Miami is not your typical American city. In a nation founded by immigrants, Miami is an American melting pot. Which just means you are going to meet people who have migrated from all over Latin America, the Cubans, South Africans- the 2nd largest in US, East Europeans, Europeans, Canadians and Russians. All of them settled here for decades, living and celebrating their respective cultures.
But no nationality has transformed Florida like the Cubans have. Now the largest Hispanic group in Florida is itself in transformation. Cubans, once the majority of Hispanic Floridians, have become a plurality, down to 29% of the Hispanic population, as other groups grow faster. In Miami-Dade County, Cubans share the city with hosts of new immigrants from Latin America. Spanish accents, music and food have become more diverse. Cuban coffee still predominates, and every cafeteria has some Cuban pastries, but they are now likely to also have Colombian and Venezuelan ones, too. And, driving down Calle Ocho, even in the heart of Little Havana, there are Peruvian, Mexican, Colombian and other restaurants.
Little Havana , just west of Downtown, is the cultural and political capital of Cuban Americans and the centre of their exile community. The atmosphere, language,culture are similar to Cuba and much of the cultural heritage is retained here in their new home.
Travel to this sensory sight is not complete without having the Cuban coffee after the elaborate Cuban meal, see the Cuban art and roll the Cuban cigar.
A walk down Little Havana’s main avenue ,Calle Ocho, and you see sidewalks with restaurants, pubs and convenience stores.The streets are lined with signs in Spanish and mom and pop shops in the spirit of Cuba’s capital city of Havana. Neighborhood markets sell specialty vegetables native to the Caribbean area like malanga, a potato-like vegetable root.
Walking through Little Cuba, watching men playing dominos on tables outside cafes and people rolling cigars in shops and on stands, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had actually taken the wrong flight and ended up in Cuba itself. The wonder of the area is that, whilst there is a strong Cuban culture, the residents are still appreciative of the fact that they reside in a foreign country and, as such, are welcoming and open to visitors speaking to them in English whilst they enjoy the cultural delights of the area.
Some of the best features of Little Havana which you should take in are the authentic restaurants, the small but high quality art galleries and the traditional street music which provides a theme track to the day-to-day lives of those who live in the area.
Checkout some of the Pics and soak in the Cuban culture.