This past week I got two E-mails from two different people asking me advice on traveling to Miami. The thing is, I’ve only been to Miami twice and as much as I loved immersing myself in the culture of the 305, I wouldn’t exactly consider myself an expert. That being said, I did manage to think up 10 tips with a little help from my friends. So, are you going to Miami? Not sure what to expect? Here are 10 things you should know.
#1. Perfect Bodies
As Miami-native Pitbull says, “Ella es una bombona y su cuerpo, dos siliconas” and “Body is all great, 26 24 28, body parts fake.” That isn’t to say all or even most people in Miami have had plastic surgery to look the way they do – maybe they were born lucky, maybe they’ve worked hard for it, but whether it’s natural or not, the psychological result is the same: Being surrounded by so many perfect-looking people who appear to have walked straight out of a music video can make one feel just a little insecure.
My only advice for you on this one is to be prepared for it, accept it, and try to look your best without comparing yourself to everyone else. Why spend your trip moping that you can’t bounce quarters off your ass? Serious waste of time which could be spent simply enjoying the eye candy.
#2. Cuban Culture & Español
Being in some parts of Miami is kind of like taking a trip to Latin America without ever leaving the country. Experience Cuban food, music and more – soak it up. If you don’t speak Spanish, be prepared to be in the minority. If you do speak Spanish, you might feel like you’ve died and gone to Heaven. The casual Spanglish thrown around here, the way people assume and expect you to speak it, is something pretty special.
#3. Bright Colors
From the natural bright blue of the ocean and the sky to architecture and fashion – bright colors are everywhere.
#4. City & Beach
Miami has everything from gorgeous tropical beaches to sky scrapers.
#5. Humid & Sunny with a Chance of Rain
The weather is gorgeous but at times you will experience some hair-do destroying humidity. Veronica of Cid Style File says to make sure you bring your anti-frizz products – you’ll need them. (And don’t forget the sunscreen.)
Depending on where you’re visiting from, prices – particularly in South Beach, might be a little shocking. If you’re the type to buy items at your destination rather than try to fit them in your luggage, you may want to reconsider this time.
#7. Party Atmosphere
Maybe it was because both times I went to Miami I was there to attend special events, but I can’t help but think a “party atmosphere” permeates Miami year round. Get some sleep before you arrive – you’re going to need it.
Okay, now I didn’t personally experience this to any extreme where I would say Miami is any more rude than some other places I’ve visited, but apparently the city does have a reputation. Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine apparently voted Miami the 2nd rudest city in the nation, but you can decide for yourself.
Miami is second in something else – celebrities. I imagine only Los Angeles has a larger movie star population, although New York might be a bit of competition. Don’t believe me? A few famous faces that make their home in Miami include Gloria Estefan, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Pitbull, among others. While some celebs don’t live in Miami, many keep vacation homes there or just come to party.
Be prepared for celebrity sightings wherever you go – especially Spanish-speaking celebrities. Telemundo studios is in Miami and they’ve been known to shoot on location.
Ah, the topic you’ve been waiting for. What do you wear in Miami? I’m not a fashionista so all I can tell you is, when in doubt, use fresh, clean colors. Show some skin but be classy not trashy. Here is what some of my friends have to say.
“Fun dresses that are lightweight and make you look put together. Dresses that can transition from day to night with the change of shoes and accessories and that can be layered with a lightweight sweater or denim jacket for the air-conditioned indoors. Don’t forget sunblock and a killer pair of shades.” – UnknownMami.com
“Colorful. Tropical. Skin. Sexy shoes. Perfume. Lipstick. And a Smile.” – Carrie / TikiTikiBlog.com
“You can wear nice jeans and a sexy top too. Miami is tropical. Or just all black.” – MiCaminar.com
“Something colorful or flashy with a simple, but very clean look. People in Miami know how to dress.” – Chantilly / BiCulturalMom.com
Bonus Tip? Have fun! Miami awaits!
I intended to share my trip chronologically but it wouldn’t be nice to make you wait more for the part you really want to hear about – la alfombra roja (red carpet), and the actual Latin Billboard Awards show.
Cuban sandwiches and other randomness, while worthy of sharing with you, are not as exciting as the main event, so here we go. (I’ll tell you about the sandwich más tarde.)
We arrived at the red carpet and first we were seated in the bleachers with the fans. After a little while, we were given the option to move to the press area where it would be possible to actually speak with celebrities who chose to stop, with the caveat that we would have to stand for over 2 hours. I didn’t think twice – I wanted to be with the press.
(Thanks to CityChicOnline.com for the dress!)
When I got to the press area my hands started to shake. I caught a glimpse of a white cowboy hat and my heart fluttered, thinking it was Espinoza Paz. One of the blogueras who has a lot more experience with these kinds of events, kindly gave me some advice, reminding me that to gain respect I couldn’t freak out.
I think I did pretty well, despite an unintentional gasp here and there – like when Prince Royce gave me a shout-out.
Many celebrities stopped to talk, even shaking hands and giving hugs or a kiss on the cheek. One handsome telenovela actor was so close to me that I could smell the cologne on his skin and it wasn’t like he had put too much on or anything, (can’t remember which actor it was pero qué rico se huele!) I chatted up the cast of the new mun2 show, RPM Miami for a minute or two – but you know my heart was set on finding Espinoza Paz and Pitbull.
Pitbull did walk by, but didn’t stop to chat.
And it was cool to meet El Trono de Mexico.
I told one of the guys from El Trono, “Me gustan tus botas picudas!” and he smiled.
More photos! (From Gloria Estefan to Marc Anthony and actors from telenovelas like Reina del Sur…
Here are some photos of the celebrities that came into the press area of the red carpet. Some stopped to talk, others just posed for photos. How many musicians and actors do you recognize?
Espinoza Paz never did pass by the press area – I’m not even sure he walked the red carpet. I felt a little heartbroken. I tried to spot him in the audience but wasn’t sure. At one point, I saw someone in a black cowboy hat come in late. I wonder if it was him?
I spotted Pitbull in his seat.
The stage set-up was super awesome. There were three stages and the one in the middle extended further into the audience. The stage had areas cut out that looked like little pools, where some very lucky fans got to stand. Stages left and right were cube shaped with walls that moved up and down. I loved the colorful lights and the feeling of the bass.
I video taped some of my favorite performances between tweeting:
One song I absolutely love that I neglected to video tape: Me Duele by Roberto Tapia. I loved the couples dancing quebradita during this performance.
The last performance of the evening – Pitbull. I don’t understand how he didn’t win anything. He brought the house down, (the shaky video is evidence of this. I was dancing.)
The last award of the night, “Artist of the Year” – went to Enrique Iglesias. To thank his fans he ran out into the audience. He ran by my section, maybe 20 feet away but I didn’t try to touch his hand. A lot of people were out of their seats and trying to do just that. I like Enrique but not enough to risk falling down stairs or getting crushed. Had it been Espinoza, that’s another story.
Disclosure: I went to the Latin Billboard Awards in Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.