It’s your chance to escape the polar vortex, artic blast and frigid cold winter weather. Heat things up and enter for a chance to win a trip for 2 to Miami. This amazing $10,000 prize package includes 6 days and 5 nights at the Four Seasons Miami or a similar hotel; a private windsurfing lesson; $1,500 spending money; and a half a day of deep sea fishing.
Shake off your winter chill and rejuvenate with a relaxing getaway. Explore Miami by taking a stroll down white-sandy South Beach; sample some must-try celebrity chef restaurants; or go on a self-guided art deco tour. Adventure awaits you in “The Magic City”.
And don’t forget you can still enter daily for your chance to win a $100,000 trip to Spain and Morocco!
If you’re heading to Miami to dodge the chilly weather or to attend the Art Basel international art show this weekend, we have some exciting news to share. You not only get the pleasure of enjoying Miami’s premier art show and relaxing on South Beach, but can now visit the new Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).
The new 200,000-square-foot building opens its doors to the public this week. Located on Biscayne Bay, between the Arsht Performing Arts Center and the American Airlines Arena, PAMM features large, shaded verandas, a park and galleries with views of the bay, an education center and Verde, a waterfront restaurant.
Miami-Dade’s Art in Public Places was not only one of the first public art programs in the country, but it is also one of the most successful. It began in 1973 as a way to get Miami’s art scene out where everyone could enjoy it, and today, it includes over 600 works of art — 24 of which are on display at Miami International Airport. In fact, you may have already seen a few in the scenery surrounding our Airport 24/7: Miami episodes.
Can’t make it to Miami? Then tune in next Tuesday at 9|8c when Airport 24/7 returns with a new episode, and maybe you’ll get a peek at some of the art in the airport.
All aboard! Next stop … the sunny shores of South Beach. By saying “yes” to Trip Flip host Bert Kreischer, Austin, TX, locals Nathan and Shannon have agreed to let him take the lead on an all-expenses-paid trip to Miami, with no idea of what’s in store for them. They certainly will not be disappointed.
How would you like to be given a tour of the city by one of the most successful music producers of all time — and husband of famed singer Gloria Estefan — 19-time Grammy award winner, Emilio Estefan? What about partaking in a drag race and drift at the Countyline Dragway, skimboarding in crystal-clear waters or getting turned into sand mermaids by sculpture artist, Victor Leong?
An amazing trip so far, right?
The third day of Shannon and Nathan’s Miami adventure starts at dawn, when Bert gets ready to reveal his biggest surprise of the season. Bert takes the couple to the Port of Miami by speedboat, where he informs them that they’ll also be going on an amazing, 6-day Carnival cruise to the Bahamas.
Bert and the lucky couple aren’t the only ones who got to enjoy the amenities of the Carnival cruise. Trip Flip’s senior producer John tells Travel Channel, “Our crew — who has traveled quite a bit and seen a few things — were so impressed with our VIP treatment, especially getting on and off the ship. We felt like royalty.”
“Sometimes Trip Flip can be very spontaneous,” John adds. “The ship’s staff, crew and guests couldn’t have been nicer and more accommodating.”
Nate and Shannon are quick to take full advantage of all the onboard amenities, such as the top-level sky challenge course, and the on-ship water park, Waterworks. After riding the 300-foot corkscrew slide, it’s finally time to relax, so Bert arranges an appointment at the ship’s spa for an intimate couple’s massage. And that’s just day 1 of their cruise!
Bert enjoys himself quite a bit, as well, with senior producer John telling us, “Whenever Bert shows up poolside, the party seems to arrive with him.”
To find out more about Nate and Shannon’s amazing Miami trip and personalized Carnival cruise, tune in tonight at 8|7c.
Plus, don’t forget to check out these exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos from this amazing Miami Trip Flip.
Want to take your own Carnival Breeze adventure? Go to Carnival.com to start planning your next vacation!
Tonight at 10|9c on an all-new episode of Burger Land, burger expert George Motz heads south — all the way south — to Miami to get a taste of the city’s multicultural flavors. In particular, he’s there to taste some Latin-inspired burgers.
George comes across 2 restaurants with a long history of competition between their own styles of the frita, a Cuban burger known for being topped with thin slices of fried potatoes.
He also finds a chorizo and beef burger served on plantains instead of a bun, as well as a burger so big and delicious, it had to be called the Latin Macho.
Do you know of a burger so delicious, it deserves its own minute of Internet fame? Then post your burger-tastic pictures to our My Favorite Burger photo gallery, and share your foodie find with the TravelChannel.com community!
While the hordes of Spring Breakers flock — understandably — to South Florida’s golden shores, consider a trip down the not-so-beaten path, to Everglades National Park, the heart of which lies just an hour’s drive west of Miami, along the Tamiami Trail. A drive into the heart of the Everglades grants visitors glimpses of the diverse wildlife roaming the region, including loads of alligator sightings (stand back, and keep you hands to yourself!), great blue herons, colorful roseate spoonbills and ever-present white herons and ibises. If you weren’t a bird watcher, much less bird lover, before entering the Everglades, you will be when you depart.
“Everglades” literally translates to “river of grass,” and that’s exactly what you’ll find here: a subtropical wetland that begins in Central Florida at Lake Okeechobee as water leaves the lake and flows south, forming a slow moving river. The so-called river of grass is an astonishing 50 miles wide and 100 miles long, running all the way to the tip of South Florida and into the sea. Of that vast expanse, 1.5 million acres have been designated a National Park, protecting 20 percent of the Everglades and the extraordinary wildlife contained within.
Everglades National Park is split into 2 main entrances, Shark Valley in the north central section of the park and the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in the West. Start your foray into the Everglades in Shark Valley. This entrance has the most amenities for visitors, including a museum, bike rentals and tram tours, as well as an observation tower in the thick of the glades that affords striking views of the grassland. A 15-mile loop road winds through Shark Valley, and is popular for bikers and a few apparently cold-blooded walkers undaunted by the region’s high temperatures. If you’re not prone to exert yourself for the duration of a 15-mile bike ride, hop aboard a tram tour, where knowledgeable guides point out and explain in detail the Everglades’ flora and fauna — with frequent stops for photos.
From Shark Valley, make your way toward the Gulf Coast Visitor Center. This entrance lies tucked into the far western reaches of the park, where you’ll see a much different topography, chiefly mangrove islands and winding waterways. As you make drive west, you’ll have the choice to continue along the well-trodden Tamiami Trail, or pop off onto a Scenic Loop Road, and as I highly recommend, and great poets will agree, always — always — take the road less traveled.
The loop road is partially unpaved, though easily driveable, and winds through what may well be the region’s most spectacular and wildest scenery: a cypress forest, part of the Big Cypress National Preserve. These monstrous trees drip with Spanish Moss, and you’ll pass by alligators lounging at their bases, as well as countless birds — herons, ibises, purple gallinules and pelicans galore. The best part? In what turned into an hour and a half foray along the road (I stopped for lots of pictures), I passed a mere 4 other cars. This is as remote a space as you’ll find anywhere in Florida.
You’ll leave the Preserve and arrive in Everglades City late-afternoon or early evening. To get the most out of an Everglades National Park road trip from South Florida’s east coast, spend an overnight in Everglades City, just south of Naples, on the western edge of the park. The town is incredibly small, just a few hundred residents, and lies amidst winding waterways. Book a room at the Everglades City Motel, where the old-fashioned exterior belies the beautifully remodeled rooms inside. Grab a sunset cocktail and a platter of smoked fish dip at the iconic Rod and Gun Club, which sits along a scenic curve of the river. For dinner, meander a mile or so down the road to Camellia Street Grill, a true local’s hangout along the river. You’ll find kitschy decor, a welcoming outdoor deck, twinkling lights strung from trees, and if you’re lucky — live music and dancing.
The following day, head into the park’s western entrance, and book yourself on a boat tour of either the mangrove isles or Ten Thousand Islands. You can choose from a larger boat that winds through the islands or a smaller, 6-person tour that heads into the depths of the mangroves. After your boat tour, pay a visit to Chokoloskee Island, just a few minutes down the road. Here you’ll find the Smallwood Store and Ole Indian Trading Post, a former general store established in 1906 that’s now on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been turned into a museum featuring artifacts from the era, including newspaper clippings, medicine bottles, and furnishings.
Before you head back toward the 2-hour drive to Miami, refuel with lunch at the Havana Cafe, a Chokoloskee restaurant dishing up tasty Cuban food. Try the pork plate, traditional-style Cuban pork shoulder, serve with black beans, rice and a small salad. Ask to try the homemade hot sauce — you’ll thank me later.
Think you know burgers? Then you don’t know George. This past weekend, our burger aficionado, George Motz, was in Miami filming new episodes of Burger Land, returning to Travel Channel this spring. We got a sneak peek of some of the burgers George got to taste for us — all part of the job…
Clockwise from top left: The half-pound Latin Macho; a classic “frita”; fried plantains instead of a bun; a frita and a cup of Guarapo (sugar cane juice).
Get the story behind Burger Land, and to hold you over until the new episodes premiere, check out George’s picks for Great Burger Joints in the Middle of Nowhere, or make your own Smashed Motz Burger. And don’t forget to spice up your homemade burgers with George’s hot sauce recipes.
“You’ll only gain 1 pound, rather than 20.” Those were my final words when I appeared on NBC Miami as the resident travel expert last month with InterContinental Miami’s Toro Toro executive chef Rodolfo Cuadros. Together, we introduced a dish that we created specifically for Intercontinental’s Kitchen Cookbook iPad app, an interactive app created in 2011 by the executive chefs of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and filled with delicious recipes from around the world.
To create fresh content for the app, the hotel chain appointed 4 travel personalities to accompany 4 top chefs in select InterContinental hotels in the US (Miami, Atlanta-Buckhead, San Francisco and Boston). The individual “tastemakers” spent time with the chefs in their kitchen to create and cook these new recipes that paid tribute to their respective destinations. I was honored to be chosen and truly overjoyed to spend a few days in sunny Miami.
As soon as I arrived, I partnered up with chef Rodolfo Cuadros to create turkey pastelon, a new spin on the traditional Puerto Rico entree. Instead of ground beef, we used a leaner turkey. We also dropped the pasta layers and replaced it with sweet plantains. Thousands of viewers watched on NBC as we explained the innovative dish that will appear exclusively on InterContinental’s Kitchen Cookbook iPad app. And if I – even though I haven’t cooked in 10 years — can make the dishes, you can too!
But that’s not all that I whipped up in the kitchen. I had the privilege to prepare other innovative dishes with Rodolfo, including Pork Belly Skewers Al Pastor, served as an appetizer, and Churros con Dulce de Leche, a Latin dessert representing the holiday season (and one of my personal favorite desserts!). I was surprised to learn it was a super easy dish to make, and you can watch us prepare it in this short clip on InterContinental’s YouTube page. As per my request, I also had the opportunity to team up with head bartender of Toro Toro to create a Red Sangria cocktail, using Malbec, Cava, Beefeater Gin and Cointreau, as well as cinnamon, spices and a colorful assortment of fruits. Needless to say, I indulged.
But indulging is an understatement regarding the entire experience. My hosts exceeded expectations and checked me into the 2-story, 3,300-square-foot Royal Palm Presidential Suite, recently redesigned by tennis icon Venus Williams. I had breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay, not to mention a stand-alone soaking tub, private dining area and a bevy of turndown amenities that included everything from fresh-fruit sangria to chocolates.
InterContinental Miami wanted to make sure my stay wasn’t just all about the hotel (even though I was perfectly fine never leaving!). They set me up on an “Insider Experience” with Chef Concierge Eduardo Rosello to explore Miami through the eyes of a local. Rosello, who’s served as concierge at the hotel for 20 years, knows the city like the back of his hand and, quite frankly, knows everyone you need to know. He introduced me to institutions like Joe’s Stone Crab, La Gloria Cubana Cigar Company (where I learned how to roll a cigar) and even a private tour of the wine cellar at the high-brow restaurant, The Forge. This turned out to be my favorite, considering the hearty dishes and Enomatic wine dispenser.
But nothing topped the inventive dishes I created at Toro Toro with Chef Rodolfo. I even learned—as a virgin to the kitchen—that cooking isn’t an impossible feat. Who knows? You may see me again wearing an apron, making my own version of Chef Rodolfo’s version of turkey pastelon.
The Kitchen Cookbook iPad app has been a culinary hit, and it can be downloaded for free on iTunes. Check it out to experience some amazing dishes, and watch Chef Redolfo and me in the NBC Miami clip here.
- Jimmy Im
Jimmy Im is NYC-based travel writer, TV host and instructor, as well as the cofounder of OutEscapes.com.
Tonight at 9|8c, catch the season finale of Airport 24/7! In tonight’s episode, see what happens when a fuel farm catches on fire, causing a catastrophic blaze that could halt Miami International Airport in its tracks. With the loss of so much fuel, can MIA bounce back?
Can’t get enough of the action at MIA? Catch all of our extra content that’s not in the episodes online! From Casey, the adorable therapy dog, posing for her ID badge to the flash mobs that keep the travelers passing through MIA entertained, there’s always something happening at MIA.
Also, don’t miss these fun facts about MIA! For example, did you know that there’s a protected species living on the airfield?