Sizzling sub tropical heat, Art Deco buildings and miles of white sandy beaches; we spent 48 hours exploring Miami partly on foot and partly on an open top bus!
We had arrived at Fort Lauderdale airport from Cartagena and made our way the 20 odd miles to Miami South Beach via the Tri rail to Miami International and then the route 150 airport flyer bus. We spent the last two days of our 2 week Florida/Colombia trip in Miami and this is a short summary of our activities!
Miami South Beach
We stayed at Miami South Beach for two nights in the historic Royal Palm hotel. This was built during the Art Deco era and has a fabulous location at the end of Ocean Drive, with the beach a few steps in front and a huge range of bars and restaurants a short walking distance away.
Miami South Beach is located on a series of natural and man-made islands which separate the Atlantic Ocean from Biscayne Bay. The area is reached by long bridges from the mainland and the main city of Miami.
Hotels line the coast and a pleasant walk way runs adjacent to the beach for several miles being popular with walkers, joggers and bikes.
However as the sand at the top end is firm it is equally pleasant to walk for miles along the extensive ivory coloured sandy beach. This is an immaculate and well-groomed waterfront playground with recycling bins are neatly spaced out just behind the rows of sun loungers. Sun loungers which belong to whichever hotel is standing in the background directly behind!
There are several cycle points where you can hire a bike in the manner of London’s ‘Boris Bikes’.
Miami’s Art Deco district has the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. The Art Deco style was popular in the 1920’s and 30’s and represented a modern style of luxury and glamour.
Having already had a wander along the Art Deco district during late afternoon on the previous day I spent our last morning by walking for 3 miles interspersing between the beach walk way and the beach before heading back for another 3 miles along the sunny Ocean Drive and the Art Deco buildings.
Miami bus tour
To make the most of our short visit on the first day we decided to embark on a ‘hop on hop off‘ sightseeing bus. We purchased our tickets online and walked the short distance around the corner from the hotel to bus stop 5 at Lincoln Road.
This was part of the Blue Route, or the Beach Loop. We stayed on the bus which took us from Miami South Beach and across one of the Biscayne Bay road bridges towards Wynwood Walls.
Wynwood Walls is a neighbourhood which as recently as 2009 became the art centre of Miami. Developer Tony Goldman commissioned artists from all over the world to paint colourful murals on the industrial walls of the district. This is an amazing place and as well as art galleries and studios is also full of stylish restaurants.
Another key area of Miami is Little Havana, the Cuban district. Many Cubans fled to Miami when Castro came to power in 1959.
With a large latin population Spanish is commonly spoken in Miami and particularly in Little Havana. Cigar shops, coffee shops and lively Cuban restaurants line the streets and at night they come alive with Cuban nightclubs.
Bayside Marina is the switch point of the hop-on-hop-off bus i.e. where you switch between the blue and red routes. It is worth taking a break here in one of an abundance of marina side bars and restaurants.
Miami is the perfect getaway for a few days and is well worth a visit if you have the opportunity. As well as seeing the unique and inspiring Wynwood Walls and experiencing the vibe of Little Havana it was wonderful to wander up and down the beach and stroll along in front of the Art Deco buildings in the warm January sunshine.