With our short jaunt through Central America over, we hot-footed it to Miami for a few days. It wasn’t somewhere we’d ever considered visiting but as we were passing through we thought we’d check it out.
After our month in Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras; we were so used to speaking (our pigeon) Spanish we automatically continued upon arrival in Miami. However, as it turned out, it didn’t really matter, as over 65% of the local population are Hispanic. Moreover, signs were in Spanish and Cuban restaurants were everywhere. Apart from the high rises and yellow cabs, it felt more like Latin America than the USA.
We based ourselves on the famous South Beach, a narrow beach-lined peninsular connected to the mainland by a series of bridges. This was the Miami of cliches with flash cars, tanned bodies and trashy neon (we even saw a highly groomed pet pig being walked). But as well as the excess and decadence, there were palm-lined streets with gorgeous art deco buildings:
The beach itself was stunning with white sand and turquoise water, backed by sand dunes. We rented bikes and cycled along the boardwalk passing families building sandcastles, groups drinking beers from coolers and runners getting a serious sweat on.
As it was the Fourth Of July (Independence Day) weekend the city was packed, with everyone dressed up to the nines, music booming out from convertibles and fireworks being set off.
We also spent time in the myriad neighbourhoods that make up this multicultural melting pot: vibrant Calle Ocho (Little Havana), quiet Little Haiti, graffitied Wynwood, the arty Design area and the Downtown business district. All distinctly different from each other and from what you may expect.
Next stop: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.