I have lived in the United States for 15 years and just barely went to Florida! Yeah, I know. What have I been waiting for? Florida has so much, from sandy beaches to everglades to an array of multicultural restaurants and everything in between. I wanted to be in every place all at once. It has always been on my bucket list; I just never had the chance to go before until now that my Mami needed to renew her passport. She asked me to go with her to help her with the process since she doesn’t speak English. She paid for my airfare, and I waited very impatiently for the day to board the airplane to the sun-drenched state.
A lot can be done in five days. But since I am still using a wheelchair and get tremendously tired with little effort, we took it easy.
Tip: Always check your schedule! When we reserved the date in the embassy, I didn’t realize that I would be in the final week during our trip. Needless to say, at night, after a day filled with activities and tons of food, I wrote my last essays and did my projects. I also woke up around 4 or 5 am every morning.
I am not a fan of malls and crowded places. However, Bayside Marketplace is so much more than a mall full of stores. It is located in downtown Miami and surrounded by the Marina and the banks of Biscayne Bay. The energy is so vibrant, and people are ready to party. Usually, from mid-week through the weekend, musical groups set the mood in the evenings until late at night. Get yourself a mojito and move that body to the music! The enjoyment choices are numerous. We visited twice. We contemplated a pinkish sunset and deep sky blue waves crashing on the yachts on the first day while reminiscing old memories with my aunt and parents. We sipped our mojitos, pinas coladas, and beers while having the ocean facing us. For those with restless feet, dancing to live music is the way to go. Foodies can devour Argentinian, Cuban, American, and Colombian dishes on the deck. The multicultural visitors make the experience even richer and more exciting.
Tip: Sunsets and sunrises at Bayside are gorgeous. Photos of them in the background and you with a pretty dress or swimsuit will look phenomenal in your Instagram feed.
Miami Celebrity Homes Cruise
Okay! This is not for everyone, but I got amused by riding on a boat, drinking a margarita, dancing to Latin music, and looking at celebrities’ crazy expensive houses. The tour is a blast in and out of itself. The beautiful and talented host set the tone for the party. The girl is knowledgeable and fun. She knows how to keep people engaged, and her jokes are superb. I keep wondering, though, with all the money Leo Dicrapio has, why does his mansion look like the poorest house in a ghetto neighborhood? It is big and has a nice structure, but it needs paint and some love.
Tip: To board the yachts go to Bayside Marketplace. You can buy the tickets on-site or online.
The Everglades National Park
A curious fact about me: I often have nightmares about crocodiles and snakes. Interestingly, instead of being scared of going to the crocodile state, I was excited. I guess it was my chance to face my fears. We first walked through the park and encountered a baby alligator. It was so cute! I felt no fear at all. We also saw many different birds, huge turtles, frogs, and giant fish swimming around the river. Then we chose one of the Everglades Tour companies and went on a tour. Because it had rained a few days before our tour, the water level was high, so we didn’t see many crocodiles, we saw five and one big turtle. For five dollars, you can hold a baby crocodile! Liam held it first. It was a fun experience for the kids. We ate frogs and crocodile bites at the restaurant of the tour company. I first rejected the idea of eating it, but then remembered my weeks lying down in the hospital and decided I would try new things whenever possible.
Miami is the multicultural metropolis of the United States. Finding all kinds of foods is easy and close wherever in Miami (or close to it) you are. Make a list of all the cultural dishes you want to try and divide them into the days you will be spending in Miami. Since I am Honduran, I ate at three Honduran restaurants. I was going to take full advantage of that trip. I also had Cuban, Peruvian, Chinese, and Mediterranean. I am a foodie at heart…I came back home six pounds heavier. I do not regret it a bit.
Tip: Compare the reviews for the same kind of restaurant. Remember, expensive doesn’t necessarily mean good. I went to eat Honduras food at a mom’s restaurant, consisting of a small bar and 3 tables in the back of the house. Yummy, authentic, and inexpensive food. Plus, you get to interact with the locals.
Strolling Coral Gables
Coral Gables is known for its giant Live Oak trees, Bulnesias, and Coconut Palms. Park the car and go city strolling. Its tree-lined boulevards and exquisite architecture are only two of the main attractions. Both the world-famous Biltmore Hotel and the Venetian Pool are located in “The Gables.” The city is clean and safe and has so many nice stores and hotels.
As I mentioned before, there are tons and tons of things to do in Miami. Due to my current disability and traveling with kids, I chose to take it easy and visit family-friendly places.
What would I have done if I had gone with my husband and in good health? I have gone dancing the whole night in a Latin club!
Art and Photo Ops a the Wynwood Walls
Wynwood city is full of artistic murals. The murals are painted by diverse artists each year. They are rich in culture and meaning, and they are vibrant. There are some transgressive pieces of art and some pieces that capture the beauty of life and the human body. Some murals are cartoons from our childhood, like the Rich Uncle Quack. Who doesn’t remember him?! Loved it. I snapped a few photos while riding in my wheelchair, looking for a restaurant.
Hitting the Beaches!
Florida has gorgeous, endless beaches. We went to two and spent the evening swimming, talking and drinking. The sunset was marvelous, and the sand felt smooth under our feet. It was my first time going to the beach since I got sick. Those who know me know that I am an ocean lover and beach bum. Some people had music on and were dancing. Others were playing volleyball. Having fun at the beach is easy.
En el mar la vida es mas sabrosa!
Tell me how your trip to Miami goes!