I arrived in Miami from Fort Lauderdale just in time for Memorial Weekend, which is a big celebration in the US. The memorial weekend was the national hip hop weekend in Miami when I was there. I am not a big fan of festivals and if only I knew this I would have stayed in Washington DC for another week. The hostel there only cost $22 a night while in SoBe it was $20. In the end I decided to go to Miami because the hostel was cheaper. I also thought I would enjoy visiting the beach, Little Havana and the surrounding area. Instead of that the first half of my time in Miami was a complete nightmare.
Getting to the First Miami Youth Hostel
The cheap flights from DC to Miami land at Fort Lauderdale Airport. There is no direct bus from Fort Lauderdale to South Beach. Instead, there is a double decker train to downtown and various connecting buses along the route. Or you can take bus 01 to NE 29 P/Aventura B and change here to the 120. This will take two hours in total.
Arriving in South Beach
By the time I arrived in the SoBe Hostel & Bar on my first day it was nearly midnight and I was so tired I could hardly walk. This Miami Youth Hostel is probably the most dreadful place I’ve ever stayed in. The bus journey from Fort Lauderdale to South Beach was gruelling and some of the folk that got on the bus looked terrifying. When I finally arrived in the hostel on Washington and 3rd I dropped my stuff off in the room. Unfortunately it was so cold in the room I could not sleep. I then decided to go down to the TV room but the guys there looked really rough.
When they saw me entering the room they started playing with their knives as if they wanted to slice me up or something. I may have just been totally paranoid, but I decided to go back to the room where it was so cold a polar bear would have felt chilled.
I covered myself in blankets, put several layers of clothes on and even my winter coat but I was still cold. Even though I tried to turn it down I couldn’t because the button was broken. So all night long I had to stay in the freezer and next day when I was down the beach I was so tired I fell asleep under the sun.
Thankfully when the memorial weekend was over I could move to another hostel. I checked into the Miami Beach International Travellers Hostel which was much friendlier. The hostel is in an art deco building and they gave free pizza every Sunday.
There was also a movie night twice a week. I actually looked at this place before I booked the SoBe hostel but it was $27 a night so I decided against it!
It turns out this hostel has since won the best hostel in the US award and got a nomination for the best hostel in the world award.
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