…in Miami? The answer is not stay in the airport all day.
Some advance googling proved it is relatively easy to travel in the immediate area of the Miami airport with a long enough layover. Our first order of business upon landing was to stop at the American Airlines help counter and see if we could get an earlier flight. Luck was not on our side, so we officially had eight hours to fill.
The stewardess on our original flight from Quito mentioned the American Airlines Admirals club and that we could upgrade to it for $50 (approx.). We decided we would have more fun and spend less money by leaving the airport.
We checked one of our carry-ons to its final destination then headed out to grab a ride on the MIA Mover – a free train to rental cars, buses and parking. The MIA took us right to the MetroBus, where we took a bus to South Beach. Some pre-trip searching told us that South Beach would be the most interesting destination for us. The bus fare was approx. $9 both ways for two people – much cheaper than a taxi and took about 25-30 minutes.
We got off the bus to bright blue skies and a warm ocean breeze – different from our last destination in Quito. We thought this would be a nice last few hours of vacation before returning to December weather in Canada.
The boardwalk was relatively quiet, so we walked a bit, before settling on a restaurant for lunch. After lunch we perused the shopping area and relaxed in the sun before catching our bus. The bus ride back in heavier traffic took about 45 minutes, but we gave ourselves more than enough time to get back. We even had a sushi dinner in the airport after we cleared customs. We probably could have spent longer in South Beach, but we both preferred a leisurely trip back to catch our flight.
Flight landed in Miami International: 12:15pm
Check luggage and ready to leave the airport on MIA Mover to catch MetroBus: 12:30pm
Arrived in South Beach: 1:15pm
Left South Beach by the MetroBus: 4:15pm
Made it back to airport, through security and in our terminal: 5:50pm
Flight leaving for Toronto: 8:07pm
Remember layovers do not necessarily mean long stays in the airport!