Underwater Unlimited

Living in Miami and not taking advantage of the ocean is like living in Vegas and refusing to gamble, residing in Phoenix and forgoing Mexican food, or being lactose intolerant in Wisconsin: It just ain't right. That's why Underwater Unlimited has been prepping local divers for aquatic adventures since Charlie Matthews opened it in 1964, and it's still going strong with more than 24,000 certifications. Charlie Jr. now runs the shop with his beyond-friendly team, whose service technicians and dive instructors go above and beyond. Sign up for their training and you'll get to know the staff — they're not simply going to hand over a certificate. Just ask the University of Miami Scuba Club, which uses UU for its members' certification. Tuition for Open Water Certification starts at $150, with personal, private, or concierge classes from $300 to $500 and affordable specialty courses for continuing education as low as $55 per class. Drop by the dive shop for discount equipment packages and service specials, and once you're certified and geared up, test your newly acquired skills on one of the shop's many dive trips, which go anywhere from West Palm Beach to Key West to Crystal River for dives alongside hundreds of manatees. Don't you want to see those sea cows up close? Get that certification already.

For true cyclists, there's nothing better than that glimmering open stretch of road on a sunny day. But this comes close: a topnotch bicycle shop that refills tires free of charge with absolutely no fuss from the shop mechanic. That's exactly what die-hard mountain and road cyclists know they can always rely on at the RB Cycles locations in Doral and Coconut Grove. The staff eagerly helps pedal fiends keep their legs cranking with efficient repair service and an inventory from a wide array of bicycle parts and accessories manufacturers. "Our goal is to make sure everyone rides off happy," says Doral manager Ricardo Garcia. When you're ready to upgrade that heavy old Schwinn from Kmart to a sleek 16-speed performance bicycle, RB is your source. In addition to the brick-and-mortar store, RB Cycles has a robust website that shows the wide variety of makes and models in the store, from a $900 Felt bicycle perfect for cruising around Wynwood with the hipster crowd, to an $11,550 Trek Madone for pursuing your Tour de France dreams.

Willie's Bicycles
Nicholas Olivera

William Arias is a humble urban bike shop owner whose experience includes cycling the French Alps, the steep inclines of his native Colombia, and parts unknown in Mexico. And his shop, Willie's Bicycles, whose motto is "Ride in, ride out faster," delivers without fail. Whether it's a simple flat tire repair ($12 for the tire and labor), a complex overhaul on your fixie, or a fresh built-custom bike, Arias tells you how much it will cost before he starts work. Need a paint job, a tuneup, or some tricked-out accessories? Arias is your man. And he makes radical custom road and city bikes using your specs and his skills. He also imports his own carbon rims and builds each wheel set to order. In fact, he has his own line of Team Willie's Pros that will have you flying on the roadways like a speeding cannonball. As the official wrench of Miami Bike Polo, he's a hero to the local bike scene and a damn good mechanic who enjoys talking shop. He also offers rentals, sales on new and used bikes, and pick-up and drop-off service.

The words "Miami traffic" generally elicit a posttraumatic stress reaction: chills, flashbacks, spontaneous honking. But have you ever rolled down Washington Avenue at 7 a.m. on a Sunday or taken an early-morning cruise on Collins Avenue between 65th Street and Arthur Godfrey Road? Truth is, if you pick your spots, Miami is one of the most scenic places on Earth to enjoy a ride — and there's no better way to soak it all in than from the seat of a stylish Vespa with the wind whistling through your hair and the sun on your neck. Enter Roam Rides. This online-only scooter depot organizes some of the most interesting guided tours, including a trip amid Wynwood's street art, a gallery crawl through Miami Beach and Wynwood, and a South Beach architecture tour ($75 plus scooter rental). Imagine it as a day in the life of the big biker gangs, cruising together on the highways while wearing rugged leather jackets and American-flag bandannas. Except beach attire, flip-flops, a sunburn, and a Panama hat would be more appropriate for this riding tour. By the time it's all said and done, the words "Miami traffic" might bring a smile to your face.

Here's what you have to know about Capt. Carl Starling: He's one of the few people to survive a bull shark attack, he's appeared in a movie alongside Frank Sinatra, he sparred with Muhammad Ali at the legendary 5th Street Gym, and he fought in 24 professional boxing matches (winning many by KO). The seventh-generation Bahamian is what islanders call a real Conky Joe, and he knows Biscayne Bay and the Caribbean like the back of his salty hand. He's also a certified dive master, can hold his breath for more than three minutes, and spear-hunts with a Hawaiian sling (so the fish have half a chance against him). So if you want to go fishing, lobstering, snorkeling, cruising to Stiltsville at sunset, or on any other adventure involving a boat, Captain Carl will get you there and back in one safe piece, probably with a trophy and hours of stories we don't have room to retell here.

Need a pimped-out ride to the airport? Maybe a 40-person party bus for a 96-hour spree on South Beach? How about a hot-pink stretch Chrysler 300 for your last night as a bad-bitch bachelorette? An orange Hummer limousine with tiger stripes? A Ford Excursion superstretch with a champagne chest and mirrored moon roof? No sweat. Just snatch a few C-notes from the transportation fund (not too many, though — prices vary depending upon the size of the ride and the number of hours you need it, but many can be yours for less than $1,000 for the night, tip included). Holler at Miami Limo. And take your pick from SoFla's most extensive candy-colored, animal-printed fleet of vans, shuttles, motor coaches, charter buses, and sports utility vehicles.

It's 10 a.m. Saturday morning. Painfully hung-over, you reek of tequila shots and stale cigarettes. But you vowed to start working out, dammit, so you roll out of bed, slide into your gym clothes, and power through the drive to Sanctuary 7. In the spin room, mirrors surround you, much to your chagrin. Thankfully, dim lighting means no one can see you're still wearing last night's makeup. Instructor Shawn sits atop a platform, surveying the room. There's nowhere to hide. As the class kicks off, "I'm Sexy and I Know It" reverberates through your haggard frame. You're feeling anything but sexy. He spots your half-assed sprints and cracks a goofy joke at your expense. Everyone laughs, including you. Cheeks burning, you step it up. Sprint, jump, climb, repeat. And before you know it, you're burning off that 3 a.m. Taco Bell shame. Fifty minutes later, "last song" are the two sweetest words you've ever heard. But strangely — with your brow soaked in alcohol-infused sweat, your quads burning, and your tongue desperately dehydrated — you're almost sad to see class end. The endorphins have kicked in, and life is feeling a little rosier. Hangover banished, you've earned yourself a bloody mary — or two.

Tanning is about nothing more than personal aesthetics, so it's not asking too much for tanning salons to step up their interior design schemes. Walking into some strip-mall joint with fake palm trees and yellowed linoleum floors gives you the eerie vibe that their machines will make you come out looking as leathery and tragic as that tabloid monster "Tan Mom." By contrast, the sleek, minimalist interior of Solar Intoxication makes you feel like a high-end swimsuit model even before you get sun-kissed like one. The tanning beds here are all new and state-of-the-art. One even employs sensors to control the amount of UV light so you avoid getting too crisp. And you won't have to pay Kate Upton prices, either: Single sessions start at $15, with a weeklong pass for $27 or a monthly tanning ticket for $75. Looks are everything when it comes to tanning, so make sure you go to a place that values both yours and its own.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
George Apostolidis

In this world, and especially in luxury-obsessed Miami, there are two kinds of people: spa people and Spa People. Normal, everyday spa people like a massage from time to time, as long as it's not too expensive. Maybe they get a gift certificate from their children for their birthday every year. Maybe they work with a guy who freelances as a masseuse on the cheap to make extra cash. But fancy-shmancy smells and scrubs and techniques? Don't know, don't care. Spa People are a different beast entirely. They want the best. They're willing to pay a lot of money for it too. And places like the Spa at Mandarin Oriental were created for Spa People. Spa People don't want just a massage. They want hours if not full days of scrubs, facials, baths, wraps, manicures, and pedicures. They want lotions with scents designed to invigorate or calm; they want balms that promise to turn back the clock on their skin. They want treatments created by celebrity spa professionals, such as Brazilian doctor Ivo Pitanguy, whose products are used in the Mandarin Oriental's Opulent Rejuvenescence facial ($400). They want these things to be described not as mere treatments, but as "rituals," or, more intensely, "journeys." Spa People don't want just a massage table. They want their own private haven. They want the Mandarin Oriental's VIP suites with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out at Biscayne Bay and amenities like private showers, sunken bathtubs, and Asian décor. (They're going to spend a lot of time in their spa suite, after all.) Spa People don't want just a gym. They want a fitness center equipped with state-of-the-art machinery. They want personal trainers at their beck and call, telling them exactly how best to work out according to their unique makeup of body fat. They want to complement their spa "journeys" with yoga and meditation and even something a little quirky, like belly dancing. If you're a regular spa person, go to a regular spa. If you're a Spa Person on a Spa Person budget, go to the Mandarin Oriental.

For many guys, special occasions are like rigorously trained ninja assassins. They creep up on you, silent and deadly, until — bam! — it's Valentine's Day or your anniversary or your mother-in-law's birthday and you're completely, devastatingly unprepared. There is hope. It's Esthetique, and one call can set up the pampering massage that will save your relationship. You can choose among traditional Swedish, craniosacral, prenatal, reflexology and relaxation, deep-tissue, or hot-stone massage therapy. Want to win more brownie points? Esthetique offers whole-body vibration treatments. Used by NASA, Stanford University, and professional sports teams, whole-body vibration makes muscles expand and contract continually, which pumps extra oxygen into the cells. The idea is that all of that extra O2 relaxes and stimulates the body while healing and growing muscles. Bunk or not, it sure feels great. Your bank account won't need much massaging here either. Weekly specials mean that a half-hour Swedish massage, which usually runs $85, can be yours for $39.95. That fancy vibration session gets knocked down to $99 from nearly $300. Esthetique also offers monthly membership deals from $50 to $150 that include massages, facials, an oxygen bar, manicures, and pedicures.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®