First time in the US: 2 days in Miami south beach

Apr 30, 2018America, Travel

Before Havana, we had a quick stopover in Miami. This was out first time in the US, and we didn’t know what to expect with the current political situation. But surprisingly we were warmly welcomed from the first moment we set foot on the US soil. The TSA and immigration process went smoothly, they just throw away my remaining avocado…. Maybe I have a record of avocado contraband now, I don’t know! I already knew that fresh products such as fruits and vegetables were prohibited, but I didn’t have time to eat or throw my avocado. This is the last time that I will say avocado in this article, I promise!

How to get to Miami beach?

We checked Uber and the fare to Miami beach costs around 60 USD, so we asked around and found out that there is a bus that go directly to our hostel in Miami beach. it costs 2.75 USD, it’s the bus 150. The bus was packed with young travellers and backpackers, we liked the vibe already. Half of them were staying at the same hostel.

Miami on a budget: SOBE hostel

It’s time to check in our hostel… South Beach Hostel. The common area seem very cool. We booked beds in a dorm room because we always put location over comfort when we travel and Miami is not cheap! The hostel has an amazing location, close to the beach, ocean drive and Lincoln road. But, it’s more of a party youth hostel and we are too old for the experience I guess. Our roommates go out when we sleep and go to bed when we wake up. They party in the kitchen in the common areas, in the hostel bar and everything in between. We didn’t sleep the best, but it was quite an experience. If you travel alone, hostels are the best way to meet people. Everyone is open to discussion, it’s very easy to talk to one another and you meet people from everywhere in the world… those encounters can also shape the rest of your travel plans if you don’t have any.

The hostel has breakfast and dinner included. For breakfast you can choose between a bagel and a croissant with a hot drink and a fruit. Not my usual diet, but I wanted to try the onion bagel with cream cheese that we see in the American movies and I must admit that its not bad at all, but surely not the healthiest option.

We hesitated about having dinner at the hostel, but it ended up being good. They cooked one pot kind of meals like pasta, rice, beans and vegetables.

The really thing that bothered me aside from sharing the room with 19 years old party animals is the fact that they didn’t have any tables or shelves, neither in the room or the bathroom. But that must be the hostel life… I don’t know! We’ve already been to hostels but never in a dorm room. They usually also offer double rooms with a private bathroom like the one we stayed in, in Madrid: here. This is the perfect combination for travel grannies like us. You still experience the vibrant social atmosphere of a youth hostel with the privacy of your room and a quiet sleep environment.

The hostel still cost us 55 USD per night, which is the price of a decent double room in a lot of places in the world.

I could’ve skipped this part, but if you’ve reading this blog for a while, you know that I share the raw honest and real experiences. Even when they are out of character. Not only sharing when I eat healthy pretty meals and stay in trendy boutique hotels.

Miami beach

We didn’t invest in Miami, because we honestly didn’t expect much of it. But we ended up liking it a lot! The retro pastel architecture of the city mixed with the relaxed beach culture makes Miami a very interesting destination after all. It must be a characteristic of Miami beach in comparison to downtown Miami.

Miami for geographical reasons is very influenced by the hispanic culture. Everyone we talked to speaks Spanish and since we could pass as hispanics, a lot of people addressed us in Spanish. (lol!)

We didn’t have any crazy visiting plans, the idea was just to enjoy the beach walk around and observe. I only had one thing that I really wanted to do in the US…. go to my favourite American stores. I am not looking for excuses, but for me successful business models are part of the American culture. My top list was: Whole foods, Free People and Urban Outfitters. Unfortunately Miami beach doesn’t have a Urban Outfitters store but I was happy with the rest nonetheless. 

It may sound silly, but it meant a lot for me! With my love for blogs and digital content, I am soaked into those brands but experiencing them in real life is a total different experience.

Shopping in Miami

A “store experience” in the US, is a university subject on its own. And you can really tell that the expertise is no joke! From the branding, the merchandising, the music, the sound volume, the smells, the lighting and the sales staff. There is nothing that I hate more that being pressured or followed around by a sales person in a retail store, I usually just give up and continue my way, I love wandering around stores by my own, touching, smelling, reading labels without feeling any pressure, that’s what retail stores are made for. Otherwise we can easily buy online nowadays.

I know Free People’s collections by heart, I love their modern bohemian universe and I think that they make the most beautiful editorial pictures and videos out there. I get a lot of inspiration from their content and I love their blog and their bloggers. My ultimate dream would be to work on a creative project with them.

Otherwise, all the stores façade match the pastel mid-century theme of Miami, it’s beautiful!

Eating healthy in Miami

Eating healthy would be so easy with a whole foods nearby, but hey I’m not complaining I get the best fresh ingredients in Morocco, it’s just that if you want anything else healthy other than fruits and vegetables you have to make it from scratch. I was very “moved” by my visit to whole foods, I wanted to try everything but I stayed reasonable. They also have a catering area and if we stayed longer in Miami I think that I would’ve eat in Whole Foods on a daily basis.

TGI Fridays Diner, Miami South Beach

I also wanted to have a typical American meal, ideally in a diner. We were pointed towards a TGI Fridays… which we already have in Morocco and I ordered a mixed plate of appetizers: buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, potato skins and a variety of sauces. I think my body is not used to that much fat anymore. I didn’t feel the best after the meal. But hey, I needed to try! The food portions are also gigantic. Next time in the US I would love to try Chipotle, In&out, and a real diner breakfast with pancakes and all.

What to wear in Miami

I got so many question about the dress and the bag on the street. Everything is from Riva Fashion and as you can see it’s the perfect mix of stylish and comfortable. I noticed that in Miami that people are so forthcoming about complimenting complete strangers. I am not used to it, and it completely brightens my day each time.

From Miami to Havana video

Well Miami was unexpectedly pleasant, I will finish with a short video about our journey to Havana, including Miami. I hope that you will like it!

xo xo Dalal
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