Introduction to Miami
Grab your party shoes boys and girls because we're going to Miami. The South Florida city is blessed with sun-soaked beauty, spicy flavours and an atmosphere that can't help but bring out the inner party animal in everyone. Even the oldies have a good time in Miami, with retirees in their droves dancing the waltz in white sneakers every night. But grey hair is just one of the many shades that make up this colourful city. Another is bronze, a colour best spotted on the beach where perving is an acceptable past time and there's no such thing as too tanned.
But Miami's brightest shades can be seen when the sun goes down. Yellow convertibles, flashing gold lights, red VIP carpet, wads of green money and cocktails so bedazzled in colour they could be mistaken for drag queens (you'll find them here too). Such a colourful concoction comes courtesy of the city's cultural melting pot, home to Cubans, Caribbeans and more Latinos than any city north of Mexico. All together it's an eclectic mix that somehow works together, rests well and parties hard. It's your job to keep up with it all.
Most travellers to Miami come with preconceived notions in their mind. Ideas shaped by pop-culture icons like Miami Vice and Scar Face. Search for this type of Miami and you'll find it at South Beach complete with super-tanned girls rollerblading in bikinis and buffed and bronzed Tony Montana wannabes smoking cigars at the aptly named Opium Garden. On the other side of the gold gilded fence, Miami has a bohemian vibe to it. Its Art Basel is one of the best art events in the world. It's gay community adding to the high-energy and colour of South Beach, best admired at Ocean Drive's Palace Bar over a Bloody Mary and an evening drag performance.
Not to be missed is Little Havana, a beating cultural hub of Miami and a place to experience a taste of mainland Cuba complete with Latin music, spicy cuisine and Mediterranean-style architecture. Then there are the Everglades, an area spanning millions of acres of swamps, sub-tropical jungles and the region's most famous inhabitant - gators. Raw, wild and slightly hill-billy, the Everglades are just another of Miami's contrasts where preconceived notions ring true.