Going on Faith

AUG-SEP 2016

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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going on faith [ august | september 2016 ] 24 [ M I A M I 'S L I T T L E H AVA N A , F LO R I DA ] Don't be fooled by the diminutive in the name Little Havana. This Cuban gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean is big on history and authentic experiences, making it one of the most distinctive heritage tourism destinations in the country. Dating back to the 1930s, the area has always been a melting pot of Hispanic and Latin cultures: Cubans fleeing from social, eco- nomic and political strife in Cuba, as well as immigrants from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, among others. Together, they have created a vibrant mul- ticultural landscape bursting with energy and tradition at every turn. The main drag, extending almost two miles in the heart of Miami, is Calle Ocho (Southwest Eighth Street). It and its connecting side streets are peppered with insightful monuments, imaginative murals, historic attractions, captivating music and warm, welcom- ing people. For example, you'll find a 16-foot-long bronze raised map of Cuba, statues of the Virgin Mary and the Eternal Torch of Brigade 2506, which pays tribute to the lives lost in the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba. "Although Little Havana is in the U.S., it feels like walking in a very different culture and place," said Connie Kinnard, vice president of multicultural tourism and development for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Visitors enjoy a very walkable, authentic experience here, from the shops where they roll premium handmade cigars in the traditional fashion to watching domino games and competitions at Domino Park to enjoying a Cuban coffee to places like Hoy Como Ayer [Today Like Yesterday] Bar and Lounge for great live entertainment, food and dancing." On the culinary front, locally owned places like AzĂșcar Ice Cream Company; El Cristo Restaurant and Catering, which serves Cuban- American cuisine; and the Spanish-inspired Casa Juancho offer dishes made from Abuela's (Grandma's) recipes with a modern twist. Miami area denizens and visitors flock to the immensely popular Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays) the last Friday of each month to enjoy talented street performers, live music, salsa lessons, art gallery exhibits and more. Be sure to meander along the Latin Walk of Fame of Little Havana, which honors Latino entertainers, artists, and personalities including Celia Cruz, Julio Iglesias, Olga Guillot, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, Pedro Vargas and Thalia. www.miamiandbeaches.com Courtesy Greater Miami CVB Courtesy Pella CVB Courtesy Greater Miami CVB Miami's Little Havana Handmade cheese aging in Pella A Cuban coffee in Miami

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