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Spanish Speaking Consulates

Find a list of Spanish speaking consulate offices in Miami

With so many Spanish speakers in Miami, we thought a list to the Spanish speaking consulates would be helpful:


Argentina Consulate

Address: 1101 Brickell Ave. Suite 900 North Tower, Miami, FL,  33131
Phone: (305) 373-2161
Web: http://www.consuladoargentinoenmiami.org


Bolivia Consulate

Address: 700 S Royal Poinciana Blvd, Miami Springs, FL 33166
Phone:(305) 883-4749


Chile Consulate

Address: 800 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1200, Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 373-8623
Web: http://chileabroad.gov.cl/miami/en/


Colombia Consulate

Address: 280 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: (888) 764-3326
Web: http://consuladodecolombia.com/index.php


Costa Rica Consulate

Address: 2730 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 401, Miami, FL 33129
Phone: (305) 871-7485


Cuba Consulate

Address: 2630 16th. St. NW, Washington D. C. 20009
Phone: (202) 797-8518.
Note: The US does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba. For emergency consular issues, you can contact the Swiss consulate in Miami.


Dominican Republic Consulate

Address: 1038 Brickell Ave, Miami, Florida 33131
Phone:(305) 358-3220
Web: http://www.consuladordmiami.gob.do


Ecuador Consulate

Address: 117 NW 42nd Ave, Miami, FL 33126
Phone:(305) 539-8214
Web: http://www.ecuadormiami.com


El Salvador Consulate

Address: 2600 S Douglas Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: (305) 774-0840
Web: http://www.elsalvador.org


Guatemala Consulate

Address: 1101 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 679-9945


Honduras Consulate

Address: 7171 Coral Way #311, Miami, FL 33155
Phone: (305) 269-3131


Mexico Consulate

Address: 1399 SW 1st Ave, Miami, FL 33130
Phone: (786) 268-4900
Web: http://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/miami


Nicaragua Consulate

Address: 8532 SW 8th St #270, Miami, FL 33144
Phone: (305) 265-1415
Web: http://www.consuladonicamiami.com


Panama Consulate

Address: 5775 Blue Lagoon Dr, Miami, FL 33126
Phone: (305) 447-3700
Web: http://www.embassyofpanama.org


Paraguay Consulate

Address: 25 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 374-9090
Web: http://www.consulparmiami.org


Peru Consulate

Address: 444 Brickell Ave, Suite M-135, Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (786) 347-2420
Web: http://www.consuladoperu.com/consulados/index.php?consulado=MIAMI


Spain Consulate

Address: 2655 S Le Jeune Rd #203, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: (305) 446-5511
Web: http://www.conspainmiami.org


Uruguay Consulate

Address: 1077 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: (305) 443-9764
Web: http://www.uruguaymiami.org


Venezuela Consulate

Note: Venezuela has withdrawn consular personnel in Miami
Web: http://www.consuve.net/

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About the Author:

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

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Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
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Where To Go Surfing?

A surfer's guide to finding waves in Miami

image

The best place to go surfing in Miami is in South Beach (at 1st Street, next to the jetty). The surf conditions are flat almost every day of the year, but when a swell does happen, you will find a classic beach break, with powerful, A-Frame waves. North swells are rare, but when its good the waves are fast and hollow. South Beach also picks up knee-to-head-high wind swells from a N-S wind direction.

Miami surf characteristics

  • Wave quality: sloppy
  • Frequency: breaks best from July to November
  • Type: beach-break
  • Direction: right and left
  • Normal length: under 75ft
  • Bottom: sandy
  • Swell size: starts working at 1ft and holds up to 10ft
  • Swell direction: North, Northeast
  • Wind: Northwest, West, Southwest

Haulover Inlet (10800 Collins Avenue) is another surf spot, when the waves hit. Haulover is about 10 miles north of Miami Beach.

Knowing what the beach conditions are like can help you plan your visit, but with the waves being so inconsistent- don’t get your hopes up to do much surfing on you vacation.

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About the Author:

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

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You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
Search for Tours & Transportation
Updated for 2021. Get the surf report at the Dade County Surf Forecast.

Travel Store Help

Miami Beach 411 has partnered with Amazon.com to bring you a great selection of Miami travel gear.  Our Travel Store offer customers the same security and guarantees that they would get on Amazon.com.

How to Order
You can browse our selection of books, DVDs, and other travel accessories by visiting our Travel Store. Click a product for more information. If you would like to order it, click the “Add to Cart” button. For some items, such as travel bags, you must choose a color before clicking the “Add to Cart” button. You can also adjust the quantity of each item you would like to order before proceeding to checkout.

When you’re finished shopping, simply proceed to the checkout. The instructions will walk you through each step to enter your shipping and credit card information. Sorry, we do not take orders by telephone.

Have a look around at the products we offer. If you’d like to make a purchase, just add it to your Cart. When you are ready to check out, please click the “Proceed to Checkout” button at the bottom on the page. You will be taken to the Amazon.com cart page to securely complete your transaction.

Fulfillment By Amazon
Items “Fulfilled by Amazon” are shipped from an Amazon Fulfillment Center to you. All of Amazon’s standard shipping rates and policies apply to these items, including FREE Super Saver Shipping on qualifying orders over $25.

“Fulfilled by Amazon” items are sent to you via one of their carriers (US Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, etc.) at whatever delivery speed you choose (standard shipping, 2-day shipping, etc).

After you place an order, the carrier, ship date, and estimated delivery date for your package will be listed in Your Account and can be found in your shipment confirmation e-mail. If you have a tracking or delivery confirmation number, you can track your package by clicking the “Track packages” link in Your Account.

Amazon also handles all customer service and product returns for “Fulfilled by Amazon” items. If you need assistance with anything, please click the words “Contact us” at the bottom of any page of our website.

Placing an Order
Placing an order with Miami Beach411/Amazon.com is easy. If you’re already a member of Amazon, there is no need to create an account.

Here are the steps you need to follow to place an order.

  1. Find the items you want
  2. Add the Items to Your Shopping Cart
  3. Sign In
  4. Proceed to Checkout
  5. Enter a Shipping Address
  6. Choose a Shipping Method
  7. Provide Payment Information and a Password
  8. Review and Submit Your Order
  9. Check Your Order Status

Order Payment Information
Amazon.com accepts American Express, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Eurocard, Visa, Visa Check Cards, payment from your bank account, Amazon.com gift cards, Amazon.com Gift Card claim codes*, Amazon Store Card, and Webcertificates. (We cannot accept orders by phone, or email. All orders must be placed online.)

Shipping and Delivery Information
The easiest way to see exact shipping charges for an order is to put items in your cart, proceed to checkout, and view the order summary. You’ll be able to adjust shipping options and see exact shipping charges. You can always cancel or return to your shopping without actually placing the order

Return Policy
Customer may return new, unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund, except during the December holiday period. Items bought during the holiday period will have an extended return period; the holiday period starts on the 1st of November ends on the 31st of December. Items purchased during this period are eligible for a full refund if received by January 31st.

Items should be returned in their original product packaging. The buyer will need to pay for the return shipments; return shipping costs will be refunded if the return is a result of merchant or Amazon error.

All refunds go to the original purchaser. A full refund will be due provided the return is received within the return window.

Security
Amazon always uses the most recent technology to ensure you get the highest level of security, including:

  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to protect payment data and personal details
  • The Amazon A-to-z Guarantee if you use the Amazon.com accounts feature to protect you and the customer

For additional questions regarding the Travel Store, please contact Miami Beach 411 at 305-754-2206 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Related Links:

About the Author:

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

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Was This Post Helpful? Please Share It With Others!

You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
Search for Tours & Transportation
Updated for 2021. Shop for Miami guidebooks and travel gear in 411's Travel Store.

Festivals and Special Events in The Keys & Key West: 2013

Schedule of Key West street fairs, events, and festivals

  • Here's a list of the most important events in Key West 2013. For more information about events in Miami please visit http://www.miamibeach411.com/events/.
  • Note: Before planning a trip around a festival, make sure to verify the dates and locations.

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About the Author:

Laurie is the Events Manager at Miami Beach 411.

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Was This Post Helpful? Please Share It With Others!

You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
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Updated for 2021. For more information about Miami and Miami Beach events, please visit the Events Calendar.

Things You May Not Know About Miami

Some come for fun, some come for sun, some for the beach. Some come for glam, some come for slam, some sleep on streets - Señor Loco

Here is a collection of interesting facts about Miami you may not know.

10 Things You May Not Know

  1. Miami has the cleanest air and drinking water in United States Fobes
  2. Miami is the only city bordered by two National Parks: Everglades National Park & Biscayne National Park.
  3. Miami ranks first in unemployment.
  4. Miami ranks fourth in population density behind New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.
  5. Miami ranks third in city skylines behind New York and Chicago.
  6. Miami has No “single digit” or “triple digit” temperature ever recorded. Coldest day was 27º f (-1º c). Warmest day was 98º f (37º c).
  7. Miami has only one snowfall on Jan 19, 1977.
  8. Miami has the only public beach with topless sunbathing in United States.
  9. Miami has 24-hour liquor licenses in downtown.
  10. Fifteen feet below ground lies a natural source of water, the Biscayne Aquifer. Reaching water at this depth prevents Miami from having a subway train.

Miami-Dade Facts & Figures

Population

  • Miami Beach: 87,925
  • Miami: 409,719
  • Metro: 5,413,212
  • Florida: 18,251,243 (4th highest in U.S.)

Area

  • Miami Beach: 18.7 sq mi (48.5 km²)
  • Miami: 55.27 sq mi (143.15 km²)
  • Metro: 2,431 sq mi (6,296 km²)
  • Elevation: 6 ft (2 m)
  • Average temperature: 76º f (25º c)
  • Annual rainfall: 58.6 in (149 cm)
  • Wettest months: June & August
  • Hurricane season: June to November
  • Annual visitors: 8 million
  • Miami Beach nicknames: South Beach, SoBe, The Beach, The American Riviera, The Sun and Fun Capital of the World
  • Miami nicknames: The Magic City, MIA, The 305, The Sixth Borough, The Gateway to Latin America, Cocaine Capital, Repo Riviera

Related Links:

About the Author:

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

See more articles by Gus.

Was This Post Helpful? Please Share It With Others!

You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
Search for Tours & Transportation
Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

More Value For Your Money

Take a close look at what's included

Would you rather travel on an old tour bus, exposed to the sun... or inside a new bus with air conditioning? A tour lasting 90 minutes...or 4 hours? When comparing Miami Beach 411’s tours with other companies, take a close look at what's included, and how much time and money you can waste if you don’t research the tour company.

Here's a "what's included" summary from a typical Miami Beach 411 tour (in this case, the Miami City Tour) — and why it matters!

What we include: Why it matters:
Free travel planning consultation with our in-house experts to assist with your travel plans. Our expert travel advisers also guide our private tours. They'll be happy to assist you with your pre- and post- travel plans.
Full-time services of professional tour guides and local experts who will make the fascinating history and culture of Miami come alive for you Guides from most tour companies make their income from merchant kickbacks. Our guides are carefully selected and paid a full salary so our focus is on teaching and exploring, not shopping.
All transportation and admissions are included - at no extra cost. We get you around efficiently, to help you enjoy the most out of every minute of your day.
4-hour tour of Miami and Miami Beach, covering 35 miles to places other tour companies don’t take you: South Point Park • Art Deco District • Holocaust Memorial • Key Biscayne • Miami Marina • Madonna’s House • Michael Jackson “Thriller” cemetery • Bahamian Village • The CIA Boathouse • Old Cutler Road, voted the most scenic drive in Miami • Biltmore Hotel walking tour, Venetian Pool, Coral Gables, Little Havana...and more! Other company's tours last 90 minutes, and only take you to the “touristy” places to shop. Our tour takes you to places most people do not get to see.
Free stuff including a Tour Map, bottled water, Cuban coffee, a Miami Cheat Sheet, with insider tips, and pick-up from your hotel. We anticipate your needs and provide you with extra services and information to help you get the most out of your vacation.
Flexibility should you need to change or cancel your tour. All our tours include Tour Cancellation coverage. You can even switch to a different date — with no charge — up to 48 hours before your tour date.

About the Author:

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

See more articles by Gus.

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You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
Search for Tours & Transportation
Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

Comparing Miami Tours

Investigate the duration, air conditioning, and group size

When you're selecting a tour, the cost isn't the only factor to consider. Investigate the tour duration, if the tour bus has air conditioning, as well as how many people you'll be with. Most tour companies include customer feedback on their websites — look around and see what previous tour customers have to say.

Here is a summary of information we gathered from the websites of four popular Miami tour companies (Miami Beach 411, Duck Boat, Big Red Bus, Half Price Tours).

Miami Beach 411
Duck Boat
Big Red Bus
Half Priced Tour
Tour duration
4 hours
1.5 hours
1.5 hours
1.5 hours
Air Conditioning
Yes
No
No*
Yes
Group size (max)
32
49
56
56
Hop off guide
Yes
No
No
No
Free bottled water
Yes
No
No
No
Free souvenir map
Yes
No
No
No

* Along with there being no air conditioning inside the lower level of the Big Red Bus, there is no shade, or sun protection on the upper level.

About the Author:

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

See more articles by Gus.

Was This Post Helpful? Please Share It With Others!

You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
Search for Tours & Transportation
Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

Treating Jellyfish Stings

Apply an ammonia and water compress quickly

image

At certain times of the year, you’ll see Miami lifeguards warning swimmers that Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish are in the ocean. The jellyfish float above the water and the tentacles cause a painful burn if touched. Lifeguards will try to warn swimmers by flying a yellow flag with a black jellyfish in front of the lifeguard stands, but it’s up to you to stay alert when you’re in the water.

I’ve talked with lifeguards who don’t know the remedy for treating jellyfish burns, so if you happen to get stung, here is some advice on what to do:

  • Pick off any tentacles with a gloved hand or stick
  • Rinse the sting with salt or fresh water
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Apply ammonia and water compress liberally onto the sting
  • Vinegar is NOT recommended for Portuguese man-of-war stings.
  • Apply ammonia compress for 30 minutes or until pain is relieved.

If the victim has a large area involved (entire arm, leg, face, genitals), is very young, very old, or shows any signs of generalized illness or loss of breath, seek help from a doctor.

Related Links:

About the Author:

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

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Was This Post Helpful? Please Share It With Others!

You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
Search for Tours & Transportation
Updated for 2021. Want to hear a firsthand account? Read Doug's post about getting stung by a jellyfish.

Bus Tour Advice

Make sure to research the tour company

image
Photo by Derek Sanberg/MiamiTourCompany.com

Your vacation time is precious. There is nothing worse than wasting a day on a lower end tour, with an unqualified guide. (And this is not leading to a plug on our tours.) When choosing a tour, it’s important to research the tour company.

When calling around, here are the questions to ask:

Find out exactly what is included

  • What is the name of the tour company providing the bus tour?
  • How long is the actual tour - excluding the hotel pick up time?
  • What kind of vehicle is used? (Is there air conditioning?)
  • Do you take credit cards? Pay by credit card if at all possible. A credit-card company can be a strong ally in resolving billing disputes.
  • Is tour cancellation insurance included?
  • Are there any other costs?
  • Do customers receive any freebies?
  • Ask how much the tour guide guides
  • Is the guide also the driver?
  • Does the guide give talks on the places and history?
  • What are the guide’s qualifications (experience, fluency in English, and other languages)?

Imagine your perfect day

  • How many people will be on the tour? (What is the maximum group size.)
  • How much free time is allotted at each stop?
  • Is there a bathroom on the bus? How much time is spent on the bus?
  • Roughly how much time is spent shopping?

Don’t be afraid to get personal

  • Do you have a list of references?
  • How many years have you been in business?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • What are your refund policies before and after the tour?

Request

  • Pictures of the tours and the tour buses.
  • The detailed itinerary.
  • Written tour evaluations (may be posted on independent websites).

If you follow this advice, even an old-fashioned bus tour can be a good time.

About the Author:

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

See more articles by Gus.

Was This Post Helpful? Please Share It With Others!

You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
Search for Tours & Transportation
Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

Getting From the Airport to Your Hotel

A Guide to Finding the Right Transportation for You

image

You’ve done it! You’ve got your ticket for Miami! You found a great airfare deal and a hotel.  You’ve booked a few fun tours and have plenty of time set aside for sunning on the beach, eating and clubbing.  There’s just one thing you haven’t figured out yet: how do you get from the airport to your hotel?

The answer depends a lot on you.  For example, will you be traveling alone or with a group of friends? Do you want to save money, or just get straight to your hotel with a minimum of inconvenience? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.  You can explore your options and decide what works best for you! The rates quoted here are effective as of February 2012.

Public Transportation from Miami International Airport
Is getting there cheaply the most important consideration, and you don’t mind if it takes a little longer to get there? Then, if you’re heading from Miami International Airport to Miami Beach, the Airport Flyer Bus is your best bet!

It used to be that to get from the airport to Miami Beach, you had to change buses a couple of times, and it would take forever.  But all that changed in December 2009 when the Airport Flyer bus began service! Making only one stop—at the Earlington Heights Metrorail station—before arriving in Miami Beach, its route takes you along the Airport Expressway and the 195, also known as the Julia Tuttle Causeway.  After a couple of stops at Alton Road and Sheridan Road, the bus heads south along Indian Creek, starting at about 41st Street.  At 26th Street, it crosses over to Collins Avenue, and then to Washington Avenue at Lincoln Road.  The bus continues downward to South Pointe Drive, the southernmost point in Miami Beach, before looping around to head back to Miami International Airport.  It runs 7 days a week between the hours of 6 am and 11 pm, and costs just $2.35 per person! See the route (PDF).

Unfortunately, getting from Miami Airport to the Port of Miami on public transportation is more difficult.  To get to the port by bus, start at the airport on the 150 bus to Earlington Heights Metrorail Station.  Take the metrorail south to the Government Center Station.  From there, on weekdays, you can catch Bus 243 to your cruise terminal.  On weekends, you’ll need to take a taxi once you arrive at Government Center.

If you need to get to other areas of Miami, the fares will vary depending on the number of buses you’ll need to take.  The basic Metrobus fare is $2.  Express buses are $2.35.  If you plan to be using the bus more than five times during your time here, the Easy Card is your best option.  This reusable card requires that you load a minimum of $10 on it and gives you 7-day passes for $26 and month-long passes for $100, in addition to free bus-to-bus transfers.  And it’s also good for travel on the Metrorail system! Furthermore, If you’re elderly or a disabled Medicare recipient, be sure to ask for a Discount Easy Card, which will reduce your fares by half. 

Need to get somewhere, but you’re not sure which bus to take? Just use the Google Transit Planner.Tell it your day and time of travel, as well as your starting and ending points, and it will tell you which buses you need to take.  Ah, the joys of 21st century living! 

Well, although we are living in a new age, getting to Fort Lauderdale on public transportation hasn’t improved much since the horse and buggy days.  The number of transfers and the amount of time it takes make it a poor option for travelers with luggage in tow.  However, if you just need to get to your Miami Beach hotel, public transit is a great, inexpensive way to do it!

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The Super Shuttle
If you’re traveling by yourself and you want door-to-door service to your hotel, the Super Shuttle is usually a little cheaper than a taxi.  This service requires no advance reservation and is available 24-hours a day at the airport.  If you’re going to Coconut Grove, downtown Miami or to the Port of Miami, the rate is set at $14 per person.  South Beach and Mid-Beach hotel destinations cost $19 per person, while North Beach and Bal Harbour are $20.

You can take the Super Shuttle to Fort Lauderdale as well, to the Fort Lauderdale Airport ($28 per person), downtown Fort Lauderdale ($40 per person) or Port Everglades ($30 per person.

Both taxis and shuttles are available outside the baggage claim area of the airport on the lower level.

If you’re starting at the Fort Lauderdale airport, Super Shuttle used to provide service originating from there, but it was recently discontinued.  Go Airport Shuttle is the shuttle you want to use! Their rate to Miami hotels is $28 per person.

The advantage of a shuttle is that you can save up to 50% off the cost of a taxi.  But lest you forget, this is shared transportation.  That means that it can take significantly longer than a taxi or private shuttle, depending on the number of people with you on the van that day.  Also, unlike private shuttles, the tip is not included.  Plan to tip your driver about 15% of your fare.

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Taxi, Taxi
If you plan to be in a party of 2 to 5 people, taxis are generally your least expensive option, especially if you will be going to the Port of Miami or to Miami Beach, where there is a mandatory flat rate.  If you’re going from the airport to the Port of Miami, that rate is $24.  They can’t charge you a penny more! If you’re going to Miami Beach, South Beach and Mid-Beach will cost you a flat $32 fee; North Beach is $37 and Bal Harbour is $43.  If Sunny Isles is your port of call, plan to fork out $52.  Downtown Miami will set you back about $21.70.  The flat rate to the hotels on Key Biscayne is $41. Taxi service to Fort Lauderdale isn’t a flat rate, so just be mindful that your driver doesn’t take the scenic route!  Prepare to spend about $72.00 to go to the Fort Lauderdale airport, $81.00 to downtown Fort Lauderdale, and $77 to Port Everglades.  Taxis are a good option for getting right to where you need to go, but you’re at the mercy of the driver when traveling outside flat rate areas, especially if you’re not too familiar with the area.  Also, as with the Super Shuttle, you’re expected to tip your driver about 15% of your fare. 

image

Private Transportation
Private transportation combines the convenience of a taxi with the benefit of knowing how much you’ll have to pay before you arrive.  It’s like being on vacation with your own private chauffeur!

Miami Beach 411 offers private transportation that you can book right through our website.  It’s ideal for the traveler that has planned his or her transportation needs out a little in advance.  If you plan to be traveling longer distances, or locally with a larger group of people, having your own private driver can save you a bundle of time, money, and aggravation.  When you book with Miami Beach 411, you’re given written confirmation by email letting you know the name of your driver and his cell number.  Unlike a shared shuttle, you’ll be the only passengers on board—so you don’t have to sit there twiddling your thumbs while other people are getting on or off ahead of you.  And— depending on the size of your group and the distance of your trip—private transportation can actually work out to be cheaper than a taxi!

If you’ll be going one-way from Miami Airport to Miami Beach or somewhere else in Central Miami, you’ll pay $84 for 1-6 passengers with Miami Beach 411’s private transportation; if your group is 7-11 people, it will come to $126, while 12-14 will cost $150 total.  What’s great about this option is that with Miami Beach 411, there are no hidden charges! No tolls, taxes, or port fees to worry about.  Even the tip is pre-included in the price! If you’ll be traveling round trip, just double the rates and take off 10%, the amount of the round trip discount.

If you’re going one-way from Miami Airport to the Port of Miami, the rate is slightly more: $96 (1-6), $138, (7-11), and $162 (12-14). If you plan to have more people in your group, or maybe you have a more complicated itinerary, just call us at 305-754-2206 and let us know! We can help you find the most budget-friendly options for your group.

To go from Miami, Miami Beach or Miami Airport to Fort Lauderdale, the rates are set at at $102 (1-6), $144 (7-11) and $168 (12-14). Round trip discounts are available.

If you need to go from Miami, Miami Beach or Miami Airport to Port Everglades, the one-way rates are $114 (1-6), $156 (7-11), and $180 (12-14). 

Browse More Private Transportation Options.

Your driver will be waiting prior to your arrival in the airport’s cell phone parking area, so there is little to no waiting.  Private transportation can frequently be your best option, assuming that you’ve planned ahead.  Due to the high demand, there is a 72-hour cancellation policy.  As long as you let Miami Beach 411 know at least 72 hours before your trip that you need to cancel, there is no cancellation penalty.

So, while transportation in Miami may not be as efficient as New York or San Francisco, there are nonetheless options for every traveler’s budget.  From buses and shuttles to taxis and private transportation, there is something for everyone!

Need help booking? Call us at 1-305-754-2206. We’re open from 9am to 7pm everyday.

About the Author:

Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

See more articles by Doug.

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  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
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Connecting to the Internet On Your Miami Vacation

Finding the Hotspots in SoBe

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In today’s world, the Internet has become a staple of life, on a par with eating, sex and sleeping.  Many of us often wonder how we even got by before 1995—you remember, that prehistoric age before Youtube and Facebook.  Somehow we did, even when it meant writing out our email by hand and sending it off in stamped envelopes! But now, stay away for more than a day and you start to go into web withdrawal! As luck would have it, there are plenty of ways to get your online fix during your stay in South Beach.  Here are a few.

Public Internet Connections
For free connections, there are basically two options.  The first is the city library, located at 227 22nd Street in Miami Beach, near the Miami Ballet studios.  It is not required that you be a resident of Miami Beach to use the computers here.  The library has very modern equipment and and ample selection of computers, as well as a WiFi connection.  Your second option for a free connection is the City of Miami Beach WiFi system.  Service is citywide, covering 95% of all outdoor areas, and 70% indoor coverage up to the second floor of a building—but it can be spotty and undependable at times.  This system is not encrypted, so, like all public connections, take a little extra care when browsing (see security section below).  To connect, simply go to your network connections on your computer, and look for City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi or MBKIDS (this one is content filtered).  When you first connect to the network, you will be prompted to register for access, which involves choosing a username and password.  Then, after you’ve agreed to the terms and conditions, you’re ready to surf!

Private Internet Connections
Internet cafes come and go in Miami Beach like the tide.  For years, the place to go for a satisfying combo of cheap internet, used books, and exotic coffee was Kafka’s Cafe at 1464 Washington Avenue.  Kafka’s is no more—only the sign remains; the Italian cafe that once occupied the rear of the building, Caffe di Mauro, has now taken over all two floors, and today, the atmosphere is as much about carbonara as it is computers!  Not to worry, the cyber section is still there, but instead of the used books, you’ll now find some of the yummiest authentic Italian food this side of Padua!  Another good spot for local web browsing is Cybr Caffe at 1574 Washington.  It stays open past midnight, and features comfortable seating, a large-screen TV, snacks, coffee and music.  You can select from one of the 27 work stations, or bring along your laptop to connect with their WiFi signal.  Another locals’ Internet hangout is the newly relocated and revamped D’Vine Hookah Lounge, 445 Lincoln Road, which is the only place you can drink and smoke a hookah while you do your web surfing.  If you prefer to connect somewhere a little more mainstream, there’s always Starbucks, with South Beach locations at 749 Lincoln, 416 Lincoln, and 1209 Washington. 

How Secure Is a Public Internet Connection, Anyway?
In a word, not very.  Okay, that’s two words, but the bottom line is that all public connections are open networks and thus, vulnerable to security breaches.  Data is not encrypted—and this means that everything from your passwords to your email messages could be visible to hackers.  Although not foolproof, there are a few precautions you can take to make sure your confidential data stays secure:

  1. Turn on your firewall - now.  A firewall is a barrier that keeps your information from getting into the wrong hands.  All Windows operating systems come with a firewall.  Just make sure it’s on!
  2. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  Does your WiFi hot spot require you to log in with a network security key or other system? If your public hotspot has no encryption, you can download your own VPN free of charge, and encrypt your data that way.
  3. Turn off your WiFi adapter when not using it.  When you leave your WiFi connection on, you risk the possibility that it could log on to a malicious hotspot without your knowledge.  So turn it off when it’s not in use.  Most computers have a switch for manually turning it on and off.

Other precautions you can take: make your files private, disable file and printer sharing, and encrypt your files.

The Future in Vacation Websurfing
“We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.”—Ed Wood

What does the future hold in store for the Internet-savvy vacation traveler? One trend is blogging—it’s no longer just a hobby for nerds living in their parents’ basement.  These days, there are so many blog sites to choose from, anybody and everybody can start a blog about anything.  If you like to travel, why not consider starting a vacation blog? It’s a great way to share everything you’re doing without having to repeat yourself again and again to your friends and relatives.  You can join many blog sites for free! A few of the more popular ones include wordpress, blogger, tumblr, weebly and xanga.

Another trend in the web world is face-to-face interaction.  Now, sites like Skype and Google Talk are becoming increasingly popular.  Why email your friends, when you can talk to them (almost) in person using these sites’ video interaction capabilities?

Some might say that the Internet is the last place you want to be during your Miami vacation.  And to a degree, that’s true.  You want to be outside, getting the most out of your time away, soaking up the rays, frolicking in the Atlantic! But for those times when you want to connect with your friends back home, it’s a great way to share your experiences! Fortunately, South Beach, with all its web-friendly options, is the perfect place do that.

About the Author:

Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

See more articles by Doug.

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Fun Places To Walk In Miami Beach

Enjoying Miami by Foot

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Think of South Beach and some of the first things that come to mind are tropical colors, Art Deco, and a vibrant nightlife.  But did you know that it is also a walker’s paradise? In fact, in 2011, walkscore.com, the web’s leading resource for determining a community’s degree of pedestrian-friendliness, rated Miami Beach as the country’s 8th most walkable city! South Beach’s compact, villagey layout is just the right size for getting just about everywhere on foot.  Unfortunately, its compactness can also be a detriment: tens of thousands of people from all over the world descend upon this billion dollar sandbar every day, and, at times, the traffic and density can get a little overwhelming for the casual stroll.  Fortunately, we’ve scoped out some of the choice walking spaces—places where you can experience the appeal of the city—and still enjoy a little tranquility!

Lincoln Road and Española Way
South Beach is home to not just one but two pedestrian streets! The largest and most popular is Lincoln Road, where you’ll find an interesting melange of sidewalk cafes, bars, galleries, and upscale retail.  The outdoor pedestrian mall, which runs between Washington and Alton along Lincoln Road, is completely car free.  Since the east-west streets on the island are practically all numbered, Lincoln Road, were it to have a numerical assignation, would be 16 ½ Street.  It’s always lively along this thoroughfare, 24-hours a day.  During peak hours, it can be so crowded with the dance of waiters, dog walkers, rollerbladers, street performers, and window shoppers that it’s sometimes a wonder that they don’t all get tangled up in one big, convoluted ball. 

At moments such as those, head south a couple of blocks to Española Way, Lincoln Road’s less bustling baby sister, but closed to traffic only on Saturday mornings during its weekly street fair.  Starting your journey at the corner of Washington and Española Way and heading west, you’ll feel like you’re in some faraway, Mediterranean village, with this street’s abundant assortment of quaint galleries, bistros, and shops.  Stop off for a coffee or rum drink at an outside table while you enjoy a little people watching.  There is always a stream of young, international backpackers coming and going from the nearby Clay Hotel, as well as an endless array of savory smells of exotic origin.  You can enjoy Italian on one side at the Hosteria Romana (429 Española Way), or French on the other at A La Folie (412 Española Way).

Beach Boardwalk
If you’re a hardcore walker, you can actually strut your stuff all the way to 46th Street along the beachfront promenade and boardwalk.  On one side, there’s a steady collection of high-rise hotels and condo-plexes; to the other, the protected dunes and sea beyond.  Many of your fellow walkers will be Orthodox Jews, dressed in their traditional garb.  Throw in a few stray cats and sea gulls, and you have the prime ingredients of a Miami Beach boardwalk excursion.

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Lummus Park and Ocean Drive
This is South Beach at its South Beachiest.  The deco buildings of Ocean Drive rise in pastel hues like birthday cakes beyond the coconut groves of Lummus Park as you find yourself in the heart of the most photographed—and the most iconic—part of the island.  Here you’ll see a cacophony of humanity on parade: bodybuilders, models, rollerbladers, homeless people and international tourists all converging to celebrate the pleasure of doing nothing.

South Pointe Park
After passing the steakhouse, the next stop on your journey is South Pointe Park, a 17-acre space that was renovated to the sum of $22.5 million in 2009.  Its open meadows and gentle rolling hills make it a perfect place to stop and take in the fresh sea air.  Take a spot under a palm tree or stretch out on the open grass while you savor the waft of warm tropical breezes and the peaceful vibe. 

Continuing along your walk, you’ll find yourself square on the beach, the glowing, bubble gum green Atlantic just beyond.  Continue north to the next stop on your stroll…

Flamingo Park
Flamingo Park is a restful green oasis amid a buzzing periphery.  You’ll find basketball, tennis and handball courts, a baseball field, a public pool, a dog park, and grassy, wide-open spaces— perfect for walking Rover, practicing your tai chi, playing an impromptu soccer game—or just enjoying a little leisurely contemplation.  Toward the west end of the park is an outdoor football stadium, encompassing a jogging track that’s open to the public.  If you want to keep a steady pace, it may be your best option.  However, for some reason, city workers frequently use the track as a shortcut from the street to their field house, located on the far side of the stadium, so you often have to negotiate your way around their trucks, as they come and go.  Still, it’s a great place to shed the pounds without having to join a gym! 

After experiencing South Beach’s residential core, you may find yourself wanting to connect with the turquoise waters along the island’s outer edges..  Unfortunately, the beach can sometimes get a little chaotic, between the sun-worshiping crowds and the numerous special events that take place on the sand.  Crews are always busy setting up or taking down tents for one spectacle or another.  For this reason, the west side of the island makes a much more peaceful alternative.

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Meridian Avenue
Most visitors to South Beach tend to stick to the three major streets on the east side of the island—Washington, Collins, and Ocean.  As a result, those tend to be the most congested.  But locals know that when they need to go north or south, there’s one beautiful street to take that’s slightly off the beaten path: Meridian Avenue.  Meridian Avenue is the garden street of South Beach.  It’s shaded by a canopy of mature trees, and is lush with exotic flowers and tropical greenery every month of the year.  Starting at Fifth Street, head north past the colorful deco apartment buildings.  It is here that you can best glean what life is like for the locals.  When you get to 11th Street, to your left, you’ll notice a park.  That’s the next item on our list!

The Marina
Starting at Fifth Street at the entrance to the MacArthur Causeway, if you look to the south, you’ll spot a picturesque promenade overlooking the spectacular collection of yachts and sailing vessels that call the South Beach Marina home.  Follow this walkway south, and it will take you on a journey around the bottom of the island.  After you pass the marina, you can often see the cruise ships in the distance, docked at the Port of Miami.  Miami’s city skyline beckons to the west across Biscayne Bay, while to your left is the posh So-Fi (South of Fifth) neighborhood of Miami Beach, its luxury condos rising high into the azure skies.  If your taste buds want to take part in the sensory experience, stop off for some inspiration at Monty’s South Beach (300 Alton Rd at Fourth Street), a raw bar where locals in the know come for fresh oysters, shrimp, stone crabs, and a full menu of food and drinks. 

Later, as you continue along the walkway, traversing the south side of the island, you’ll spy exclusive Fisher Island in the distance, a private community of the jet set, accessible only by ferry.  Also along this stretch you’ll find the Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse (119 Washington Avenue), which, with its views of passing cruise ships and Government Cut, Miami’s shipping channel, boasts perhaps the most scenic and romantic location of any restaurant in South Beach.  And, wiith all those extra calories you’re shedding, you may be able to give into temptation here without too many regrets!

Places to Avoid
While there is plenty to see and experience, there are also a few places you will want to avoid on your pedestrian odysseys.  There are no ghettos in South Beach, per se, but there are some areas where the street theater can get a little too dramatic.  One such area is located on Washington Avenue around 15th Street.  For some reason, this block tends to attract a lot of panhandlers and other transients, and it can at times get a little aggressive.  Another rough spot is in front of Meridian Market at Meridian and Sixth, another popular panhandling site.  Still, with its wide variety of hispanic foods and fine, home-cooked hot meals, it is probably one of the best markets you’ll find on South Beach.  While the crowd is by and large harmless, it can get a little dodgy, especially after dark.  In fact, after dark, it’s probably best to stick to the well-lit, touristy areas to the east, where the crowds and good lighting will make you less likely to be singled out.  Miami Beach is no more dangerous than any large city, though.  Save the parks and the residential areas for the day, and you’ll be fine.  The beach at night can also be a little risky.  While many couples feel safe enough to enjoy some uninhibited moments of passion by the shore while silhouetted against the neon glow of Ocean Drive behind them, it’s also a popular spot for petty thieves, who frequently sneak up on those distracted couples and steal their belongings in the heat of the moment.

Don’t let that hinder you, though! By taking a few common sense precautions, you will discover exactly how much of a walking heaven Miami Beach can be. Suffice it to say, this is one destination where you can plan on leaving the car at home!

Photos by: Scott Alexander

About the Author:

Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

See more articles by Doug.

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You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
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  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
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Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

Getting the Most for Your Dollar

South Beach on a Shoestring Budget

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You’ve been working hard all year and you’re craving a little South Beach escape.  The only problem is, all this nonstop news about economic Armageddon has you scared to open your wallet.  But don’t give up on your dreams just yet! With a little know-how, you can have a great time in Miami without breaking the bank.  It’s all a matter of learning how to avoid the money traps! Here are some tips that can help you stick within your vacation budget.

The Hotel
As we mentioned in an earlier story, if the hotel rates in South Beach are leaving you cold, hostels make a great alternative.  If you’re willing to share your room with other travelers, there are places you can sleep for only $20-$30 a night.  But let’s say you’re not feeling so sociable! You don’t want to be serenaded by snoring Romanians…you’re not on the same inner time clock as the late night partiers from Brazil…and certainly, the smell of sweaty socks is offensive in any language!  Let’s say you want your own personal space.  If this is the case, then one of the best things you can do is to travel in the low season.  From about May to September, hotel rooms tend to be much cheaper, and it’s much easier to ask for a deal on a private room.

Are you a student or a senior? Are you traveling with your family? In that case, be sure to ask for a discount! Also, if you’re staying for an extended period of time, like a week or two, many hotels are willing to give you a free night.

Another rule of thumb is to avoid travel agent and room-finding services.  Do your own research and talk to the hotels on the phone or in person.

And that “great” Internet rate? Don’t believe it! A lot of places will charge twice as much for their rooms online, gambling that you aren’t familiar with the going rates.  Often, they’ll quote you a cheaper rate at the front desk if you show up in person.  They know it’s too easy for you to find a better deal up the street.

And if they give you a satisfactory rate, make sure there aren’t any hidden costs, like resort fees, that they’ve failed to mention.  Another hidden cost is parking.  Most hotels in South Beach charge extra for it.  If you plan to drive, be sure you know what the daily rate is, as well as any applicable taxes.

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Eating and Drinking
During your time away from home, chances are you’re not going to be doing much cooking.  However, eating out at restaurants every night gets expensive fast! When you do go out to a bar or restaurant, here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Be wary of misleading “2 for 1” drink specials! On Ocean Drive, that first drink is typically $24!
  • When traveling with friends, a great way to save on your meal is to order a side salad and split the entree.
  • Keep in mind that in many restaurants in Miami Beach, the tip is pre-included.  Always look over your bill carefully to make sure that a service charge hasn’t been added in.  You don’t want to tip twice! If it has, it is your right to lower that amount if you weren’t happy with your service—or, you can leave a little extra if the service was really great.
  • Avoid hotel breakfasts and expensive coffee shops.  You can try a Cuban coffee from many of the markets in Miami Beach for only about $1.  Some establishments will advertise $5 breakfasts.  That sounds great…until they bring you your $8 cup of coffee!
  • If your waiter asks you for water, ask what kind they have.  If he says sparking or still, you say, “tap!”

It pays to save your restaurant outings for special occasions.  The rest of the time, you can buy hot and cold meals from the local markets and grocery stores.  Often, they come in sizable portions, giving you a lot more for your money than you’d get in a restaurant.  Picnics are another great way to save money, and Lummus Park makes a perfect setting for one.

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Transportation

Miami is one of the few US destinations where it’s actually better not to rent a car.  Besides, renting a car here is expensive, and will lead to constant headaches and pricey parking fees.  A good rule of thumb is to just forget the wheels and get a room that’s close to the action in South Beach! You’ll be able to walk to all the happening places, and public transportation there is abundant and cheap.  For example, the South Beach Local is only a quarter—and covers the entire area every 10-15 minutes! If you want to get to the mainland, there’s the Metrorail, mainland Miami’s monorail system.  While it only provides service to select areas, they tend to be the most popular ones.  Be sure to check out the map on the website to see if it’s convenient for you.  For other trips, the buses are an inexpensive and worthwhile option.  Plus, they’re a great way to see get a close up view of everyday life.

If you do decide to bring a car, be careful where you park!  City garages cost about half of what private garages charge to house your Honda!  Here is a list of city garages in Miami Beach for your convenience.  In these garages, rates (as of February 2012) average $1.00 per hour or any portion thereof up to 15 hours, and a maximum daily rate of $20.00 for any time exceeding 15 hours up to 24 hours (applicable sales tax is included in the hourly and maximum rate).  Monthly rates are currently offered at $70, space permitting.

Do you plan to go to Orlando or Key West? Buses are a much thriftier option than planes! For instance, a trip to Orlando from Miami costs about $165 by plane—but only $35 by bus.  You can enjoy a day trip to Key West for just $66.

Odds and Ends
Other ways to save a few bucks: bring your toiletries at home, and what liquids you can’t take on the plane, you can purchase in travel sizes at local drug stores.  For phoning home, buy a phone card at one of the many markets.  You can call many countries for just a few cents a minute!  Learn some basic expressions in Spanish, in the odd event you might find yourself in a situation where English is not spoken.

So, chin up, armchair traveler! There’s no need to stay at home fretting over a lack of finances, your nose pressed to the cold window, while you gaze out at the bleak winter world around you! Using just a few of these budget-friendly tips can help you make your tropical dreams a reality!

Photo by Scott Alexander.

Related Links:

  • Sleeping Cheaply
  • How To Find A Good Hotel (The Secrets Nobody Told You)
  • About the Author:

    Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

    See more articles by Doug.

    Was This Post Helpful? Please Share It With Others!

    You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
    Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
    • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
    • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
    • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
    The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
    Search for Tours & Transportation
    Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

    Overcoming the Language Barrier

    Communicating with the locals in South Beach

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    They say Miami is the most American city in Latin America.  To be sure, per square inch, Miami may well be the most diverse place on the planet.  As gateway to Latin America, its multicultural flavor often leads travelers to assume that the locals speak only Spanish.  This is only somewhat true: while you should be able to get around without needing to speak much Spanish, there’s always the off chance that you will need it sometime.  And taking the time out before your trip to learn a few words and phrases is a great way to make a good first impression! 

    Do’s and Don’ts
    As long as you’re planning to spend some time in the United States’ most exotic city, why not take a little time during the preplanning stages to learn about the Cuban and South American cultures, as well? It’ll make your visit so much more rewarding! You’ll stroll around with a newfound appreciation for local life.  Your armchair travels will come alive for you, and the things that might have once alienated you will be new and exciting adventures to experience.  That botanica on Calle Ocho will be all the more intriguing, and culinary creations like Ropa Vieja won’t just be strange words on a menu, they’ll be meals your palette has been looking forward to!

    There’s nothing worse than being in a situation where you can’t communicate with someone in a strange city.  You search for words and soon find yourself resorting to charades and homemade sign language.  When trying to overcome the language barrier, there are things you should do and things you should avoid.  The biggest don’t? Don’t try to speak English in an extra loud voice—or put “o’s” at the end of English words.  The Fred Sanford school of Spanish doesn’t work well in Miami! 

    For that matter, save your debates about English being America’s official language for the disgruntled online message boards and Nascar events.  Getting into a discussion over whether or not everyone who comes here should speak English is pointless.  The reality on the ground is people don’t.  And you’ll either have to adjust to that reality, or stand your ground and get some dirty looks.

    Preparing for Your Trip
    Ideally, you’ll have a few months before you go to plan your vacation in Miami. This is a great time to brush up on your Spanish before you go.  Here are a few ways you can ensure that your Castillian is thrillin’ when you arrive:

    1.  take a course like Rosetta Stone or a buy a teach-yourself book and CD.
    2.  learn practical phrases for the types of activities you plan to be doing.
    3 Use free online dictionaries, like the one at wordreference.com
    4.  Become accustomed to the sound of Spanish.  A great way to do this is by listening to a Spanish radio or cable TV station.  Watch your favorite movie with the Spanish playback option.  The soap operas are also a great opportunity to practice, as the dialogue tends to be spoken a little more slowly than comedy shows.
    5.  Read books and magazines for Spanish-speaking children and young adults.  Often, the language in these is easier to understand, and you’ll find yourself picking up new words and phrases before you know it!

    When You Get Here
    Don’t keep your Spanish in mothballs, taking it out only when it’s absolutely necessary!  Use it with relish! Compliment your waitress.  Strike up a conversation with your valet about the weather.  Don’t be afraid to look goofy! While you may feel very self-conscious over your American accent and struggle to find the right words, to a Spanish speaker, a foreign accent makes you sound exotic and charming, maybe even like a Ricardo Montalban in reverse!

    Try to use the words and phrases you learned from your language CDs.  And be sure to learn any possible responses, as well! It does no good to ask a question in perfect Spanish if you won’t understand the reply.  Take some time out to learn the metric system, especially things like kilometers and temperatures in Celsius.  And, while it may sound fun, avoid slang and obscenities.  Slang tends to vary greatly from country to country, and it may just lead to more confusion.  Also, spouting your newly mastered dirty words off to everyone you meet won’t sound as funny to them as it does to you!

    With just a little pre-trip preparation, you can go from just getting by to enjoying a wonderful cultural experience that will broaden your horizons for the rest of your life.  It’s said that being able to speak more than one language greatly improves overall brain function, helping to delay dementia by about five years! So take the plunge and open the door to the world you’ve been missing!

    Some Useful Spanish Phrases

    Hi! ¡Hola!
    Do you speak Spanish/English?  ¿Habla usted español/ingles?
    Yes, I speak a little Spanish. Si, hablo español un poquito.
    My name is David. Me llamo David.
    Please repeat that! ¡Repita eso por favor!
    I understand. Comprendo.
    I don’t understand. No comprendo.
    Do you know a good restaurant? ¿Conoce un buen restaurante?
    I would like to make a reservation. Quisiera hacer una reserva.
    How much is it? ¿Cuánto vale?
    Where can I find….? ¿Dónde se puede encontrar…?
    A clothing store Una tienda de ropa
    A grocery store un mercado
    a good hotel un buen hotel
    Do you take credit cards? ¿Acepta tarjetas de crédito?
    Do you want to dance with me? ¿Quieres bailar conmigo?
    I’d like a room for tonight. Quisiera una habitación para esta noche.

    About the Author:

    Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

    See more articles by Doug.

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    Top 10 Most Expensive Restaurants

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    Dining out at one of Miami’s exclusive hot spots isn’t just about the amazing food. It’s more about being surrounded by the beautiful restaurant décor, the glamorous crowd, and having the best table and the impossible 9pm reservation. Take your pick of one of Miami’s top restaurants below and be sure to experience what Miami is known for- excellent steakhouses, playful dishes, fresh ceviches and any cuisine inspired by Latin America.

    1. Barton G is a special occasion restaurant known for putting an unexpected twist on traditional comfort foods-Mouse Trap Mac and Cheese and Lobster Pop Tarts anyone? Cocktails created with liquid nitrogen are guaranteed to make your celebration a memorable one.  At $36 this is Miami’s most expensive martini. Bottoms up! For an unforgettable dining experience reserve a table at the former Versace Mansion location.

    2. Asia de Cuba: This swanky white restaurant at the clockwork orange inspired Mondrian hotel offers a Latin twist on Asian fare.  Dinner entrees hover around $50, but the innovative cuisine, caiperinas, and drop dead views of the bay and dazzling skyline at night make it all worth it. They also offer a lavish Sunday brunch, with made to order entrees and a chair by the pool with your name on it.

    3. Casa Tua: Translated to mean “Your House” you’ll feel at home thanks to a cozy Ralph Lauren inspired decor. Feast on the best Italian food in Miami with homemade gnocchi, delectable sea bass, and the best tiramisu you’ll ever have. For large parties, try to snag the chef’s table in the kitchen where you’ll really feel at home. If you want to dance the night away or finish off dinner with a passion fruit margarita try your luck at getting into the members only lounge upstairs. 

    4. Nobu: If you think Nobu is so 10 years ago, think again. Tucked away in the Shore Club hotel this place is still jam packed, so unless you want to sit at the sushi bar call ahead for reservations. With a glamorous crowd and menu that’s perfect for a late, pre-clubbing dinner this place gets the party started early. 

    5. BLT Steak: Chances are if you’re dining on Ocean Drive you’ll end up overpaying and eating sub-par food, but BLT Steak is the exception offering a classic steakhouse menu, attentive service, and a fine dining experience.  For dinner enjoy the Ceasar salad, porterhouse for two, creamed spinach and fontina and bacon baked potato. Located in the Betsey hotel this is the place to see and be seen on Ocean Drive.

    6. Hakkasan: Impeccable decor and well thought out dishes bring this London restaurateur to South Beach. The Fountainblu offers lots of five star restaurants that can easily empty your wallet, but if you’re if you’re in the mood for Chinese you’ll want to visit Hakkasan.  Highlights of the menu include the jasmine tea smoked ribs, stir fried lobster, and wild mushroom hand pulled noodles. 

    7. Joe’s Stone Crab: The top spot in Miami to try to sweet, succulent, Stone Crabs when they’re in season. Packed with tourists and only open during stone crab season, be prepared to wait for a table. If you opt for a table at the bar you can still order the famous stone crabs along with appetizers. They like to turn over tables quickly, so be warned that they may rush you.

    8. Prime 112: With so many mouth watering steak houses in SoBe to choose from, somehow everyone ends up at Prime 112. Try the double wedge salad (Iceberg and Butter lettuces) and personalize the classic filet with a long list of sauces that include Béarnaise and Chimichurri.  For something different try the fondue and Kobe beef sliders. If you make last minute reservations prepare to decide on a table at either 6pm or 10pm. 

    9. The Restaurant at the Setai: If the weather cooperates sit outside and you’ll feel as if you’re in the South Pacific thanks to the amazing design and tables that offer lots of privacy. Feast on spicy noodle dishes, the best hot and sour soup, Wegu beef, and their signature cocktails with chili flakes and passion fruit juice. Tables are made for lingering and service is never rushed, so if you never took that honeymoon to Fiji now’s your chance. 

    10. Azul: Located at the luxurious Mandarin hotel on Key Biscayne this five star restaurant offers a European menu with an Asian and American twist. If the open kitchen and stunning Bay view don’t impress you, Chef Joel Huff’s innovative menu will.  Highlights include American caviar, almond gazpacho, risotto with duck prosciutto, and the highest grade of Wegu beef (A5) served with truffle and white asparagus. For a truly memorable dining experience take a boat to your own private table.

    About the Author:

    Christy offers a fresh perspective on life and style in Miami. You can reach her at Miami Beach 411.

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    Meeting People on Vacation

    How to Make Friends and Influence Tourists

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    Traveling Solo in Miami
    Centenarian travel writer Freya Stark once wrote, “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”  Most people tend to travel in pairs or groups, but solo travel is one of the most exciting things you can do!  It allows you an unparalleled freedom: you’re on your own schedule, doing what you enjoy best.  It’s easier to strike up conversations with new people, and to rest assured that what happens in Vegas really stays in Vegas! Naturally, of all the places you can travel solo, Miami is one of the most exhilarating destinations you can visit.  Here are a few ways to make sure you enjoy it to its fullest.

    Plan, but Not too Much
    Sure, do your homework! Spend a few hours in Barnes & Noble, devouring the local guidebooks, learn the maps, the public transportation, the neighborhoods to see and the ones to avoid.  Google wikitravel entries, forums like ours, photos, and youtube videos dedicated to your travel destination.  Find out the best places to stay, where you want to eat, things you’d like to do.  But don’t draw up your itinerary too vigorously! Leave it open-ended.  Give yourself some room to experience the joy of spontaneity! You may find yourself inspired to go a completely different direction once you arrive.  I remember in 1994, I’d originally planned on spending my entire time in England.  But a few weeks into my stay there, I got the urge to take off for the continent.  I hopped on a ferry to the Netherlands with only a Let’s Go guide to lead my way.  I had no idea where I would go or what I would do.

    On the ship, my cabin mate was an English guy who was taking his car over to Amsterdam.  He offered to give me a ride into the city, and I found a hostel a short distance from the train station.  There, I met a couple of French travelers.  “If you make it to Paris, look us up!” they said.  “We’ll show you around!”  So Paris became my next destination, and they were excellent hosts.  From there I met up briefly with a friend I knew from the US, and we ended up in Nice, after an impromptu bike trip through the Loire Valley.  In Nice, I stayed in a pension and met a guy from Milan.  He gave me a ride into Italy and told me I should see Florence.  I scouted out pensions there and found an inexpensive place I could stay for a week.  I got to see the Statue of David, the Uffizi Gallery, as well as the medieval splendor of Il Duomo, and the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge).  From there, I went on to Rome, where I met some Israeli backpackers.  After a week, it was off to Venice, and then a train to Munich, where I serendipitously discovered that I’d arrived just in time for Oktoberfest (who knew it was in September?)!  Four months later, my savings depleted, I returned to the US, feeling about 40 years wiser.  It ended up being one of the most dynamic experiences of my life. Likewise, when you plan your trip to South Florida, leave it open-ended.  You never know where you could end up! Key West? The Bahamas? There is so much excitement just a short distance away.

    Where to Stay
    Your first instinct will likely be to book a hotel.  But when traveling alone, hotels can be rather lonely.  You can save money and meet new people much more easily by staying in a hostel.  And South Beach has plenty to choose from.  In a hostel, there are more opportunities to meet and interact with people from all over the world.  What you may lack in sleep and privacy will be more than compensated for by the wealth of new experiences you’ll have.

    Meeting People
    Some of the most wonderful encounters you’ll ever have with others happen when you travel alone.  This is because the novelty of being someplace unknown fills you with euphoria and makes you automatically more interesting to everybody else! You were just one of the crowd back home, but here you’re exotic.  Maybe even a foreigner! It has been said that without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps.  Escaping from your rut is just the way to awaken. 

    One of the best ways to make new friends on your journey is to be interested, rather than interesting.  Often, we become overly concerned with impressing others with our accomplishments.  But you’ll have more fun during your travels being an observer.  Listen to the sights and sounds of the new places and people around you.  Resist the urge to be a tourist.  Try to see life through the eyes of the locals.

    If you’re a woman traveling solo, when making new friends, it’s best to travel in groups You’re less likely to be taken advantage of by some of the more unsavory types.  If you’re a guy, don’t think you’re immune from danger, either! Solo traveling guys are often targets of the club girls.  They work with some unscrupulous establishments and will flirtatiously lure you in and help you run up a drink tab.  And when the bill comes, you’ll see that it’s exaggerated by about 400%! So don’t let your libido overpower your common sense! Be wary of overly-friendly girls luring you into bars you’ve never heard of in the tour books.

    Eating Out

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    When you experience life like a local, you’ll generally want to save the more upscale restaurants for special occasions.  For everyday eating in Miami, you’ll want to experience one of the many Cuban markets scattered around town.  Many serve hot, homestyle meals at very reasonable prices.  Fresh juices are some of the staples you’ll find there.  A couple of empanadas (meat pastries), a tall cup of pineapple-papaya juice and a cafecito (thimble-sized espresso) make the perfect start to a fun-filled day in the tropics! When you do decide to try one of the nicer restaurants, before shelling out the tip, make sure it isn’t already included on your bill.  Many places pre-include it, due to the abundance of European travelers who are used to this custom.

    Activities
    During the day, it’s pretty obvious: hit the beach! The section of South Beach between Fifth Street and 14th is the most popular stretch of sand.  Before jumping into the water, check out the flag posted on the lifeguard stands.  Different colors represent different water conditions.  For example, green means peaceful seas.  Yellow means the surf is a little rough.  Red means that the swimming conditions are dangerous and you should avoid going in the water.  Purple flags mean that there are dangerous marine life in the area.  And no, that doesn’t mean there are great white sharks in the area! Shark attacks are actually very rare in Miami.  Mostly, the danger comes from jellyfish, whose stings can smart like a bad sunburn.

    Once you’ve experienced the beach, you’ll want to go a little further afield.  A great way to familiarize yourself with the city is to take one of the city tours offered by this site.  On rainy days, there are many museums to explore, such as the Holocaust Museum, the Wolfsonian, and the Bass Museum of Art.  You may want to go to one of the local outlet malls, such as Sawgrass Mills, which you can get to via the Sawgrass Express van..  There is also Jungle Island, the Seaquarium, Monkey Jungle, the Miami Zoo, and a host of other possibilities! You might like to go kayaking, snorkeling, or jet-skiing, as well.

    At night, many people like to try the clubbing scene.  There are several popular places to go.  Some of the most well-known venues include LIV, SET, Arkadia and Mynt.  Nikki Beach is a great place to hang out.  It’s the only club located right on the beach, and its combination of teepees and trance music give it a personality all its own.

    Traveling Safely in Miami
    People often ask how risky it is to walk around South Beach and Miami.  On South Beach, most areas are considered safe.  Just use the same common sense that you’d employ in any large city—don’t wear flashy jewelry or take your money out to count it in public view.  Avoid conversations with people on the street.  At night, try to stick to major streets in commercial areas with good lighting and lots of people around.  In South Beach, that’s pretty easy to do! If you must go to the beach at night, be extra careful of your surroundings.  Violent crime isn’t much of a problem, but there are lots of petty thieves who will make off with your belongings if you let them out of your sight for even a moment! As for Miami proper, if you’re not very familiar with it, try to explore it only during daylight hours.  Stick to the south side of town as much as possible, and travel with other people when you can. 

    Hopefully, I’ve given you a few useful ideas for your trip.  If you have any specific questions that aren’t answered here, join our forum! It’s free, and there are lots of locals on hand to make your next visit to Miami an adventure you’ll treasure for a lifetime!

    About the Author:

    Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

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    Tourist Scams

    Don't let your vacation be ruined by a scam

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    The city of Miami Beach is a fantastic tourist destination, with thousands of visitors coming to spend their hard earned money on a vacation they have been waiting for all year.  But with every big city comes dishonest people, looking to cheat you out of your money. Here are some of the things to look out for when you visit Miami to stop your trip being ruined by a scam.

    Craigslist: Vacation and apartment rentals
    Craigslist is a great resource for finding an apartment or a vacation rental but it has become an increasingly popular site for scammers. While there are many legitimate ads on the site, there are many fake ones. Know what to look out for. Check out the address on the Miami Dade property records to find out if you are dealing with the true landlord, and Google map the property to find its true location. Is the ad vague with not much information? Do the photos look like a real place? Ask to be emailed more photos, inquire about the entrance to the property, ask questions that will give you peace of mind that it is a true rental.

    If they ask for a deposit upfront with no guarantee of where the money will be held, don’t hand over any money. Also, pay with a credit card, do not wire the money. Paying with a credit card gives you protection. In the event someone does steal your money as you can claim it back on insurance. Look out for bad grammar in the ad or a phone number that always goes to a voicemail. And remember, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

    Tricks that the restaurants use
    Eating out in Miami is a fun social thing to do, and with so many wonderful cuisines to choose from you will probably be dining somewhere new every night. However, look out for these tricks that some of the restaurants use to add more money to your check.

    Check your bill carefully to make sure it is correct and no extras have been added on. Some servers have been known to add an extra drink or appetizer in the hope no one will notice the mistake. And the biggest scam of all? Auto gratuity. Always check to see if service is included; most places in South Beach will automatically add the service to your check. They will not always tell you which leads many people to double tip. Also, check the places where service is not included. If you are with a party of 6 or more, they can add it to your check, again leading many to double tip.

    Credit card fraud
    Unfortunately, credit card fraud can happen to the unsuspecting tourists that visit here. It is customary in Miami to leave your card with the bartender if you open a bar tab. At the end of the evening after a few too many drinks, you may not remember the final total. Check your statements to make sure you have not been charged twice.

    If you are visiting from Europe, do not be alarmed that Miami does not use the Chip and Pin system, and that servers in restaurants will whisk your card away to pay. This is generally standard practice and nothing to be worried about. However, if you can check your spending online, it helps to keep track of your money.

    It is a good idea to let your credit card company know you will be traveling to Miami. Give them an idea what you will be spending each day so they can monitor your account and look for any unusual activity.

    Fake “Tourist Information” booths
    When it comes to taking a tour, be careful of the fake “Tourist Information” booths on the street advertising the best tours for the cheapest prices. Always check which tour operator they are selling tours for. These booths will schedule you on a tour with the company that gives them the biggest commission, not necessarily the best tour. To have the best experience, always double check the tour company’s reviews.

    Nightlife scams
    On the beach and along Washington Avenue, you will meet many club promoters handing out wristbands promising you free entry and drinks to the club they are affiliated with. These guys receive a small amount for bringing people inside the clubs, but they cannot guarantee you free entry. Once they get people to the door, the club will then charge an entry fee known as the cover charge. Most people do not argue as they want to go in. However if you were promised free entry, try and get them to honor it, but don’t be surprised if they won’t. And the guy handing out wristbands, he has disappeared at this point.

    Also as mentioned above, check your bar tab at the end of the night when you are signing for your drinks. Many clubs will add auto gratuity to your check which can add up to quite a large amount. Remember that if you have been tipping in cash all night, you are entitled to remove it.

    While you are enjoying all the glorious sunshine, palm trees and beach life, it is best to remember that Miami remains a big city. It is good to keep in mind that some people out there will look for ways to scam you. Incidents can happen to anyone, so keep the above information in mind and always ask questions if you are not comfortable with the situation.

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    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

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    Experience Miami Nightlife

    Find the answers to your Miami nightlife questions

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    Miami is known for having some of the best nightlife in the world. It has huge clubs holding thousands of people, famous DJs flying in from around the world to play at them and the city hosting the yearly Miami Music Conference in March, known as the opening party for the season of clubbing. People arrive expecting to party with sexy models and celebrities and Miami does not disappoint. Here we answer some of the top questions about going clubbing in Miami

    I’m looking for a more stylish, upscale club. Where can I go?
    The hottest club in Miami right now is Liv, located in the Fountainebleau Hotel. Liv is not in South Beach. In fact the famous hotel and club are located at 44th and Collins Ave, a ten minute cab ride away from South Beach. Liv holds roughly two thousand people and features laser light show, dancers and VIP table service. Also at the hotel is the newer club Arkadia, a smaller club downstairs from Liv.

    Back in South Beach, Pearl nightclub in Nikki Beach at 1st and Ocean is both a restaurant and club and there is always a glamorous crowd to be found partying there, especially on a Sunday night. Mynt on 18th and Collins and The Wall at the W Hotel are both small lounges with no dance floor, but are considered some of the most exclusive clubs in South Beach.

    What’s it typically cost to go out to an upscale club?
    Cover charge to get in to the clubs is between $20-$40 on an average night. If they have a superstar DJ playing this can rapidly increase, with tickets available for purchase in advance and on the night prices in excess of $100.

    All clubs in Miami offer bottle service. This is when you have your own private table in a VIP section. It waives your cover charge, and will get everyone in your party into the club. Bottle service includes your chosen bottles of alcohol, juice mixers and ice, and a place for only you and your friends to hang out with your very own hostess looking after you. The average bottle price starts at $350 - $400 and goes all the way up to over $10,000. The club quotes you a price that does not include tax (7.5%) and gratuity (anywhere between 18-20%), so try and ask for the total price in advance.

    Bottle service is fun but an expensive way to party, and if you are in a bigger group the clubs will ask you to purchase more alcohol. Typically 1-4 people are asked to buy 2 bottles, any more people than that and you will have to purchase more.

    I typically listen to Hip-Hop music, is that what I should expect to hear in the clubs too?
    Many of the clubs in Miami play hip hop music, and here are the best places to go out during the week: Set on Thursday nights, Liv and Cameo on Fridays and Play on Saturdays. The best club for hip hop music is on a Friday night at Mansion at their We Rock Hip Hop night.

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    Are there any places to listen to rock music, or watch bands play live?
    The Rock Shop on Washington has live music over the weekend, with some great cover bands covering the classic rock songs. Pearl nightclub has live music every Friday and Saturday from 9-11pm, with music ranging from jazz to soul to top 40 tunes. The Clevelander features live music over the weekend also, but check before you go as they also have resident DJs. 

    What’s the dress code policy at nightclubs for guys? Can I wear jeans and tennis shoes?
    It’s simple. Dress to impress. Miami clubs run a strict door policy, with guys expected to wear a button down shirt, dress pants or dark jeans and shoes. No ripped jeans, shorts, polo shirts, T shirts or tennis shoes are allowed. You want to look as good as possible, and better than every other guy at that club.

    How do women dress at the clubs?
    Once again, girls, dress to impress! Girls going out in Miami wear dresses and heels, no jeans, no sandals, no flat shoes. The smaller the dress, the higher the heels, the better and sexier you will look. Read more about how girls dress in Miami style here.

    Is there any way to avoid the lines at some of the clubs?
    With clubs in Miami always having a huge line outside the door, we’d all like to skip the line. Ways to do so include buying bottle service, which automatically grants you VIP status as you get whisked past the crowds to your very own table inside. However, this comes with a hefty price tag, so here are a few other tricks.

    Contacting club promoters can help as they can get you on their guest list and walk you in. This means getting there at a certain time and dressing as we mentioned earlier. No promoter can help you get in if you do not look the part.

    Groups of girls can usually catch the doorman’s eye. Clubs like groups of sexy girls so they will usually allow you straight in. Don’t forget to say thank you!

    Guys or couples who don’t want to pay for bottle service can get in faster by tipping the doorman.

    Just remember, turn up early, dress the part, and you may get lucky and get to skip the line.

    Are there any underage clubs in Miami?
    With all the clubs on South Beach enforcing a strict 21 year age limit, it can be hard to find places to go out if you are underage. Luckily there are a few places that allow over 18s, but this only applies to girls. These clubs include Space, Nocturnal, and 90 Degrees, which are all located in downtown Miami, a $20 cab ride from Miami Beach. If you are coming to Miami to party and are underage, your options are very limited, so it may be worth waiting for your 21st birthday before you make the trip.

    Miami is an adult playground and anyone 21 years or older is welcome in the bars and clubs. If you have come to experience the fantastic Miami nightlife during your vacation, we hope we have helped answer your questions for your night out, so go enjoy yourselves and have a great night!

    Photos by: Scott Alexander

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    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

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    People Traveling Solo

    Get more out of your vacation when traveling alone by following our guide

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    Many of Miami’s visitors travel here alone. Some come for business or to explore the area while planning to move here, others come simply for vacation or on their backpacking travels to and from South America. Traveling alone can be daunting for some and exciting for others, so here are some handy tips to help you enjoy your stay.
    Planning your stay
    Having an idea of what you would like to do when you arrive is a good way to start planning your trip. Traveling alone can be great fun as the only person you have to please is yourself. Start by researching Miami on this website or in some of the guidebooks we have to offer. Finding inspiration in what you read is a great way to plan out your days and decide what you want to do. Choose a variety of attractions and places to visit, but don’t forget to leave some beach time to relax.
    Meeting people
    Depending on where you are staying, you can find other people also alone on their vacation. The hostels are filled with people traveling solo, so you may want to grab a drink at one of the hostel bars. Hotel lobbies hosting Happy Hour are another way to meet new people. If you are eating alone at a restaurant and see someone else doing the same, don’t be afraid to strike up conversation and see if they would like some company. Being friendly and outgoing is always attractive to others, so be open to meeting new people and you will be surprised at how many friends you can make.
    Eating out
    Eating out alone can be fun if you are used to doing so but perhaps uncomfortable for those of you who are traveling alone for the first time. Check out the restaurant sections in the guidebooks to see which sound appealing. Miami offer cuisines from all over the world, with places to suit every budget. And if you are eating alone and in need of company, head to a diner or bar where they have the TVs on, a friendly bartender to chat to, or take a book or newspaper to read at the table.
    Tips during the day
    Traveling alone gives you the freedom to plan your own day. Fun things to do alone are going to the beach with a good book or iPod playlist, exploring the city on foot using a map from your guidebook, renting a bicycle or sightseeing in the Art Deco district. And the best way to spend the day can be taking a tour. You can see and explore more of the city, meet other people on vacation and have new experiences that only Miami can offer.

    Tips during the night
    Miami has some of the best nightlife in the world, so if you are nervous about going out alone, don’t be. Clubs and bars have no problems letting people on their own past the velvet rope. Going out to eat, drink or dance can be enjoyed as much as if you were here with friends. Don’t be afraid at striking up a conversation with someone, and expect people to do the same to you also.

    Safety when traveling alone
    We hope this article has given you the confidence to enjoy your solo trip without any worries. However keep in mind that not everyone in Miami is honest and you will possibly meet people without good intentions. Looking after your personal safety is very important, as is protecting your belongings. Keep your personal items out of sight or in your hotel safe and when you are out for the day don’t put your bag down out of your sight, keep it close to you at all times. Be open to meeting new people but if you are approached by someone you feel is harassing you, make your excuses and walk away. Take a taxi at night to keep yourself safe.
    Read more about how to stay safe in Miami here and how to protect yourself from scams. If you do encounter a problem on your vacation, call the police and file a report. The Miami Beach Police Department is located at 1100 Washington Ave.


    Coming to Miami alone gives you the chance to please only yourself, make your own schedule, learn more about the city and enjoy a trip tailored just for you. There is something exhilarating about traveling alone, so if you have any concerns, keep our advice in mind and don’t hesitate to enjoy your well earned vacation.

    Photo by: Scott Alexander

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

    Was This Post Helpful? Please Share It With Others!

    You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
    Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
    • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
    • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
    • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
    The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
    Search for Tours & Transportation
    Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

    Using Public Transportation

    Information about using public transport in Miami

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    If you need to get around Miami and Miami Beach without a car, it is easy to do so using public transport. Miami-Dade Transit is the 14th largest public transit system in the USA, and the largest transit agency in the state of Florida. Not only does Miami have buses and trains, there is also a completely free metro system running through downtown. Here is a guide to the Miami Dade Public Transport system and how to use it.

    Buses
    The Miami bus service runs throughout Miami-Dade County 365 days a year. You can get a bus pretty much anywhere, from Miami Beach and Key Biscayne to West Miami-Dade, as far north as Diplomat Mall in Broward County, and as far south as Homestead, Florida City, and the Middle Keys. There are more than 90 bus routes and some run 24 hours a day, including the S route that runs through South Beach.

    A single bus fare costs $2 and you have to pay with exact change only. This can be as many nickels, dimes or quarters as you like, or $1 bills, but the bus driver will not give you change if you have a $5 bill or more. No bus accepts pennies. The driver does not accept cash, instead you pay the machine in front of you as you step on the bus.

    Bus routes and times can be found here

    The South Beach Local
    The South Beach local is a small bus that runs only throughout South Beach from 8am – 1am daily. It only costs 25 cents to ride the bus and is used by residents and tourists to get around South Beach. With a great route and schedule, this bus can get you anywhere you need to go within SoBe’s 23 block radius.

    The South Beach local map can be found here

    Airport Flyer
    The 150 bus from Miami International Airport costs $2.35 and is the cheapest way to get to South Beach from the airport. The service runs every 30 minutes from the airport bus terminal located opposite Terminal E in arrivals. It has a section on the bus for luggage and is a very quick route straight to South Beach with only two stops along the way before stopping at the Collins Ave hotels through South Beach. The route runs all the way to South Pointe stopping every few blocks.

    The 150 Bus route and schedule can be found here

    Metrorail
    Compared to other cities, the Miami Metrorail system is very easy to navigate. With only one line running north and south through the city of Miami, the train runs from 5am – midnight 7 days a week servicing all 22 stops. The rail system does not go to many of the tourist hotspots and it does not run to the airport or South Beach. The trains offer free wifi and is used mainly by residents at the cost of $2 for a single journey. The Metrorail system does not accept cash. You must purchase an Easy Card to pay your fare before you travel.

    Metrorail route and schedule can be found here

    Metromover
    The Metromover is a people mover system that runs above the streets of downtown Miami and Brickell. It is completely free to everyone and connects to some of the Metrorail and bus stations. Major destinations include American Airlines Arena, Bayside Marketplace, Miami-Dade College, and the James L. Knight Center.

    The Metromover has no driver as it is an electric automatic system. As it is free, do not be surprised to be in a busy car with one or two homeless people amongst you. It is a great system to get around downtown quickly, but be sure to take your hand sanitizer with you in your bag.

    Metromover information can be found here

    Tri Rail
    The Tri Rail is a commuter rail service, servicing Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Like the Metrorail, it is only one line running north and south. You can reach it in Miami from the Tri Rail Metrorail station or by an express bus from Miami airport.

    The Tri Rail stations are not easy or convenient to get to if you are here on vacation. They are not near the coast line so if you are trying to reach your beach hotel, it will not be the best option to use. A one way fare costs between $2.50 and $7 and a return fare costs between $5 and $11.50, depending on your final destination.

    Tri Rail website for further information is here

    The easy card and easy ticket
    Miami buses still accept cash as a form of payment but the Metrorail does not. An Easy Card looks like a credit card and is a pay as you go form of paying for your public transport. Buses and train stations all have fare boxes that you press the card up against and your fare is deducted from the value on your Easy Card. The cards are reloadable.

    Tourists and visitors to Miami who will only be here for a short time can purchase the Easy Ticket. It works like the Easy Card but is made of paper and expires after 60 days. These cards can be purchased at any train station and in sales outlets throughout Miami, including LeAnn drugs on 9th and Washington in South Beach.

    For more information on Easy Cards click here

    Check your route at the links above before you set out on your journey so you know exactly where you are going. Don’t be afraid to ask the bus driver if you are lost, they are happy to answer your questions. The Miami Dade Public Transport system is cheap and easy to use and is a great alternative to renting a car or taking cabs.

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

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    Driving in Miami

    Driving tips and road rules for Miami

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    Miami is a fun city to explore and having a car makes it easier to get out and see what the city has to offer. Whether you are renting a car for your time in Miami, or you drove here on a road trip through Florida, here are some driving tips to help you during your stay.

    Renting a car
    The new rental car center opened last year at Miami International airport, making it much easier to pick up a car at the airport. All the companies are housed under one big roof on different floors only a mile away from the airport entrance. Free shuttle buses run constantly from the arrival halls, so just hop on and go to the company you have chosen for your car rental. Returning the car is also easy to do as it is well signposted from the airport and there is one entrance for all the rental companies.

    Click here for more information on renting a car in Miami

    Driver’s licenses and international driving permits
    You can drive in the United States on a foreign license as long as it is valid and has not expired. Rental companies will also accept foreign licenses but if it is in another language, it is a good idea to buy an International Driving Permit (IDP).

    An IDP translates information contained on your driver’s license into 10 languages so that officials in foreign countries are able to interpret your license. An IDP is a supplement and does not replace your original license while you are driving in America. If you are stopped by the police, you will be asked to produce both your IDP and your official driver’s license. The United States does not issue International Driving Permits to foreign visitors, so you will need to obtain this document before traveling to the U.S.

    The age limit for driving varies at the different rental agencies. Check with the company you are booking with, as many do not rent cars out to drivers below the age of 25.

    Plan your route
    Whether you use a map or a sat nav device such as a Garmin, make sure you plan your route carefully and know where you are going. If you have collected a car from the airport, the rental car center is on a busy section of highways so check your hotel address and directions. To get to South Beach from Miami airport, follow the signs for 836 East. This road will take you directly there.

    There are two main bridges into Miami Beach from Miami, the Julia Tuttle Causeway which is the I-195 bridge and the MacArthur Causeway which is the I-395 bridge. There is also the Venetian Causeway but this is a residential road with a toll and bridges that will stop cars for boats. Locals use this bridge to avoid freeway traffic, but it is not a quicker or easier route into South Beach.
    Florida Sunpass
    Miami freeways have a system for tolls where you can use a Sunpass to drive directly through without stopping. Many roads now have cashless tolls and will only accept Sunpass or they will bill you by your license plate. This costs a lot of money due to the additional admin fees, so if you are renting a car, make sure you request the Sunpass. The charge comes at the end of your rental and will appear on your credit card statement after you return home.

    Miles vs kilometers
    America uses miles to measure distance unlike most of Europe which uses kilometers. The conversion is 1 mile to 1.6 km, so if you are driving from another country, be aware of the speed limits and do not drive in km.

    Road rules for driving in Miami
    Unlike countries in Europe, in Florida you must carry your driving documents with you. Do not under any circumstances leave your license tucked away in your hotel safe, carry it with you at all times. Learning some of the road rules before you arrive if you have never driven here before is also a good idea. America drives on the right side of the road, and roads rarely have roundabouts, known here as traffic circles. The road junction with stop signs on all four corners is very common.  At a red stop sign you must come to a complete stop.  Whoever arrives at the 4 way junction first has the right of way, after stopping. If you do not stop at a stop sign, you could get a very expensive traffic ticket.

    But the main road rule to remember in Miami is that people here drive recklessly. People talk on their cell phones whilst driving and do not pay attention to the road. You have to drive defensively. People turn without indicating, run red lights and drift into other lanes in the freeway. Driving here is not for the faint hearted! However if you do have a car during your stay, it opens up all of South Florida to explore, so drive to a baseball game, explore the Everglades and take a trip down to the Keys.

    Photo by: Scott Alexander

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Renting a Car in Miami

    What you need to know before you rent a car in Miami

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    Depending on where you stay in Miami, you may rent a car.  If you are staying in parts of the city that are not as convenient to get around, or you are looking to explore South Florida, then you will want to have your own wheels. But if you are staying in South Beach, not only is a car unnecessary, it can be a nuisance to park. Parking is very expensive at the hotels, costing from $30 a day. And if you do decide to drive somewhere on the beach, finding a parking space can take a while or you will end up using a valet for at least another $15. It is much easier to use cabs if you are in South Beach.

    Renting a car at the airport
    The new rental car center opened last year at Miami International airport, making it much easier to pick up a car at the airport. All the companies are housed under one big roof on different floors only a mile away from the airport entrance. Free shuttle buses run constantly from the arrival halls, so just hop on and go to the company you have chosen for your car rental. Returning the car is also easy to do as it is well signposted from the airport and is one entrance for all the rental companies.

    Rates and what it includes
    An average daily rate in Miami for a regular sized car is around $30. However, like all things in Miami, this increases over the holidays and special weekend events so plan well in advance to get a good rate.

    Extra charges that are not included are the insurance of the vehicle which you must pay for. However, for International customers paying with an overseas credit card, insurance is usually included in the price of the rental. Some credit card companies in the US may also include insurance as part of their benefits, so do check before you pay for it at the rental office. Make sure you know the policy and what you are covered for before you leave with the car.

    Miami freeways have a system for tolls where you can use a Sunpass to drive directly through without stopping. Many roads now have cashless tolls and will only accept Sunpass or they will bill you by your license plate. This costs a lot of money due to the additional admin fees, so if you are renting a car, make sure you request the Sunpass. The charge comes at the end of your rental and will appear on your credit card statement after you return home.

    Extra costs in the rates are also incurred when you do not return the car to its original pick up point. As most companies do have an office in Miami Beach as well as the airport, this is also something to consider.

    Knowing where to go
    Plan your route in advance before you set off in the rental car. The airport is on a busy intersection of highways so make sure you know the directions to your hotel. This includes knowing the freeway numbers to make your journey easier. To get to South Beach from Miami airport, follow the signs for 836 East. This road will take you directly there.

    Road rules for driving in Miami
    Unlike countries in Europe, in Florida you must carry your driving documents with you. Do not under any circumstances leave your license tucked away in your hotel safe, carry it with you at all times. Learning some of the road rules before you arrive if you have never driven here before is also a good idea. America drives on the right side of the road, and roads rarely have roundabouts, also known here as traffic circles. The four way stop sign is very common, meaning you must come to a complete stop and whoever arrives at the junction first has the right of way.

    But the main road rules in Miami are remembering people here drive recklessly. People talking on their cell phones whilst driving is not illegal and is a common sight, as a result drivers do not pay attention to the road. You have to drive defensively. People turn without indicating, run red lights and drift into other lanes in the freeway. Driving here is not for the faint hearted.

    Renting a car gives you freedom on your vacation to travel and explore. If you are renting a car for Miami, keep the bad drivers in mind while you are on the road. And if you are continuing on to the Keys, West Coast or Orlando, soon you will be leaving them far behind you as you continue on your Florida vacation!

    Photo by: Scott Alexander

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Flying to Miami

    How to find that cheap flight and navigating Miami airport

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    People come to Miami from all over the world in search of sunshine, fun and a cocktail or two! Getting here for most people means flying, so here is our guide to finding a cheap airline ticket and negotiating your way through Miami International airport.

    Buying your ticket
    The cost of airline tickets varies depending on season, day, and even the hour at which your flight leaves. It is definitely worth searching for your flight over a few days as the price can fluctuate wildly over the course of the week. I have found the best time to buy flights is on a Wednesday morning when prices are at their lowest. Use a travel site to search for cheaper options as well as airline websites. Beware that some cheap website prices look great at first, but check to see if surcharges and taxes are included. Sometimes when these are added on at the end they are no cheaper than the regular ticket price the airline is offering for sale.

    Another tip is once you have found your ticket, Google for coupon codes for the website or airline. Sometimes you can get lucky and get a few more dollars off the price of an already cheap ticket.

    Checking In
    Many times with cheap flights to Miami your bag fees are not included. Save money by paying for your luggage in advance, and always check the airline rules about carry on. These days you are issued with an e-ticket, which is an electronic ticket that is emailed to you. This enables you to check in online 24 hours ahead of your flight, select your seat and even print your boarding pass, saving yourself valuable time at the airport.  It can also give you a better seat selection than people who wait to check in at the airline desk. You can even have the check in confirmation sent to your iPhone, and show only that to the check in staff.

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    Arriving at the airport
    If you are arriving on an international flight into Miami you will need to clear Customs and Immigration before you leave the airport. If you are from a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program, you will need to fill out the ESTA form before you travel to the United States. However, everyone fills out a customs form before they can pass through immigration. Make sure you know the name and address of your hotel as you will need to fill it out on this form.

    Once you land, the non US citizens and green card holders will go to an Immigration officer who will ask you questions about your reason for visiting the US. Do not be surprised at their brisk tone. Their job is to make sure no one enters the US illegally and so they will want to know how long you are staying and what your travel plans are. They will take your fingerprints, scan your eyes and ask you many questions before stamping your passport allowing you to enter the country. This process can feel overwhelming or intimidating for some people, so if you know this is what will happen before you arrive, you can approach the immigration desk calmly and prepared.

    After you have passed through Immigration, they will stamp your customs form and you will go to collect your bags. When leaving the baggage hall, you will be stopped by a customs officer who will ask a few brief questions about your itinerary. They will collect your customs form and you are then free to leave the airport.

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    Airport transportation
    You have a few options to choose from when leaving Miami International Airport. Airport transportation is frequent and easy to use. Taxi cabs have fixed prices to all destinations so you don’t have to worry about the meter. For example, the cost of a cab to South Beach is $32, not including the tip. There is a shuttle service run by Super Shuttle in blue passenger vans for $21, a lower price than the cabs which is a good option for single travelers. There are also many bus routes that go to the beach and downtown for a very low price of $2.00. The airport flyer bus, number 150, costs $2.35 and runs every 30 minutes directly to South Beach. It stops at all bus stops down Collins and Washington Ave making it easy to get to a South Beach hotel. You will find the bus terminal directly opposite Terminal E in Arrivals.

    One word of warning. The airport is not well air-conditioned, the staff are often unfriendly and arrival can be an unwelcoming experience. It’s just their way at this point of destination. Once you leave the airport things quickly improve. You are on the final part of your journey and your vacation is about to begin. Relax, enjoy, and don’t forget the cocktails.

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    How To Find A Good Hotel Room (The Secrets Nobody Told You)

    The secret to finding a great hotel room is right here

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    Finding a good hotel room in Miami is as easy as 1, 2, 3… Follow these three steps to get the best hotel room money can buy.

    Step 1: Research the hotel on review sites
    Once you find a hotel that’s right for you, read the online reviews. Read both good and bad, and keep in mind that one bad review does not mean it is a bad hotel. However, have you found the perfect hotel with only great reviews? It may seem like your dream place but have a closer look at who has written the comments. Travel sites such as Trip Advisor do not monitor their reviews so there is nothing to stop a hotel writing its own glowing references. Always look who has posted the review. If it is a new member with only one or two reviews then you can be sure that it is a fake. Only trust the reviews written by established members with a high number of posts. That way you can be sure it is a real, truthful overview of your potential hotel.

    Step 2: Check hotel comparison sites
    Look for your chosen hotel on as many sites as you can for the cheapest rates. You will be amazed at how much room rates vary for the same dates. Also, you will almost always find a cheaper option than the rate the hotel itself advertises. It is worth searching at different times of the day before you decide to book, as room rates fluctuate throughout the week like airfares do. Sometimes the smaller websites you have not heard of have the best deals, unlike the big websites such as Expedia and hotels.com

    Step 3: Call the hotel and ask for a discount off the lowest rate you found online
    Once you have found the best rate, it is time to see if you can do one better. Call the hotel and negotiate. Before you start to bargain with them, check if they have a best rate guarantee on their website. Don’t be vague, explain that you have found a better price online and ask them to match it with a discount. If they say no, then ask them to match the price you have found online. If they say yes, you just got yourself a great deal!

    How to get the best room when you check in
    This is the dirty little secret Expedia doesn’t want you to know - When you book a hotel at an online travel site, like Expedia and Priceline, sometimes the hotel will give you a worse room, rather than if you book directly with the hotel. Or perhaps they won’t let you check in early or have a late check out. Here are some tips to help you get an even better room.
    The earlier you arrive to check in, the more rooms the hotel will have available. Always be friendly as you check in so the front desk wants to give you a good room. Ask to not be near the elevator, ice machine or main walkway. If you are a light sleeper, tell them you do not want a room with an adjoining door. Ask for a high floor, away from the street noise. If you do end up on a lower floor, ask to not be on the street side. Lastly, if you are not happy with your room, ask if you can see another.

    If you are a devoted Trip Advisor member or have a blog about your travels, now is the time to mention it. You never know, you may even get an upgrade.

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Sleeping Cheaply

    Money saving tips for Miami hotels

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    Miami has long had a reputation for expensive hotels. Names like The Fontainebleau, The Delano and the Eden Roc are synonymous with the city’s glitzy image and its reputation as a celebrity escape.  You could spend a fortune before you ever leave your room! But like many aspects of our little paradise by the sea, appearances can be deceiving! Did you know that it’s easier to find inexpensive accommodations on South Beach than it is in a city like Austin, Texas?

    Hosteling
    Many people think of hostels as being exclusively for young people from foreign countries. But this isn’t the case! At least, not in South Beach. South Beach has more hostels in it per capita than most US cities many times its size, probably due in part to its international flair—and most are open to having visitors of all ages and nationalities! If you’re looking for a shared accommodation that captures the local feel, The Tropics makes a fine choice. It’s quiet, boasts its own swimming pool, and is just steps away from Miami Beach’s premiere pedestrian thoroughfare, Lincoln Road. Its architecture and retro signage evoke the 1950s, when life was stylish, and modernist architecture was all the rage.

    Similarly, The Clay Hotel is another popular spot for hostel accommodations. With visual appeal and a good location, the hotel is ideally perched at the corner of Washington Avenue and Espanola Way. The Clay, however, is reminiscent of a much older period in local history: it is a carry over from the days of prohibition and gangsters! Its architecture is classic Florida-Mediterranean, and it’s larger than you might think. Once you check in at the main building on the corner, its labyrinthic hallways will lead you into a couple of adjacent buildings along Espanola Way. If noise is a concern, avoid the rooms facing Washington Avenue. Of all the hostels, The Clay has the most history: it was once an escape for Al Capone, a former speakeasy, and Desi Arnaz was performing here decades before he ever starred in “I Love Lucy”!

    For a party atmosphere, no place tops The Jazz on South Beach! It’s located in the quieter section of South Beach below Fifth Street.  The locals refer to this neighborhood as So-Fi—South of Fifth.  But apparently no one told the Jazz, because they have a lively BYOB pre-club get-together in the lobby almost every night! If you want to meet new people, this is probably your most social option.

    If, on the other hand, you prefer your lodgings quiet and secure, The South Beach Hostel is the place for you.  It’s very clean with a kind of minimalist decor, and all its doors beyond the lobby require key cards to get in. Despite its comparative tranquility, it does have an on-premise bar where you can meet your fellow guests.

    As you can see, there is quite an assortment to choose from, and these are only a few of the more notable ones. There are quite a few other hostels. Most will give you a choice between dorm-style accommodation and private rooms, and range between $20 and $30 a night for the shared options. Many of them have a 3-week maximum stay rule, but as with most things in South Beach, rules were made to be broken! If you pay in advance, and are a friendly, trouble-free guest, you can often negotiate your way into a longer stay.  Hostels, after all, make great transition housing for new residents who need a little time to scope out the territory!

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    Boutique Hotels
    Boutique hotels are the smaller hotels, usually with a little Art Deco feel. They tend to be colorful, with stylish accents that take you back to the 1920s and ‘30s. You’ll find many along Ocean Drive and Collins. They’re a step above hostels, but not quite in the league of their big brothers, the luxury hotels. It is here that you’re most likely to negotiate a deal. Do you plan on staying for a week or two? Get them to offer you a special rate! Are you paying in cash? Booking direct? These are all leverage points that can help you get a better price. Also, if it’s off season (June-October), be sure to ask for a discounted rate!

    Some of the more popular boutique hotels on South Beach include Ocean Five, Aqua, Colony, the Clinton, and Astor. The best ones to haggle with are those that don’t offer amenities like breakfast and spa treatments.

    Boutique hotels will give your stay a little personality—more than you’d get in a larger chain hotel. Service is more personalized, the architecture more exciting, and the prices, competitive. Their quality, however, can vary vastly from establishment to establishment! So take a little time to do some research on tripadvisor before you make your reservation.  It can mean the difference between a trip to remember—and vacation hell!

    Going Beyond the Beach
    If you’ll be traveling with a car, you’re in luck.  There are many areas beyond South Beach where you can find cheap digs! The Dania Beach Motel 6 is a spot that many budget-conscious visitors to Miami have discovered. A mere half hour away, it’s nestled in a mangrove swamp replete with local wildlife. Don’t be too surprised if during the latenight hours, you should spy a raccoon or two rifling through the parking lot dumpster! Dania is also a great choice if you’d like to do some exploring beyond Miami; it’s very convenient to the cities of Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. Hollywood offers the area’s only boardwalk experience, and makes a fun, down-home contrast to the South Beach glamour. Long the winter home of Canadian snowbirds, the boardwalk is teeming with inexpensive pizza joints, where the beer comes by the pitcher and the second language is….French!

    Aside from Dania Beach and Hollywood, you can also find cheap lodging near the Miami Airport. It’s likely to be a chain establishment, but it’ll be a bargain! Sunny Isles, located on Miami Beach, but more to the north of the action, is also a place those in the know like to stay.

    Surfing for Sofas
    If you’d really like to get up close and personal with the locals, you might like to consider camping out on someone’s couch! Believe it or not, it’s an option, and there are many online organizations that specialize in hooking you up with accommodations in people’s homes for little or nothing! Sometimes it’s just a couch—sometimes it’s a whole room. Often, your hosts will show you the sights, and their payback is that they can do the same in another city. 

    Known as “hospitality clubs”, some are free to join, while others charge a nominal yearly membership fee (like $25), which entitles you to a database of people who will let you stay in their homes! Here are a few of the more popular groups out there:

    • Global Freeloader: connecting people to offer free accommodation all over the world.
    • Couch Surfing: meet new people, share a meal, an adventure, or a home.
    • Hospitality Club:  creates cultural understanding by bringing travelers in touch with people and places they visit
    • Friendship Force: ordinary citizens, known as “friendship ambassadors”, travel to faraway places, visiting host families.
    • Servas: a hospitality program divided into nine regions around the world, each with its own coordinator.
    • Warm Showers: for cyclists
    • IPA: for active and retired law enforcement officers
    • Stay for Free: Free international home exchange program
    • LGHE: Lesbian and Gay Hospitality Exchange
    • Hospigaiety: meet gay host and guest members through an international online directory
    • Women Welcome Women: a cultural exchange program for women only
    • Air BnB: cheap vacation rentals in Miami Beach

    Home stays are a great alternative for people who want to spend some time seeing the world, but can’t afford a long stay in a hotel or hostel.

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    The Last Resort
    Those with the least to spend may opt for the cheapest option of all: camping out under a palm tree or sleeping on the beach. It might sound romantic to be outside under the stars, with the gentle sea breezes to keep you company….but, be advised, this is not the romantic experience you might envision! For starters, the beach is closed every night between midnight and 5am, so don’t be too surprised to wake up with the spotlight of a policeman’s ATV aimed your way. Most times they’ll just tell you to clear the beach, but sometimes, they’ll ask for ID and will question you. The beach at night is also full of petty thieves, who sneak up on the unsuspecting and run off with their valuables while they’re sleeping, or otherwise distracted. So, all things considered, the open air is definitely a last resort!

    Fortunately, there are plenty of options on South Beach for the budget traveler. Just a little research and advance planning is all you need to find the deal that’s right for you. What’s a room, anyway, but four walls and a ceiling? The less you spend on a room is more you’ll have to spend out having fun!

    Photos by: Clay Hotel, Sherbrooke Hotel,  Scott Alexander.

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    About the Author:

    Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

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    Hotel Resort Fees

    What the Miami hotel resort fee includes

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    Many of the hotels in Miami charge a resort fee. This is an additional fee charged by your hotel for each night you stay there. Be sure to check if the hotel you are looking at includes it in the room rate. The price can vary from $8 to $25 a day and includes extras such as beach chairs and umbrellas, use of the gym and business center, beach towels and even bike rentals.

    The expensive resort fees
    Z Ocean charges $21 a day and another $14 on top of that if you would like to use their internet. With the resort fee only including towels, pool chairs and umbrellas, this hotel definitely falls into the category of ridiculously priced.

    Townhouse  charges a resort fee of 13% of your room rate rather than a set price. This price can work out to be high depending on when you stay in Miami, but it does include much more than other hotels - breakfast, beach chairs, bicycle rental, internet and rooftop access are all included in the fee.

    Palms charges $14 a day to use their gym, pool chairs and towels, plus their internet. Breakfast is also included in the resort fee.

    Savoy charges $13 a day but does not include breakfast. It does give you a daily newspaper, free local calls, the usual beach chairs and towels, and internet.

    Betsy on Ocean Drive charges $15 a day. They offer beach chairs, towels and internet, plus fresh fruit in your room, use of the fitness center, and free yoga classes on the weekend.

    Hotels with no resort fee
    Soho Beach House has no resort fee but plenty of freebies. They boast a library, movie theater, two pools, and free internet.

    Loews is one of the biggest hotels on South Beach and does not have a resort fee, but charges for wifi (free in lobby), and depending on your reservation, it may include free use of the fitness center (otherwise, there is a $10 fee). There is no breakfast, but they do serve free coffee.

    Sagamore charges for their internet but there is no resort fee. They offer a pool, gym and spa, room service, and all their rooms are suites.

    Beacon has a business center, gym, internet, plus beach towels and chairs, all for free.

    Grand Beach includes use of their gym, beach towels and chairs, and depending on your reservation, it may also include free breakfast.

    Marriott South Beach offers free internet only in the lobby, but does have a business center, gym, and jacuzzi.

    Raleigh has a beautiful pool often used for modeling shoots, and use of the pool, beach chairs and umbrellas comes free with your room,

    Don’t forget about parking
    One thing no hotel will include is free parking. South Beach is a small city and very walkable so you can easily opt to leave the car at home. However, if you do come to South Beach with a car, be prepared to pay to park it. Parking costs between $25-$35 a day, plus 13% travel sales tax.

    Miami Hotel Tip #2 - If your hotel does not have a pool, the Flamingo Park pool is a hidden gem. And there is also a sandy beach, just a few blocks away.

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

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    Hotels or Vacation Rentals?

    Weighing the pros and cons of a hotel vs an apartment rental

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    Staying in either a hotel or vacation rental will hopefully give you a wonderful vacation, but which should you choose? Here are the pros and cons to help you decide what option is best for you.

    Hotel Pros - Staying at a hotel automatically gives you a feeling of luxury. Someone else is going to make your bed every day, clean up after you and look after your needs. Plus the amenities give the option of spending the entire day without leaving the hotel grounds. You can eat, sleep and party all in one place as many of the larger hotels have bars, restaurants and nightclubs on the property. The vast majority of hotels in Miami are right next to the beach or very close by, and many have a swimming pool. So if you are coming to work on your tan, it is easy to do so as you relax by the water and servers bring you drinks. You will meet other people also on vacation, and there is always someone nearby to help with anything you may need.

    Hotel Cons - As we have mentioned in other articles, making sure the reviews of your hotel are not fake plays a big part in choosing the right one. A major negative of staying at a hotel when you have not done your research is arriving to find it not up to your standards and being stuck there for a week. Sometimes a good night’s sleep can be elusive if your room is above a noisy alleyway or street, and in many hotels, the walls are thin enough to hear next door. Check if your hotel has a resort fee and how much parking is; each of these charges can be an additional $25 to $35 per day, adding a hefty amount onto your check-out bill.

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    Vacation Rental Pros - Vacation rental apartments are usually found in normal apartment buildings in South Beach, but there are a few connected to hotels. Renting an apartment gives you more space than a hotel room, and are quieter with more privacy. Many also allow pets. You can usually negotiate a good rate, and by booking a vacation rental, you are helping support a ‘Mom and Pop’ organization, rather than a big hotel chain. A rental can be a relaxing way to visit Miami, staying in your own quiet space with no one disturbing you in your apartment.

    Vacation Rental Cons - As most vacation rentals are in the quieter residential streets of South Beach, they can feel far away from the action, and will not have the same ‘vacation’ feel as a hotel. You may not get the same hotel amenities, such as a gym, pool or spa. You have to pay a security fee for your stay, and it may be difficult to get it back. Also, choosing the right rental and avoiding the scams can be challenging. Always use an approved website such as vrbo.com to find a good listing.

    Whether you decide on a vacation rental or hotel room, you know what will suit you best for your trip. Keep the pros and cons in mind, and have an enjoyable time in Miami!

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

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    Average Room Rates

    Hotel prices change throughout the year depending on the season.

    In Miami, hotel rates vary greatly throughout the year. With our changing weather, plus the many events hosted by the City, hotel prices fluctuate constantly. Generally, Miami’s high tourist season is from late December to June, when the weather is best. Low season is from June to October, when the weather is hotter and more rainy.

    Cheaper prices can also be found mid week, with more expensive rates over the weekend. The prices increase to premium during special events such as Art Basel, Winter Music Conference, and the Food and Wine Festival. Knowing when the rates change in advance can help you save time and money. Use our calendar below to help plan your Miami vacation.

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    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Comparing Miami Hotels

    Know what to look for when booking your Miami hotel

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    All Miami hotels are not the same. Finding a nice place to stay for your vacation can take some time, but it can be fun looking at their photos and reading the reviews. The Miami 411 Hotel Guide will help you know what to look for when comparing the hotels on your wish list.

    Hotel Location -  Any hotel in Miami Beach can say they are in the heart of South Beach, or just minutes away. But the hotel may be on the other side of town from the beach, or minutes away in a car, which you may not have. Decide if you want to stay in a hotel near the beach, shops, nightlife, or at the quieter end of the beach, then check the address on Google maps to see where it is actually located. Beachfront hotels are found along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, north of 15th street. South of Fifth street is the quieter end of South Beach, further away from the nightclubs and bars. For a cheaper hotel rate, hotels in North Beach along Collins Ave,  between 30th to 90th street are only a short, $2 bus ride away from South Beach. 

    Hotel Resort Fees - The hotel resort fee is an additional fee charged by most hotels for each night of your stay. Hotel resort fees can vary from $8 to $25 a day, and include extras such as beach chairs and umbrellas, the use of a gym and business center, swimming pool, and even bike rentals. Not all hotels charge a resort fee; be sure to check if your hotel includes the fee in the room rate, and what special amenities are included.

    Hotel Amenities - Check the amenities your hotel offers, compared to what you need or desire. Hotel amenities include: the swimming pool, fitness center, beach access, dining outlets, valet parking, and room service. In-room amenities include: luxury bedding, turn-down service, and free Wi-Fi. Only a few hotels in Miami, such as the Villa Italia and The Beacon, offer free breakfast. Hotel parking is never free, or included in the resort fee. If you have rented a car, check the cost of parking. This may be as much as $35 a day.

    Online Reviews - Found the perfect hotel with great reviews? It may seem like your dream place, but have a closer look at who has written the comments. Travel sites, such as Trip Advisor, do not monitor their reviews so there is nothing to stop a hotel writing its own glowing references. Always look who has posted the review. If it is a new member with only one or two reviews, you can be sure it is a fake. Only trust reviews written by established members with a high number of posts. That way you can be sure it is a real, truthful overview of your potential hotel.

    Balancing Pros and Cons - Finally, weigh the pros and cons of where you would like to book. Everyone looks for the best place to suit them, but sometimes compromising slightly can give you a better vacation. Maybe your hotel has a resort fee, but it includes high speed wifi you will need to connect with work, or bike rentals which you’d be paying for anyway. The hotel may be slightly pricier than you’d hoped, but it includes free transportation to and from the airport. All these things make a difference, so pick a few good hotels and then compare them with the help of the above guide.

    Time To Pick-Up the Phone - After you gather your research, get offline and on the phone with the hotels on your list. See if you can negotiate a better rate or find out about deals on upgrades.

    Be critical of how well you are treated by the sales agent. It’s very likely this is how you will be treated by the hotel staff during your stay. 

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    How Miami Lodging Works

    Hotels, hostels and everything inbetween: the different types of hotels in Miami Beach

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    If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, finding a place to stay in Miami can be a little confusing. You want to make sure you stay in the part of the city that’s right for you and not end up far from all the action because the hotel advertised it was near South Beach, when in reality it was 10 miles away. Here is a breakdown of the different types of hotels you will find, and how Miami lodging works.

    Miami Visitors Have 9 Lodging Categories to Choose

    1) Hostels: Are you on a budget, or traveling alone in Miami for a few days? Then a hostel is the place for you. They offer private or shared rooms at a ridiculously cheap price, starting around $12 a night. Many offer free meals, and all have a bar serving cheap drinks, free wifi, and a party atmosphere to go along with it. More attractive for the young traveler, hostels are only located in South Beach and are a great cheap alternative to the hotels in Miami Beach.

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    2) Art Deco Boutique Hotels: Many of the hotels you find in Miami Beach are known as Art Deco Boutique hotels. These are small hotels made from refurbished apartment buildings from the 1920s and 30s, when Miami Beach was first built. The hotels are preserved buildings, and are usually only two or three floors high. The hotels are found along Ocean Drive, Collins Ave and Washington Ave between 1st and 17th street. Nearly all of these hotels have renovated the lobby area into restaurants and bars, and in fact all of the restaurants you find along Ocean Drive are actually inside Art Deco hotel lobbies.

    Most of the Art Deco Boutique Hotels are independently owned, with smaller rooms, and rarely have swimming pools. Quality can be hit and miss with these hotels so it is always a good idea to check the reviews.  I might even call the front desk to see how friendly they are. These hotels are often far cheaper than their chain counterparts, so they can be a great way to come and stay in South Beach for a reduced cost.

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    3) Oceanfront Hotels: The bigger hotels are found along Collins Ave starting at 15th St. These are big high rise hotels, with private swimming pools, direct beach access, and usually a section of the beach reserved for hotel guests. They offer amenities such as gyms, free wifi, laundry service, and many of the hotels also have bars and nightclubs inside. Most have restaurants with an ocean view, and on the weekends you will find the larger of the hotels hosting pool parties. These hotels are the more expensive and exclusive places to stay in South Beach.

    4) Mid Beach and North Beach Hotels: While most choose to stay in South Beach, Miami Beach also has oceanfront hotels along the beach in Mid and North Beach. This area is still in Miami Beach, just further north along the coast by only a few miles. These hotels are a little less expensive, and still have all of the amenities of the South Beach hotels. You can often find cheaper hotel rates if you choose to stay north, plus enjoy a quieter stay and a more secluded beach. South Beach is only a short bus or cab ride away.

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    5) Downtown Miami and Brickell Hotels: For many people, Miami is the first and the last stop of their vacation before going on a cruise. The hotels in downtown are typically less than a mile from the port, which makes them a convenient place to stay. There is a range of options to choose from, such as the Holiday Inn, to luxury hotels such as the Epic and Mandarin Oriental. The big, high-rise hotels offer amazing views of the city. Whenever I’m staying in a high-rise hotel, I always request the floor, and the view, when I’m negotiating the price of the room.

    6) Key Biscayne and Coconut Grove: Key Biscayne is a 40 minute drive from Miami Beach, accessible only by car via a toll bridge. It costs $40 in a taxi from Miami airport, and if you do not have a car for your vacation, it is an isolated area. The same goes for Coconut Grove. It is a busier area to stay than Key Biscayne and is a student neighborhood due to its proximity to the University of Miami. Both areas are good if you do not intend to leave the hotel during your stay and want to relax by the pool all day.

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    7) Miami Airport Hotels: Miami’s International Airport is located about 10 miles from Miami Beach and 7 miles from the Port of Miami. There are many chain hotels nearby the airport that offer a cheap night’s sleep, as well as free breakfast and shuttle service, unlike the hotels at the beach. The Embassy Suites and the Sofitel are two of the nicest of the airport hotels.

    8) The Surrounding Areas: Miami Beach isn’t the only place to stay. However, if you choose a hotel in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne, Sunny Isles, Hollywood, or Dania, renting a car is a good idea. Coconut Grove is near the University of Miami, and has a large marina, as well as an artsy neighborhood feel to it. Key Biscayne is a small, 6 mile long island, with a beautiful state park and beach. Sunny Isles is further up from Miami Beach, but still has a long stretch of golden beach. Wherever you choose to stay, Miami always has something for everyone.

    9) Vacation Apartment and Vacation Home Rentals: If you are in a big group, enjoy doing your own thing away from the crowds, or just prefer to keep to your own schedule, vacation rentals can offer a cheap and easy way to vacation in Miami. You can stay long or short term in apartments or houses that are privately owned and enjoy your time here with your own kitchen, more space, and a more private place to stay.

    Finding a Good Hotel Is Not As Hard As You Think
    While Miami offers a huge range of places to stay, all fall into the above categories. So once you know which type of place suits you best, you’re on the right track for success. Just don’t forget to call the hotel and ask for a discount, and always check the reviews!

    See the hotel rates calendar for an overview of the prices throughout the year.

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Finding a Restroom

    A guide to the free restrooms in Miami Beach

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    Going out for the day to explore Miami is great fun, but what happens when you need the restroom? You don’t want to have to buy a drink at a restaurant every time you need to go - that defeats the purpose! Here are all the ways to find free restrooms here in Miami Beach.

    Before you start your trip, don’t forget to use the restrooms at the airport. It can take a while to get to South Beach if you are using the buses or super shuttle. Even the fast cab service can encounter traffic. So don’t dash out the airport without using the bathroom.

    Where to go when you are out for the day
    Finding a restroom without disrupting your day is easy if you know where to go. If you are shopping along Lincoln Road, there are three Starbucks and a McDonalds which all have free restrooms. Lincoln Road has many restaurants all along the one mile street and most do not mind you going in to use their bathroom. Van Dyke’s restrooms are located on the second floor, Spris’s are at the back of the restaurant and Doraku’s are inside on the right hand side. Another free restroom is inside Tasti D-lite, the frozen yogurt store.

    Walking along the hotel district, all the bigger high rise hotels along Collins Ave have restrooms in their lobby. Just walk in as if you are a hotel guest and no one will question you using the facilities. The restrooms in the smaller hotels along Ocean Drive are harder to find, and if you are in that area, it is easier to use the public bathrooms along the beach. These are maintained by the City and are clean and free to use. They are located along the beach boardwalk every few blocks in Lummus Park.

    Walking around the South of Fifth neighborhood, you will find restrooms at the Marina, Montys on Alton Road, in South Pointe Park, Starbucks on 2nd St, and the City bathrooms in the 3rd St beach park.

    Bathroom attendants
    Bathroom attendants are found in the nicer restrooms in hotels, stores, bars and nightclubs. They are there to keep it clean and they also provide towels to dry your hands, as well as providing an array of products such as deodorant, perfume, chewing gum, mints and body lotions. It is up to you if you choose to tip the attendant when leaving the bathroom, but if you do use their products, a $1-$2 tip is expected.

    With all the water you will be drinking in the hot Miami sun, or all the mojitos you just drank on the beach, you are going to need to use a restroom at some point during the day. Our guide will help you find you the nearest free restrooms, so you can relax and enjoy your day!

    Photo by: Scott Alexander

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Yoga for Travelers

    Find out about yoga classes in Miami Beach

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    Yoga has become a popular way to work out in today’s modern world, and a perfect place to take a yoga class is under a Miami sunset sky. Whether you do yoga for relaxation, fitness or weight loss, we can help you keep up your practice while you travel.

    The Basics
    Assuming you are not a yoga novice or a beginner, starting your day with some basic stretching can help overcome jet lag, help you wake up, and leave you ready to enjoy your day. With all the sightseeing and walking you may be doing, focus on stretching your legs and back in some familiar yoga poses. Walking in the sand barefoot is also helpful for aching legs and feet.

    Have mat, will travel
    It may be difficult bringing a regular yoga mat on vacation along with all your other travel essentials. However, there are travel yoga mats you can buy that fold up into your suitcase, taking up no room at all.

    How to do a Sun Salutation
    The Sun Salutation in Yoga is a flowing series of 12 poses which help improve strength and flexibility. Known as Surya Namaskar to dedicated yogis, the pose also warms up the body and tones the abdominal muscles.

    Standing upright, bring your palms together in the prayer position. Raise your arms overhead, keeping your palms together and then bend forward until your hands touch your feet. Step the right and left leg back so you are in the plank position, which is keeping your spine and legs in a straight line and supporting your weight on hands and feet. Lower your knees, your chest and then your forehead onto the floor, keeping your hips up and toes curled under. Stretch forward and then arch back, keeping your arms straight. Curl your toes under, press down into your heels, and lift your hips.

    This is not the end of a Sun Salutation, but brings you as far as Downward Dog, a pose that is used throughout an Ashtanga yoga class. Focus on your breathing throughout the poses, exhaling as you step into each one.

    Yoga Classes in Miami Beach
    Finding a great yoga class is easy with all the studios here. Here is a list of the most popular studios. I have taken class at each one and can recommend them all:

    Synergy Yoga, 435 Espanola Way, Miami Beach
    Miami Life Center, 736 6th St, Miami Beach
    Shakti Yoga, 210 23rd St, Miami Beach
    Bikram Yoga, 235 11th St, Miami Beach
    Green Monkey, Purdy Ave, Miami Beach

    Beach and park yoga classes
    One of the best reasons to practice yoga in Miami is being able to do so outside. With daily sunrise and sunset classes, you will finish your practice feeling invigorated. Beach classes are held at the 3rd street lifeguard tower at 7am and 5pm every day, (with a later time of 6pm in the summer during daylight saving).

    Classes are held by the Miami Yoga Club in South Pointe Park on Wednesday evenings and Saturday and Sunday mornings. With both the beach and park yoga classes costing an affordable $5 donation, there is no better place to do a sun salutation than under the beautiful Miami sky.

    Yoga is popular with many people for various reasons; it improves muscle strength and flexibility, and helps promote a sense of well being and healthy living. So beginner or advanced, there is a class in Miami Beach waiting for you.

    Namaste.

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Dealing With Jet Lag

    A speedy recovery from jet lag will leave you ready to start your fun filled vacation

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    Everyone wants a fun filled vacation when they come to Miami. However, if you have traveled more than a few hours on a plane through different time zones, you will probably experience some degree of jet lag when you arrive. While you cannot avoid jet lag completely, follow these tips for a speedy recovery.

    What is Jet Lag?
    We all have a natural body clock. The daily sunlight and darkness each day tells us when to wake up and go to sleep. This rhythm is also helped by our mealtimes and daily activity. Crossing over time zones disrupts our body clock and causes us to be out of sync with the time zone we are in. This leaves us tired and sleepy at odd times during the day. Furthermore, the effects of flying have been proven to worsen the symptoms of jet lag due to the dry air on the plane, and lack of movement on long flights.

    Before you fly
    Depending on which way you are flying, try starting your new time zone a few days before you leave. Move your dinner an hour earlier or later, and the same with your bedtime. Don’t work up to the very last minute; leave home rested and relaxed, not sleep deprived. 

    On the plane
    As soon as you board the plane, change your watch to reflect the time in Miami. Stay hydrated on the plane by drinking lots of fluids - water and juice work best. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as both of these will dehydrate you, making your jet lag worse. If you are on a night flight, try and sleep on the plane. Bring ear plugs and an eye mask to help you sleep by blocking out the noise and light.

    Keep active on the plane by doing the in-flight seat exercises that are demonstrated in the plane magazines. These include ankle circles and lifting your knees. The movement keeps your circulation flowing, another way to beat the jet lag.

    Arriving in Miami
    Once you arrive, the best thing you can do is to keep to the Miami time zone. Don’t remind yourself what time it is back home, and stay awake until a normal bedtime. Being outside in the natural sunlight will help you reset your internal clock. Some people use their sleep medication, but the best thing for jet lag is trying to keep to the new time zone right away and drink plenty of water.

    Here is also a small reminder for the girls… If you are taking a contraceptive pill, that is the one thing that needs to be taken on your old time zone. Keep a watch with an alarm on it to remind you to take your pill at the correct time.

    Leaving Miami
    If you are traveling back to Europe, there’s a trick I use that helps me deal with my jet lag. When you get home, leave the bags and go straight to bed for two hours, no more. This will keep you going until a normal bedtime and help your personal clock restore itself.

    Jet lag, while unavoidable, can be much easier to deal with using these helpful tips. If you do find yourself fighting fatigue in the middle of the day, go outside and take a walk in the sunshine. Another tip is to choose good flight times. Yes, it may be a cheaper to fly at 6am, but the early start will leave you exhausted. Everyone looks forward to their vacation, so the more you can do to fight your jet lag, the better your trip is going to be.

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

    Staying Healthy on Vacation

    Healthy tips to enjoy a relaxing vacation

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    Miami is known for being a healthy place. We have the South Beach diet, year round warm weather and a lot of beautiful people. Staying healthy on vacation should be easy to do with all the relaxing on the beach and good food and drink, but sometimes the unexpected can happen. Follow these simple guidelines to help you return home just as healthy as when you arrived.

    Food and drink
    We all know drinking water is good for you, but staying hydrated in the Miami heat is a must, especially if you are spending long days in the sun. Keep a bottle of water with you and use the water fountains along the beach boardwalk.

    Miami tap water is one of the cleanest water supplies you will find in the United States. It is completely safe to drink, exceeding all federal and state drinking water standards. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami “America’s Cleanest City”, for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces and clean drinking water.

    Miami has hundreds of restaurants serving great food, so eating well is easy here. But for those of you who like to eat organic fresh food, we have both Whole Foods and Fresh Market on South Beach and restaurants such as Books and Books and Pizza Fusion for dining out on good nutritious food.

    Exercise
    A healthy body is unlikely to get sick on vacation so make sure when packing your suitcase that you leave room for your running shoes. Many of the hotels have gyms and exercise can be found everywhere you look in South Beach. Walk or run on the boardwalk, swim in the ocean, rent bikes or rollerblades, take a sunset beach yoga class or try your hand at surfing.

    Smoking in public places
    Smoking is banned in common areas used by the public such as schools, offices and in restaurants. However in the bars and clubs that law does not apply. All nightlife venues still allow smoking inside so do not be surprised to find your clothes and hair smelling of smoke after a night out in Miami.

    General Well Being
    It is always sensible to carry hand sanitizer gel with you, and they can be purchased at any Walgreens or CVS. Victoria’s Secret even sells scented gels on key chains. Miami is a tropical climate so keep the mosquitoes away by using insect repellant. The hottest part of the day is between 11-3 and it helps to wear a hat if you are out in the sun for the day. The sunshine is strong in South Florida so be sure to always use sunscreen.

    Plenty of sleep on vacation helps keep you healthy, so if you’re out all night in the clubs, catch up on your shut eye as you relax on the beach. And if you meet someone on your nights out, don’t forget to practice safe sex!

    Where to go if you get sick
    If despite all your efforts you still end up getting sick, help is at hand. First stop is your local pharmacy, and Miami Beach has a Walgreens or CVS on practically every corner. Over the counter medicine is always available, the pharmacists are full of knowledge and it is free to ask their advice. If you do need to see a Doctor, the CVS on Lincoln Rd has a Minute Clinic where they can diagnose and treat common illnesses and minor injuries.

    For minor emergencies, visit Medigo Urgent Care located at 1355 Alton Road, where there is an Emergency Physician working seven days a week. The nearest Emergency Room in Miami Beach is at Mount Sinai Medical Center, located at 4300 Alton Road.

    Exercise, sleep, good food and plenty of water are the key to a healthy vacation in Miami. Enjoy the sun safely with a good sunscreen as sunburn is never fun to deal with. If the unexpected happens and you do not feel well, remember help is always at hand. But following the above guidelines will help you have a wonderful vacation and returning home as well as when you left.

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

    What’s the Weather Like?

    Deciding which month is your best time for a Miami Vacation

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    Ah, the great dilemma: which season is best for a visit to Miami? Fortunately, Mother Nature made it simple for everyone: she only gave us two! Summer and Spring.  Choosing which one is best for you is a matter of figuring out your priorities while you’re down here.  Do you want your beach time to be completely uninterrupted by afternoon downpours? Or is getting a bargain rate worth a daily afternoon sunshower? Do you like to bask in bathwater-warm seas? Or do you like your water a little nippy? Do you enjoy the energy of events like Spring Break and Ultrafest? Or do you prefer a slower-paced ambience—one with more parking?  Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect during each time of year:

    The Low Season in Miami

    Summer, also known as the low season, stretches from May through October.  This is when it rains the most—pretty much every afternoon, starting about 3 or 4 pm.  The good part is that although the sky can turn an ominous dark grey and the thunder may fiercely rumble, it’s all over in about an hour.  Sometimes, the sun even shines while it’s raining! While an inconvenience, the rainy season can create some of the most striking sky and seascapes you’ll ever see.  The juxtaposition of the bright turquoise surf and the grey clouds provides a dramatic visual aesthetic.  Also, the pelting rain provides a great deal of relief from the summer heat and humidity.  In like a lion, and out like a lamb just a short time later, the skies are often clear again for sunset!

    It is during this time that you most feel like you’re in a different country.  The weather feels so different from the rest of the US.  While in January you might only expect about 1.88 inches of rain, in August, the wettest month, that total averages 8.63 inches! And the humidity, while intense enough to soak your shirt to your skin during the worst moments, is generally less severe here than it is in the inland areas, due to the presence of near-constant ocean breezes.

    The summer also marks the beginning of hurricane season, which begins in June and lasts until October.  It’s very rare to actually have a hurricane in June, though, as the season doesn’t get active until the middle of July into September.  By October, storms are beginning to wane.  While hurricanes can potentially affect your travel plans, unlike many natural disasters, you can see them coming several days in advance, so you generally have time to reschedule.  Hotels and tour companies will allow you to cancel or reschedule your reservations if a hurricane watch is imminent.

    It’s during this period that you’ll find the best deals on hotels!  Often, they’ll give you an extra night free if you’re staying a week or longer.  Be sure to ask about any specials when you book.  Since the crowds are less intense during the summer months, the atmosphere is also less harried.  There are less cars on the road, fewer snowbirds lined up outside the restaurants, and parking tends to be much easier!

    Although it’s easy to remember to bring the sunscreen and hats during those dog days of summer, few think to bring along a sweater or a wrap, not realizing just how chilly the air conditioning can be, especially to women.  If you’re sensitive to the cold, bring one along, just in case.  You’ll be glad you did.

    By mid-October, the rain levels and heat begin to decrease dramatically, and with the advent of November, we’ve now arrived at the high season!

    The High Season in Miami

    In November, you can expect an average daily rainfall of only about 3.43 inches, a significant contrast to the 5-8” you’ll get during the summer.  The humidity subsides a great deal, and it’s more enjoyable to be outside in the sun.  This is Miami at its most comfortable.  Daily highs, even in February, typically make it into the low to mid ‘70s.  Lows might hover in the low 60s to upper 50s during the colder moments.  And while freezing weather is not unheard of in Miami, it generally lasts only for a day or so, tops, during the whole season.  To avoid those rare frigid days, be sure to check the weather forecast about five days before your trip.

    The ocean water averages about 72 degrees during the winter months, much nippier than the summer, when it can easily get to 85.  But even during the winter, the water is warmer than California’s Pacific is in the summer!

    Naturally, all this comfort comes with a price: the hotels are at their busiest, and their rates increase a great deal.  Traffic is heavier, lines are longer, and the atmosphere is most energetic.  Winter is when most of the big events happen, like Ultrafest, The Boat Show, the Winter Music Conference, Spring Break, and Art Deco Weekend.  It’s the time to see and be seen in this tropical playground!

    Although the time you visit is largely a matter of personal preference and priorities, there is no really wrong time to come to Miami.  There are pros and cons no matter when you visit.  Of course, there’s only one way to know for sure which season you’ll like better—spend some time here during each of them!

    Photo by Carlos Miller

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    Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

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    Updated for 2021. If you looking for more information, check out our Weather Charts with air, water and rainfall averages.

    Staying Safe in Miami

    Vacation safety is a top priority

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    Keeping safe when you are away from home should be on the top of everyone’s list when it comes to having a good vacation. Sadly, thanks to TV shows like CSI Miami, Dexter, and Miami Vice, Miami does not have the best reputation when it comes to crime. However the reality is far different, and by following these safety tips you can enjoy a relaxing vacation without worry.

    Your hotel room
    Most hotel rooms will provide a safe; be sure to keep your valuables inside it at all times. Keep your door locked when you are in your room - most doors have a dead bolt you can use. If you check out on the last day and leave your luggage at the hotel, get a small padlock to keep your suitcase locked for those few hours you are away; these work well at the airport also.

    Going to the beach
    Enjoying the beach is one of the main reasons people love to visit Miami. But a good day out can be ruined quickly when you realize your belongings have been stolen. If you decide to swim in the ocean, make sure someone in your group stays to keep an eye on your stuff. If you are alone or part of a couple and you both want to swim, ask the nearby lifeguard to watch your bags.
    If you visit the beach at night, do not take anything valuable with you. Phones, keys and wallets are easily stolen if you get distracted. Leave the purse at home if you decide to take a romantic moonlight walk.

    Miami Nightlife
    Miami boasts some of the best nightlife in the world. To make sure you enjoy your night, have a plan of how you will be getting home at the end of the evening. Also pick a designated meeting area if you lose each other. Keep an eye on your drink and never leave it unattended. Of course people go out to meet new people, but if you feel someone is bothering you unnecessarily, let the doormen in the club know; that’s what they are there for.

    Walking at night
    Keeping safe at night is always very important. South Beach is a busy area but there are still things you can do to look after yourself. Only walk home if you are in a group. If you are alone or not sure of the way home, take a taxi. Don’t walk on the quieter streets, but if you have to, walk in the middle of the street; this will keep you away from the alleyways and bushes. If you are drunk, always take a taxi.

    What to do if you have a problem
    If you do encounter a problem on your vacation, call the police and file a report. The Miami Beach Police Department is located at 1100 Washington Ave. Also, alert your hotel manager if it is a problem at your hotel.

    Have a great vacation!
    If you follow the above advice and plan for a safe time when you are here in Miami, you will have a wonderful vacation. Theft and crime can happen anywhere, but by keeping aware of your surroundings and looking after yourself and your friends, you can be sure your trip will go smoothly.

    Photo by: AJ Hedge/Flickr

    About the Author:

    A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

    See more articles by Jess.

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    Updated for 2021. Are you planning a trip? Ask a question in the Traveler's Helpline.

    Miami Cheat Sheet

    Handy tips to assist you on vacation

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    All good tour guides develop knowledge and tricks that are helpful to visitors. These are generally tightly guarded secrets, but we don’t play like that, and are sharing some of ours. What follows are a few handy tips that, we hope, will assist you on vacation.

    Restaurant Recommendations

    In Downtown Miami, across the street from Bayside, the Holiday Inn hotel is open for breakfast at 6am. For lunch at Bayside, Bubba Gump Shrimp is good, and Chili’s restaurant has the best view.

    For Cuban food, we recommend Puerto Sagua and David’s Cafe, which are both in Miami Beach.

    Oher good Miami Beach restaurants include: Cardozo Cafe on Ocean Drive; Jimmy’z Kitchen and Rice on Alton; Grill Fish and Sushi Rock on Collins; Doraku Sushi and Cafe at Books at Books on Lincoln; Le Sandwicherie, Baja Fresh, Pizza Rustica, Charlotte’s Bakery, and T-Mex for takeout; Big Pink and 11th Street Diner; and Nikki Beach for Sunday brunch.

    Barton G, Micheal’s Genuine, BLT Steakhouse, The Forge, and Prime 112 are fine dining restaurants. Rusty Pelican, Smith & Wollensky, and Monty’s  in Miami Beach are the best places to watch the sunset.

    For vegetarian food: Choices Cafe, Mi Vida Cafe, and Sushi Siam. For Chinese food: Tropical Café, Mr. Chow, and PF Chang’s. For Vietnamese food: Hy Vong.

    Metrobus Directions: Downtown to Miami Beach

    There are two buses that will pick you up in front of Bayside, going northbound on Biscayne Blvd., and take you to Miami Beach:

    “Route C” Bus - The bus crosses MacArthur Causeway, goes north on Washington Ave., east on Lincoln Road, then north on Collins Ave. to 44 St. Take this route to go to Ocean Dr., or anywhere along the beach, from 1 to 15 St. The ride to Miami Beach takes about 20 minutes.

    “Route S” Bus - The bus crosses MacArthur Causeway, goes north on Alton Rd., turns east on 17 St., then north on Collins Ave., traveling through Sunny Isles. The bus then heads West on 192 St., arriving to the Aventura Mall. The ride to the mall takes approximately 2 hours.

    Miami-Dade Metrobus travel planning assistance, call 305-891-3131.

    Where To Go Shopping

    Within walking distance to Bayside, there is Ross and Marshall’s discount clothing store. In Miami Beach, there is a Best Buy electronics store, along with with Ross and Publix supermarket. There is a Target in Midtown Miami. Sawgrass Mills is the largest outlet mall in South Florida. Aventura Mall, Dolphin Mall, Dadeland Mall, and Mall of the Americas are the largest shopping malls in the area.

    Metrobus Directions: Downtown to Dolphin Mall & Mall of Americas

    From Bayside, walk to NE 3 St. and take the “Route 7” Bus. To Dolphin Mall takes about 90 minutes.

    More Information

    • Wednesdays, Miami Beach Soundscape has free movies in the park.
    • Sundays, there is a farmer’s market on Lincoln Road.
    • Sundays, there is a farmer’s market in Mary Brickell Village.
    • Saturdays, there is a farmer’s market in Coconut Grove.
    • Saturdays, there is a farmer’s market in Normandy Isle, Miami Beach
    • Everyday, Bayside has live music in the afternoon and evening.
    • Everyday at 9pm, there is live music at Van Dyke on Lincoln Road.
    • Everyday, there is live music at Tobacco Road in Downtown Miami.
    • Sat, Sun, & Mon, around 5pm, you can see cruise ships depart at South Point Park.
    • Fridays, Wolfsonian Museum admission is free from 6-9pm.
    • Fridays, North Shore Bandshell (7275 Collins Ave) has free movie night, from 7-9pm.
    • Clevelander bar is a good place to watch sports and meet other visitors.
    • Club Deuce is a neighborhood bar where you can meet eccentric locals.
    • Waxy O’Connors shows International football matches on TV, and serves English breakfast.
    • Liv, Mansion, Amnesia, and Cameo are the top nightclubs in Miami Beach, open until 5 AM.
    • Tiffany Hotel, Perry, Townhouse, and Viceroy all have rooftop bars.
    • Space nightclub in Downtown Miami is open Saturdays until 11 AM Sunday.
    • Topless sunbathing is permitted in South Beach. Nude sunbathing is permitted at Haulover.
    • Drinking alcoholic beverages in public or on the beach is not allowed.
    • BBQ’s and beach fires are not allowed in Miami Beach.
    • A 15% gratuity is included at most restaurants in Miami Beach.
    • There is a public swimming pool at Flamingo Park in Miami Beach.
    • Everyday, Synergy Yoga offers great yoga classes in Miami Beach.
    • Miami and Miami Beach public libraries offer free Internet access.
    • Monday to Friday, free parking is available on the residential streets in Miami Beach.
    • Swoop Shuttle offers free transportation around Miami Beach. Call 305-409-6636.
    • The flat rate for a taxi from South Beach to Miami Airport is $35.
    • Airport Flyer “Route 150” is an express bus between Miami Airport & Miami Beach for $2.35.
    • Sawgrass Mills bus departs Miami Beach at 8:30, 9:30, and 11:30 AM, daily. $30 round trip.
    • 1 bedroom apartment rentals start at $900 per month.
    • Buying a 1 bedroom apartments starts at $135,000.
    • Miami Dolphins football season is from September thru December.
    • Miami Marlins baseball season is from April thru October.
    • Miami Heat basketball season is from December thru April.
    • Florida Panthers hockey season is from September thru April.
    • Key West is 129 miles south of Miami. $69 round trip.
    • Orlando is 232 miles north of Miami. $35 one way.

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    About the Author:

    Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

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    Updated for 2021. Do you have a good tip about Miami? Share your favorites on our Traveler's Helpline Forum

    Festivals and Special Events in Miami: 2013

    Schedule of Miami street fairs, events, and festivals

    • Here's a list of the most important events in Miami for 2013. For more information about these and other events, please visit http://www.miamibeach411.com/events/.
    • Note: Before planning a trip around a festival, make sure to verify the dates and locations.

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    Laurie is the Events Manager at Miami Beach 411.

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    Updated for 2021. For more information about these and other events, please visit the Events Calendar.

    Extra Things To Bring On Your Trip

    Pack fun stuff for a Miami vacation

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    Whether you’re a Diver, DJ, Day Tripper, or Foodie: Everybody has some extra things they like to bring on vacation to remind them of comforts of home. Packing for a Miami vacation allows you to pack some fun stuff that might not be necessary in other places. Snorkel and fins anyone? You’ll save money by bringing a few of these extras and be prepared for anything, even a jellyfish sting!

    Beach Bag: A large tote or backpack is essential to haul your favorite books, magazines, sunscreen, water and other things to and from the beach. Look for one that is lightweight and offers inside zip pockets.

    Beach towel or bed sheet for laying out-If your hotel doesn’t offer complementary beach chairs there’s no reason to spend $25 to rent a chair when you can just bring your own beach towel. Invest in a high quality, plush towel that’s extra long. A queen size bed sheet works great if you want to lay out with a friend or that special someone. A sheet can do double duty in your hotel if your bed linens look less than inviting.

    Ammonia for jellyfish stings: Amonia is the best cure for jellyfish stings, so if you plan on snorkeling or swimming when the lifeguards are flying the purple flags to warn you about “Dangerous Marine Life” in the ocean, make sure to have a bottle of ammonia in your beach bag just in case you get stung.

    Wetsuit top: Stay warm and avoid sunburn and jellyfish stings by bringing your own wetsuit top when you go swimming and snorkeling.

    Mask and snorkel: You can snorkel right off South Beach, or Key Largo, the diving capital of the world, is only an hour away. Bring your own snorkel gear and have an underwater adventure.

    Waterproof camera bag: Make your own underwater video, using a simple camera bag and a phone.

    Ball games: Miami has large, wide beaches that are good for playing ball games, hacky sack, frisbee, paddle tennis, football and catch.

    English Spanish dictionary: Geographically, Miami is in the United States, but you’re bound to hear Spanish- Miami’s unofficial language. If you no habla espanol, bring a dictionary so you can interact with the locals; a Miami essential if you want to bargain when shopping, or ordering from a Cuban restaurant.

    Jambox/speakers/radio: You can be the DJ and set the soundtrack to your vacation by playing your favorite songs from your phone, computer, or tablet. Great for your hotel room and the beach!

    Tea, Coffee, and coffee filters: Many hotels have coffee makers in the room, but you don’t have to rely on the two small packets of generic coffee they offer. The only way to wake up to your favorite coffee or tea is by bringing your own.

    Dried snack food: Head to the grocery store before your trip and buy pretzels, nuts, granola bars, candy, and chocolates, or whatever else you might want to snack on, and stock your personal mini bar in your hotel room.

    Corkscrew: After buying a bottle of wine, don’t get stuck wondering if there’s a corkscrew in your room because there isn’t. Come prepared with a corkscrew and turn a “night in” into a romantic evening with your favorite bottle of wine. Don’t forget the music and candles!

    Sleeping shades: Not all hotel rooms have room darkening shades, so if getting your beauty sleep is a must, a pair of sleep shades will keep bright lights at bay. Sleeping shades are also useful on the plane.

    Inflatable neck pillow: A travel essential that you’ll use on the plane, as well as on the bus, if you plan on traveling to Disney or Key West.

    Earplugs are a lifesaver if your hotel or hostel has thin walls, faces a noisy street, or your traveling companions will want to watch TV just as you try to fall asleep. Don’t let a sleepless night ruin your vacation. Bring a few pairs of ear plugs to guarantee peace and quiet.

    Zip lock bags: Keep bags of different sizes for beach shells, snacks, and packing wet swimsuits and toiletries.

    Candles: Whether you want to add some romantic lighting to your room, or freshen it up a with a light fragrance, a scented candle with a lid is great for travel.

    Pedometer: You’ll be doing lots of walking in South Beach, so keep track of how far you go with a personal pedometer. You won’t feel guilty ordering dessert if you can prove you walked two miles!

    Umbrella: Don’t let Miami’s surprise sudden downpour send you running back to your hotel. Be prepared for afternoon showers with a light umbrella that fits into your handbag or tote.

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    Christy offers a fresh perspective on life and style in Miami. You can reach her at Miami Beach 411.

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    Updated for 2021. Do you have a favorite "extra thing" you like to bring when traveling? Share your tips on our Traveler's Helpline.

    Women’s Packing List For a 5-Day Miami Vacation

    From clothing and necessities to essentials and other stuff

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    When you pack for a trip to Miami envision what you’ll be doing on vacation. Are your plans to relax on the beach all day and then put on your new strapless dress to party at LIV? Maybe you plan to take a boat cruise around the celebrity homes and then dine alfresco on Lincoln Road. Or maybe you want to visit the Everglades and then take salsa lessons at Yuca. Picture what you’ll be doing and what you’d like to wear doing it!

    Packing light is all about choosing pieces that mix and match and do double duty. Whatever you decide to do, this list has you covered!

    Clothing-Day-Beach/Pool

    • flip flops or sandals
    • tunic/cover up
    • shorts
    • tank top
    • bikinis
    • beach bag
    • straw hat
    • sunglasses
    • headband/hair ties

    Clothing-Day-Sightseeing

    • jeans for the plane and chilly temps
    • short sleeveless dress
    • casual sundress
    • belt
    • shorts
    • 4 tank tops, short sleeve T’s
    • light cardigan
    • fleece/sweatshirt for the plane and chilly temps
    • rain jacket
    • 8 pairs of underwear
    • bra
    • flip flops
    • comfortable shoe/sneaker for walking

    Clothing- Evening

    • high heels
    • dressy wedge sandal
    • dressy flat sandal
    • sexy dresses
    • strapless bra
    • evening bag
    • scarf/pashmina
    • pajamas

    Toiletries

    • facial cleanser
    • toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
    • soap/body wash
    • shampoo/conditioner (color protect or anti-frizz)
    • razor/shaving cream
    • sunscreen
    • lip balm, with SPF 15
    • body moisturizer
    • after-sun alove vera gel
    • brush/comb
    • hairdryer
    • perfume
    • deodorant
    • makeup
    • condoms/birth control pills
    • aspirin
    • feminine hygiene products
    • nail file/tweezers
    • glasses/contact lenses and supplies

    Other Stuff

    • camera
    • phone charger
    • travel umbrella

    Miami Necessities

    Stylish sunglasses, flip flops, swimsuits, high heels/sexy dresses for the clubs, and a cozy sweatshirt for chilly temps and bus rides.

    Packing Essentials

    • Don’t panic if you forget any of your toiletries, there are many drugstores.
    • When checking your bag at the airport, ask to see the sticker they put on your bag. Make sure it has your name and correct destination.
    • Check the extended weather forecast-it’s not always 83 degrees and sunny.
    • Miami has amazing shopping so if you want a new dress or bikini, get it in Miami!

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    About the Author:

    Christy offers a fresh perspective on life and style in Miami. You can reach her at Miami Beach 411.

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