Miami is a city of glamour and wild nights. It has a reputation for beautiful beaches and year round sunshine, but also for legendary nightlife that only stops after the sun comes up. Miami is a party city, but beyond the buzzing beaches and bars, you can race through croc infested swamps on an air boat, wander through old neighbourhoods in search of the best Cuban cuisine in town, or snorkel off the coast of a tropical island. But when the sun goes down, get ready to experience one of the most exciting cities in the world truly come to life. South Africans need a visa to visit Miami and the rest of the United States. You will need to fill out an application online and attend a face to face interview at the US Embassy or Consulate General.
Although most of the fun you will have in Miami happens when the sun goes down, there are some really cool things to do in Miami, so you definitely won’t be bored during the day. Rent a car and head out to the Everglades National Park - a huge expanse of Jurassic Park like swampland that is home to alligators, panthers, and manatees. Kayaking through the Everglades will get you as close as you can get to this wild part of Miami. Head the other way and you can drive along the Florida Keys highway to Key West, a little island town with palm trees, wooden houses, and great restaurants. When you are back from cruising along the Keys, take a drive along Ocean Drive for the quintessential drive by view of Miami’s iconic Art Deco architecture. Explore the street art scene in Wynwood and eat Cuban sandwiches and cinnamon rolls while watching old men get sassy with each other over a heated game of Dominoes. But some of the best things to do in Miami will be discovering the beaches. Whether you want to experience the legendary nightlife of Miami or have a low key holiday on the beach, you won’t be at a loss for things to do in Miami.
The 5 best shopping malls in Miami are Dadeland Mall and The Falls in Kendall, Lincoln Road Mall in South Beach, Aventura Mall in Aventura, and Bal Harbour Shops in Bal Harbour. Head to the Design District if you want to spend big on high end brands such as Armani, Chanel, and Burberry. Miracle Mile in Coral Gables has over 200 shops and is a great place to if you don’t want to splash out on brand names. Miami is a flashy city with the prices to match. A meal at a restaurant is typically around R200, a local beer costs about R80 and a decent bottle of wine from the store goes for R200 upwards. A ticket for the metrorail train and public bus starts from about R34 and the first 2.5 kilometres in a metered taxi is around R50.
Miami is a big city, so getting around is easy. The best (and cheapest) way to get around Miami is on public transport. Once you have learned how to use the metrorail, it is a great way to get from area to area. You can buy a card or ticket at a vending machine at one of the stations. There are also air-conditioned buses that operate throughout the city, but they can be unpredictable because of the traffic in Miami. The Miami Trolley is a free tram like vehicle that operates in the central neighbourhoods of Miami. They are orange and green and have marked stops all around the city. Renting a car is the best way to get around Miami if you want to explore the Everglades and Florida Keys. You will need a valid South African drivers license.
Miami abounds with accommodation, so finding somewhere to stay won’t be too difficult. The hotels in Miami are sublime and range from lavish 5-star hotels that go for R9000 a night to boutique Art Deco hotels overlooking the beach. Most of the hotels in Miami cost a few thousand a night. If you don’t want to spend too much on accommodation, staying in a motel, inn, or self-catering apartment is a good option. There are a number of good places to stay throughout the city that are comfortable, conveniently located, and relatively inexpensive. In terms of the best areas to stay in Miami, South Beach is the best place to stay if you want to be near the beach and nightlife, downtown Miami is the best place to stay if you want to be in the heart of the city, and Little Havana is a great spot if you want to experience the Cuban character of Miami.
There are currently no direct flights to Miami, but connecting flights are available from most cities in South Africa. A connecting flight to Miami with one stopover is about 20 hours and 30 minutes. Flights to Miami land at Miami International Airport (MIA). Some of the most popular airlines offering flights to Miami are Qatar Airways, Delta Air Lines, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines.
One of the best things to do in Miami happens away from the beaches in a colourful neighbourhood called Little Havana. This neighbourhood to the west of central Miami is a little slice of Cuba complete with old cigar smoking men playing dominoes and hot nights of mojitos and Cuban jazz. Visit on the last Friday of the month and you will experience Viernes Culturales, a street party with street performers, food stalls, dancing, and art. Or there is the Calle Ocho Festival in March, which is one of the largest street parties in the world that once received an award for creating a Conga line of over 100,000 people. It is a celebration of Cuban roots and culture and is a truly special and unforgettable experience.