Weekend in Delray Beach, Florida

In this week’s video we travel a few miles north to Delray Beach, which is located approximately halfway between Ft. lauderdale and Palm Beach. It was our original intention to try Harvest Hosts, but decided to make a last minute change of plans.

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Harvest Hosts is a subscription service that lists farms, wineries, and points of interest that allow you to boondock overnight on their property at no cost. It is customary and encouraged that you buy something from your host as a token of your appreciation for letting you spend the night. That was our plan this weekend. We figured we would spend the night at Bedner’s Farm in Delray, get some fresh produce from them, and explore the area. But when we learned that they lock the gate at night and there’s no in an out, we decided that, at least on this particular occasion, Harvest Hosts wasn’t the best option, as we wanted to explore the area’s nightlife. We made a last minute decision and decided to pay for an RV park. I had already been researching places to stay in the area and opted for Del Raton RV Park, impeccably located near the border between Delray and Boca Raton, hence the name. The RV park doesn’t have many amenities, but is it just a couple of minutes away from the beach and downtown Delray, so we didn’t mind paying the $43 per night all that much.

Delray Beach is a fun town at night and full of outdoor activities during the day. We really wanted to visit the Wakodahatchee Wetlands but it was closed during our stay here. Instead we visited the Morikami Gardens and Museum, arguably the most famous attraction in the area. I also enjoyed the frigid and turbulent waters of the atlantic ocean on a windy November afternoon.

At night, we walked around Atlantic Boulevard, in downtown, and had a byte at one of its many culinary offerings, which according to our cranky Uber driver were all tourist traps. Perhaps they were, but we didn’t mind.

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Coming in early December I will start selling a double CD  (US only for now) with all the tracks I have ever composed for my traveling videos. You can preorder now or use the drop down menu for more options. For CD orders outside the USA please contact me as I may have to charge for shipping.
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Miami: Little Havana

On January 1st 1959, a young lawyer named Fidel Castro overthrew the dictator who had been ruling the island of Cuba. Shortly after, he became a fresh new dictator himself. His alliance with the Soviet Union, confiscation of private property, and suppression of personal rights provoked a massive exodus of Cubans. Most of them fled from the capital city: Havana, to the closest city to the north: Miami. By the mid 1960’s the area was already known as Little Havana and the rest is history. For almost six decades the flow of Cubans has continued, sometimes as a trickle, sometimes as massive migrations such as the Mariel boatlift in 1980, and the rafter crisis of 1994. Over a million Cubans live in Miami now. The city is also home to a mixture of people from every single Latin American country.

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In today’s video we are visiting historic Little Havana, the area the Cuban migrants made their home in the 1960’s. It is perhaps, at its core, a little too commercialized, a little too touristy, but the experience is still somewhat authentic.

Nowadays, Little Havana is a huge area. Most of Southwest Miami, culturally speaking, can be considered  Little Havana, and there’s also Hialeah, our neighboring city to the Northwest, also mostly hispanic. Today, however, we are going to concentrate on two blocks of SW 8th Street that have been preserved as historic Little Havana. It was originally the Latin Quarter project in the 1990’s, in which they remade the sidewalks and made the Latin Walk of Fame. Then a bunch of nightclubs opened, the tour companies took notice and started stopping right here, by these two blocks between 13th and 15th avenues. On the last Friday of every month they celebrate Viernes Culturales, a small fair celebrating hispanic culture.

Some of the main landmarks in the area include the Bay of Pigs Memorial, the Historic Tower Theater, and the Domino Park. For authentic Cuban food I would probably recommend El Exquisito, El Pub, or El Cristo. I haven’t really eaten in any of the other places, but when they have a guy singing the Guantanamera by the door, that pretty much telegraphs it is catered towards tourists, and you are probably going to get an overpriced experience. If you want Cuban food with a twist, perhaps Ball & Chain is the place for you. For desert I recommend the Azucar Ice-cream Company, which is located right next door to the Ball & Chain.

It shouldn’t take you more than two or three hours to explore this little touristy slice of Little Havana. A lot of Miami is culturally the same, and the Cuban coffee will taste as good in any other corner cafeteria in the area. Basic conversational Spanish is not necessary but it will help you communicate in some of the less touristy areas.

I also encourage you to explore the other culinary option Miami has to offer, since we have people here from all over Latin America. We probably have the best parrilladas outside Argentina, the best churrascarias outside of Brazil, and the best pupusas outside of El Salvador, so feel free to explore and go outside your comfort zone.

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Coming in early December I will start selling a double CD  (US only for now) with all the tracks I have ever composed for my traveling videos. You can preorder now or use the drop down menu for more options. For CD orders outside the USA please contact me as I may have to charge for shipping.
riding-witn-my-rv-album-cover2Free in my RV sticker shadow

Matlacha Island: Charming Old Florida Fishing Village

Matlacha Island is tiny village located at the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve, sandwiched between Cape Coral in the mainland, and Pine Island, which happens to be Florida’s Largest Island. It preserves that Old Florida small town charm, with great seafood restaurants, quaint shops and galleries. Most of the buildings are colorful and all the people we encountered we pleasant, helpful, and looked happy and stress free.

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On this particular trip we stayed at the Sugar Sand Beach RV Resort, the only one on the island. It is a very small resort with only 10 RV sites. It doesn’t have the plethora of amenities many RV resorts have, but the location, the view, the fishing dock and free kayaks among other pleasant surprises more that make up for that. Also it has the fastest unrestricted Wi-Fi of any RV park we’ve seen anywhere.

This place is an easy getaway to Pine Island and Cape Coral. We decided to leave Pine Island for another trip. In Cape Coral we visited the Wicked Dolphin rum distillery and the Brewtober Festival. They were both a lot of fun, especially for rum and craft beer lovers like us.

Other than that, we spent the whole weekend relaxing, kayaking, biking, and eating fabulous seafood at this location which is remote enough no to be too overrun with tourist crowds. The only crowded area was the bridge. Crowded with local people fishing. No wonder it is colloquially called “the fishingest bridge in the world”. Fishing seems to be the main local pastime. Another great thing that adds to the uniqueness and small town feel of Matlacha is the absence of any chain stores of fast food franchises. All the business seemed to be locally owned mom and pop shops.

We definitely fell in love with this town and hope we can return soon. The RV park however is booked solid for the high season so we’ll have to wait until the fall, and hopefully get site #1, like we did this time.

We stayed at Sugar Sand RV Resort 
We ate at:
Olde Fish House Marina
Perfect Cup (no website)
Bert’s Bar & Grill 
Blue Dog Bar & Grill 
We visited:
Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery