Way before the sensationalized Mariel boatlift made "Cuban history" almost synonymous with Miami’s development, Cuba and Florida had an unknown common history. Trade between the two was happening even before Europeans arrived. Florida fishermen swapped smoked fish for rum during Prohibition days.

Since the massive flee from Castro's regime in the early sixties, the Cuban influence is stronger than ever and has set its mark on the economy, the politics, the arts and customs in the city.

Here are some great places to trace this strong influence on Miami culture and know more about its history.

Calle Ocho . Mainline of Miami’s Little Havana, Calle Ocho (Eighth Street) exudes a festive air any time of day and it is “the place“ where Cuban exiles socialize.

Freedom Tower, Miami . The immigration processing center that served Cuban refugees in the mid-seventies, it was rescued in the nineties as a monument and museum commemorating the flee from Castro and life in Old Cuba.

Maximo Gomez Park, Miami . Home to the Domino Club, this Old World portrait of Cuban machismo occupying a small corner of Calle Ocho.

Versailles Restaurant & Bakery, Miami , 305-444-0240. A landmark restaurant, here the food is genuine Cuban and a hotspot for Cuban exiles. Here, you can hear the latest news from the island.