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“Miami Experience”

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Ranked #197 of 278 Tours in Miami
Reviewed 12 February 2015

My husband and I took this 8 hour tour and found it quite enjoyable. Mindy, the guide, was professional and knowledgeable. The tour provided a good overview of Miami so that when we go back on our own, we will have some idea of what to do. We loved Little Havana and the Ball and Chain Bar.

Date of experience: February 2015
2  Thank Gail B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 June 2014

We too took the tour with Mindi based on the recommendation of our concierge and I agree with the former reviewer that some things are a bit rushed and there should be more communication up front. The Holocaust Museum was moving but haunting. I personally could have skipped that stop, that's just how I felt because it was so disturbing. The next stop was South Beach where you have 30 minutes to grab lunch, shop and see the beach? Tour information doesn't tell you this is a lunch stop but either way it is definitely NOT enough time at this stop. Moving onto Coral Gables where it was nice seeing the Biltmore and hearing about it's history but we couldn't go in so why stop, then to the Venetian Pool which was amazing. Little Havana stop was brief but not sure where we could have wandered around so it was fine for us and then on to two hours at Bayside Market for dinner and shopping. Bayside Market was just another mall and I would have much rather stayed longer in South Beach since it's probably the most well known spot in Miami for those visiting. Since I knew we were going to Bayside I did my homework and had already decided where we were going to eat but I do agree this information could have been shared from the beginning. Finally, I would suggest getting and giving cell phone numbers of those on the bus so when they are late getting back and you are fearful they may be lost, you could simply give them a call instead of having to run back to a restaurant, in this case it was Paul's in South Beach, to see if they are there. Or, if the fear is they are lost they could call you. Overall a good tour and the price was reasonable ($54) but I would make some adjustments to the timing of the stops and be more specific about dining options up front.

Date of experience: May 2014
1  Thank TravelCrazyRoseville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2012

I liked the staff at my hotel...I also enjoyed the shopping and nightlife. Disliked the early morning traffic on the expressway.

Date of experience: March 2012
Thank Elaine R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2012

We took this tour based on the recommendation of the concierge at our hotel, who said the guide, Mindy, was very good and that we'd have about 2 hours at each of the four stops listed. As it turned out, this was the first of several recommendations he made that did not live up to the expectations he set. We only had 15-20 minutes at the first 4 stops (one more than was on the description), with 2 hours at the last stop - a place to shop and eat.

I should start by saying that I have never been a big fan of bus tours because they often provide either too much or too little time at places I am interested in visiting, and you are always visiting with a crowd of people. However, sometimes a bus tour is a good way to visit a site, especially when it is given by a knowledgeable, engaging guide and scheduled appropriately. This tour had neither.

The best thing going for this tour was that it was provided on a 65 passenger air conditioned bus with comfortable seats. However, our guide talked constantly on the bus and made more bad jokes than she did fill us in on things worth knowing. She was friendly and I belieive she was trying, but she just wasn't a natural at this and the informatin she did provide between jokes sounded like she was reading from a script.

We had 20 minutes at the holocaust memorial, which was just too short to read much and not enough time to visit the visitor's center where a holocaust suvivor volunteers at the memorial. then it was off to South Beach, where we had 20 minutes to walk several blocks to the beach to see it and grab a snack if we wanted one. Not much time at all. We couldn't even stop in any of the shops and there was no way to really get a feel for the South Beach area in this short time. Then we drove through the Art Decco area and ou guide gave some decent information about a few of the buildings along the street and a bit of history. This was probably the most informative part of the tour, but unfortunately, from high up in the motor coach, we could hardly see much due to the awnings that were over some of the restaurants, etc, and we couldn't take any good photos through the tinted windows in the moving bus. And we were on the side of the bus that had the view of the buildings. People sitting on the other side couldn't see what she was talking about at all. (If you do take this tour, sit on the right side/passenger side of the bus.)

Our next stop was the historic Biltmore Hotel, where we were able to look around for 15 minutes and make a restroom stop. While it is a very pretty property and has historic interest, I could have easily skipped this stop to add more time at one of the other 3 short stops. This stop was not listed in the information provided by our concierge, so I assume it was added more recently.

We made our final short stop in little Havana, which I was really looking forward to, but it was disappointing. We stopped at the park where everyone plays dominos and were taken to a shop next to it, where we could try some Cuban coffee. The shop was so small that our entire bus load of people could not fit in it at one time, so there was a line. Waiting in line took up much of the 20 minutes allotted to Little Havana, so we skipped the shop after trying the coffee. The neighborhood looked interesting and full of character, with art painted on some of the nearby buildings. However, there wasn't enough time to wander around more than one block. Then it was back on the bus to get to our last stop for shopping and dining at the Bayside Marketplace (seperate review written on that). It was nice to have a good selection of restaurants and we were allowed 2 hours here to shop and dine (spend our money), which was sufficient. Just before getting out of the bus, Mindy provided brochures for the Bayside Marketplace, which would have been helpful earlier. She gave her own review of a couple of the restaurants and the couple behind us tried to call form the bus to make reservations for the one Mindy highly recommended, but it was too late. Had we received the info early in the day, people could have made reservations and ensured that they got into the restaurants they were most interested in.

At the end of the tour, Mindy encouraged tipping (as all guides do) and let us know that it was part of their salary. She then let us know that the bus driver was from a separate organization and that we should tip them each seperately. This also would have been helpful info to some, as not everyone had smaller bills to divide between them.

Overall, this tour was disappointing and not worth the money we paid for it. It was too bad because my teenage niece had been waning to see Miami for a few years, and this was supposed to give her a taste. It was just too rushed to enjoy or really get that taste.

Date of experience: February 2012
Thank MMM2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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