8 hours at MIA

Apr 2nd, 2010, 05:55 AM
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8 hours at MIA

Hello all, here's the deal. We are going to Aruba in September and we have award tix on hold with AA. If we use the award tix we will have an 8 hour layover at MIA. We are considering buying the ticket w/CO as they have a much better schedule. Before we make this decision I would like to ask the Fodorites--what are your suggestions for 8 hours at MIA? Is there anything of interest near the airport? Is there a place where we can leave our carry-on bags?

Thanks in advance.
P_M is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 06:12 AM
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An 8 hour layover at MIA is only 6 hours long, as you must leave at least 2 hours to check in and clear security. Check in at MIA is, IMHO, the most difficult of any major airport in the USA.

That said, you would need a car to see anything in the area, as I do not recall anything of interest near to the airport. Because all the rental car lots are off the airport and require the use of a shuttle bus, that could take as much as another hour after your free time.

For that matter, Miami traffic can be bad during mid-day, and is almost always difficult during commutting times. (It is often said that all fliers should spend time in either Miami or Boston. That way they will know in their guts as well as their heads that the most dangerous part of any flight is getting to the airport.)

With five hours, and a car, you could get to South Beach. The restaurants, shops, architecture, and other attractions could easily fill the time for you. You are the only one who can judge whether that would be worth it for you.
Jeff801 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 06:19 AM
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Thanks Jeff. I was thinking we would rent a car but I had no idea of where to go. We will be there on a Saturday so hopefully the traffic won't be as bad. If I'm wrong about that please let me know.
P_M is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 06:31 AM
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Yeah, just get a car to go to South Beach for some people watching and perhaps a drink.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 08:06 AM
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We had a last-minute change of plans at MIA (couldn't get on a morning flight to Sao Paolo, had to wait for an evening flight to Buenos Aires) so we rented a car and drove into South Beach for brunch, then drove up the coast to Fort Lauderdale and wandered on the beach for several hours. The car cost something like $60 for the day (there were two couples, so $15 a head) and we had a ball. IIRC we paid a few bucks for luggage storage in the terminal so we didn't need to lug it to/from the rental car shuttle.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 08:35 AM
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With your short time you don't really need a car. Get a cab at the airport out to South Beach. And then any hotel at South Beach can get you a cab back. South Beach is totally walkable.

A quick search at http://www.taxifarefinder.com/main.php?city=Miami gives an example fare from MIA to South Beach of $35. Saves you time picking up car, getting lost, having to put gas in it again, time to return.
laurie_ann is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 08:39 AM
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OK, South Beach sounds like a plan. Thanks for the cab info, that seems easier than renting a car.
P_M is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 10:08 AM
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Definitely take a taxi. South Beach is good for a couple of hours and not that far.

MIA is impossible to navigate. I've picked up relatives several times and it's not fun.

On Saturday you should be fine with traffic.
Myer is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 11:57 AM
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South Beach! This is the place to go.

I wonder if the city tour bus that picks up from hotels, would swing to the airport to pick you up - so you can see all major parts of Miami. Try to do a search. You can do a bus tour in any weather.
Dayenu is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 12:01 PM
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And if taking a taxi to S. Beach, the fixed price is posted on the MIA website, one of the links in "ground transportation"
Dayenu is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Ha ha, it's me again, flooding your thread If you are in S. Beach at lunch time, here is what I wrote in my report about a restaurant that we both loved:

We even went back once more for another meal. On the receipt it’s “La Parilla Liberty” at 609 Washington, but when we walked by it was an Argentinean steakhouse. The best tilapia I ever had, and the Russian salad does not have an overbearing vinegar taste. They sell only one type of wine by glass, the name of it was not familiar, and it turned out to be red wine. I am not a fan of reds, but that wine is exceptional.

By the way, the restaurants in Miami add gratuity, so don’t double-tip.
Dayenu is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Thanks for the info Dayenu, especially the tip about tipping.
P_M is offline  
Apr 4th, 2010, 10:59 AM
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An update--CO had a huge price hike to Aruba over the weekend so we are no longer entertaining the idea of saving our FF points and buying a ticket on CO. South Beach here we come!!
P_M is offline  
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