*Post sponsored by VISIT FLORIDA*
Miami now seems like a distant memory, a blur that's left an array of beautiful photographs in its wake. I've been home almost two weeks now and I have to say I'm already getting itchy feet, TAKE ME BACK!
Miami truly was the most awesome place I've ever visited, it's been added to my "favourite places in the world" list and it will always have a very special place in both mine and Faye's hearts, that's for sure.
I'm back today with the second instalment of my Miami guides, the first was "The ULTIMATE Guide to Miami" which you can find right here, where I told you EVERYTHING you need to know to make your trip to Miami a cracking one. However, I'm here today with a much smaller guide, but a guide nonetheless for my favourite part of Miami, Little Havana.
Little Havana is a small neighbourhood in Miami that is home to many Cuban residents and is of course, named after Havana, the capital and largest city in Cuba. Situated immediately West of Downtown Miami, it was really handy to get to from where we were staying at The Langford Hotel, and after just a 10 minute Uber ride we arrived in the cultural area of Little Havana.
As soon as I stepped foot into Little Havana I knew we were going to get along. There's just something totally magical about the whole place and I simply could not wait to explore!
Little Havana is small in size but big in personality!
Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street) is the main drag within Little Havana and home to The Walk of Fame; a Hollywood inspired walkway featuring Cuban artists and personalities including Gloria Estefan and Celia Cruz.
Calle Ocho offers vibrancy in its droves, from the colourful buildings against that of the blue Miami skies and green palm trees, to the array of music that's floating down the street out of every cafe, bar, restaurant and cigar shop.
Cigar shops in particular, totally fascinated me; I've simply never seen them like this before.
Men and women alike, rolling cigars in the shop window ready for sale that day. We popped into one of them and the smell was absolutely divine! It felt really quite special to be sharing such a handmade tradition with the locals.
Another tradition, or speciality if you will, of the Cuban locals is a classic Cuban Coffee.
As a huge coffee lover this was something I was very excited to try as I'd heard SO much about it; I'd previously asked around for the perfect cafe in which to get one and I'd even saved my morning coffee to truly enjoy the local favourite to the fullest.
We made a beeline for El Pub, a local cafe and restaurant in the very centre of Calle Ocho. It was brimming with locals enjoying their morning coffee and their breakfast with all the staff speaking in their native language - a real authentic experience indeed.
Now for the coffee!
This wasn't like any coffee I'd ever had before.
It was teeny tiny, Espresso sized and served black, just how I like to drink mine.
However, what I didn't know was that the Cuban coffee is sweetened with demerara sugar!! It was the sweetest and strongest coffee I have ever had!
Now, I'm not one for sweet things, but I must say, after a few tries and once I was used to it, it really was rather delicious indeed and something I urge you all to try!
FIND IT | 548 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135, USA
Having only decided to visit Little Havana at the last minute on our third day in Miami and after the weather was a little overcast and breezy for our scheduled beach day, I couldn't have been happier with how the day panned out.
Whilst the weather wasn't exactly beach appropriate, it was the perfect breezy yet warm day to stroll through Little Havana; that's what I love so much about Miami, theres just so much to see and do that despite the weather, you'll always find somewhere to see, explore or visit.
Now I've already mentioned how colourful and vibrant I found it to be, but seriously, just look at these snaps, AMIRITE!? It was pretty much the perfect destination for me and my photography needs and it managed (coincidentally might I add) to match my outfit of choice perfectly too.
I'm really digging all things primary coloured right now, from blues, reds and yellow and then a spot of green thrown in for good measure, so Little Havana really was the perfect backdrop for many an Instagram and blog post.
Denim and ruffles with a touch of eighties flair with my current fave shoe choice, the high vamp sling-back! Say hello to my upcoming summer look of choice everybody.
Faye opted for light layers with a sleeveless Nirvana T-shirt and printed button maxi skirt, styled to bohemian perfection in true Faye style with a chunky western belt and fedora; she looked badass and totally exploration ready.
Whilst I wanted to visit as many recommendations as possible, I also really wanted to make our own decisions and in turn hopefully be able to offer some new recommendations to you guys.
So after walking the length and breadth of Calle Ocho we headed a few streets further "just in case" and I am SO glad we did as we stumbled upon Mi Riconcito a seriously sweet Mexican restaurant that was totally authentic, totally simple and a definite fave amongst locals off the beaten track.
Mi Riconcito is a truly delicious local Mexican haunt with a real cantina style to it. Offering complimentary chips and salsa on arrival, we opted, of course for a Corona and guacamole to kick things off.
Faye then selected the chicken burrito which was delicious and very different to the Mexican food we get over here in the UK. It was traditional in every way, similar to my chicken tacos with frijoles. The refried beans were SO different to what I'm used to but honestly SO TASTY!
I would highly recommend this little haunt if you're looking for something extremely traditional, laid-back yet totally delicious whilst exploring Little Havana.
FIND IT: 1961 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135, USA
Next on our agenda was cocktails!
We were told that the best Mojito's were housed at Ball & Chain, in the heart of Little Havana and they most certainly did not disappoint.
Ball & Chain is a much raved about bar featuring live music and a large outdoor area. It's the must visit hang out on a Saturday night, or so I am told.
However, we visited in the middle of a Monday afternoon and my gosh was it vibey!
The live band was playing, hoaxing passers-by's into the beautiful bar area. The decor was absolutely GORGEOUS and seriously to my taste with the deep green walls, brown leather and reclaimed wood; something totally modern yet oh-so traditional about the whole aesthetic.
Out back however, was where my heart really was sold on the place.
A truly beautiful open space full of tables and sofas; perfect for relaxing on during the day and chatting with friends on an evening out, I can only imagine how incredible the place must be by night.
A huge pineapple shaped stage in the centre, and palms and greenery everywhere else, it was the ultimate place to relax on a busy afternoon in Miami, and we had the place all to ourselves.
Plus, the Mojito's were DIVINE, let's just say more than one may have been consumed... When in Miami ey?
When we hopped in our taxi, we asked to be taken straight to the Maximo Gomez Park; a place I knew I'd totally love.
Maximo Gomez Park is a Little Havana landmark. A meeting place for local Cuban veterans at any time of the day.
A tradition for over 35 years, older Cubans head to Maximo Gomez Park or Domino Park as it is now known, to meet with friends, smoke Cuban cigars, sip Cuban coffee and play a game of Dominoes.
It was totally adorable to see the elderly locals in this way, and let me tell you, the Domino games can get really rather serious and in turn exciting indeed!
I'd definitely suggest heading here just for 10 minutes or so to experience what the locals do. There are even benches for spectators too so they really don't mind being watched ( or photographed).
FIND IT | 01 SW 15th Ave, Miami, FL 33135, USA
Our last port of call for the day of course had to be ICE CREAM!
We spied this place at the beginning of our trip as it's directly opposite the domino park, so it's safe to say that ice cream was firmly on our mind for the majority of the day.
The Azucar Ice Cream Company in Little Havana has got to be one of the most delicious ice cream joints I've ever visited with the most weird and oh so totally wonderful flavours on offer.
Faye opted for red velvet which she HONESTLY did not stop raving about for the rest of the trip, whilst I sampled my beloved Mint Choc Chip, which I'd go as far as saying was one of the best I've tasted... And trust me, when it comes to mint choc chip, I am quite the connoisseur.
The HUGE queue of locals and tourists alike that emerged from the doorway would also suggest they too thought it was exceptional.
It was the perfect way to end our wonderful day in Little Havana and I would highly recommend you end your day in Little Havana in the exact same fashion!
FIND IT | 1503 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135, USA
So there we have it, Miami is all wrapped up... For this time, anyway.
I truly hope you've enjoyed hearing about our trip and would love to know if it's inspired you to visit too? Little Havana is an absolute MUST, however, for more tips on where to visit, stay and where to eat check out this post here.
I've also shared a week in outfit's too if you'd like some summer styling inspo too.
Lots of love
I was a guest of VISIT FLORDA and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, which has lots of useful information on places to stay and things to do in Miami. For more information: visitflorida.com and miamiandbeaches.com