Friday, January 4, 2019

Miami and Florida Keys in Christmas, when the water adventures go AWOL

South Miami Beach

"Let's do Snorkeling" said my 10 year old when she first heard of us planning for our Florida trip this Christmas break. Not her fault, whenever anyone thinks of escaping to Florida,the Sunshine state of USA, already has an image drawn in their minds with aquamarine water, lanky Coconut trees and plethora of water sports, in short,a perfect beach vacation. Perhaps for Bostonians, it means getting plenty of natural Vitamin D.

  
View from South Pointe Pier

As we landed at Fort Lauderdale airport in Miami, we received a warm welcome by the tepid winter sun of Florida and the gentle breeze that was softly stroking our hair as we waited for our cab to arrive. It was the Christmas eve and Miami was already decked up to welcome its Winter tourists. As we arrived at our hotel that was booked at the South Miami Beach, we could feel the hustle and bustle on the street. After checking into our hotel we decided to take a stroll around to feel the Miami vibes. The sandy stretch of the South Miami beach was right behind the hotel which also had its own private entrance to the beach, in fact the beaches are extravagantly satiated with numerous hotels. We also walked around to check out the front side of our hotel which was located on the 17th street and was in close vicinity to multiple shops, sidewalk cafes and restaurants. 

Holiday lights

Day 1, It was Christmas morning, the weather had already started to fickle, with the forecast gradually shifting from cloudy to humid to a rainy weather for the next couple of days, our little miss sunshine started losing hopes of being able to do any kind of water activities except for using the hotel swimming pool or playing at the beach. Since, this would have been our first under water adventure, we didn't want it to turn into a sour memory and so we decided to cancel our snorkeling bookings at Key Largo, Florida Keys. Luckily, Florida has so much to offer even in the absence of water sports, that we thanked our stars and made some minor alterations in our itinerary. In the evening we went to see the Christmas lighting in Downtown Miami, with the festivities in full swing at the Bay side Marketplace, we frolicked in the crowd, and enjoyed listening to a bay side orchestra. After having a quiet dinner at our hotel we called it a day.

Christmas Tree, Bay front Park, Miami

Day 2, "Hola" said our cab driver and drove us through the city to visit this one of a kind place, Wynwood Walls. Wynwood walls is a graffiti and street art museum, and is quite a site for the tourists, it exhibits some of the greatest works of world's famous graffiti artists.

Wynwood Walls

In the afternoon, we took a sightseeing cruise to the Millionaire's row, a guided tour on the scenic Biscayne Bay to see the opulent stretch of houses of some of the world famous celebrities. After having a sumptuous meal at Bayside Marketplace, we returned to our hotel.


Miami Skyline from the cruise

Day 3, After splurging into Miami's magnificence for a couple of days, we decided to head further to the south, and thus, we drove to Florida keys on our rental car, Oh! I would rather be wrong to talk about Miami vacation without mentioning Florida keys. Florida Keys is a stretch of tropical islands for around 120 miles to the south of Florida, between Atlantic ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

A popular tourist destination is Key Largo, which is a self proclaimed Dive capital of the world and is popular for scuba diving and snorkeling, it is also very close to the famous Everglades National Park famous as Crocodiles and Alligators reserve. Our first stop was Marker 88 at Islamorada. Suggested by some of the locals, Marker 88 turned out to be a place where you can take postcard perfect pictures while having your meal. 


Pina Colada @ Marker 88

Our next stop was Robbie's at Islamorada, a place where you can feed the Tarpons, eat and do some local shopping. 


@ Robbie's, well! this doesn't need a caption :)

Also, located at the west end of the city of Marathon, is the Seven Mile Bridge which is an old bridge built in 1982. It is no more used for vehicular traffic, but just for the pedestrians and bicyclistsAfter this stimulating trip to the Florida keys we returned to our hotel in Miami. 

Florida Keys highway, 7 seven mile bridge running parallel to the modern bridge

 Miami and Florida keys have a very casual yet vibrant settings, and therefore works as a perfect get away for the vacationers. Culturally it feels a lot like a Latin American destination as around 80 per cent of it's population speaks Spanish, although English is it's official language. It is difficult to sum up the beauty of Miami and Florida keys in a blog, but only after visiting we came to know that such a place does exist. Water sports or no water sports, Florida has so much to offer and there is something for everyone. 

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