You can get a good taste of this vibrant city even if you don’t have a lot of time.
Then, I was invited to go on the new Fathom cruise line for their maiden voyage, which left from PortMiami. It is tricky to find an air flight that matches exactly with a cruise itinerary and sometimes you have a couple of hours to kill on either side of your journey. Instead of wasting a few hours waiting in Miami International Airport or the cruise terminal, I decided to use that time and discover Miami.
Both Miami International Airport and PortMiami are just minutes away from downtown Miami, South Beach, and other tourist spots. Taking an Uber to and from the airport and port was a fast and easy way to get to these popular destinations and inexpensive too especially when you share the ride. I like getting to know my fellow riders and the drivers; they have interesting stories to share. In the 24 or so hours I had to discover Miami, I took 5 Uber trips. Most of my drivers were originally from Cuba and on one was from the Dominican Republic. He spoke English the best while the other drivers’ English was in varying stages which made it tricky – but not impossible – to have a conversation. My friend and I shared the ride on two occasions. One gal I shared a ride with was originally from Venezuela and another was from Latin America but is now living in New Jersey and was in Miami for a business conference.
Everyone I talked to (locals and visitors alike) said You Have TO GO TO SOUTH BEACH. The way my free time went, I actually sent to South Beach twice: once in the morning when our plane first arrived and later in the evening. Both provided different views of this famous area.
The morning was definitely quieter. We had the Uber driver drop us off at Lincoln Road. It runs east and west in the heart of South Beach and is closed to traffic.
Shops and restaurants line both sides of the street. On a Sunday morning, we had fun checking out the farmer’s market, our suitcases trailing behind us. We found a great restaurant for breakfast, dined on the patio, and watched the people walk by.
and ate dinner at a quaint restaurant. You can find any cuisine you want along Collins, another main street in South Beach, that runs parallel with the coastline. Watching the sun set down there is an extra treat.
If you have a few hours between flights and/or cruising, you can hop on a double decker red bus for a quick inside tour of many Miami sites. I have enjoyed taking red buses like these in New York and loved learning intricate details about that city in a short amount of time. Some of our group went with CitySightSeeing and said they got a terrific overview of Miami.
I learned that the Everglades National Park is not a swamp but rather the slowest moving river in the world. It is 80% water and 20% land and about 20 inches in depth. Essentially, a river of grass. We spent 2 hours at Park. In that time, we rode an airboat, saw alligators and other local animals and plants, and watched an alligator show. We never felt rushed and we got an excellent introduction to this beautiful ecosystem.
It was also suggested that if you wanted to get out and walk a bit before your ship sailed or had to catch your flight, you could take an Uber to Winwood Walls in downtown Miami and see the urban street art. We just ran out of time or else we would have liked to explore this area too.
Why waste a couple of hours sitting in a terminal at the dock or at the airport when you can discover Miami just a few minutes away? Taking these little side trips in a few hours time truly added to the whole Miami experience and now I can say, “I’ve been to Miami” even if it was just for 24 hours.