TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (September 2020): While international travel is still on hold for many, the Sunshine State is celebrating its vibrant Hispanic culture during Hispanic Heritage Month September 15-October 15. Explore VISIT FLORIDA’s Hispanic Heritage Travel Hub and check out a variety of Florida’s Hispanic-owned businesses and experiences all month long.
In Miami – known for its blend of Hispanic cultures – a new restaurant, Lolo’s Surf Cantina, is now serving up Baja-inspired Mexican fare. Diners will be immersed in designs that highlight elements of style from Mexico. Chef Niven Patel, named one of the country’s best new chefs by Food & Wine in 2020, launched Mamey this summer with a Cuban-Caribbean inspired menu. Following the success of his food truck, Chef Omar Montero also recently opened La Santa Taqueria, serving authentic Mexican cuisine in Miami’s Little River neighborhood.
While in Miami, sign up for the Little Havana Food & Cultural Tour to discover the neighborhood’s rich history or take a stroll through Máximo Gómez Park where locals meet to play dominoes and sip Cuban coffee. Then, explore Miami Beach’s culture-packed Española Way, a bohemian stretch of peach-colored buildings, restaurants and shops with a distinctly Latin vibe.
On Florida’s Historic Coast in the northeast, visitors can be transported back in time with a trip to St. Augustine, which was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Soak in the old-world charm of the city’s two-acre Spanish Quarter, an interactive journey “where history comes alive” with hands-on activities, living history demonstrations, themed exhibits and period restaurants. For authentic Spanish cuisine, visitors can start their day with a Latin-inspired breakfast at Café La Herencia, nosh on paella at The Columbia Restaurant, or munch on empanadas at The Spanish Bakery and Cafe.
Over on Amelia Island, dip back into its Spanish roots at the Amelia Island Museum of History, Florida’s first spoken-history museum where docents invite visitors to travel back in time to learn about the waves of Spanish rule that once governed the island. Pensacola also boasts unique Hispanic history experiences like its 18th century Fort Barrancas, built by Spanish colonials, and the frontier settlement of Presidio Santa Maria de Galve.
In Sarasota County, it’s all about the cuisine. Chef Darwin Santa Maria launched Darwin’s Peruvian Eatery, a twist on Peruvian street food favorite and TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Winner for 2020. Then, there’s the region’s oldest restaurant, Columbia, with nods to Spanish classics like paella and Cuban stand-outs like the eponymous Cuban Sandwich.
Ybor City, Tampa Bay’s only National Landmark Historic District, welcomed thousands of new arrivals from Spain and Cuba nearly 100 years ago, transforming the community into the cigar-making capital of the world. Today, it features a vibrant Latin Quarter where the city’s eclectic mix of history and heritage lives on, as cigar factory warehouses have been transformed into restaurants, shops, nightclubs, and small businesses.
Symeria Palmer, Publicist
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As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 131.4 million visitors in 2019. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors contributed $91.3 billion to Florida's economy and supported 1.5 million Florida jobs in 2018. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, $2.15 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 13,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Busch Gardens Tampa, Disney Destinations, The Hertz Corporation, Hilton, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando, Simon Shopping Destinations and Universal Orlando Resort.