It was 16 years ago when Eduardo de Queiroz first stepped into the pristine Florida sand, breathing the salty air and marveling at the azure sea. The Brazil native spent years exploring the amusement parks of Orlando, the sunny shorelines of Miami Beach, and the Cuban restaurants in Little Havana, falling in love with the peninsula in the process. Today, Eduardo puts his passion and knowledge of South Florida to good use with his own tour company—Amazonia Tours Miami. The seasoned guide leads tours all around the Miami area, from airboat cruises through the lush wildlife of the everglades to air-conditioned bus trips around the art deco architecture of South Beach. He brings sightseers to the Jungle Island zoo and Seaquarium, and ventures outside the city to introduce newcomers to Orlando theme parks and Key West beaches. The versatile guide conducts tours in English, Portuguese, or a Dracula voice. In addition to tours, he offers scooter rentals and transportation to the airport and local malls.
Over the ocean, a mechanism whirs into gear and 1,000 gallons of water start to rush through the jetpack lifting the wearer up toward the sky. Though that experience might sound like a scene from an action movie or the last barbecue you attended, it’s at the heart of Aqua-Jet Miami’s regular outings. Trained by Jetlev Academy, Aqua-Jet’s instructors provide thorough yet brief safety instructions to riders before they take flight strapped to jetpacks and flyboards. Once in control, riders can reach breath-taking heights while they fly above the ocean and take in scenic views of downtown. These flight experiences are also coupled with sunrise and sunset boat tours, which provide ample time for guests to frolic as they wait their turn to fly in the jetpack.
Festival of Souls immerses guests in horror-film-worthy scenes across two fearsome attractions that span 20,000 total square feet. Fiendish denizens lurk in the shadowy corridors of Demon Mansion, waiting to chill the spines of voyagers bold enough to plumb its hellish depths. Guests can also traverse the Pitch Black Maze, a challenging labyrinth filled with creatures of the night.
Beautiful waitresses clad in plaid mini kilts crisscross Tilted Kilt, hoisting trays of Celtic-themed pub fare as sports fans catch games on high-definition TVs. Almost a decade old, the Tilted Kilt franchise originated in Las Vegas, where restaurateur Mark DiMartino first conceived of a sports bar with Irish touches—an idea that has since spread across the country. Patrons can stay out late at the pub, spending the night sipping on beers while sampling burgers, fish ‘n’ chips, or shepherd’s pie filled with beef and veggies. On a weekly basis, musicians enliven the already party-like atmosphere, strumming tunes or throwing up fistfuls of counterfeit money on the eatery’s patio.
As the sun dips below North Lake, strings of lights bordering Taverna Opa’s patio flicker on, casting a warm glow on the water below. The crepuscular calm lasts only a few moments at Taverna Opa: once night falls, live DJs take to the stage, furnishing belly dancers with a throbbing beat by which to shimmy and undulate. Waiters often lock arms and break into traditional zorba dancing. And, if the night reaches a fever pitch, patrons may smash their plates and toss their napkins in the air. This raucous atmosphere has earned Taverna Opa the spotlight in a slew of media publications. But though revelry is paramount, Taverna Opa doesn’t shirk cuisine: chefs marinate fresh seafood and lamb in fresh herbs and roast them on a wood-fired grill, and bartenders pour Greek wines well-suited for the succulent meats or postmeal Trojan horse christenings.
Making memories nearly every day of the year, the steady-handed tour guides and pilots of Miami Flight Seeing conduct aerial surveys over more than 80 miles of Key Biscayne, Biscayne Bay, and downtown Miami. While skimming over pristine beaches and emerald-colored waters, sky tourists spot manatees, dolphins, manta rays, and other volleyball enthusiasts below. The high-winged observation craft boasts panoramic windows with virtually no obstruction, affording a clear view of all of the highlights narrated by the pilot on educational ventures. And yet, captains also know when to show restraint in their narrations; namely during the company's romantic sunset tour, which has prompted many an enviable marriage proposal.