One of my favorite things about travel is getting to experience different cultures. And last weekend when my husband and I visited Miami, Florida for the first time, we had the privilege of experiencing a new culture. We had previously been to Orlando on many different vacations, but we never headed a few hours south of there to Miami. I wanted to write this post because in many ways Miami was very different from what I had pictured. Since we had been to Orlando, I pictured Miami being extremely similar (with the exception of Disney World of course), the only thing I thought would differ was that I thought it would just be a bit more beachy. I also want to preface this by saying, I am a Colorado girl, born and raised here in Colorado, so my perspective on Miami is slightly different for the fact that Denver and Miami and very different. Not one is better than the other, simply different.
First off, I was right about my assumption that Miami would be "beachy". The beaches in Miami, well at least the one we went to in South Beach, was absolutely stunning! The water in Miami is bright blue and extremely clear. When you get into the water it feels like a warm bath tub, it felt amazing (this was in July). The sand is smooth and the sun is so hot. The water reminded me of Mexico, since it was so warm and the color was so vivid. On these beaches, get ready to see some skin... lots and lots of skin lol. Miami loves it's "cheeky" bikinis. There were thong bikinis everywhere we looked in South Beach. So, needless to say, I'm not sure if Miami is the very best option for a family vacation with kiddos. I didn't mind it, but I sure wouldn't want my kids to see all of it. Actually, the beach we went to happened to be a topless beach. Or at least there were a few tops off, so I just assumed it was called a topless beach. Let's just say Miami is filled with people who are young, wild and free.
While being in Miami, my husband and I kept saying "I feel like I am in a different country" or "This does not feel like America". Miami has a huge cultural influence from Cuba. Cuba is only about an hour long flight away from Miami and many people from Cuba or parts of Central America move to Miami. The food in Miami is heavily influenced by Cuban food, and let me just say it is delicious. We tried Cuban bread and ate a lot of plantains, and yes of course we tried Cuban coffee while we were there. It was all delicious. Just about everywhere you go in Miami serves a Cuban sandwich, even the Subway restaurants in Miami serve a Cuban. It was such a treat to experience Cuban food and coffee for the very first time. That is one of my all time favorite parts of travel, I enjoy trying new foods and discovering what people from different parts of the world eat. It gets me out of my "food bubble".
Another thing we noticed while in Miami was the language difference. Spanish seemed to be the main language there, which was another reason it felt like a different country to us. A friend of ours who lives in Miami told us that if you don't speak Spanish and are trying to get a job in Miami, you basically have no shot at getting hired. I can understand why, it seemed like more people spoke Spanish than English there. Just about every Uber driver we had spoke only Spanish and most of the people working at our hotel (Hilton) spoke only Spanish.
Overall I loved Miami a lot. It is absolutely stunning and is such a great place for a beach getaway. Next time I go back I want to experience a bit more of the culture, I want to try more of the top local restaurants, and I would like to spend more time soaking up the sun. This isn't somewhere I will ever bring my kids, since it has a party vibe, but it'd be a great spot for a husband/wife vacation. The best part in my opinion is that you get to immerse yourself into a new and exciting culture without having to leave the U.S. (if of course you live here). Can't wait to go back!