Whenever am flying to a destination one of the first things I do is look up online on things to do there. The main highlight in Miami is the beach, they say, put on a bikini and soak up some sun. Am not always keen on beaches cause I’ve been there and done that, I always want to discover the new and hidden gems, and that’s how I stumbled upon Little Havana. The online reviews were a mixed bag…making me doubt my decision but I decided to give it a chance. It looked promising a bit of history, a bit of culture, a bit of glamour. It felt like a little of everything.
Early in the morning my colleague and I used Uber (one of the best ideas especially in the US where normal taxis are too pricey) to Little Havana, we stopped at Versailles restaurant one of the most popular Cuban restaurants in Miami. We were confused as to where the entrance is, cause it’s not only a restaurant but also a bakery, with one too many doors and people were standing outside, chatting, others smoking. So we did what we do best, take on the role of a tourist, take some pictures and look busy. Someone didn’t buy it and approached as asking ‘Are you looking for the entrance?’
I instantly liked the restaurant interior, it was simple yet classy, with small chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and mirror-covered walls. Even though where I was seated my back faced everyone, Thanks to the mirrors I could still spy on everything going on. My main breakfast dish included croquette, it was less crunchy than what I’m used to, maybe it’s the Cuban way of making it.
We were at the Calle Ocho, (the 8th Street) this where all the fun is in Little Havana, but more fun started from 12th to 22nd avenue, were at the 35th. We could have walked there but it was really bright and sunny outside. Using the free Internet from the restaurant we requested for uber pool, it a new feature that I discovered, where you share the taxi with other people, it’s a bit awkward at first cause you cannot talk freely but when you pay 3dollars for a ride, It’s totally worth it.
My uber request was to drop us at the Latina walk of fame, cause I didn’t know any other landmarks. We were surprised to find ourselves at the entrance of the Domino park (also known as Maximo Gomez park). Its a very popular place, you find older Cubans playing dominos while chatting with their friends. We found some tourists peeking inside, it was early in the day, so I wasn’t so busy. My colleague was daring enough to lead the way inside, she sat on one of the empty chairs and watched the players. I hesitantly followed and stood next to her. She tried to explain to me how the game was played, how the pieces were supposed to be placed next to each other. Thanks to her, they allowed us to take pictures.
At the corner of the Domino park, that’s where the Latinas Walk Of Fame starts. Compared to the one in Hollywood this one doesn’t amount to much, maybe it’s better to visit this one first. But it was fun following the stars while reading the unfamiliar names.
We were quick to fall in love with colourful and bright wall murals. Each mural was different and distinct in its own way, I found them to be beautiful and unique. I’ve never seen so many in one area. I took my time admiring them at some point we had to queue in order to take pictures with them. The day was not getting any younger and streets were getting its fill of tourists.
Little Havana is named after Havana the largest and capital city of Cuba. It emerged in the 1960s when the number of Cuban immigrants around the area increased. The population further increased with Fidel Castro rise to power, they were mostly made up of the upper class, who disagreed with his ruling. It was known later, With the help of the US government, the Cuban exiles launch a failed attack on the Cuban government at the southern coast of Cuba known as the Bay of pigs. In Little Havana, there is an eternal flame commorating the people who died in the Bay of pigs invasion.
While buying some snacks a lone dog invaded my privacy. I thought it was after my food, so I lifted my food higher but at some point I don’t think it even realised I was there. My colleague was quick to walk away leaving me in an awry situation. After a few nerve wrecking minutes it walked away, I laughed off my fear, maybe it was doing its own sightseeing.
At some point we had to head back. There were still so much to experience in Little Havana, like going to a night clubs for Cuban music and salsa dancing, they have a lot of Street festivals one is once a month on the last Friday, discover the world famous Cuban mojito, Cuban cigars…politics, culture etc I highly recommend its a must visit, and I’m definitely going back?.