Last week on the blog we discussed some amazing holiday warm weather get-a-ways. Bali, Tulum and Rio are all great places to sport the new Guria Summer Somewhere Brazilian Beachwear collection, but let’s face it, with holiday season comes gift giving and international travel can be pretty pricey. This week I’m going to discuss a domestic hot-spot, and a place I’m blessed to call my home – South Florida.
Vacation Begins at Home
In South Florida we have a little saying that we often use to make our friends and relatives up north a bit jealous when the mercury drops up there. “We live where you vacation.” As I sit here in sunny Miami writing this blog, the temperature is a balmy 85 degrees, but according to my iPhone, it feels like 91.
Beaches for Days
If it’s the beach you love, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Florida is a peninsula surrounded on 3 sides by water. The water is turquoise and relatively warm most of the year. Fort Lauderdale Beach is a great family destination if you are traveling with little ones. It’s also a great place to enjoy water sports and paddle boarding. Looking for activities that won’t break the bank? Try www.livingsocial.com where you can search by zip code for bargains with local vendors. While you’re there, stop by Splish Splash Bikini (929 Sunrise Lane), our favorite local swim shop, where you can find a great selection of Guria Brazilian Bikinis to spice up your collection.
Fort Lauderdale Beach:
Miami is a vibrant city with cultural influences from the Caribbean and South America. If you take a walk through Little Haiti and Little Havana you will find yourself hard pressed to hear an English word spoken at times. But one thing you won’t have any trouble finding is a good meal. In Little Havana, my personal favorite is Café Versailles. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can start your day with a cafecito which is a shot of Cuban Coffee. It’s a very strong coffee made in an espresso machine with sugar actually added into the coffee and brewed through the espresso machine. This makes it extra sweet because the sugar caramelizes as it cooks. A Cuban Sandwich or a media noche make a great lunch. For dinner, try the Ropa Vieja, which literally translated means “old clothes” but is actually a shredded flank steak cooked with onions, peppers and tomato sauce. Enjoy a stroll down Calle Ocho (8th Street) Little Havana’s main strip. There are Cuban bakeries on almost every corner and cigar shops where the cigars may not be Cuban, but the Cigar Rollers are. Some lively places to dance the night away to live Latin music are Ball & Chain or Hoy Como Ayer. Another must see is Máximo Gómez Park, locally referred to as Domino Park, where you can watch the viejos (old men) play dominos from morning to night.
Venture a bit south to Coconut Grove or South Miami and you’ll find a local favorite, Nikki’s Beach House Boutique, with two locations (5746 Sunset Drive in South Miami and 3115 Commodore Plaza at Coconut Grove). Here you can pick up everything from a new Guria Brazilian Bikini to a little dress and the best accessories for your night out on the town in Miami.
Get Away Like a Native
So, if we live where you vacation, you might be wondering where we vacation. Yes, occasionally Floridians do like to get a way from it all. My favorite escape is about a three-hour drive through the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are an archipelago, which is a string of islands. The 125-mile-long archipelago is connected by a single road called the Overseas Highway. The road contains 42 bridges including my favorite, the Seven Mile Bridge which is of of the longest segmental bridges in the world. For maximum driving pleasure, I would recommend renting a convertible to cruise the over-100-mile journey with the top down. A few notable tips for those new to the area. Try not to head down on a Friday or return on a Sunday. The traffic is really bad and since the highway is one lane most of the way, you can find yourself taking 6 or 7 hours to make a journey that should normally take you four hours including breaks for restroom and gas. You may also be wondering why a 125-mile journey would take four hours in the first place. Well, since it’s a single lane that takes you through many small towns, the speed limit for much of the way is between 25 and 40 miles per hour. And whatever you do, DON’T SPEED! There are many well-hidden officers along the route waiting to give you a pricey speeding citation. Make sure to pull over and hop out a few times and stick your feet in the water. Keep your eyes open for turtle nests though. You wouldn’t want to step on any of those little guys!
By now you’re probably thinking, it’s all about the journey. Although the ride is breathtaking, there are some amazing destinations along the way and of course, at the end of the road.
First Stop, Islamorada
Dubbed Islamorada by the first Spanish settlers, Isla Morada translates to Purple Island in English. It’s actually a group of 5 islands at the half-way point between Miami and Key West. My favorite place to stay in Islamorada is Cheeca Lodge & Spa. They have a beautiful beach with a pier that you can walk out on and feel like you’re in the middle of the ocean. The hotel has an amazing spa and great restaurant. Watersports, bike rentals and excursions are offered and can be coordinated on property by the hotel staff. While in Islamorada, visit Lion’s Lair Swimwear (82185 Overseas Hwy) for all of your Guria Brazilian Bikini needs. Islamorada Fish Company is a great place to enjoy fresh, locally caught fish for lunch or dinner overlooking the ocean.
Islamorada Fish Company:
At the End of the Road
At the end of Overseas Highway, you will find Key West (FINALLY!). Located only 90 miles from Cuba, it’s the southernmost point on the East Coast and the location on the island is marked by an anchored concrete buoy called, what else, The Southernmost Point Buoy. This is a favorite for tourists and a great photo-op. Key West also boasts such historical sites as the former winter home of President Truman, called The Little White House and the former home of Ernest Hemingway, the famous author who spent much of his adult life and wrote many a book in that house. The main strip is called Duval Street where you can walk end to end in less than an hour. Filled with shops, restaurants, bars and ice cream parlors, Duval is a great place to spend shopping by day and partying it up by night. Do not miss DJ’s Clam Shack on Duval where you’ll find the best lobster rolls south of Boston. Located in Key West is the southernmost Brazilian Bikini location that carries Guria, Key West Swimwear (511 Greene St.) You can grab a new bikini there to wear on a sunset cruise. They depart every evening and DJ, dinner and dancing are included. For a night cap and a sweet ending to the evening, Better Than Sex, a very romantic desert restaurant, serves almost everything made from scratch and chocolate, including chocolate wine.
Reading about it isn’t half the fun as visiting, so start planning your trip today. I know how hard you are working on that Brazilian booty. You deserve to reward yourself. When you stop in to any of the Brazilian Bikini Shops mentioned in the blog, don’t forget to tell them Guria sent you!
Written by JS