Lee Abbamonte's Guide To Miami

Everybody knows Miami. Everybody knows South Beach with the glitz and the glamor, fancy cars, hotels, and beautiful people. But Miami is much more than just South Beach. Miami is one of the most unique cities in the world as it’s a primarily Spanish-speaking city in America and is really the capital of Latin America. Miami’s roots go deep into South America, Central America, and the Caribbean but it’s become a really awesome destination in and of itself. Not to mention a great place to cruise from to see more of the Americas.

Maimi is full of beautiful strips of sand and surf.

I first visited Miami back in 1997. I drove down from Maryland during college and I remember thinking I love this place! 20 years later I still love Miami. Prices have gone up and the city has cleaned up with new areas popping up out of the ashes and flourishing. Miami is a great place to check out for a few days before or after a cruise.

South Beach is great but try checking out Brickell or the Wynwood Arts District. Both areas have sprouted up in recent years and offer a cool alternative to Miami proper for nightlife and restaurants. Brickell is a massive project that has highrises as far as the eye can see. Any rooftop will have killer views of Miami and the beautiful waters surrounding it, plus some of the hottest restaurants in Miami.

Flashy and full of life, Miami is a great place to play.

Of course, staples like Coral Gables and North Miami Beach are still great and always improving. But new developments have helped reshape Little Havana and the area around the old Orange Bowl; which is now Marlins Park. Museums are also a part of the Miami renaissance in recent years. Gone are the dangerous Miami Vice/Scarface days of the 1980’s.

Miami is also the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. Miami’s cruise terminal is a sight to be seen and Azamara has a ton of cruises going to and from its hometown city of Miami.

Explore the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico from Miami without ever having to board a plane. Take in as little or as much as you want with local tours around some of the nicest islands and destinations in the western world.

Miami is the best city to explore Cuba by cruise. Want to see the Riviera Maya in Mexico but don’t want to deal with the craziness of flying to Cancun? Cruising from Miami is the best answer.

Explore little-known islands like Dominica; which is my opinion is one of the best islands in all the Caribbean. On the same cruise, you can explore my other favorite island of St. Lucia while also taking in Barbados, Antigua, St. Barts, and others. 

Plus you can cruise out of Miami to cross the Panama Canal while visiting several ports in Costa Rica. I just got back from my 20th trip to Costa Rica and no matter how many times I go can't get enough of “Pura Vida.”

Miami offers so much as both a destination and a gateway. Plan your trip to spend a few days in Miami and your itinerary to visit some great spots in the Caribbean and Latin America. You’ll be amazed at how easy and exciting it can be!

Lee Abbamonte

Lee Abbamonte is the youngest American to visit every country in the world (a total of 318) and a monthly guest blogger. Lee is a fan of Azamara's Destination Immersion® experiences, and has cruised with us through the Norwegian Fjords, Asia, the Mediterranean, and more.

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