Miami is one of the most iconic cities in the world, brimming with character and babbling away in more than 60 different languages.
Its nightlife is as good as anywhere in the country, the 15 miles of beaches are crammed with all manner of flamboyant souls, and there is enough drama behind closed doors to inspire numerous television series. Specifically, South Beach is great for shopping and parties – and, for that matter, it inspires much of the drama on TV– with more than 150 clubs and bars.
When the pace and thrill of Miami gets too much, it is reassuring to know there are more than 800 parks in and around the city, including the Biscayne and Everglades national parks. The Everglades, particularly, makes for a spectacular tour. It contains 1.5 million acres of swamps, saw-grass prairies and sub-tropical jungles, along with 14 rare and endangered species. A large chunk of the park is difficult to reach and explored only by researchers, but there are great packages available for walking, camping and canoe expeditions.
The Miami Metrozoo is also a good place to spend some time. Given Miami’s charming climate, the zoo is able to accommodate animals from Asia, Australia, and Africa and, unlike many other zoos, it is “free-range” in that the animals are cageless (obviously the landscape prevents lions eating the guests).
For those who want to enjoy a little more seclusion, it boasts one of the best wreck-diving scenes in the world. The NFL season finishes in February, so a trip to Miami Dolphins is out, but Miami Heat in the NBA are well worth a visit for sports fans.
As far as sailing is concerned, the local scene is thriving. In fact, a Google search for “sailing in Miami” returns over 2.8 million results. The annual Rolex race week in Miami is one of the most popular on the sailing calendar, routinely drawing the best talent from around the world. In that respect, the in-port races will probably offer few advantages to anyone in particular in terms of local knowledge.
Did you know: According to research by the United Nations Development Program in 2004, Miami ranked first in the world in its number of foreign-born residents.
Volvo Ocean Race stopover