Little Havana is located just west of downtown Miami. It is also referred to as the Latin quarter. It was primarily a Cuban neighborhood from the 1970's until the the 1990's, but now consists of many Central and South Americans. There is even an area referred to as Little Managua. It used to be a dangerous area (at least more than it is today). It has many authentic Latin shops & restaurants. The population speaks Spanish almost completely, but there are many bilingual speaking persons as well. It also hosts the annual Calle Ocho parade, the largest street festival in the world. Calle Ocho, which is Spanish for eight street, has many shops and restaurants, a perfect experience for tourists visiting the city to get an authentic feel of Latin American culture. It is advised to not wander into the neighborhoods at night, especially East Little Havana (17 Ave East) because of high crime rates and gang problems.
As you can figure out from its name, it is a representation of the capital city of Cuba in Miami. Little Havana is a very Cuban part of the city and has a lot of charm and interest. If you have never visited Cuba, which is probably the case, it is as close as it gets. Sounds, tastes and rhythms are Cubans; speaking Spanish is a definite plus. Having a "deadly" strong coffee in a Cuban coffee shop after a rich lunch or dinner in inexpensive but good quality Miami restaurants is a must as well. We suggest the "Versailles". The people-watching scene is exceptional with old Cubans playing Dominos and smoking cigars. Calle Ocho as it is called is not to be missed.
Little Havana (Spanish: La Pequeña Habana) is an ethnic enclave in Miami, Florida, with many Cuban immigrant residents. Little Havana is named after Havana, the capital and largest city in Cuba. The high number of Cuban refugees in Miami is due to its proximity to Cuba. Little Havana is famous as the cultural and political capital of Cuban Americans, and the Miami neighborhood is a center of the Cuban exile community.
In recent years increasing numbers of Nicaraguan, and Puerto Rican immigrants have moved into the neighborhood, as increasing numbers of Cubans leave the area for the suburbs in western Miami and southwest Broward County. Part of Little Havana is now occasionally referred to as Little Managua after Managua, the Nicaraguan capital, although the city of Sweetwater several miles to the west is more popularly known as Little Managua due to its higher concentration of Nicaraguan Americans.
Take a Miami food tour (www.miamiculinarytours.com), and explore the flavors of Little Havana. Food tasting tours of Cuban comfort foods with an American culinary inspiration. In this educational tour attendees learn the diversity of Cuban cuisine by tasting small bites in 6 different locations.