Florida: Miami

A good word to describe our time in Miami is…wet.

We clearly made a mistake thinking we’d get lucky with the weather, even though we knew it was the hurricane season. Hey, at least we tried. It took over 120 days before our plans were ruined by poor weather – we’ll take that.

Miami being Miami, all of the accommodation we looked at was super expensive, so we booked a hotel quite far from anywhere on the fun sounding ‘Treasure Island’. This was located in-between downtown and mid-beach, quite a way up from South Beach.

The hotel itself was quite nice, with a large bedroom, a pool, and ok views. The location was bad though, so we needed to rely on public transport a lot.

We caught a bus from Orlando to Miami, which took around 5 hours during peak traffic time.

On our first day there, we decided to bus to the beginning of the board walk and walk our way down to South Beach.

The walk was quite pretty, and we enjoyed some sun at times in between thick clouds. The humidity level was insane, it felt like we were swimming!

We continued walking towards Collins Avenue and enjoyed the vista of the different art déco buildings, ocean views, bars & restaurants and people watching. Miami is a funny city.

We continued walking around and headed to Lincoln Avenue, the main shopping area in South Beach devoted to shops, bars and restaurants.

After a full day of walking around we decided to retreat back to the hotel. We planned to go for a drink the day after in another suburb to avoid the big price tag of a drink on South Beach.

The following morning we decided to visit Wynwood Walls, an area of the city renowned for its graffiti-laden walls. Every year they have a huge graffiti exhibition, which attracts some of the best talent the world over.

They created this initiative to bring the area back to life and get tourists to come visit, and it seems to have worked.

We decided to go via bus, as buses have been our main way of transportation in the US when there’s been no train option. This was without knowing that Miami buses don’t do transfers! Insanity! This means that you need to buy a ticket every time you hop on a bus, unlike every other city we’ve been to.

At $2.25/ride this was a real bummer, as we knew we needed to get many buses that day to get around all of the different places we wanted to see. We would have happily bought a day ticket but you can’t buy them in the bus, we couldn’t find anywhere to buy one around us and if buying online they have to post a physical ticket to you. Ridiculous.

After getting on the first bus, we then decided to uber as it was nearly the same price and would be quicker.

Wynwood was cool. The different areas were full of contemporary art pieces and graffiti. We particularly enjoyed the works of Kobra and Vhils; really impressive (and expensive!).

By that point the sky was getting very dark and it started raining, so we decided to Uber to the Bayside market downtown as it is under cover.

It is basically just a shopping center in the marina, so nothing too exciting.

It then started to rain…heavily! We did plan to head to Little Havana for a drink, but as it was a lot further away and we had already spent way too much money on transport, we were worried we’d spend even more to end up in another place that wasn’t too exciting. We dropped the idea and decided to walk to South Beach instead as the rain had stopped.

It was a long, pretty un-interesting walk. We basically just walked through residential streets for 6 km, so not a huge amount to see. It was over one of the thin bridges connecting the beaches to the city, so the views back across the water were the highlight.

By the time we made it back to South Beach the rain had started again, which killed our motivation and we decided to go back to the hotel. Lucky we did, because just as we hopped on a bus, the heavens opened and the streets started to flood. It just wasn’t a very good sightseeing time.

Miami was a bit of a fail, and made us realise that it isn’t really a city worth visiting on a budget. Nice weather also seems a must if you really want to enjoy this city. It’d no doubt be great if you spent your time by a luxurious pool sipping cocktails, but not so much if you have to spend hours in buses in the rain!

We can always come back. Next time, we’d get a nice hotel in South Beach and not worry about seeing downtown etc. Aside from the graffiti walls, there’s really very little reason to stray from the beaches.

#TheDexplorers

TIPS

  • If you are going to use public transport, pre-purchase your day passes in advance to avoid any transfer issue.
  • If visiting during the hurricane season, keep in mind it can get miserable in the rain.

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