miami is Joe's Stone Crab. The queues are long, you cannot reserve a seat and eating crab is so labourious, but it really tastes great.

Other recommendations:
Bayside, Miami
Bayside, Miami
Seeing the Everglades as a day trip was nice, but I'm not sure I got the real sense of the place and enjoy this wonderful phenomenon; I think it would have been better to spend a few days exploring the area. The entrance fee to the Everglades National Park was $10 per car and that lasts a week. Once there, if I had time I could have enjoyed canoeing, fishing, boating, camping, etc and the best thing it was only 45 minutes from downtown.

I'm not sure there is a huge amount to see in Miami, so I suppose this is an ideal place for a multi city adventure; either before or after hitting the beaches you can go to Orlando and do the infamous Disney and Epcot Centre theme park. There are day trips available from $145 and it is 4 hours away driving or about an 1 and 1/2 hour flight. Then there is also going to the Bahamas (tour $149) which is only a 55-minute flight away.

Published on Thursday December 4th, 2008


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Tue, Dec 09 2008 - 06:50 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Goos to learn that you still manage to travel from Tobago, and still writing good reports.

Sun, Dec 07 2008 - 10:09 PM rating by krisek

Amanda, thank you for the report. I also stayed at several motels in the US, and I loved it. Miami has never been on my list of places to visit. And something tells me that it will get on it anytime soon... Everglades appear more interesting to me. I think I might actually do them some time in the future.

Fri, Dec 05 2008 - 09:34 AM rating by davidx

Good report. I suppose we all read reports as we want to and I am a bit tempted to the view from this that Miami is an excellent place to go and travel out from but maybe not to stay.

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