South America Living

Miami – Capital of Latin America

Miami Beach lives up to its global reputation

Miami Beach lives up to its global reputation

Manifold Melting Pot: Miami, Gateway to the Americas

With the largest Latin American population outside of Latin America, a highly diverse and multilingual culture, and its proximity to the Bahamas and Cuba, Miami is an ideal location from which to explore Central and South American countries. Reaching them by air — destinations like Caracas, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro – can be extremely cheap, since there are loads of direct Florida flights to South American destinations. Its accessibility doesn’t end with the spider’s web of flight paths, either. Major cruise lines depart from Miami and sail through the Florida keys to locations like Cuba, Nassau and the lesser known, but equally beautiful island of Bimini to the east. With such strong connections to its surrounding area, what other cultural hybridity can be enjoyed in Florida’s most colorful city?


Mixing up the cuisine

With its vibrant history of immigration, Florida boasts an exotic, hybrid cuisine that pinches all the best of Spanish, Caribbean, and Creole influences. Star ingredients include seafood, tropical fruits and spices, combined into dishes like snapper fish, conch and banana fritters. This isn’t to say that meat is off the menu, either; and Barbeque is just as ubiquitous in Florida as it is in the rest of the states, though it’s given a good amount of kick by way of the addition of a generous helping of Caribbean spice.


Diversity in music

Like its cuisine, Florida’s music scene is diverse, and has even nurtured and contributed towards the birth of new styles and genres including Miami bass, Floridian Rap and Tampa breaks. Enjoying live music in Florida can entail the tropical bands and ukuleles of the Green Parrot Lounge in Key West, live jazz in the Jacksonville Underbelly, or mainstream acts like The Postal Service in The Beacham in Orlando. The street music scene in Florida is just as vivid, and can involve anything from a drum circle to a free concert on Pensacola Beach.


The history

With the distractions of Disneyworld, its many flashy resorts and many more gorgeous beaches, it can be easy for visitors to Florida to neglect this state’s history, but to do so would be to ignore a vast and interesting chapter in North America’s cultural and architectural makeup. First settled in the 16th century by the Spanish, and then experiencing rapid growth in the 30s and 40s, Miami boasts some top notch Art Deco architecture which was all the rage at the time that a hurricane destroyed vast chunks of the cityscape; hence the ubiquity of this quirky style. The best place to see examples of the diverse and beautiful buildings is South Beach, where pastel-colored, geometrically perfect hotels and bars light up the night in neon signs and gleaming, light-struck pillars.

Whether you are heading to here or from here, you’re in for an interesting time. No one can say it’s just the same old, same old. Diversity is simply a way of life!

Images by Melvin “Buddy” Baker, EL Gringo and Timothy Valentine used under creative commons license.

South Beach by Night

South Beach by Night

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