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.
As rum collector and enthusiast Robert Burr sensed what he termed the "awakening of rum" in 2005, he decided to direct his passion toward educating the community. Drawing from an earlier career in magazine publishing, he compiled a list of 100 of his favorite rums each year into a free guide, which he gave to local liquor stores. As he developed connections with other enthusiasts and tasting judges, he formed the International Rum Expert Panel, an organization of 36 cane-spirit lovers from around the world. He gathers the majority of these experts in Miami Beach each year for the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, a celebration of the libation's international varieties. Through the festival's schedule of events, Robert aims to honor iconic spirits while also featuring lesser-known rum makers that guests might not otherwise find without finding and deciphering Blackbeard's long-lost treasure-map pajamas.
Held at the opulent DoubleTree by Hilton, the annual event has grown to include hundreds of rums hailing from countries such as Jamaica, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. As they mingle in spacious convention halls, visitors navigate a labyrinth of bartenders and brand ambassadors proffering island apparel, art, and books. Industry experts expound on the history, origins, and childhood fears of the libation during weekend seminars and bartender competitions. Attendees also revel at a two-day tasting exhibition, late-night parties, and VIP events at various Miami venues.
Wind-leashed high-flier and Skybanditz founder Francisco Escudero has blown spectators away at such competitions as the Velocity Games and the Bahamas kite race. He is the North Miami Beach area coordinator of the Florida Kitesurfing Association and founder of Skybanditz, where he and his trained staff conduct all manner of surf- and sky-borne expeditions. They outfit maritime adventurers with all the proper kiteboarding, kayaking, and paddleboarding gear, as well as lead kayak tours through Marine Stadium and several small islands. They also give guests the option to explore the high seas on their own or with friends. Instructors, meanwhile, cover safety and proper techniques during kitesurfing programs that range from beginner level to Level X, an echelon they reserve for students who are ultra-advanced or genetically related to flying squirrels.
Like any large city, Miami has a wealth of landmarks and happenings to explore, but visitors may not know where to start. That's where Miami Open City Tour comes in. The company rolls out spacious, double-decker buses that transport riders along two routes, allowing them to hop on and off at their leisure. As they meander through various neighborhoods, they can listen to narrated facts on provided headphones, learning about the artistry of Coconut Grove, the music of New World Symphony Center, and the plastic black and white trees of Domino Park.
The Miami Seaquarium. Biscayne Bay. Miami Beach. These are just a few of the many sites in the Miami area that visitors can explore on a Miami Adventures tour. The sunny city springs to life during narrated jaunts downtown as guests peruse Little Havana and the Bayside Marketplace Marina while learning about the city's history and renowned art-deco architecture. A boat tour to upscale Biscayne Bay reveals celebrity homes and diamond-encrusted dolphin coves, and a hop-on hop-off double-decker bus tour allows visitors to discover the area over two leisurely days.
Despite its name, Miami Adventures doesn't limit its tours to the titular burg. Visits to Orlando include admission to one park including Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, or Sea World, a day-long trip to Key West explores Hemingway's mansion and the southernmost point in the the U.S., and a full-day adventure to the Bahamas begins and ends with a trip aboard a ferry.
The Wynwood Art Walk's walking tours meander its neighborhood's more-than 60 private art institutions, introducing visitors to Miami's vibrant local art scene. The standard tour, held twice on the second Saturday of each month, ushers guests to galleries, special art collections, and artists' studios clustered chiefly along 2nd Ave. between 20th St. and 36th St.. WAW also organizes special themed tours, such as the Underground tour, which highlights the neighborhood's newest and most game-changing spaces, including studios disguised as completely different studios.