Located just west of downtown Miami, Little Havana is also known as the Latin Quarter. Cubans settled here fleeing the Castro regime and it became a quiet district of sherbet coloured houses.
Driving tour - from downtown Miami head west on Flagler across the Miami River to SW 17th Avenue, go as far as the Plaza de la Cubanidad. This fountain and monument is a tribute to the Cuban provinces and to the people who were drowned by Castro’s forces while trying to escape from Cuba in 1994 on the ship 13 de Mayo, which sunk just off the coast. Also visit the Bay of Pigs museum. Carry on west along Flagler until you reach Douglas Road / SW 37th Avenue.
Turn left and drive south to SW 8th Street or Calle Ocho (also the 41 Tamimami Trail). Feeling hungry ? Stop at Versailles Bakery 3501 Southwest 8th Street to sample authentic Cuban food. Don't speak Cuban ? Just point at a number on the menu to order. Drive east on Calle Ocho until SW 27th Street becomes a one way street travelling east to the heart of Little Havana. Every block needs to be explored to find authentic Latin shops, restaurants and street side counters selling tiny cups of sweet Cuban coffee, freshly baked bread and cigars.
First stop is El Credito for cigars lovers on SW 11th Avenue or a bit further along you will find Botanica El Aguila Vidente. The next stop is SW 13th Avenue to pay your respects to fallen Cuban freedom fighters at the Brigade 2506 Memorial Eternal Flame. On the corner of SW15th Street you will always find a game going on at Maximo Park (aka Domino Park). Across the road is the Tower Theatre - a 1926 Art Deco theatre which is still in use today. Continue along Calle Ocho and admire the Agustin Cainza Gallery.
Don't miss the Little Havana Walk of Fame, dedicated to Latin celebrities started in 1987 - found between 12th and 17th Street.
If you are visiting in March, this is home to the annual Calle Ocho parade, one of the largest street festivals in the world.