Explore The Hidden Side of Miami

Miami has a luxurious haven for holidaymakers from all around the country and across the globe since the late 19th century. Originally known for its picturesque beaches and ubiquitous sunshine, it’s now best known for flaunting its glitz, glamour and celebrity aficionados for all the world to see. While we all know about the opulent excess of Miami beach and the star-studded artificial island known as star island, these popular tourist traps are really just the tip of the iceberg. To get to know the ‘real’ Miami, it doesn’t take a great deal of effort or knowhow, just take a slight detour away from the sun drenched coastline and you’ll find a series of vibrant and culturally rich neighborhoods that are alive with the Latin influence that permeates much of Florida.

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Miami is a place so distinctive, a master perfumer tried to bottle its scent in the early 2000s. Its streets are rich with a musky scent made up of orange blossoms, sea salt and tobacco, that can’t help but carry with it feelings of adventure and discovery.

As much fun as you can have with beachfront cocktails and boat rentals Miami is a city of contrasts. Scratch the glitzy surface and you’ll find a real sense of community and celebrated diversity in Miami. The ancestry of each neighborhood resonates richly in its architecture, its art and its culinary prowess, with each neighborhood wearing its influence very much on its sleeve. For example, Little Havana is home to the city’s Cuban population whereas West Indians made their home in Little Haiti, while the district of Wynwood has always been a haven for the artistically inclined. In this post we’ll look at some of the ways in which you can avoid the expensive tourist traps and enjoy the food, architecture and culture of Miami like a local.

The Food

Whatever your taste, you’ll find food to fall in love with in Miami. Though, understandably Miami is associated with some of the best seafood in the world, you can still eat like royalty even if you’re vegetarian, vegan… or just plain don’t like fish.

The southern states are synonymous with soul food, and you’ll find some of the best in the world in Miami. In historic Overtown you’ll find a taste of southern tradition with a host of barbecue joints and soul food restaurants serving up fried catfish, barbecued ribs and split sausages grilled to crispy perfection.

If you’re one of a growing proportion of people who choose not to eat meat, seafood or dairy for health or ethical reasons, you’ll still be able to sample Miami’s multicultural delights through your palette with a range of vegan and vegetarian restaurants to suit all tastes. Indeed, the iron rich soil makes Florida home to some of the most delicious tropical fruits anywhere in the world, which is used in many cakes and desserts throughout Miami. Full Bloom near the beach is a great place to find Latin and Mexican inspired vegan cuisine and a range of delicious tropical fruit based desserts while if your taste buds favor the French inspired, Eden in Eden is a cafe that offers a range of French influenced foods such as dairy free crepes and gluten free quiches as well as nutritious juices and smoothies.

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The Feel

Like many magical spots, Miami has a certain feel to it that’s partly the smell of the sea air combined with the food smells wafting on the breeze and  partly the myriad design elements and architecture that reflect the city’s diverse cultural lineage.

There’s a striking interplay between the man made and the natural throughout Miami with the city’s designs complementing and in some cases incorporating the flourishes of the surrounding plant life from palms to the fetching sea grape trees with leaves so huge and distinctive that locals refer to them as ‘postcard leaves’.

Check out the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden which is not only a masterpiece of modern design but home to some of the areas most naturally beautiful flora. If art deco is right up your street then check out the Art Deco District near south beach where you’ll find some striking examples of the 20th century style resplendent in sweeping balconies and nautical affectations including the odd port hole here and there.

Culture vultures owe it to themselves to spend some time in The Miami Design District, a hub not only of creative endeavor but high end retail where you can sample the myriad artistic triumphs of the district’s two free- access contemporary art museums before some retail therapy in some of the area’s swanky boutique stores.

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Keeping The Summer Spirit Alive

When the summer waves it’s last goodbye, and colder weather draws in, it can feel sad to let the long days and summer breezes go. However the days will become shorter, nights will be much colder and crisp leaves will fill the forest floor. But don’t fret; you don’t have to let the last ounces of warm weather go without a last hoorah. There are some great ways you can still keep that summer spirit alive and make the most of every ray of sunshine.

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[Photo courtesy of Skitterphoto/pexels.com]

Fresh Fruit For Breakfast

The one thing which we all love to do in the summertime is start the day with a smoothie bowl or a bowl of fruit and yoghurt. It’s refreshing, light and makes you feel invigorated for the day ahead. Just because the season has changed doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy fresh produce which is available in stores. Make yourself a big bowl of fruit and enjoy the morning sun.

Woodland Walks in The Sunshine

Being outdoors is a surefire way to feel like you are making the most of your day. Why not plan an impromptu hike at the weekend, take in the sights beside a lake and relish the sunshine on your skin. It might not be the right weather for wearing shorts or a dress, but just wrap up in a few extra layers, and you’ll feel toasty and happy.

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Jet Off Elsewhere

It might be the end of summer for us, but in the southern hemisphere, it is just beginning. If you really want to keep that summer spirit alive, book some cheap flights and jet off to a tropical beach somewhere. You’ll get to have one last wear of that bikini and make the most of cocktails by the pool.

Keep You Decor Light and Bright

At the first sign of foggy weather and a chill in the air, many of us switch out the bright cushions and pastel decor in aid of a room filled with tartan and scented candles. Keep summer alive in your home by ditching the thick blankets and furry pillows and sticking with that summer colour scheme. Light some fresh seaside and fruity scented candles and leave the spices for later in the year.

Brave The Beach

It might be a bit, okay very, windy outside, but that’s no reason not to take a trip to the coast. No matter the season, the beach clears the lungs and makes you forget about the world. It’s the ultimate relaxing sensation…Even if you have to keep pulling your hat back on.

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The Great Outdoors

There’s nothing more indicative of summer than making s’mores over an open fire and sleeping under the stars. Camping is the ultimate way to relive those adventurous summer days and keep the spirit of the warmer months alive. Grab a tent, PLENTY of blankets and some simple supplies to make a weekend away which is reminiscent of that summer haze.

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7 Tips for Eating on a Budget While Traveling

You need to eat while on vacation, and the price of food can add up. However, no matter where you travel, there are cheap options. From individuals to families, and everything in between, make sure that you eat well and within your budget with these tips for eating cheap.

Eat Local

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[Photo courtesy of mali maeder/pexels.com]

When traveling internationally, it can be tempting to eat what you know. However, you can save a lot of money by eating local. You’re going to save a lot of money by eating the cuisine of the area, rather than just getting a pizza or burger.

Consider a Buffet

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If you really need to cut down on your food budget, a buffet is a great option. All you can eat buffets allow you to eat as much as you want or need. If you only have enough to cover you for one meal, or one large meal, in a day hit a buffet. You’ll get the food you need at a decent price.

Eat the Continental Breakfast

Continental breakfasts at hotels aren’t always the best. You usually have the option of a few muffins, some cold cereal, and some fruit. If you’re lucky, there might be a few other items to choose from. However, remember that this food is already paid for with the cost of your room. Take advantage of that and eat breakfast at the hotel.

Don’t Ignore the Street Food

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If you are looking for a quick, easy, cheap meal it’s a good idea to hit up the street vendors. You’ll get to try some local food, and it’ll be cheap and delicious. Whether you try food from a cart or a stand, there are many options in most cities.

Pack a Picnic

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Head to the local grocery store and grab groceries for a picnic. Sandwiches don’t cost a lot to make, and having a picnic in a local park is a fun way to unwind and spend a little time people-watching. You can make sure you get exactly the items that you love without worrying about whether or not you ordered your sandwich without pickles, but got them anyway.

Cook Your Own Meals

Green and Orange Vegetables on Black Frying Pan

[Photo courtesy of Ela Haney/pexels.com]

Whether you’re staying in a hostel, a rental home, or a hotel with a kitchenette, another cheap option is to cook your own meals. Get the groceries you need and put together your favorite meal for just a few dollars per serving. If you have access to a refrigerator, you don’t have to worry about making too much, either.

Find Deals Online

Do a little research online before heading out for your meals. There are tons of sites that offer coupons and deals. In addition, you can generally find out if a restaurant offers lunch or daily specials. This will help you get the best meals for the best prices, even if you plan to go somewhere that is normally a little more expensive.

When planning cheap vacations, it’s important to plan your meals. Since this is something that easily gets forgotten, make sure you think ahead, or it can quickly add up.

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