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Cultural ambassador and Miami tour guide Anneliese Morales continues to share her passion with both locals and tourists daily by connecting people to the neighborhood and to each other.
Little Havana has many tour guides to choose from but we at Calle Ocho News hand pick the ones we highlight because we feel that you need a special kind of street smart to know Little Havana. Being able to teach about Little Havana’s past, present, and future is no easy task. It is something that requires experience, knowledge and good communication with both locals and tourists.
We chose Anneliese Morales because she is one of those people that everyone knows in the neighborhood. Not only does everyone know who she is but she knows everyone and everything there is to know about Little Havana. The knowledge she carries comes not only from books and research but from experience and in our opinion, IT is the best teacher of all.
Ditching an office in Brickell with a bay view, Anneliese began guiding on the nature trails at Virginia Key starting in 2008. She was influenced by her own family particularly her Cuban American husband, who aside from being a professional custom boat builder is also a lifetime global traveler as well as a recreational and tournament fishing charter captain.
While being on the bay is fun Anneliese saw Miami’s skyline dramatically changing, not to mention the extinction of some of her favorite places growing up. “Occupy Miami” was taking on a new meaning, as very tall buildings along the Miami River District also began rising and this prompted her to be more involved with the concept of preservation. This has continued to happen and just recently places like Tobacco Road that meant a lot to her have been replaced with a condo canyon like Brickell Citi Center.
Anneliese has over a decade of professional experience working in real estate development and construction. That along with her childhood memories of walking and riding public transit with her grandmother and freely flying in different cockpits with her dad caused her to become fully engaged with her changing community. Whether it was on boat rides along the Miami River or volunteering activities along the Miami River Greenway or having cafecito’s on Calle Ocho with her mom. Anneliese has become one with Little Havana. Her community engaged approach seeks to improve relations between locals and visitors by bringing them together during any of her orientation, academic or themed tours. She is a well-known facilitator of all things Little Havana both online and offline connecting people to the neighborhood and to each other is her main objective.
Anneliese teaches others about environmental concerns and global solutions being worked on by the Miami River and hosts a Riverside Urban Archaeology Tour you may want to jump in on. She also offers multi-modal food tours where participants seek to find the most unique artifact(s) along the fabulous Miami River. Here they also learn its history and may even leave with homegrown fruits and vegetable from one of our very own community gardens. Maybe even have a meal or a snack made with locally sourced specialties from the neighborhood.
“The Tour Guru” as we like to call her always goes above and beyond the touristy things to do regardless of the chosen route. Visitors can not only meet and greet the neighborhood characters on Calle Ocho, they may also get a chance to interact with them personally and maybe even get their own Little Havana book autographed. She translates all the information which eliminates language barriers for many people whom do not speak both English and Spanish. She also seeks alternative routes preventing her guests and clients from feeling the confines of over tourism in the area, as seen on some corners of Calle Ocho and South Beach.
People on her tours truly get to know the neighborhood, through its people and its culture. They can listen and learn as well as get a sense of the many challenges our city faces not to mention mankind altogether such as resiliency and sea level. If you would like to look, listen, and learn more about Little Havana from Anneliese Morales take one of her tours today, she can be reached at 305-898-0172. You do not need to be a tourist to do this!!! All are welcomed with open arms by Anneliese…
Rosi R. Rodriguez
Editor in chief