Review of the Miami Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

miami torch of friendship
September 9, 2014


I recently spent two days exploring the city of Miami using the Miami Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour. This bus company provides services 7 days a week to take visitors around Miami on two different routes; the city and the beach!

The tour was an extensive hop on, hop off tour which gives you the chance to opt for 24 or 48 hours of sightseeing in the city.

Whether you choose the city or beach route, each tour lasts for 90 minutes in total, giving you plenty of time to take in the views and stop off at as many points as you like, as many times as you like within the validity of your ticket. There is also the option to add a 90-minute boat ride to the homes of the rich and famous, around areas like Fisher Island and Star Island.

The Miami City Bus Tour

I opted to join the city tour first, which gave me a chance to see many sights including Brickell Avenue, the financial hub of Miami.

Downtown Miami

Downtown Miami

One of my favourite stops on the city tour was Coconut Grove, the oldest neighbourhood in Miami and an upmarket location of shops, restaurants and more.

This was in addition to the picturesque Alhambra Water Tower, one of the most distinctive buildings in Miami. The west tower is adorned with a 12-foot tall working weathervane, an exact replica of the original found atop the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain.

The tour also highlights Little Havana, the hub of Miami’s Cuban influenced culture and appropriately named after the Cuban capital, Havana. In this largely Catholic community, the signs are in Spanish and the people vibrant and indicative of their Caribbean culture. On a bright and sunny day in Miami, it’s difficult not to get caught up in the atmosphere!

Having completed the informative and enjoyable city tour, it was then time to get out onto the main stretch of the infamous South Beach area.

Hopping on and off around Miami South Beach!

The South Beach tour begins close to the cruise capital of the world – Port of Miami, which is home to Carnival, Disney and Norwegian amongst others.

Port of Miami

Port of Miami

As the bus proceeded across the A1A state road towards South Beach, our tour guide pointed out all kinds of attractions like Palm Island, home to Vanilla Ice and formerly Al Capone as he lived out his final days following his release from Alcatraz.

The bus also passes Star Island, home to the likes of Gloria Estefan, and Fisher Island, the most luxurious and exclusive island community in the world.

South Beach has some interesting background like Gianni Versace’s mansion (where he was shot and killed in 1997) and the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel, one of the most historically and architecturally significant hotels on Miami Beach that was featured in James Bond’s Goldfinger.

This part of the tour also includes sights of the Miami’s major shopping district along Collins Avenue – home to stores like Zara, GAP and – seemingly a tourist attraction in its own right – DASH by the Kardashians.

The Hop On, Hop Off bus doesn’t pass along Ocean Drive which was surprising as this could have added a little more depth to the tour, for example showing the location of Jonny Rockets from the infamous chainsaw scene in Scarface. This would have been in addition to, of course, Miami Beach.

Holocaust Memorial, Miami

Holocaust Memorial

Towards the end of the tour, we passed by Mid and North Beach as well as the Holocaust memorial as well as Lincoln Road, an open air shopping mall appropriate for Miami’s year-round climate.

In summary…..

Overall this tour was an enjoyable experience for sitting back and taking photos of decadent Miami, and I didn’t feel that Miami had much more to offer in this particular location.

The Hop On, Hop Off tour offered good value for money, with two full days on the bus, stopping and starting wherever we wanted to and with good narration of everything around us. The organisation of the tour and the level of service provided by the tour guides is good although I did feel that at times, some parts of the tour could have been a little more in-depth.

About the author

Colleen Williams

Colleen Williams is the founder of Ad-lib Traveller, a travel blog that shares that her passion for destinations around the world. With the flexibility to consider low, mid-range and luxury budgets, Colleen regularly enjoys global travel fulfilling her aim to experience new cultures.

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