Last week I was in Miami for a personal trip. I have been to Miami several times in the past couple of years, and have very much enjoyed its Latin flavor as a fluent Spanish speaker and having traveled extensively across the region in the past. However, my time in the Miami area had been limited to the airport, airport hotels, and conference rooms. This time I actually had the opportunity to confront the city head on.
Dinner the first night was at a Kimpton Hotel, at a fancy 16th floor restaurant. The restaurant had a beautiful view over the white façade of the city’s buildings and its intertwined waterways. The mix of clientele was eclectic. They included high class individuals across the board: bilingual Floridians, latinos visiting the region, and only English-speaking Floridians. But everyone was infatuated in the company of their table mates, which was refreshing.
On my main day to venture through the city, I walked throughout South, Middle, and North Beach—along the cost, through shops, and promenades. Locals and visitors alike were strolling about—walking along the shore, going for a morning run, perusing through shops, or enjoying an early afternoon drink. Across the board was one commonality: el ritmo.
In Spanish, el ritmo directly translates to the rhythm, but can be better translated as the pulse and culture of a city. Between an evening, morning, and afternoon, I knew that the Miami I had previously experienced only at the surface level were integrated throughout the city’s culture. Every vein of the city speaks to its ritmo of warm, friendly, latino embracement of life. The culture of the people Is just as warm and humid as the early autumn weather. And has its special flavor from the rest of Latin America.
For a traveler fiercely loyal to his chain hotels where he holds the highest status, and two airlines with top elite status, and who has been through Miami International Airport at least 10 times in the past year, I can proclaim with certainty that Miami’s ritmo doesn’t stop at the airport door. Airport employees and décor resemble the city’s fierce culture. But the next time I travel through MIA, I’ll be sure to schedule a multiple hour layover if possible just to experience the city’s ritmo. It’s a short 10 minute Uber ride worth every penny.