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Miami: Not Just the Capital of Latin America

Miami Skyline from a Cruise ShipNo city in the United States has as many disparate identities Miami. A former Spanish settlement, located along the Miami River where it spills into Biscayne Bay (now the center of the city of Miami), attracted neither interest nor population. It was a mosquito infested swamp, reachable by boat only.

The first real estate boom started shortly after Henry Flagler extended the railway into this part of South Florida in 1896. Many visionaries made their fortunes on 10-20 acre lots of swampland. Some left monuments such as the grand Villa Vizcaya and the slew of privately developed islands along the causeways crossing Biscayne Bay.

The city of Miami sits on the Florida mainland. Offshore, due east in the Atlantic, are a series of barrier islands. The southernmost island is Key Biscayne. Next to the north is Virginia Key, followed by Fisher Island and Miami Beach. The body of water between these islands and the mainland is Biscayne Bay. Resort development started from the southern tip with unique Art Deco hotels and night life of the South Beach (SoBe) and proceeded northward to and including Ft. Lauderdale with high rise developments with luxury amenities.

Cuban refugees of the 1960s opened the gateway to the Caribbean, followed by population influx from all of Latin America, which has profoundly changed Miami's personality. It is now a bilingual, multicultural, and vibrant city, which stands out of all major cities in the U.S.

The renovated Art Deco district and South Beach have become a mecca of celebrities and those who follow them. SoBe is home to Miami's nightclub, fashion, music and hip dining scene - the place for people-watching. North of SoBe, the best resort and shopping areas are Golden Beach, Bal Harbour, Sunny Isles Beach and Aventura, which expand further the Miami chic lifestyle.

Miami offers an abundance of cultural, fashion, adult entertainment and sport events year round. South Florida's balmy subtropical climate and scenery is the ground zero for those who have the passion for fun and Latin rhythms the world-class nightlife and appreciate the pleasure of the laid-back time soaking up some rays on the beach or around your hotel's pool.

A great place for a half or full day trip is the the Everglades, offering a unique nature watching experience with native Indian flavor. Off the Atlantic coast a short distance to the south is the only living coral reef in the continental United States.

Miami is the capital of the cruise line business of the world, and home to some of the largest cruise ships ever built. You can find all kinds of cruise deals here! Whether Miami is your port of embarkation, debarkation or a port of call mid-cruise, it is unlikely that you will encounter a city anywhere on your travels that appeals to so many tastes: food connoisseur, shopaholic, eco-tourist, golfer, tennis player, boater or lover of traditional tourist attractions.

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