If you are on your first visit to Miami & southeast Florida, you can't go wrong with taking a guided tour (which you can book in your hotel) and which, in half a day, will show the most important sights in Miami and the Beach. After the tour, you can take a more detailed look at whatever attraction takes your fancy.

Bayside (Biscayne Blvd.)
Beautiful location in Bayfront Park, near the Port of Miami. Walking distance to the downtown area and public transport. Numerous shops and a very good food court. Sightseeing cruises available. Very busy in the evening: enjoy the lively music, which is on everyday.

Cape Florida Lighthouse (1200 S Crandon Blvd.)
At the very end of Key Biscayne, this is the oldest original structure in south Florida. There is a restored lightkeeper's cottage next to it. Visit the nearby Crandon Park Beach, the best in the area.

Metrozoo (12400 SW 152nd Street)
Quite a drive from Miami Beach, but worth it: this is one of the best zoos in America. A huge plus point is that the zoo has successfully reproduced natural habitats for the animals. Regular wildlife shows.

Miami Seaquarium (4400 Rickenbacker Causeway)
If you've already been to Sea World in Orlando, it is not really worth a visit. On the other hand, we were impressed with the manatee presentation, animals which are only found in the wild SE Florida waters.

Monkey Jungle (14805 SW 216th Street)
This attraction was terribly hit by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 but has since been fully restored. Famous for its Amazonian jungle section, the best bit of this place.

Parrot Jungle Island (1111 Parrot Jungle Trail)
Kids will love it here. Beautiful tropical rainforest and daily shows. This attraction has recently moved to its new location, near Miami Beach.

Spanish Monastery (16711 W Dixie Highway)
The oldest building in America, but only completed in 1951! Newspaper magnate Randolph Hearst bought the original building in Spain (which had been completed between the years 1133-1141) in 1925 , had it dismantled and shipped to America. It was then stored in a warehouse in New York for some time, and then finally brought to North Miami Beach. Recommended.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens (3251 S Miami Ave., Coconut Grove)
This attraction is on almost all sightseeing tours. Beautiful Renaissance-style villa and Italian gardens with statues and fountains.

Areas: (back to top)
Coconut Grove
Getting more and more commercialised everyday, but still worth a visit to this Miami village, known for a long time as a haven for artists and eccentrics. Lovely small shops and good restaurants. Nowadays also home to Coco Walk shopping/ restaurant/cinema complex and Mayfair Mall.

Downtown Miami
Pretty much all of the Miami skyscrapers are located here, which means you'll have a great view whilst travelling from Miami Beach to the downtown area. Full of shops which cater for South American visitors. Combine your trip to this area with a visit to Bayside.

Little Havana (Calle Ocho)
SW 8th Street is the Hispanic centre of Miami. Many Cubans, Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Puerto Ricans live and run there businesses here. Good restaurants! Try the strong Cuban coffee and watch old people playing dominos, chess and cards in Domino Park.

More Links: (back to top)
The good folks at the Sun Sentinel, the Fort Lauderdale daily newspaper, have prepared a wonderful guide to some of the sights in southeast Florida. Definitely worth having a look..