"Tropics is like a hammock for Lovers A.N." Miami by cochinjew

Miami Travel Guide: 1,260 reviews and 2,922 photos

The Latin Capital of United States

I realized today why I love Miami very much.. it is the Cubans! I have been lucky to be on both side of the divide, here in Miami and there in Havana or vice versa. 30 august I am spending a week at the beach house of my sister which is in Hollywod Beach and I was astounded by the fact that Cuban coffee was not readily available. the nearest cortado was 10 minute drive away and the broadwalk was full of such american delicacies as chicken wings, pizza, hamburgers, icecreams and more pizza.
today in the rain I drove back to Miami, to the refuge of La Carreta and had my cafecito served by a recent arrival from Cuba with a smile so broad that I forgot I was in miami. I said to myself, looking around people who look exactly the same as the ones in La Haban, this is why I love Miami.. I want to be with the Cubans, I dont want the Russians of North Miami Beach nor the Greeks of Hollywood Beach.. Calle Ocho and Spanish is fine with me...
I trained as a Doctor at Jackson Memorial Hospital and loved every minute of it. Even after many years of absence living in Australia, England, Jamaica and Cuba and now concentrating on Far East, i feel Miami is my North American Base. I feel good flying into Miami, and of course I have become friendlywith the CO personnel at the airport and the AVIS rent a car people. They are a friendly lot.
Miami is a very vibrant city and even more so, if you are inclined towards the latin culture. Spanish is widely spoken.
Eventhough there are large numbers of migrants from Nicaragua, Jamaica, Haiti as well as Colombia, Argentina and Brazil and Russia, no one group has made an impact like the CUBAN immigrants and their children. In fact, cuban migration to Miami has to be considered one of the most successful migrations to a developed country. Of all the migrants the contributions of Cubans stand out. I admire the tenacity of these migrants ( whose political views are somewhat antagonistic to those of mine), especially those who left Cuba in 1960s. Good Luck to them and Hope they will come and visit Cuba when that is feasible. Many a day I have breakfast in Cuba and by lunchtime I am in Miami sipping coffee at La Careta in south west 8th street or Cafe Alberto in Kendall, pained at this separation of the same people. But we are here to talk about travel and not politics. Alas, Cafe Alberto is no more 2010

Beaches, Latin rhythms and a good airport

As a traveller the most important thing for me about Miami, apart from my friends there is the Airport, known as MIA. Within 3 hours of flying from MIA, you could be in:
Bahamas, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Panama, Venuezuela.. the list goes on , the last time I counted there were 23 countries within short reach of MIA. All major Latin american airlines fly into MIA. and it is a very good place to get tickets to Latin America.
There are beaches where the tourists go and hidden coves known only to the locals. South Miami Beach has become very popular and chic but there are many places to escape from that superficiality if you prefer to do so.
Miami has a fine selection of food, but for latin american palate: hundreds of cuban restaurants, nicaraguan steak houses, argentine parilladas, feijaidos from Brasil, ceviche from Peru. Patties from Jamaica, Roti from Trinidad, arepas from colombia all can be had here. A couple of vietnamese restaurant and a handful east indian restaurants too. French and Italian and Nouvelle cousine abound. Cafes, terraces, beachfront eating places are too many to describe.( but i will try and give some specifics later).
and not the least the hospital where I was trained, Jackson Memorial Hospital of the University of Miami where the best doctors in Miami work. Hope you dont need their services but if you need medical services, dont go to private physicians but head to JMH as it is fondly called.

The Arts and Literature Scene

Whilst the intellectual scene in Miami cannot compared to La Habana, over the years it has been trying to catch up. It is always of interest to note that cuban intellectuals who migrate from Cuba or exiled from there do not prefer to stay in Miami but prefer to be in Barcelona or New york. That speaks for itself.
But there are some unusual things about the arts and literature scene in Miami.
Books and Books in Coral Gables and Mr Kaplan the Owner.
Nat Chediak, a film and jazz affacionado.
Carlos Alberto Montaner, probably the best known cuban born journalist, who maintains a home in Miami.
Miami has attracted a large selection of caribbean writers in english and artists.
University of Miami hosts many a literary function. Opera Association. Miami Symphony ( heavily supported by the Jews). FAirchild Tropical Gardens for those interested in the beauty and science of palms. Theatre scene is weak. Alternative movie scene was excellent once upon a time with up to four theatres showing arts movies within a few miles radius, now in decline.
Miami Herald the newspaper is a mediocre newspaper but the spanish edition is much more international in its outlook refleting the population.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Latin America syncretic with North America...
  • Cons:Lack of Ecological Orientation of Tourism
  • In a nutshell:Come on your way somewhere and have some cuban coffee..
  • Last visit to Miami: Aug 2010
  • Intro Updated Aug 30, 2010
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