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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in miami
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The local Latin population is mostly Cuban exiles (which have now become second and third generation locals,) with South Americans from various countries gaining ground. There is also a large Haitian community as well, and many signs and public announcements are in English, Spanish and Creole. There is also a large Caribbean population. Most of them originally from the islands of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Virgin Islands.
Miami has a huge Latin American population, and Spanish is a language often used for day-to-day discourse in many places, although English is the language of preference, especially when dealing with businesses and government. Most locals will address a person first in Spanish, then in English, rather than the other way around. Spanglish, a mixture of English and Spanish, is a somewhat common occurrence (but less so than in the American Southwest), with bilingual locals switching between English and Spanish mid-sentence.
Miami has two primary expressways, SR826 (known as the Palmetto Expressway to the locals), which encircles the city and runs North-South and northward becomes East-West and joins to I-95. The other major one is SR836 (also known as the Dolphin), which runs East-West along Miami International Airport and joins the Florida Turnpike Expressway. Interstate 95 (I-95) runs North-South along the East side of the city through downtown after which it becomes State Road US1 (http://www.us-highways.com/flus.htm) on its way to South Miami, Homestead and the Florida Keys. The Florida Turnpike runs North-South along the west side of the city, connecting Miami to Orlando and points North as well as leading to US1, through Homestead and into the Florida Keys. For many Taking Interstate 75 (I-75) is convenient if traveling from cities along the west coast even central Florida, such as Tampa and Orlando. After making it to South Florida it is easy to merge onto I-95 and/or the two State roads.
There are many things to do in Miami, if not in Miami itself the travel to Fort Lauderdale and the Keys is not far off. Miami is home to many beautiful beaches, such as South Beach and a fun and lively night life. There are numerous dining places and night clubs as well as a drive in theatre for those who want privacy when watching a newly released film. There are lively, outgoing, smiling faces at every corner. For the daytime there are malls, fea markets, and museums to visit. There is also the Sea Aquarium for those who enjoy seeing and learning more about sea life.
If you are in town the weekend after New Years, do check out the King Mango Strut (http://www.kingmangostrut.org), a parade/parody of the events of the year, held every year in Coconut Grove.
Many international cuisines are to be found, with a heavy leaning towards Latin foods, particularly Cuban cuisine. Cuban cuisine to try: a sandwich cubano (Cuban sandwich), and a cafecito (literally: little coffee, but compares to a strong, sweet expresso.)
For Cuban on a budget there are various La Carreta restaurants throughout the city, with low prices, a lot of food, and pleasant staff - be careful, though, as most only speak Spanish.
'Joe's Stone Crabs' on South Beach is famous for, obviously, its stone crabs, but the restaurant is seasonal. 'China Grill' on South Beach is also trendy. The food is good but the portions are small, and the price is mainly for the atmosphere. A full dinner for three-four people will run $250-300.
Most of the drinking nightlife is centered around South Beach or Coconut Grove. "Cuba Libre" is a popular drink, known to the rest of the world as plain old "Rum and Coke".
Miami is a tourist town and has many hotels, located mostly around the airport area and along Miami Beach. High season (fewer rooms, higher prices,) is during the winter months of November through February, with Summer being the low season. There are a few hostels, all located in South Beach.
Emergency telephone number for fire, police and rescue emergencies is 911.
Miami, despite being heralded in the news as a center of crime and drug smuggling, is relatively safe for the passing tourist. One should use the same precautions as when traveling anywhere - try not to travel alone, avoid deserted areas at night, etc.
Traveling by day is almost completely innocuous, though the infrequent purse-snatching does occur in downtown. It is important to note that downtown Miami is quickly becoming increasingly gentrified with the construction of trendy, exspensive high-rises and an influx in high-class European and South American buyers.
Areas like Little Havanna, Little Haiti, and Hialeah can be especially dangerous, though it is unlikely that tourists would visit these areas.
Public transport, though it does not generally run after about 10 p.m., is not recommended to travel late at night, especially the MetroRail service. Traveling alone anywhere late at night, except for the strip on South Beach, Coconut Grove, and much of Key Biscayne, is not prudent. Though it is unlikely that much will actually occur, it is better to be safe, especially for a tourist unfamiliar with the geography of Miami.
Most of South Beach (Ocean Drive, Collins, etc.) are frequented by tourists at all hours, even until dawn, and are safe to peruse, as are the 'hot spot' areas of Coconut Grove. However, much of the rest of the Beach is not recommended to traverse after hours, and the beach itself is closed from midnight to 5 a.m.
Brickell Avenue in downtown is mainly safe to frequent at most hours of the night, but downtown generally is unsafe to venture late at night, as there is a large homeless population and mugging is a major risk, especially for a woman.
Also a threat is Grand Avenue, directly adjacent to Coconut Grove. The late Coconut Grove party-goer should never travel Grand Avenue at night by foot, or risk being mugged.