About This Site

This is the website for Little Havana Tours, LLC. When I first opened a small retail business on Calle Ocho in 2010, I also started working on a website I hoped could become a useful guide to people, places and things to do in Little Havana. I wanted to create a guide useful to both tourists and locals like myself.

I walked the streets of Little Havana, talking with fellow residents and mom & pop business owners, discovering hidden courtyards, hospitable old folks who invited me to join them for a cafe Cubano, soccer players. I ate every kind of cuisine I could find, and the business owners or other locals were happy to explain to me the cuisine from their countries of origin. I danced at rumba gatherings, learned the bachata, and participated in saint processions.

I became more active in the neighborhood, co-founding the Little Havana Merchant Alliance, advocating for more shade trees and better crosswalks, and joining the boards of Little Havana nonprofits and community initiatives. There, I learned all the ways that fellow locals can participate in the decisions affecting Little Havana’s future.

I wrote more than 100 original articles for the site by the time I launched it in 2011. In 2012, I began offering group walking tours under the name Little Havana Tours, at a time when no one else was doing on a regular basis except Dr. Paul George, Miami’s best known historian, who for years has led a free monthly walking tour for large groups during Viernes Culturales.

Yet I faced a dilemma when I entered graduate school in 2013. How could I possibly keep the site updated? I had numerous listings mentioned on the site, and yet businesses were constantly closing and opening. I took down most of the content while I focused on graduate school. I still offered tours to private and VIP groups, and as a subcontractor to high quality destination management businesses.

I am going to be taking a break from offering walking tours beginning in December 2017, as I am the recipient of a Dissertation Year Fellowship and want to focus on completing my PhD. Nonetheless, I am eager to give other strong tour guides a chance to lead Little Havana tours under Little Havana Tours, LLC. Ralph de la Portilla, a very experienced and talented Little Havana tour guide and friend, is currently leading tours for me, and I will also be recruiting at least one additional guide.

For more information about how this project got started (my Little Havana story), please read my bio.

 

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