Why we chose to take a tour of Miami

Between Miami and us, it wasn’t really love at first sight. We have been living in Florida for 5 years now and we had only gone to Miami 3 times (once was to take a cruise).

The previous time we visited Miami, we were only there for a couple of hours, so we didn’t really do anything but stay around South Beach. The beach is nice and is definitely one of the best rated in Florida, but there are so many tourists and it is really cliché. I am talking about people driving down Ocean Drive with expensive rental cars and half naked women in the back seat. And I am not even kidding.

However we decided to give Miami another chance—and I am so glad we did.

This time, we opted to stay at the Clay Hotel on Espanola Way, which is a lovely area of South Beach (located only two blocks from Ocean Drive). The pink buildings are the cutest. The Clay Hotel was where Al Capone ran his operations. We were pretty excited when we learned about this fun fact.

We decided to do a tour so we could actually see other parts of the city. We figured that, having done that we could go back and explore on our own the areas we enjoyed the most.

Our tour started on South Beach. We drove down Ocean Drive and marveled at all the art deco buildings while learning about South Beach’s history. We were surprised to hear that most of the edifices of South Beach were built in the late 30s. We didn’t know it was so old.

We then headed to Little Havana, where the driver made a stop. Did you know that 90% of people living in Little Havana are Cuban? La Calle Ocho is the place to go, walk around, and watch people playing Dominos at Domino Park—you can even grab a Cuban coffee in one of the many shops. Make sure to stop by the Cuban Tobacco Cigar Co and see someone hand roll cigars. I didn’t try it, but I heard that Azucar is probably one of the best ice cream shops in Miami. It is also located in little Havana.

We then drove through Coconut Grove. We both had a big “Coup de Coeur” for this neighborhood. Coconut Grove is quiet and so charming. It has a unique atmosphere and an elegant lifestyle. It is one of the greenest areas in Miami.

We passed by Downtown Miami but didn’t have time to stop. We went back on our own and visited the New Brickell City Center. The new luxury mall opened back in November 2016. Make sure to stop by Brickell Marketplace where you will find multiple shops and stops.

We got dropped off at Bayside. Even though it is a pretty tourist-y area, we still enjoyed our time there. We ate lunch looking at the fishermen selling their catches of the day in the marina. Bayside Marketplace features lots of shops, restaurants, and entertainment places.

The second part of the tour was a boat tour.

We were able to admire Miami skyline (which is the 3rd tallest skyline in the US after New York and Chicago) from Biscayne Bay. We toured around different islands where wealthy people live. We were able to see the Port of Miami, which is the number one cruise/passenger port in the world. You can see the huge cruise ships ready to sail. If you are taking a cruise from Florida, there is a big chance you will be departing from Miami.

We were also able to catch site of different celebrities’ houses on Star Island, Fisher Island, Venetian Islands… All the houses are massive and have a wonderful view of the Miami skyline.

We went with “Miami Info Tours” and we chose the City and Boat tour package. It was really good. Both our guides for the city tour and the boat tour were amazing. They were really knowledgeable and shared lot of interesting information as well as fun facts about many places in Miami. It gave us a great glimpse of things to do in Miami other than the beach.

Coconut Grove is definitely on our list for our next trip to Miami, as well as Wynwood. We only went to Wynwood Walls, but there are so many more murals to see and pictures to take. The Miami Art District is a must-see.

I am sure we will be back really soon! We found another side of Miami that actually really appealed to us. We also had some great food (try Havana 1957 if you are into amazing Cuban Food) and experienced lot of great places.

Miami, I think I like you…a lot!

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  • Reply Christine

    Looks like you had an awesome time! Miami is my home town! I live in Brickell and the Brickell city centre is my new favorite spot! It’s amazing! Next time have lunch at Tacology if you love Mexican cuisine.

    May 10, 2017 at 12:57 pm
    • Reply Salomé

      Christine, that is so funny. I had so many friends telling me to try Tacology we actually went to the Bricket City Center and Tacology was too crowded we didn’t eat there. I will make sure to try it next time. Thank you for the suggestion.

      May 10, 2017 at 10:12 pm
  • Reply Joanna

    I take tours many times when I visit a new city (mainly the free walking tour) just so that I can learn a little bit about the place I am in and then go and explore the parts I liked best on my own. I didn’t know Miami has the third tallest skyline in the US. I didn’t even know Miami was so tall! That’s pretty cool!

    May 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm
    • Reply Salomé

      I know I like it because it gives you a lot of information that you would never know. I didn’t know either for Miami, I was so surprised but the skyline is pretty impressive especially looking at it from a boat.

      May 10, 2017 at 10:13 pm
  • Reply Aarti Kamath

    Beautiful pictures! … Evidently you had a great time… I am unsure when I would go to Miami, but the post is definitely inviting :)…

    May 10, 2017 at 5:56 pm
    • Reply Salomé

      Thank you. You have to go Aarti. It was awesome. I actually went two weekends in a row. I liked it that much 🙂

      May 10, 2017 at 10:14 pm
  • Reply Tendelle

    I love Miami! The food, the weather, the cultural influences from Cuba, and of course, the sunshine. I’ll have to check out some of the places in your post on my next trip!

    May 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm
    • Reply Salomé

      If you like Cuban food you have to try Havana 1957 on Espanola Way. It was really good and they have great mojitos.

      May 10, 2017 at 10:21 pm
  • Reply Aysha

    It’s always nice when you give somewhere another chance and end up really enjoying it. Miami had never really appealed to be until some friends visited last year and loved it. Maybe I’ll give it a try one day.

    May 10, 2017 at 7:55 pm
    • Reply Salomé

      I would suggest you to try it again and maybe discover other parts of the city. I really loved it. I can’t wait to go back. There are so many great places to eat and visit. And of course Miami Beach is probably one of the best beaches on the Ocean side of Florida. Give it another try and let me know how you like it. 🙂

      May 10, 2017 at 10:26 pm
  • Reply Daniele

    I love the history of South Beach! And the cuban food. Couldn’t pick one if i had to- luckily we don’t!

    May 10, 2017 at 9:19 pm
    • Reply Salomé

      I had no idea South Beach had so much history. It was really interesting to learn about the cultural side of Miami that I didn’t know about. And of course the food is wonderful 🙂

      May 10, 2017 at 10:27 pm
  • Reply Kelly

    For the same reasons as you, I wasn’t a big fan of Miami when I first went. But I am so glad you found other things to see away from the tourists. I would love to see Little Havana and explore what else Miami has to offer. Maybe I’ll give it a second chance too.

    May 10, 2017 at 11:38 pm
    • Reply Salomé

      If you go back, you need to visit the Wynwood District, Coconut Grove, Calle 8 in Little Havana and even Bal Harbor is really nice. I discovered another Miami.

      May 11, 2017 at 1:53 am
  • Reply Carola

    Bien fait! I am glad you gave Miami another chance. I think it is lovely city once you look beyond the cliché.
    BTW: I love all those tiny facts you included in your review — like Miami being the 3rd largest skyline in the US, sure didn’t expect that!

    Happy continued travels!

    May 11, 2017 at 3:08 am
    • Reply Salomé

      I am glad you enjoyed it. I am so happy I gave Miami another chance. I love it now and I can not wait to go back 🙂

      May 12, 2017 at 11:16 pm
  • Reply Joy Generoso

    My brother stayed in Miami for 6 months and never had the chance to visit him. I would love to visit Miami and other places in Florida hopefully soon. Btw, your photos looks dreamy.

    May 11, 2017 at 5:47 am
    • Reply Salomé

      You should. Florida is such a beautiful state. I am so blessed to love here. You definitely need to plan a trip here, I am sure you will have a blast. So many places to visit and the food is great.

      May 12, 2017 at 11:17 pm
  • Reply finja

    Oh I loved Miami 🙂 never expected it to be such a huge city though…. 🙂
    xx finja |

    May 11, 2017 at 8:53 am
    • Reply Salomé

      Oh yes Miami is huge. But it is so much fun to go there 🙂

      May 12, 2017 at 11:18 pm
  • Reply Lacey

    Wow! This looks great! My husband and I have been thinking about a Key West Trip maybe we should add Miami! I would love to stay where Al Capone did! I love that stuff! He has a few old hideouts in the Midwest I have visted! So cool! Great photos!

    May 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm
    • Reply Salomé

      Miami is great, it is not too far from Key West. You can probably do both, depending how long your trip is. Key West is amazing I was there last weekend. I am actually writing an article about it. It should be online really soon. You and your husband will have a wonderful time in Florida. Make sure to email me if you want some good places to eat and stay I can definitely give you some addresses! 🙂

      May 12, 2017 at 11:23 pm
  • Reply Bertille

    It needs some time to appreciate Miami, I think … by the way, the name of the restaurant is Havana1957 (not the good date in your article 😛) I prefer the one on Lincoln road (very cool inside). Next time don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to have a guided visit by a local, it will be soon my full time job! 😉 See you!

    May 15, 2017 at 11:26 pm
    • Reply Salomé

      Oups Thank you for this. I appreciate it. The one on Lincoln Rd is very nice indeed. I will keep you in my mind for a guided visit. 🙂

      May 16, 2017 at 1:21 am
  • Reply Victoria

    Glad you found another area you like. I was going to suggest Wynwood then read you found it lol

    July 18, 2017 at 10:04 am
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