Looking for a Miami escape that’s a little different? Skip the downtown high rises and the flashy glitz of South Beach (not to mention the crowds) for the spicy side of Little Havana. This section of the city along Calle Ocho between Southwest 8th and 32nd Avenues is about as real-deal Cuba as you can get on this side of the Gulf.
Start Off Right
Get moving early because Little Havana has some of the tastiest and cheapest bakeries in the city. Within minutes, Cuban coffee (con leche y azucar if you like it creamy and sweet) gets you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Check out Tosca Bakery for delicious jelly or cream rolls called brazo gitano and tarts known as nata cakes. Not sure what’s what? Just point to something sweet – you can’t really go wrong.
Dress the Part
Miami — like Cuba — can get a little steamy. The guayabera is a loose-fitting, cotton shirt with pleats and pockets for men, and the fedora is a snappy hat for both men and women. Together they are basically the uniform of Little Havana, so do some shopping! Stop into Ramón Puig on Calle Ocho to get fitted for the classic look. Que bonito!
Machismo to Burn? Try Dominos.
Try slappin’ tiles in style at Maximo Gomez Park at the corner of Calle Ocho and 15th Avenue. Known as Domino Park, this small public plaza is a hot gathering spot for dozens of players ready for an afternoon of competition at small, colorful tables. But don’t let the smiles of the abuelitas fool you — this is a serious game in Little Havana!
Cool off with Coppelia
Creamy, cool ice cream called coppelia is everywhere in Cuba, so grab a sweet treat to beat the heat at Azucar Ice Cream on Calle Ocho and SW 15th Avenue. There are 24 flavors to choose from – including classic Little Havana sabors like dulce de leche, peanut and plaintain, as well as their signature “Abuela Maria” flavor. Try something different! All are made with fresh ingredients, many with local fruits and vegetables. Fresh squeezed mango sorbet? Si.
Let It Roll
You can’t get Cuban cigars in Miami, but the stogies in Little Havana are a close runner-up. Stop in to El Crédito Cigar Factory and see the masters at work. Cigar master Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. oversaw the factory until it was turned into a popular store on the corner of Calle Ocho and 11th Avenue. Watch the pros roll while picking out a box to share — or keep all to yourself. Shh…
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