Category Archives: Port of Miami – Miami FL

Information about cruising from PortMiami

family-cruise

13 Best Cruise Destinations for the Whole Family

Last updated on February 22nd, 2020 at 10:17 am

Going on vacation together as a family or an exciting touring adventure is a great way to bond and relax. At the very least it is a just reward for managing to tolerate, irritate and enjoy each other’s company for the preceding period. More importantly, memories created on such occasions last a lifetime and usually remain the things we hold on when the passing of time takes away our loved ones.

However, planning for a family vacation can be one of the most demanding tasks you get to accomplish. This is further compounded by having to bring the kids along resulting in extra costs, luggage, and supervision work and seeking to meet the divergent preferences of where to visit. Luckily, there is such a solution that largely solves just about every one of these issues, going on a family cruise.

Family cruises offer a number of advantages over other vacation plans especially on the logistics side. The costs are favorable and you do not have to keep hassling for a place to eat every meal. You are also saved from the need to keep moving with luggage while the locations and onboard activities are many, catering for different ages and even whole families.

The icing on a great family cruise vacation is a great destination. While some destinations are uniquely great for singles or couples, some provide great attractions for the whole family. Here are 13 best cruise destinations for the whole family.

1. Canada and New England

This is one of the interesting destinations on this list because it does not scream exotic as several other destinations on this. However, it offers plenty of attractive landscapes, great weather during summer, and interesting city life from Boston, to Quebec and Montreal. To top it all up, it is one of this area is one of the most affordable destinations you can cruise to.

The area has a long cruising season from May to the end of October and offers several options in the duration of the cruise from four to seven days or longer ones from 10 to 14 days with more stops. In Newport Rhode Island, you can engage in family hiking, venture into town sightseeing the biggest mansions in North America.

In Maine, whale watching expeditions and paddling excursions bringing you close to seals and ospreys are a fulfilling family attraction. Quebec offers plenty railroad fun, Maple Museum Tours, music and buffet meals while Nova Scotia is an adventure and bird heaven. It is a trip best for children aged 8 and above

2. Caribbean

The Caribbean is an exciting option offering both the sun-drenched sands as well as the affordability and numerous attractions along the way. The weather is great and the beaches have attractions and activities suitable for all ages while the spirit onboard the ship is one of an unending festival.

The eastern Caribbean is great for first-timers and those with younger kids as the port is never too far away from the ship. Cruises last between 3 or 4 nights to 10 days or more. Western Caribbean is for the more adventurous types of attractions such as zip lining over the forest, tours and excursions, and jungle tubing. There is plenty of culture and history to explore so it is never a dull moment.

3. Mexico

It is becoming rare to find Mexico only cruises with most featuring a trip through the Caribbean. This doesn’t mean if you would not get one of you do your research well. The all Mexican cruises make stops in beauty havens like Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco.

Whether you are looking for activities like snorkeling and scuba diving, family resorts, a tour into the Mayan culture and history, a game of golf, an expansive view of marine life and aquatic parks or bird watching, there is always something for everyone in the family.

4. Bermuda

Eight islands make up Bermuda a British colony but home to thousands of American visitors who get so attached and exhilarated by the island that the first visit is always the first in many to follow. It has the appeal of the Caribbean with the closeness and familiarity of New England.

The endless blue skies and waters, the country club relaxed air, and the numerous activities and attractions fill up what is usually a six to eight days long cruise with at least two nights in Bermuda. Top attractions include the Bermuda Aquarium and the Natural History Museum and Zoo. Activities include horseback riding, scuba diving, biking, golfing and a vibrant nightlife for everyone.

5. Alaska

This is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations and the unique attractions make the reason obvious. It is a destination for those who love adventure and the sheer beauty of nature. You can easily move from riding a dogsled to sea kayaking and flying over a volcano. The landscape includes glaciers, mountains, a rainforest and the Arctic Tundra.

You also get whale watching and your adventures also get you close to a unique set of indigenous wildlife like moose, bears, the musk ox, and caribou. The nature of excursions and tours call for older children at least aged ten and above.

6. Hawaii

Experiencing a Hawaii cruise can be challenging if you only want a cruise that begins and ends in Hawaii. While this is the best way and adventure to appreciate the beauty and attractions of the island, only the Norwegian Cruise Line offers a Hawaii only cruise lasting seven days. Other cruise lines begin their tours from the Canada, the US’ west coast, or Mexico.

Still, the attractions on offer in the different islands like Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island more than make up for any inconvenience suffered. From a trip to the Pearl Harbor to a snorkeling in the reefs, a submarine tour of the USS Bowfin, great beaches and surfing, amazing restaurants and local shopping joints, and one of the best spots for whale-watching worldwide.

7. Barcelona, Spain

Spain makes is generally a great destination for tourists and many of the Mediterranean cruises do pass there. However, the jewel of a cruise to Spain is Barcelona with its large port and plenty of activities and attractions for the whole family.

The great weather, the festival atmosphere especially at La Rambla, the architecture and landmarks like the Sagrada Familia, cuisine, theme parks and amusement parks, outdoor markets and the hiking and water sports are among the many attractions that fill this destination.

8. Venice, Italy

Italy is a country rich in culture, history, and landscape attractions whose experience is magnified by doing the trip on a cruise. With ports near Rome, the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum are some of the top attractions and if your schedule allows you can get to Florence.

However, just like in Spain, the city you want to be in is Venice and as far as your cruise is concerned even Rome cannot come close to the majesty and beauty of this city with its castles, churches, museums, and waterways connecting the numerous island.

9. Greece

This is another destination on the Mediterranean with many of the attractions and iconic sites easily accessed from the ports. These include Athens with its Parthenon and Oberlaender Museum and the great viewpoint at Lykavittos Hill. If you love the beaches then the Greek Isles are your place with many historical points from Patmos to Delos.

With many cruises visiting this nation, you have a variety of options. However, an all-Greek cruise for ten or more days is usually the best way to experience, luxury, history, and culture as a family.

10. British Isles

England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales are amazing destinations for a family cruise as they are especially friendly for younger children. These locations with their iconic cities and coastlines offer a little bit of everything.

The close nature of the isles means you will spend less time on board between stops end you get to explore British Isle attractions including the historical sites, the adventure parks, the fishing cities, the beautiful wilderness, historical locations and amazing beaches especially if you visit from May to September.

11. St Petersburg, Russia

Russia’s only Baltic easily dwarfs all the other destinations in the area. Better still, at the very least you will have two full days to view and enjoy the splendor and beauty of this magnificent city.

St Petersburg is home to the second largest Museum in the world the Hermitage Museum, numerous canals, the iconic architecture including churches, palaces and castles, festivals and historical sites. It is a great destination for the family with interesting tours.

12. France

When it comes to the ultimate cruise destination, France ranks up among the best. It has several coasts the popular ones being the Corsican coast, the Mediterranean one, the Atlantic coast and the Channel coast.

This gives the country several ports for cruise lines to stop over and each has unique attractions and breathtaking beaches. The culinary, the historical sites, the golf courses and water sports activities and landscape are among the various treats waiting for you and your family. You can hardly go wrong with a cruise to France regardless of the children’s age and the occasion.

13. Bruges, Belgium

The port of Zeebrugge is a common stopover for many cruise lines in Western Europe. It is the entryway to Bruges a town steeped in history and home to several iconic museums. This is the ideal cruise trip for a quiet and relaxed adventure.

There are several attractions including the churches specifically The Church of our Lady, the museums, the marketplace and historical sites like the Flanders field and Ypres.

Conclusion

Family cruises allow you to enjoy the best time together with your loved ones. They are affordable yet offer unforgettable experiences that are both informative as they are relaxing. These 13 destinations offer a variety of mix for all the magic cruises offer and will suit your family well.

Feel free to share your experiences and other exciting destinations you would recommend in the comments.

About Safe Cruise Parking

Over the many years we've been in operation, Safe Cruise Parking has built a solid reputation offering safe car parking space for families going on a cruise.

MiamiOnDemand

Miami On Demand

Last updated on February 25th, 2020 at 12:41 pm

MiamiOnDemand

With the click of a button, Miami is at your service. No, really. In the last year, Miami has seen an exponential increase in the number of on demand services offered locally.

We’re talking about more beauty, transportation and other similar services you can book using an app and will come to you, wherever you are, within a few hours.

We’re talking about less stress, greater convenience, and more time to explore Miami during your vacation. The locals are already using these three on demand services. Here’s why you should be too.

1. miRide

Need a ride? miRide is exactly what you want. With as little as a few hours notice, you can use their app or website to schedule and pay for a ride with a professional chauffeur. The best part is, unlike most top-tier services in Miami, miRide’s luxury car experience is affordable, at only a slight premium over the cost of a taxi. We recently booked the Sprinter to and from a boozy brunch at the Biltmore Hotel and the cost came out to around $10 per person each way. So, go ahead and treat yourself with a safer, more pleasant ride. After all, the best in Miami shopping, dining, and nightlife is even more beautiful when seen from the back of a miRide.

bentley-188973_640

2. The Glam App

In Miami, no local leaves their house without full hair and make-up but when you’re on vacation, who has time to go to the salon? Enter The Glam App, a beauty-on-demand app that launched in Miami this summer. Whether you’re looking for a nail polish change or a full hair, make-up and nails overhaul, The Glam App makes it easy to get in your beauty regimen around your vacation schedule by bringing the salon to you. “We come to you, glam you up, and you don’t have to spend over $100,” says actress, blogger and The Glam App co-founder Cara Santana. Sounds like a win-win to us!

makeup-603731_640

3. Zeel

We’ve established that Miami is the type of destination where it’s okay (in fact, it’s encouraged) to treat yourself. Massages are one of our favorite ways to treat ourselves, which is why we love the concept behind Zeel, an on-demand massage service. Whether you are looking to be pampered Miami-style or you need to unwind, you can book a massage therapist to your home, hotel, or office with as little as a one-hour notice. Zeel offers different options of single, couples, back-to-back and chair massages so make sure to visit their app or their website to find the perfect massage for you.

physiotherapy-567021_640

About Margarita Wells

Margarita Wells was born in Mexico City, Mexico and relocated to South Florida at the age of 12. Since then, she has lived all over the Southeast Florida coast from Delray Beach to South Miami and everything in between. She finally settled in Miami after attending college at the University of Miami and there is no place she would rather be. Margarita has always had a passion for writing. In 2012, she channeled her love for Miami and for writing to start a blog about Miami life called ThankYouMiami.com. She is also a freelance writer for publications such as Localeur, Société Perrier and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Margarita spends most of her free time enjoying and writing about the best of what Miami has to offer, including the fashion, food, the arts, and our local natural resources. Through her writing, she hopes to inspire others to live for the moment and celebrate the wonderful things our city has to offer.

miami-roadtrips

The Best Three Road Trips to Take from Miami

Last updated on July 21st, 2018 at 10:40 am

Miami Roadtrips

One of the best parts about living in Miami is the city’s proximity via boat and plane to other countries.

One of the tougher parts about living in Miami is that the city is trapped at the southern tip of a looong state, so we are not privy to the interstate road trips familiar to people who live in other states.

That said, Florida has some incredible destinations that are within a few hours from us via car. Today we’re taking you on our favorite three road trips from Miami. Don’t forget to bring your GPS, your favorite playlist, and your sense of adventure!

Northward Bound: Indialantic, Florida

Lou's Blues

Only three hours north of Miami, the Town of Indialantic is the perfect place for a weekend seaside escape. The beaches are less crowded and more family-friendly than the beaches in Miami. Plus, everything (read, food, drinks, and hotels) is much more affordable.

We love to stop by The Blueberry Muffin, a local diner with amazing blueberry muffins, for breakfast.  At sunset, there is no better place to enjoy a cocktail and beach views than the second floor of biker bar Lou’s Blues.

And, if you’re looking for more late night music and fun, Bunky’s Monkey Bar is open until 2 a.m. and has daily specials.

Pro tip: If you are flexible on dates and/or accomodations, check different websites for great deals on oceanfront hotels. During past visits we have had enjoyable stays at both the Crowne Plaza Melbourne and the Radisson Suite Hotel for under $100 a night.

Southward Bound: Key Largo, Florida

Lionfish Spearfishing in Key Largo

To the untrained eye, Key Largo looks like the type of place you pass by on the way to Key West and the Lower Keys. To Miami-ans, it is the perfect road trip because it is close by but sufficiently removed from the hustle and bustle of city life.

If you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving, there are plenty of local outlets from which to rent gear or book a trip. Crowd favorite snorkeling and diving spots include the Christ of the Abyss and shallow water reefs of John Pennekamp State Park. After you work up an appetite, stop by Mrs. Macs Kitchen for a superfishwich and homemade key lime pie.

Pro tip: Instead of taking US-1 from the Turnpike, bring $1 in cash so you can take the less urbanized and less crowded Card Sound Road. Make the time to stop just before the tollbooth at Alabama Jacks or just before the road reconnects with US-1 at Shipwreck’s Bar and Grill for fresh seafood, a cold beer, and some quality Florida Keys people watching.

Westward Bound: Everglades City, Florida

Everglades City Smallwood store

Everglades City is located on the southwest end of Florida around Chokoloskee Bay in an area with a rich Native American history. Because of its remote location and its mature mangrove coverage, it also has a history of drug smuggling and crime involving its small resident population.

Nowadays, Everglades City is a quiet place ideal for outdoor explorers because of its proximity to Everglades National Park and the 10,000 Islands. To capture the city’s unique history and charm, visit the Historic Smallwood Store – there is a $5 entry fee – or at Camellia Street Grill, a delicious waterfront eatery.

Pro tip: For a more personalized wilderness experience, book a kayaking trip with top Trip Advisor ranked Shurr Adventures, which offers naturalist-guided kayaking trips for groups of one to six people.

 

About Margarita Wells

Margarita Wells was born in Mexico City, Mexico and relocated to South Florida at the age of 12. Since then, she has lived all over the Southeast Florida coast from Delray Beach to South Miami and everything in between. She finally settled in Miami after attending college at the University of Miami and there is no place she would rather be. Margarita has always had a passion for writing. In 2012, she channeled her love for Miami and for writing to start a blog about Miami life called ThankYouMiami.com. She is also a freelance writer for publications such as Localeur, Société Perrier and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Margarita spends most of her free time enjoying and writing about the best of what Miami has to offer, including the fashion, food, the arts, and our local natural resources. Through her writing, she hopes to inspire others to live for the moment and celebrate the wonderful things our city has to offer.

PortMiami (1)

Best PortMiami Cruise Hotels

Last updated on January 5th, 2018 at 03:40 pm

Best Port Miami Cruise Hotels

With so many different accommodation choices in Miami, it can be difficult to choose a hotel for your pre-cruise stay. Considering location, amenities and cruise packages, here is our list of best PortMiami cruise hotels, from the ultra-luxurious, to the more budget-conscious.

InterContinental Miami

100 Chopin Plaza, Miami, Florida, 33131 | 305-577-1000

InterContinental Hotel Miami

While the InterContinental Hotel Miami doesn’t offer any cruise-specific amenities, the location and quality of the hotel is why it has made our list of best PortMiami cruise hotels. This 4 star hotel is located less than 2 miles from PortMiami, and offers spectacular views of Biscayne Bay while in the heart of Miami’s Business and Financial districts. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of the three onsite restaurants, or savor a cocktail at Toro Toro. It is also a short distance from some of Miami’s best shopping and other restaurant choices.

The extensive, state-of-the-art fitness center is perfect if you’re looking for a great workout before taking a dip in the beautiful outdoor pool. Enjoy a massage, manicure or pedicure at the luxurious mySpa facilities or enjoy a game of squash at the Downtown Athletic Club, located across the street. The sophisticated, well-appointed guest rooms and suites offer a relaxing stay before you depart for your cruise. Ask at the front desk for a port view so you can watch your ship arrive. Click here for more information on the InterContinental Hotel Miami.

Miles to Port : 1.8

Airport Transfer : No

Port Transfer : No

Long-Term Parking : No

Breakfast : $

Swimming Pool : Outdoor

Hampton Inn & Suites Miami/Brickell-Downtown

50 SW 12th Street, Miami, Florida, 33130 | 305-377-9400

Hampton Inn Miami Brickell Downtown

If the InterContinental Miami is a bit out of your price range, the newly opened Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell Downtown is a great option. Besides getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor, they offer a Park, Stay & Go package which includes one-way transportation to your cruise terminal, 50% off the regular cost of parking for up to 7 days, and complimentary welcome drink, WiFi and hot breakfast.

In addition to great amenities, it’s location is ideal – within a short distance of fantastic restaurants, shopping and entertainment. Take a swim in the roof-top pool and whirlpool, and lounge in their pool-side cabanas before grabbing a cool drink from the Pool & Lobby Bar. Unique to the Hampton Inn family with its boutique feel, combining urban design and contemporary art, you’ll enjoy the comfort and eco-friendliness of their guest rooms. Click here for more information on the Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell/Downtown.

Miles to Port : 2.8

Airport Transfer : No

Port Transfer : Yes, one way – with package

Long-Term Parking : Yes – 50% off for 7 days

Breakfast : Hot

Swimming Pool : Outdoor

Embassy Suites Miami International Airport

3974 NW South River Drive, Miami, FL, 33142 | 305-634-5000

>embassy suites miami

If you are flying into Miami before boarding your cruise, the Embassy Suites Miami International Airport is a perfect spot for your stay with its complimentary hotel shuttle. If you book their Cruise Package, it also includes drop off transportation to PortMiami for two and WiFi access. Their Park, Stay & Go package offers 7 days of long term parking as well as transportation to your cruise terminal.

As with every stay at an Embassy Suites, your hot, cooked-to-order breakfast is complimentary as well as an evening reception with snacks and beverages in the magnificent atrium where you’ll see ponds, waterfalls, palm trees, tropical plants and even cockatiels. This all-suite hotel is close to shopping and restaurants and offers complimentary shuttle service within a three mile radius. If you wish to stay in, enjoy a fine steak dinner at the onsite Grill 305 restaurant and swim in the newly renovated pool area with whirlpool. For more information on the Embassy Suites Miami International Airport, click here.

Miles to Port : 7.8

Airport Transfer : Yes – complimentary

Port Transfer : Yes – with package

Long-Term Parking : 7 Days

Breakfast : Hot

Swimming Pool : Outdoor

Hilton Miami Downtown

1601 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL, 33132 | 305-374-0000

Hilton Miami Downtown

The Hilton Miami Downtown is a perfect located for those cruising from PortMiami, located just 5 minutes away. The hotel has Special Offers which include a Park, Stay and Go package which offers 7 days of parking and shuttle service to the port. You’ll enjoy the panoramic views of Biscayne Bay and the short distance from Miami’s art and design districts, including Coconut Grove and Miracle Mile.

The outdoor pool has amazing views from its 7th floor terrace where you can enjoy a cool beverage or casual lunch at the CityVu pool bar. Shopping and restaurants are plentiful and Bayside Marketplace is close by. Your tastefully decorated and comfortable guest room offers convenient amenities and will provide you with a great night’s sleep before you leave for the ship. For more information on the Hilton Miami Downtown, click here.

Miles to Port : 2.1

Airport Transfer : No

Port Transfer : Yes

Long-Term Parking : 7 Days

Breakfast : $

Swimming Pool : Outdoor

JW Marriott Marquis Miami

255 Biscayne Bay Boulevard Way, Miami, FL 33131 | 305-241-8600

Marriott Marquis Miami

If pre-cruise luxury and pampering is what you’re looking for, a stay at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami is a must. They even offer a Sail Away Pre and Post Cruise Stay Package which includes a delicious breakfast for two at the onsite 345 Restaurant, a $25 credit to be used for transportation to the port, and complimentary late check out if you don’t want to be the first to the port.

This sleek and modernly designed hotel has combined art and sophistication, paired with the latest technology, from the lobby, to the award-winning db Bistro Moderne restaurant, to the luxurious guest rooms. In addition to the expansive fitness center with on-site yoga studio and heated outdoor swimming pool with amazing views, there is a virtual bowling alley, an NBA-approved basketball court, and an indoor golf school with a Pro Shop, putting greens and golf simulators. Click here for more information on the JW Marriott Marquis Miami.

Miles to Port : 2

Airport Transfer : No

Port Transfer : Yes – $25 Transport Credit w/ Pkg

Long-Term Parking : No

Breakfast : Yes – with Package

Swimming Pool : Outdoor

miami-cuba-cruise

Cruises to Cuba – What you need to know

Last updated on June 5th, 2019 at 07:41 am

The first cruise to Cuba from Miami arrived in Cuba in May 2016 – Read more here.

Cruise Port Advisor has put together this helpful Travel Guide to Havana Cuba to help in planning your trip to this wonderful island nation.

**Recent updates – Cruises to Cuba**

UPDATE – June 5, 2019 – The USA now restricts cruises to Cuba. Read More

UPDATE – July 29, 2016 – Royal Caribbean cruises to Cuba on hold – Read More

UPDATE – April 30, 2016 – First cruise to Cuba in over 50 years is getting ready to sail! Read the full article here.

UPDATE – April 22, 2016 – Cuban-American passengers cleared for travel via cruise ships. Read the full article here

UPDATE – April 18, 2016Carnival may delay sailings to Cuba because of recent Cuban rules that will try to stop Cuban-American passengers from taking cruises on the new Fathom line.

UPDATE – March 2016Cuba Officials Have Approved Carnival’s Bid!


Carnival Cruise lines has announced plans to offer cruises to Cuba from Miami starting in 2016!  Earlier this week it was announced that MSC cruises was also offering cruises to Cuba. Carnival will be offering cruises departing Miami on a 7 day “people to people” cruise which emphasizes social impact through a newly established Carnival brand called “fathom.”

The Fathom concept was announced in June, and offers cruises that allow vacationers to experience a cruise while at the same time, making an impact in underdeveloped countries through service projects that are arranged by fathom.

Carnival has already received approvals from the United States government for these unique vacations and are currently waiting on Cuban authorities to approve the plans.

Fathom cruises are offered through a single ship in the Carnival fleet; The Adonia, which is a 710 passenger ship that’s been sailing with Carnival brand P&O cruises and with Princess cruise lines since the parent company acquired it in 2006.

Traveling on a social impact vacation like fathom plans to offer doesn’t come cheap. 7 night cruises will start at just under $3000USD per person.

Helpful Miami Links:

PortMiami Info

Fly & Cruise Hotel Packages

Park & Cruise Hotel Packages

Miami Cruiseport Parking

 

 

miami to cuba cruises

About Jonathon Hyjek

Jonathon is the tech guy behind CruiseportAdvisor.com. When he's not stuck in front of his computer, Jonathon enjoys travel & cruising (even after being on a cruise ship that caught fire - a story for another day!)

miami-in-a-day

Discover Miami in Less Than One Day

Last updated on February 25th, 2020 at 01:07 pm

miami in a day
You arrive in Miami the day before your cruise and you want to discover the beautiful sub-tropical city outside your hotel door.

Your first move is to pick up your travel guide or do a quick Google search only to be overwhelmed by hundreds of options in dining, sightseeing, and shopping in Miami.

All them sound amazing but how can you possibly fit them all in? The reality is you can’t but, with the right guide, you can make the most out of your short stay.

Enter Miami Culinary Tours, which offers three-hour food tours daily around Miami’s historic neighborhoods of Little Havana, South Beach, and Wynwood. While their tours center on Miami food, they also explore the history and culture behind the dishes, making them the ideal itinerary when you’re in a time crunch. They are also incredibly cost-effective considering Miami prices. One tour costs between $59-$69 per person and includes five food stops.

The only choice you have to make is whether you’re more intrigued by the beach vibes of South Beach, the art of Wynwood, or the Cuban culture of Little Havana. Because we are least familiar with Little Havana, we recently joined Miami Culinary Tours for an excursion around the neighborhood led by native Miami-an, Ralph. The tour was delicious, filling, and extremely educational (did you know the City of Miami has an official “Rooster Removal Team” that takes care of feral roosters?).

Check out the photos below to see what you can expect when you go.

miami culinary tour

 

Our tour group gathered outside a local art gallery to learn about West African influences in Cuban culture.

El Pub Miami

At El Pub, our first stop, where we filled up on tostones rellenos de picadillo (shown above) and chicken empanadas.

miami cuban sandwich

A tour of Miami would not be complete without a stop at a ventanita, or window, through which Cuban coffee and sandwiches are served.

cuban coffee miami

The tour only traversed half a mile, but we staved off exhaustion with a shot of colada, Cuban-style espresso.

miami mojitos

We stopped by the famous Ball and Chain Bar on Calle Ocho to learn about its role in music history and taste a traditional mojito.

Azúcar cuban ice cream in Miami

Our tour ended at homemade Cuban ice cream pioneer Azúcar where we enjoyed a scoop of delicious Abuela Maria ice cream while Suzy Batlle shared the story of how

the men at Domino Park helped her perfect her mantecado (Spanish for shortbread) ice cream recipe.

Visit our Shore Excursions page to book an excursion for your time in Miami

About Margarita Wells

Margarita Wells was born in Mexico City, Mexico and relocated to South Florida at the age of 12. Since then, she has lived all over the Southeast Florida coast from Delray Beach to South Miami and everything in between. She finally settled in Miami after attending college at the University of Miami and there is no place she would rather be. Margarita has always had a passion for writing. In 2012, she channeled her love for Miami and for writing to start a blog about Miami life called ThankYouMiami.com. She is also a freelance writer for publications such as Localeur, Société Perrier and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Margarita spends most of her free time enjoying and writing about the best of what Miami has to offer, including the fashion, food, the arts, and our local natural resources. Through her writing, she hopes to inspire others to live for the moment and celebrate the wonderful things our city has to offer.

3PlacesToVisitShortMiamiStay

Three Must-Visit Spots During A Short Miami Stay

Last updated on January 20th, 2020 at 01:54 pm

3 Must Visits During a Short Miami Stay

Miami can seem like an overwhelming destination if you have less than 24 hours to enjoy it. With so much to see, do, and eat, it can be difficult to get to know the city during a short stay. However, if you know where to go, it is possible to get a quick taste of the Miami experience. These three spots are where you can make that happen:

1. Little Havana

Little Havana Miami
Photo credit: Phillip Pessar / Source / CC BY

Miami’s cultural epicenter is undergoing a period of revitalization. Since you are in a time crunch, stick to SW 8th Street or Calle Ocho between SW 13th Avenue and SW 17th Avenue. You will find most of the must-see sights on this stretch, including Domino Park, the “Walkway of the Stars”, and the Tower Theater. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to stop at the historic Ball and Chain for Cuban-inspired bites and cocktails or at Azúcar Ice Cream Company  for homemade Cuban ice cream.

2. South Beach

South Beach Miami
Photo credit: Phillip Pessar / Source / CC BY

Ocean Drive is in every guidebook for a reason. Between the Art Deco architecture, the salty ocean breeze, and the rows of palm trees, there is nothing more satisfyingly Miami than an early morning or late night walk down Ocean Drive. Do stop to take photos and absorb the ambiance. Do not stop to eat at any of the restaurants – the food is not worth their hefty price tag. If you are in the mood for Latin American cuisine, go to Chalan on the Beach, Ola, or Puerto Sagua.

3. Wynwood

Wynwood Miami
Photo credit: Dan Lundberg / Source / CC BY-SA

This arts district is cultivating Miami’s future amidst its many blocks of colorful murals. The neighborhood launched and is home to numerous local businesses like our local purveyors of craft beer, Wynwood Brewing Company, and of specialty coffee, Panther Coffee. Both are within walking distance of the Wynwood Walls, a plaza between six warehouse buildings that has been transformed into an outdoor art gallery. Hungry? Check out Coyo Taco, Kush, or Wynwood Kitchen and Bar.

About Margarita Wells

Margarita Wells was born in Mexico City, Mexico and relocated to South Florida at the age of 12. Since then, she has lived all over the Southeast Florida coast from Delray Beach to South Miami and everything in between. She finally settled in Miami after attending college at the University of Miami and there is no place she would rather be. Margarita has always had a passion for writing. In 2012, she channeled her love for Miami and for writing to start a blog about Miami life called ThankYouMiami.com. She is also a freelance writer for publications such as Localeur, Société Perrier and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Margarita spends most of her free time enjoying and writing about the best of what Miami has to offer, including the fashion, food, the arts, and our local natural resources. Through her writing, she hopes to inspire others to live for the moment and celebrate the wonderful things our city has to offer.

MiamiBoutiqueHotels2

Five Laidback Boutique Hotels for a Relaxing Miami Stay

Last updated on January 20th, 2020 at 01:52 pm

Best Miami Boutique Hotels for Relaxation

The Miami experience is multi-faceted. We offer good times for the party crowd, zen times for the mellow crowd, and everything in between. The hotel you select as your vacation HQ will largely dictate where your stay falls along this spectrum. And, while we are also fans of the larger resort-style hotels like the Fontainebleau, this article is all about our favorite 5 boutique hotels which are perfectly laidback for unwinding in a more intimate, zen setting.

Sense Beach House

400 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
(786) 574-9429

book-online

 

This chic 18-room hotel is located in Miami Beach’s quiet and upscale South of Fifth neighborhood offset by a five-minute walk from the hustle and bustle of South Beach. At Sense Beach House, you can relax at their rooftop pool or at the nearby beach, which is only one block away. Other popular highlights of this hotel are the rooms, some of which boast ocean views, and the on-site restaurant Local House, which serves brunch accompanied by the sweet sounds of local artists on weekends.

Sense Beach House Miami
LOBBY – Photo credit: amsfrank / Foter / CC BY-SA

 

Standard Hotel & Spa

40 Island Avenue, Miami Beach
(305) 673-1717

book-online

 

We absolutely love The Standard! The sister property to NYC’s eponymous hotel encompasses zen from every angle thanks to its incredible spa facilities, the use of which is included with your stay. Because it is located on the Venetian Isles, The Standard has incomparable bay (and sunset!) views from its popular pool and the deck of its restaurant, Lido. Downtown Miami and South Beach are only a short drive or bike ride away, but you will probably be too busy exploring Biscayne Bay on a paddleboard to leave.

The Standard Hotel & Spa Miami



The Palms Hotel and Spa

3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
(305) 534-0505

book-online

 

The Palms is an independent resort that is bringing old Florida’s easy breezy style to Miami Beach’s Mid-Beach neighborhood. Although it is not a true boutique hotel, it is family-owned which gives each stay the personal touch afforded by boutique hotels. In addition to its laidback ambiance, the hotel is focused on sustainable hospitality. One example is the delicious menu at restaurant Essensia, which is composed of seasonal and local ingredients. Some of the ingredients are even harvested from a small garden by the pool!

The Palms Hotel Miami
Photo credit: psd / Foter / CC BY

 

Hilton Garden Inn (formerly Hotel Urbano)

2500 Brickell Avenue, Miami
(305) 854-2070

book-online

 

NOTE: Hotel Urbano  became Hilton Garden Inn  2018. Check out their information and rates!

This modern hotel is hidden in a quiet corner of Miami’s bustling Brickell neighborhood with easy access to I-95. Hotel Urbano is inspired by and draws on Miami’s tropical and artsy vibes. The décor showcases the latest works of local artists, while the on-site restaurant offers a taste of the Cuban cuisine for which Miami is known. Take advantage of their private poolside cabanas to unwind or take a short taxi ride to explore the white, sandy beaches of Key Biscayne.

outdoor pool surrounded by chairs and palm trees. Looking at the facade of the hotel.

The Vagabond Hotel

7301 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami
(305) 400-8420

book-online

 

The Vagabond Hotel found its home in the recently renovated digs of the former Vagabond Motel. The landmark property was “re-defined, re-invented, re-imagined” to include a swimming pool, fitness center, business center, and one of Miami’s restaurants du jour. It is also a short distance from Miami’s burgeoning Design District and Wynwood Arts District, both of which are ideal for quick day trips. The Vagabond Hotel is the perfect setting to abandon your troubles while living your very own Miami daydream.

Vagabond Hotel Miami
Electra Deluxe Room – Photo credit: www.thevagabondhotel.com

About Margarita Wells

Margarita Wells was born in Mexico City, Mexico and relocated to South Florida at the age of 12. Since then, she has lived all over the Southeast Florida coast from Delray Beach to South Miami and everything in between. She finally settled in Miami after attending college at the University of Miami and there is no place she would rather be. Margarita has always had a passion for writing. In 2012, she channeled her love for Miami and for writing to start a blog about Miami life called ThankYouMiami.com. She is also a freelance writer for publications such as Localeur, Société Perrier and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Margarita spends most of her free time enjoying and writing about the best of what Miami has to offer, including the fashion, food, the arts, and our local natural resources. Through her writing, she hopes to inspire others to live for the moment and celebrate the wonderful things our city has to offer.

NCL Getaway

Water Parks At Sea

Last updated on January 5th, 2018 at 03:40 pm

Worried your kids might be bored on a cruise? Think again. (scroll down)

Photo credit: bobchin1941 / Foter / CC BY-ND
Photo credit: bobchin1941 / Foter / CC BY-ND

Norwegian Cruise Lines has some of the coolest water parks at sea on their Breakaway, Epic & Breakaway Plus Classes of ships. With 5 water slides, multi-stories high, including the fastest drop slide at sea – the Free Fall, 2 swimming pools & 4 hot tubs there’s hours of aqua enjoyment for the young and young-at-heart. From high above the 17th deck, you’ll look out over the crystal blue waters as you’re about to slip and slide 200 ft to the pool below and think “I can’t believe I’m doing this in the middle of the ocean.” It’s pretty cool. If you don’t believe me, check out the video below.

Norwegian ships with Aqua Parks depart from these ports:
Port of New York – Norwegian Breakaway
Port of Miami – Norwegian Epic (until April 2015 – then off to Europe!)

– Norwegian Getaway

– Norwegian Escape (New November 2015!!)

 

south beach

Welcome to Miami, Bienvenido a Miami

Last updated on January 5th, 2018 at 03:40 pm

A Local’s Introduction to “The Cruise Capital of the World”

By: RustyClark (hottnfunkyradio.com) - CC BY 2.0
By: RustyClark (hottnfunkyradio.com)CC BY 2.0

Everybody wants a slice of paradise. Last year alone Miami welcomed over 4 million cruise passengers and 40.5 million airline passengers (PortMiami 2013, Miami Airport 2013). Our population had skyrocketed to 2.6 million as of the last census. Even as local rents quickly rise, locals have doubled down on our leases.

Beyond its allure as a tropical destination, Miami is in high demand because we offer it all. We have well-recognized hotel brands and boutique hotels, nightclubs and dive bars, a big city feel and a small town charm. Our attractions are both bachelor and family friendly. Our only downfall? An abundance of must-do’s that are tough to
whittle down into a realistic vacation itinerary.

Photo credit: Kansas Poetry (Patrick) / Foter / CC BY-ND
Photo credit: Kansas Poetry (Patrick) / Foter / CC BY-ND

Enter me, your personal Miami insider. Nice to meet you – my name is Margarita. I am a local living in the hustle-and-bustle of Miami’s South Beach neighborhood and a travel aficionado with a chronic state of wanderlust. Since I moved to Miami, I have been 100-percent in love with this city and have explored it inside and out.

As a Miami connoisseur, I look forward to sharing the best of what Miami has to offer in food, shopping, attractions, and nightlife so you can make the most of every visit. Whether you are staying one night or extending your vacation off-seas, you can count on me to guide or refine your Miami itinerary. Mi casa es tu casa.

About Margarita Wells

Margarita Wells was born in Mexico City, Mexico and relocated to South Florida at the age of 12. Since then, she has lived all over the Southeast Florida coast from Delray Beach to South Miami and everything in between. She finally settled in Miami after attending college at the University of Miami and there is no place she would rather be. Margarita has always had a passion for writing. In 2012, she channeled her love for Miami and for writing to start a blog about Miami life called ThankYouMiami.com. She is also a freelance writer for publications such as Localeur, Société Perrier and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Margarita spends most of her free time enjoying and writing about the best of what Miami has to offer, including the fashion, food, the arts, and our local natural resources. Through her writing, she hopes to inspire others to live for the moment and celebrate the wonderful things our city has to offer.