Things I Learned From Living in Miami

Living in Miami has been a crazy ride. No place is quite like Miami. I often hear jokes about how great Miami is because it’s SO CLOSE to the United States. Coming from the northeast, those first few years in Miami were serious culture shock, but I learned many valuable lessons that I’m certain will prove to be helpful as I wander through life.

Living in Miami

1. Crack is Legal

It’s called Cuban Coffee…aka cafecito. It even has it’s own time.  3:05pm is official Cafecito Time. 305 is also the Miami-Dade area code, as anyone who’s ever heard a Pitbull song surely knows. I’ll never forget my first taste of that sweet liquid crack. I didn’t sleep for 35 hours. Good times.  Just make sure you know a few words in Spanish before ordering this. I recommend “poquito azucar”. Otherwise your teeth may instantly fall out!

living in miami
found this on pinterest

2. Your Wardrobe Must Have a Category Called, “Things I Wear on Yachts”

Little did I know when I moved here that eventually I would see a dress while shopping and think “that will look great the next time I’m on a boat”. Oh you thought going on a boat involved a swimsuit, cut-off shorts and baseball hat? No, no honey…you are yachting now. You probably won’t get in the water at all. You will sip champagne in a $300 maxi dress with bare feet (God help you if your pedi isn’t fresh) and let the staff serve you ceviche on a tiny spoon.

My tip:  If you are one of the rare Miami girls like myself who actually eats food, go down to the kitchen with the staff to scarf down ten of those babies…you can’t be SEEN doing that!

living in miami
Why did I stand next to all the shoes? Ew.

3.  Men Will Not Approach Women

It’s Friday night, you are dolled up and wearing your Valentino rock studs that you spent an entire month’s rent on with the hopes of meeting that special very rich someone. Get ready to work work work work work because you have to make the first move. Men in Miami are spoiled.  I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but I am pretty sure the ratio of women to men is 13:1. This conveniently leads in to my next subject.

Living In Miami
The hot ones never play for my team

4. All Men are “6’s” and Women are “18’s”

Yes, I am still using the 1 to 10 scale.  It is astounding how attractive, stylish and fit women here manage to keep themselves. I moved here from Baltimore where I thought I was looking pretty fly, but I soon realized that I was the most unstylish and overweight girl on South Beach at a size 4 rocking my Banana Republic capri pants.  My fitness level and fashion sense  have improved a bit since then but even when I think I’m killing it, I go out and am literally staring at other women because they look so bomb! Insecure 12-year-old me appears, shyly asking girls where they got that killer white lace romper (Answer:  a store I never heard of).

Living In Miami

Men don’t have to try so hard. If they are clean, can speak in full sentences, and have a job, they are winning!

Moral of the story: If you were a “10” in Albany, you are probably a “5” in Miami so be prepared to make the first move and have a good personality! THAT is where many Miami girls fail. Don’t shoot the messenger!

5. Hurricanes are Excuses to Party

Grocery stores sell out of bread, water AND WINE when there is a hurricane warning.  A well-stocked bar = prepared. Hurricanes are also the best way to discover that sketchy dive bar in your hood that you would normally never go to but now it’s the only place open. Hello creepy guy with eye patch and a cat on his shoulder…buy me a drink?

Living in Miami
We will rebuild.

6. You Do Not Need a Turn Signal

In fact, this will cause you problems. Other drivers are less likely to make way for you if you use a signal. The Miami way is to rudely and aggressively bully your way into whatever lane you want. Go ahead. Try to be polite and use a signal. You’ll be waiting a very long time for Mother Theresa to let you in. If you’re lucky, somewhere in Fort Lauderdale you can finally get off of I-95 and turn around to return to that exit you missed.

Living in Miami
Even the cars wear make-up in South Beach

Cher’s tip: Beware of the famous Miami quadruple lane change as the person staring at her newly enhanced duck lips or taking their lunchtime Adderal suddenly realizes she almost missed her exit.

7. You Need Winter Clothes for When You are Indoors

So you move to Miami and think…peace out winter wardrobe! Nope! Keep those items for the arctic blast of AC that greets you as you enter most buildings. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but a few places for which you may want to pack a sweater include:  Movie Theater, Restaurants, Plastic Surgeon’s office, Strip Club.

8. Many things in Spanish don’t translate well to English.

It’s very common to hear things such as “Mi amor” in general conversation with coworkers or even from the check-out lady at Walgreens. This translates to “my love”.  It doesn’t sound quite right to say this in English, does it? Imagine if you said this casually to people in your daily lives. As a man you could get smacked. As a woman, you could gain a stalker or two.

I once overheard a coworker asking somebody to send a fax and thanked her by saying “Gracias, mi amor, mi corazon, mi vida“.  This translates to  “My love, my heart, my life”.

Really? That isn’t a bit much? “Pass the salt, my heart“. “Would you take out the trash, my life?”  It just doesn’t work in English.

Living in Miami
Look at the beautiful “esunrise”

9.  Miami Time

I will keep this simple. Nobody is on time. Ever. If someone tells you five minutes, they really mean one hour. My recommendations for social gatherings:  You are supposed to be at “somewhere” at 8:00. You should start getting ready at 8:00. If you are the “on-time friend” you leave your house at 8:00. Entienda?

Living in Miami
So sorry, the boat was SUPPOSED to be back by 7…

10.  Nobody Works and They’re Proud

In NYC people brag about how much they work. We Miami folk like to brag about how much we don’t work. It’s not uncommon to see Facebook posts from your Miami friends “Look at me at the beach on a Tuesday”.


#miamilife #beachday #workisforsuckers

Living in Miami

So, thank you Miami. I have learned so much and will miss you dearly. I’ll miss the plastic surgery offices on every street corner, the men who drive a Porsche but still live in a tiny house with 24 of their family members, and most of all, I’m going to miss that damn coffee!

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Things I Learned in Miami

About The Author

Cherene Saradar

Cherene is a travel expert with 30 years of experience in over 100 countries and 7 continents. She has traveled solo to over 50 countries. She is also a nurse anesthesiologist with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Her passions include wildlife travel and visiting wine regions of the world.


  1. Flavia Reyes | 30th Dec 16

    I literally LOL’d! So funny because it’s all true!! Thoroughly enjoyed reading that. God bless Miami.

    • csaradar | 30th Dec 16

      Haha! So glad you get it! I enjoyed writing it. Miami gives me good material:)

  2. Candace | 13th Dec 16

    Haha you also don’t need a turn signal in Louisiana. Don’t believe me? Just look at our accident rates! These are some cool facts about Miami. I would never live there. Too few men 🙂

    • csaradar | 17th Dec 16

      Haha I will have to remember that next time I drive in LA!

  3. Shasha | 13th Dec 16

    This was such a fun post to read! Miami is one of my favorite cities and I’ve visited quite a few times over the past years. Its wonderful to read a local perspective.

    • csaradar | 13th Dec 16

      Thanks Shasha! Miami is never boring! LOL

  4. G. (@glennymah) | 13th Dec 16

    I have yet to go to Miami!! but ive heard of Cuban coffee i dont think my anxiety would be able to handle that much caffiene !! living in a completely new city is always an eye-opener. different environment, different mindset – i love it!

  5. nycgingeronthego | 12th Dec 16

    Oh, great point about meeting men when we travel. Such an awesome tip! If you’re still single, we should team up and take on the world.

    • csaradar | 13th Dec 16

      Haha I’m single girl! Think the guys can handle 2 redheads?

  6. thetravelpockets | 12th Dec 16

    Omg, I had so much fun reading this post. I’ve never lived in Miami, but I have visited at least 4 times in the past 10 years. The men to women ratio is so true! I noticed that on my night out with my girlfriends. I also totally see me thinking the same thing about the yacht dress.

    • csaradar | 12th Dec 16

      LOL it was a fun post to write. So glad you liked it:)

  7. Style & Life by Susana | 12th Dec 16

    This post made me smile and giggle! And I definitely felt a few similarities (of my own looks and body insecurities) Its ALWAYS been my dream to go to Florida. Hope to go there in the next couple of years when my husband I go to the USA. Such an AWESOME post! Loved it!!

    Style & Life by Susana –

    • csaradar | 12th Dec 16

      Thanks so much girly ! I hope you make it hear one day! You have plenty of style and will rock Miami:)

  8. Chloé Arnold (@ChloeBArnold) | 12th Dec 16

    Seriously dying- this is so funny! I went to school at Florida State and have many friends from Miami- this is all too true! Hurricane parties made their way up to Tallahassee, which I found all too fun 😉

    • csaradar | 12th Dec 16

      I love when people “get it”. Those hurricane parties are the best!

  9. nycgingeronthego | 10th Dec 16

    I could definitely get used to having a yacht wardrobe. But I am not moving down there single. NYC is hard enough but they claim it is % men for every 1 woman here. Sigh. Just keep on traveling.

    • csaradar | 10th Dec 16

      LOL Stephanie, the yacht wardrobe is one of the highlights. I think NYC is also a very hard place to be single. Both cities have their unique dating issues. Exactly. Sigh. I always meet more interesting men when I travel anyway:)

  10. Sarah - Exploring Kiwis | 10th Dec 16

    This post put such a smile on my face 🙂 I can see a fair few similarities with living in the UAE which is somewhat unexpected! Can’t wait to hit Florida for myself one day.

    • csaradar | 10th Dec 16

      Haha that is rather unexpected! I hope to see for myself one day! So glad it amused you:)

  11. Misa | 10th Dec 16

    I’ve never been to Miami but you made me laugh anyway (and gave me some steretypes to think of hahah) 🙂

    • csaradar | 10th Dec 16

      It’s the most entertaining place. You HAVE to just laugh sometimes at all the crazy stuff!

  12. Alex | 10th Dec 16

    Wow… Now that’s a real “cultural” experience! 😉

    This admittedly sounds… absolutely terrifying. Did you feel similar when you first got there? Did you find these trends occurred in all age groups, or just younger people?

    • csaradar | 10th Dec 16

      When I first arrived I was in awe and just trying really hard to fit in, then eventually I got over that and was just myself and learned to laugh at all the ridiculousness. I think these trends are in all age groups!!

  13. John Nicholas | 9th Dec 16

    cool blog!

    • csaradar | 10th Dec 16


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