Miami, Florida – The Sunshine State. It’s an ideal stop over city for most South American destinations, or as part of a Florida self-drive itinerary.

Miami offers it all and caters for everyone; beach bums will enjoy the miles of white sandy beaches lined with sunbeds and parasols and promenades stretching the length of the beach; photographers will pine over the attractive and characteristic Art Deco buildings and there’s a huge choice of restaurants and bars catering for every taste. To top it all off, add a huge Latino presence and you have a great Miami buzz.

Where to stay in Miami

Miami has an amazing selection of hotels, from the usual luxury chains down to independent hotels that have made a name for themselves a name on the desirable Ocean Drive. I stayed at the Dorchester which has a great location, a pool and bar and rooms starting from about £130 a night.

One of the easiest ways to do a short stay in the city is to book our Miami Stopover Package which includes your accommodation, transfers and a day trip.

At the top end, we recommend the waterfront Mondrian South Beach – a trendy, contemporary hotel with stunning views over Biscayne Bay with a spa and complimentary bikes if you want to explore.

A great 4* option is Essex House, an art deco property surrounded by boutiques, cafes and bars and not far from downtown or the airport.

If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend the centrally located Freehand Miami. It has shared (dorm) and private rooms, a pool and breakfast is included. It’s also worth knowing that if you pick a hotel a little further back from the action, many have sister properties on the beach where you’ll be able to use the sunbeds, pool and hotel beach for a small resort fee.

Eating and drinking

To set yourself up for the day, opt for a Cuban/Mexican breakfasts from any of the local eateries – that will set you up for the day with eggs galore!

Given the climate, dining outside is the norm of an evening. As well as plenty of great beachfront restaurants, the pedestrian area of Lincoln Road is buzzing with shops and restaurants – you’ll find all those giant cocktails in glasses the size of your head!

Prices are not dissimilar to the UK but there are meal and drink deals to be had in the popular restaurants. To avoid the beach bar prices, head to the aptly named ‘I love liquor’ store in South Beach for ice cold beers and every other tipple.

Shopping areas

If downtown is out of your price range but you want to pick up some bargains – Best Buy offers great priced electrical goods/smart devices. We found that the Apple store on Lincoln Road will also price match.

The giant beach-style stores stock just about everything from beach necessities like sun glasses, hats and flip flops but for those after a swankier experience, boutique and designer shops are abundant in the Coral Gables area of the city - it’s a top spot for designer wear.

Things to do in Miami

If you’re short on time, you may get no further than the beach. But if you do tire of the beach and hanker after some exploration into the city and its surrounds, check out some of the tours available. South Beach is the centre of all things Deco, from 18th St and South, along Ocean Drive and Collins.

Big bus

This is an open top, hop-on/hop-off bus tour with 30 stops including the beach and downtown Miami. It’s a relaxing way to feel like you’ve made an effort to see the city if you’re short on time. You’ll hear about the local celebrities, see South Beach whit its lifeguard towers, Little Havana and Coconut Grove and have the chance to snap plenty of photos of the art deco architecture. From $27/$40.50 per child/adult for a 24 hour pass.

Duck tours

To see Miami from the land and shore, take a tour in an amphibious vehicle through famous Miami landmarks before a dramatic splashdown into the beautiful Biscayne Bay for city skyline views and a close-up look at the many homes of the rich and famous on Star Island. From $18/$29 per adult/child.

Art Deco Day tours

Take a 2 hour walking tour of Miami Beach’s fabulous art deco buildings. It’s probably your best opportunity to learn about the deco style, see examples and take some great photographs. From $30pp with Art Deco Tours. And if walking is too energetic – get with the Segway! You can rent your own Segway from about $30pp!

Everglades National Park

Day trips including Airboat ride and nature tours around these amazing wetlands. Our Miami Stopover Package includes a day trip to the Everglades.

Getting around

From the airport, taxis into the city are fixed at US$32 (2015). If you prefer to be met, we can arrange private transfers or a shared hotel transfer which is a little cheaper. You can always get advice on the local bus routes, or for sightseeing go for a bus tour

Miami as a stopover

Miami makes a great USA stopover if you’re headed south and want a little city action en route – check out our great-value Miami stopover package for the easiest way to plan this city into your itinerary. Check out these multi-stop ideas, or we can book you direct flights, plus a tailor-made self-drive through Florida, the Keys and the Everglades.

  • London – Miami – Rio // Santiago – Auckland // Christchurch – Sydney – Bangkok // Singapore – Dubai – London from £1,895 pp
  • London – Miami – la Paz // Rio – New York – London from £650pp

To book a stopover or USA trip

To book a trip to or through Miami, I can tailor-make every part of your arrangements, from flights and transfers, to accommodation, tours and self-drive – just contact Andrea