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Miami - Getting there & away, getting around

Miami - Getting there & away

Miami is served by two main airports: Miami International Airport (MIA), about 19km (12mi) west of downtown, and the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL), about 48km (30mi) north of the city. MIA is one the USA's busiest in terms of aircraft and number of passengers. Miami is the main US/Latin American gateway, and the airport is served by everyone and his brother's (including Brothers to the Rescue) airlines. Most major European airlines have service to Miami, though there's no direct service from Australia or New Zealand; if you're coming from that region of the world, you'll have to change planes in Los Angeles. The best deals to Miami within the US are from New York area airports, but the New York-Miami route is also the most crowded.

Miami International Airport is served by public bus, but private shuttle vans, taxis and limos are a far more convenient (if more expensive) alternative. Many deeply discounted tickets to Miami plop you down in the shimmering new terminal at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. It's a great airport and there are plenty of rental car agencies, shuttle buses and taxis ready to whisk you into Miami. The trip to Miami Beach by bus takes about two hours. There's a shuttle bus to the airport's Tri-Rail station, with trains going to the edge of downtown Miami about once an hour at rush hours, once every two hours during midday.

Amtrak trains connect Miami with cities all over the continental US and Canada. Prices change often and are generally a bit more than Greyhound at its cheapest and a lot more than flying.

Greyhound Bus has three main terminals in Miami, which send off and welcome buses to and from Orlando, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington DC, and New York City. If you're arriving by Greyhound, the station is just north of downtown Miami, on the waterfront.

Miami is at or near the terminus of several major roads, making it easy to arrive or depart by car. One particularly rewarding way to get there from west of Florida is to take I-10, which passes through the gorgeous beaches of Pensacola and across the Florida Panhandle, connecting with I-95, Florida's Turnpike, down the coast to Miami. I-75 and the Tamiami Trail (Hwy 41) also pass through.

Getting around Miami

Metrorail is a heavy rail system with one line, running through downtown Miami and then south, connecting with Tri-Rail, Metromover and Metrobus at Government Center. Tri-Rail is a commuter rail system that runs between three counties: Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. The double-decker trains are a marvel of cleanliness and, at least for the time being, they're very cheap. For longer trips however, it takes about four times longer to take Tri-Rail than to drive.

There's a regular Metrobus service between the airport and downtown Miami and Miami Beach. You can also take a Metrobus to the Greyhound station at the airport. From there, Greyhound makes the 20-minute journey to the sleazy downtown station several times a day.

If you're over 25 and have a major credit card, the easiest way to get to Miami Beach, Coral Gables or Miami is to rent a car. Some of the rental agencies offer an hourly rate with no minimum charges. All the big car rental operators can be found in Miami and many have branches at the airports.

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