One of the most popular cities in the Sunshine State of Florida, Miami is famous for its white sand beaches and it’s typical Latin -American mixed culture and vibrant night life. It is also one of the starting ports of the Caribbean cruises. Cruise liners are a common sight in Miami. An important tourist destination by itself, it also attracts visitors to the Caribbean for their cruises. This doubles the tourist potential of this fun city.
Miami offers an array of local transport options ranging from metrotrains, metromover, tri rail, buses, taxis and luxury cabs. Its your pocket that decides what you want to use.
We flew in from SFO to Miami and reached by noon.
Took an airport shuttle bus to our hotel…Holiday Inn at Biscayne Boulevard. Walked around the Biscayne Boulevard area in the evening savoring the warm Miami air. Walking along Biscayne Boulevard, I noticed an illuminated Spanish style clock tower. That was Freedom Tower
The Freedom Tower
The Freedom Tower is a national historic landmark on Biscayne Boulevard.. It was originally a safe haven for Cuban refugees who arrived here seeking asylum. During the Cold War there was an influx of Cuban refugees in Florida due to its proximity to Cuba. This tower with Spanish architecture is now with Miami Dade College and serves as their main cultural center. This Cuban influx has left its mark on Miami . A lot of locals are of Cuban lineage and Little Havana, a neighborhood in the city has predominant Cuban shops and restaurants.
The Biscayne Boulevard overlooks the Biscayne Bay. As the sun goes down, Biscayne Boulevard lights up in all its glory. The waterfront market called Bayside Market is dotted with restaurants serving international cuisine. Sea food courts are the highlight of course! There are shops that cater to all pockets …from exclusive branded goods to small wayside vendors. There are dinner cruises that start from here in the night . The reflection of the lit up cruise vessels is really beautiful.
The illuminated shops and restaurants with reflections on Biscayne bay
One of the many cruises that depart from the Biscayne Bay
Next morning, we set out to explore more of Biscayne Boulevard and surrounding areas on our own. Walked along the seafront and was pleasantly surprised to see some dolphins playing around in the Bay. There are lot of shopping options in and around Biscayne Boulevard and so we did some shopping . We also saw the FTX Arena ( formerly American Airlines Arena) which is a sports and entertainment arena located here.There are many residential and commercial high rises overlooking the Biscayne bay. And I do not have to tell you that those must be some of the most valued real estate in the world!
Biscayne Boulevard at daytime
Wanted to visit Fort Lauderdale and North Palm Beach. So we took the Tri rail from Airport station.
As the train left Airport station, we were surprised to see the sides of the tracks. Lot of metal junk dumped all over .Old dilapidated buildings with graffiti painted on them. Dirt and filth around. It was a far cry from what we had expected. More like any third world country!
Some parts of Miami have high crime rates and moving around on lonely streets after dark is not advisable. This kind of fear is palpable in this city as one goes around.
The Trirail which took us to North Palm Beach
The train to North Palm beach passes through various stations and at places, the tracks are close to the seafront. We wanted to explore Fort Lauderdale which is known to offer great holiday experiences, but it started raining and without raingear, it was impossible to alight here. So we continued our journey. We saw Fort Lauderdale airport from the train itself. This is the other airport close to Miami.
Fort Lauderdale is known to have nice beaches and boating canals and is the Yachting Capital of the world. It is refered to as the Venice of America and we wanted to visit it .The rain really spoiled our trip that day. We missed the canals and the beachfront. Fort Lauderdale is also renown for the International Boat Show that it hosts. This Boat show is a showcase of luxury yachts, water sport equipments and related activities.It also offers water transportation education.
We continued our journey by train and reached Palm Beach
After alighting at Palm beach, we took a cab and drove to the beach. We also saw the famous Mar a Lago…the residence of President Trump. Photography restrictions prevented me from taking a shot of the imposing mansion!!
The Palm Beach…across this is Mar a Lago…
Next day we took the Metro mover and explored downtown Miami. Visited little Havana….the famous Cuban neighbourhood in Miami. This area is like a slice of Cuba….with Cuban Coffee shops, Cuban Cigar shops etc.
Late afternoon, we visited the world famous Miami Beach.
Miami Beach is actually an island city separated from mainland Miami by the Biscayne Bay. Bridges connect it to the mainland. It comprises of the South Beach area and the Art Deco District. The main Beach is in the South beach. The Art deco district houses some ancient art deco architecture.
The roads are palm fringed and have a lot of skyscrapers overlooking the ocean
A typical Miami street scene with palm fringed beaches and skyscrapers
We went to the water front at South beach and then relaxed on the sands . Plenty of families relaxing under colourful umbrellas, lot of sunbathers and other fun activities kept us enthralled.
Miami beach front
The most popular area in Miami Beach is the Ocean Drive…a road along the beach. Plenty of restaurants, bars, pubs line this road and as the sun sets, the preparations for the night begin. The bright neon lights come on, the tables are laid out under umbrellas and tourists start trooping in.
Restaurants and bars getting ready for the night
The Art Deco District with ancient architectural buildings
After enjoying the sights of Miami Beach,we returned to our hotel looking forward to our trip to the KEYS …
See you all next week at my final destination in USA…Key West…
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