PORTS OF CALL
Tampa, Florida is not only a port - it's a destination full of exciting and fun things to do. Experience beautiful beaches, historical sights, arts, entertainment, fabulous restaurants and, if you can find time, the nearby city of St. Petersburg.
Tampa Bay has much to recommend it: Busch Gardens (which predates Disney World), impressive museums, winning sports teams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning), fishing charters and one of the country's largest ports, rocking nightlife and a wealth of tourist attractions.
Tampa has sharks and rays at the Florida Aquarium and the more lovable manatees at the zoo. At Busch Gardens, you can ride across re-created African plains in a safari truck, stopping to hand-feed roaming giraffes. Or you can go to sea on a fishing charter and try to catch your own wildlife.
In Ybor City, the historic Cuban neighborhood, you can amble down brick streets, following your nose to bakeries to buy fragrant loaves of Cuban bread or to shops where tabaqueros hand-roll fine cigars. Lively Spanish conversation might lead you to an old-fashioned domino parlor where grandfathers with gnarled hands gather to play in friendly neighborhood matches. Antiques shops, boutiques and art galleries beckon. After dark, the nightclubs throw open their doors, and Ybor City metamorphoses into the Tampa hot spot. Stylish young party animals go out to prowl the area's many hip bars.
St. Pete (the local name for St. Petersburg, Florida) is only a 30-minute drive away, and the gorgeous Gulf Coast beaches are about a 45-minute drive. The theme parks of Orlando, Florida, are about 90 minutes to the east.
THE ONE THING YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS
For a little fun, head down to Ybor City, the Cuban district of Tampa, which used to be the center of production of hand-rolled cigars. Today this restored area is teeming with restaurants, shops and bars. It's also a National Historic Landmark District with amazing wrought-iron balconies, globe street lights, brick-lined walkways and the majestic architecture of the old cigar factories.
OTHER FUN THINGS TO DO
- Explore Africa, with zebras, giraffes, elephants and more, all roaming free in natural surroundings at Busch Gardens, a 330-acre zoo and theme park.
- Visit the Channelside Shops and the Florida Aquarium, home to an incredible 4,500 animal and plant species. The Aquarium has a wetlands area, activities for the whole family and the only diving shark tank of its kind.
- Visit St. Petersburg's impressive Salvador Dali Museum, which houses the largest collection of Dali's work outside of Spain.
- Head to the beautiful, powdery white beaches of nearby St. Petersburg and Sarasota.
GET A TASTE OF LOCAL FLAVOR
The Cuban influence is still strong in Tampa today. It's a great place to sample delicious roast pork, black beans and rice, Cuban sandwiches and other authentic delicacies.
The official currency of the United States is the U.S. Dollar (USD).