Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#ThankYouMiamiGoesToPanama - Destination: Cambutal

It is no secret that we love to travel. At any given moment we are either planning a trip, on a trip, or daydreaming about a recent trip. We have even diagnosed ourselves with chronic wanderlust and have prescribed at least one trip (road trip or otherwise) per month to keep us happy and sane. As a result, in the next four months alone, we will be visiting the Dominican Republic, Duck Key, Dallas, Kitty Hawk, Panama, Key West, Mexico, and New York. That's 8 national and international trips before the end of 2015. Exciting, right? More like #blessed.

Every year our destinations change but, if you've been reading us for a while, you may have noticed that Panama made the list again. The reason is that Panama is "our spot". Everybody has that one place they consider paradise and dream of moving to some day - Panama, more specifically Cambutal, is ours. In fact, one of our first travel posts depicted our adventures to an ecological reserve that is only accessible via panga from Cambutal.

We love Cambutal because it is remote. To get there, you have to take a five hour drive from Panama City through paved and unpaved roads, up and down mountains. It's the type of drive where you absolutely need a car with four-wheel drive, as well as a GPS. It's also the type of drive that, for numerous reasons (i.e. a lack of reflectors on the road, semis driving full speed around blind corners), is safest to complete in daylight. Every time we go, we fly into Panama City before noon, rent a car, enter Río Cambutal as our destination in our GPS, and drive straight through, racing against nightfall.

We also love Cambutal because it is a tropical beach paradise. If you've been to Latin America, the drive to Cambutal will seem familiar. As you leave the city, strip malls with KFC and high rises are replaced with mountains, farms, and expanses of bright green vegetation. The scenery remains constant all the way to the coastline of the Azuero Peninsula, where it is joined by beautiful black sand beaches. Our days in Cambutal are spent fishing, exploring nearby tide pools, surfing, watching horses trot along the surf, and discovering seaside caves.

Finally, we love Cambutal because it is a tight-knit community. Locals and expats alike have made Cambutal their home and have curated a positive, neighborly atmosphere that is palpable even as a tourist. We stay at Hotel Playa Cambutal, an absolutely gorgeous property past the center of town, because of its hospitable and charismatic staff, its proximity to surf breaks, and its central role in the local community. Delicious food and abundant WiFi, a rare commodity for such a remote location, have made Hotel Playa Cambutal a key local hangout. The hotel fosters its special role in the community by hosting events including sport broadcasts, happy hour specials, and themed nights. The community's vibe is what makes Cambutal, and Hotel Playa Cambutal at its epicenter, such a special place to stay.

This year, like last year, we are headed to Cambutal during the Thanksgiving holiday. It's a few months (and a few trips) away. In the interim, here are a few photos from past trips to show you what keeps us coming back again and again.

What is your travel "spot"? Have you been to Panama? What parts? What did you like most about Panama? As we plan for our travels, do you have any recommendations for our upcoming trips? Are there are any must-visit spots at any of our 8 destinations? We would love to hear from you! Send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami or leave a comment below.

Monday, August 24, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for On-Demand Services

Miami is a challenging city because there is so much to do, but like everyone else we have only 24 hours days. That's why time management is a critical skill for residents who want to make it here, as well as for visitors who want to make the most out of their stay. But even the most seasoned planners are limited in their efficiency by travel times in the 305, which can vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the time of day, your destination, and your route. That's why we're super grateful that on-demand services - that is, services that you can order within a few hours and come to you - are  a "thing" in Miami.

In our latest feature for Cruise Port Advisor, we share three local on-demand services you need in your Miami toolkit. Whether you're looking for transportation, a beauty treatment, or a moment of zen, they've got you covered with as little as one or two hour's notice. Best of all? You can request and receive these on-demand services anywhere in Miami. Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the full feature.

Have you used an on-demand service in Miami before? Which one? What did you think? Which of the three services featured are you most excited to try? Why? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Friday, August 21, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Kid-Friendly Restaurants

None of us at #ThankYouMiami are parents yet, which is why you rarely see us writing about kid-friendly places in Miami. When we go out, we don't even think about whether a place is good for children because we don't have to...except when we go out with our friends who have kids. It is in scheduling time with them that we really have to wrack our brains or theirs for venue suggestions. For example, we quickly learned that Yard House is 1,000 times preferable to Yardbird for Sunday brunch with kids because its a less hectic, less expensive option - two must-haves on a parent's kid-friendly checklist. Over time, we have developed a go-to list, if you will, of kid-friendly restaurants in Miami which #ThankYouMiami contributor Brad Wells shares with us in his latest column for Localeur. Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the full feature.

What are your go-to restaurants for meals with children? What are some other kid-friendly places around Miami you like to visit? What tips do you have for parents that are visiting Miami? That are moving to Miami? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#ThankYouMiami For Fashion - How To Pack For The Beach

It's hump day so, in a fit of wanderlust and weekend dreaming, we're talking beach day essentials. Specifically, as your resident beach experts, we're sharing years of beach bag packing intel. Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the full post, the latest in our #ThankYouMiami for Fashion column.

What tips do you have for someone heading to the beach? What is are your beach day essentials? How do you pack for a Gulf Coast beach trip? An Atlantic Beach trip? A day at the beach club? Do you have any follow-up questions on our beach day essentials and our tips? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Monday, August 17, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Buying and Selling Local - #MiamiFlea


This summer in Miami has been unbearably hot and yesterday was no different. Nevertheless, in a testament to our growing sense of community, hundreds of Miami-ans seized an otherwise perfect Sunday to shop local at the Arts and Entertainment District's first ever Miami Flea. Like past A+E District events, the market activated the currently unused site of a future Canvas Miami project. This time, the space welcomed 30+ of our neighbors as vendors, including our friend Tiffany Zadi of Heist, and gave them a place to feature their handmade and vintage repurposed goods.

"What makes Miami Flea especially unique is that it's the first one ever to be carefully curated in a way that incorporates all kinds of local Miami talent and vendors," said Isabella Acker, the A+E District's culture curator, to the Miami New Times.

Yes, we don't do lines and yes, there was a line wrapping around the block when we arrived at Miami Flea but the #ThankYouMiami team was on a mission. We were on a triple-threat quest to: (1) buy unique "thank you" gifts for our friends; (2) find "SO Miami" décor for our new office; and (3) find new vendors to support through our blog. Our patience was handsomely rewarded. For our friends, we bought two ceramic octopus tentacle necklaces from The Clay Cache and two handmade "thank you" cards from Scissor & Spool. For our office, we bought a succulent garden in a Japanese tea pot from La Succulenta and a Miami print from Two Palms Art Bazaar. In them, and in all of the other vendors we met, we found friendly, talented people who we can't wait to watch grow their business and support along the way. All in all, yesterday's Miami Flea was a very productive (and surprisingly inexpensive) day!