Exploring ‘the capital of Latin America’: Miami

The first impression upon disembarking at the Miami airport is that, in some way, it makes you feel like you are in some city in Latin America, thanks to the fact that you can mainly hear Spanish spoken. Perhaps it is for this reason that many consider Miami the capital of Latin America.

capital of Latin America

This famous city has become the destination for a large part of South Americans, although for different reasons. There are those who simply want to visit all the malls to buy the latest fashion clothes and shoes. Other groups are visiting to enjoy the beaches of Miami Beach or others in South Florida. And others, naturallye, to get to know the city, explore different parts of Miami or nearby areas.

Although, usually we say ‘Miami’ but we could be including any of the cities in Miami-Dade County. From the city of Miami, to the city of Miami Beach, Kendall, Doral, Aventura, Hialeah, Coral Gables, Key Biscayne among others. There are 34 cities in this county, which is part of South Florida along with the other 2 counties: Broward (Ft. Lauderdale, Miramar…) and Palm Beach (West Palm Beach, Boca Raton. ..). But on this post we will focus more on Miami-Dade.

capital of Latin America

The interesting thing about Miami is the large number of communities you can find. Generally, each country or community begins to organize in different parts of Miami. For example, Cubans (who have been the vast majority for many years) could go to Hialeah or Little Havana along the famous Calle 8 and discover good restaurants, theaters and businesses. If you walk down Calle 8, don’t miss the walk of fame with stars dedicated to Celia Cruz or to Julio Iglesia, or a visit to Dominoes Park where you can enjoy domino games.

If you also visit towns as Doral you can find a lot of Venezuelan businesses, from bakeries, restaurants and even banks. Obviously, throughout Miami-Dade you will find everything from Nicaraguans to Argentines and without forgetting Mexicans and Colombians.

Throughout the area you can find Latin Cafeterias, where you can easily see the mix of countries, that although we are different, there are many delights that we share. I love having breakfast at those Latin spots (often Cubans) since I always eat very well. It’s hard to say no to sunny side up eggs or to your taste, with toast (a Cuban bread toasted with a little butter), ham, sausage or bacon and of course a ‘cortadito’ which usually is more coffee than milk. Either for dinner or as a snack, I can enjoy a delicious Cuban sandwich with ham, pork, cheese, pickles and a little mustard.

On many opportunities I visit restaurants like Versailles (on famous Calle 8) or La Carreta (also on Calle 8 but you can find others around town). Delicious dishes! Of course, arrive at Versailles as early as you can because you might find many people waiting for a table. Among the dishes that I or my family order, the most popular are Ropa Vieja, Vaca Frita and Bistec de Palomilla. Other very good dishes: Chicken Milanese, Salmon with a Guava sauce or a Midnight Sandwich.

capital de Latin América

The vast majority of Cuban restaurants have a famous ‘ventanita‘ where you can order a coffee to your liking with a pastry such as ‘pastelitos de guava’ which are a delight and many come with cheese which makes it even tastier. A very pleasant custom that I always see is a group of friends, perhaps 2 or 3, sharing what they call a colada, which consists of a medium glass with a (very strong) espresso coffee, accompanied by several small cups (one per each person in the group).

On our last visit, we had the opportunity to have breakfast at a Venezuelan cafe, where they sell typical foods from this country (cachitos, pan dulce, golfeados, among others) served by Venezuelan owners and clerks. There are 2 Caracas Bakery, the one we visited is located in Doral and is take-out only (it does not have tables) but it is worth visiting. That is one of the many Venezuelan places in the city of Doral.

All of this makes Miami a city with the attraction of showing different facets of Latin America and where in addition to enjoying authentic food from these countries, you can also interact with people, customs, fashions, and much more.

The Ancient Spanish Monastery

Of course, there are also other tourist attractions such as museums, artistic areas such as Wynwood and even in Miami you can find a Spanish Monastery, which was brought piece by piece to the United States and is located in the city of Miami Beach: The Ancient Spanish Monastery. You also have the option of visiting one of the theaters to enjoy a Latin American show.

Written by Manu Castillo Sr. Here you can read more of his publications in Spanish.

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Author: WandererYoss

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