Originally carved out of scrubland in 1928 by Pan American Airlines, Miami International Airport (MIA) is a hot mess—the fastest growing airport in the country with over 80 airlines and 150 destinations, through which 52 million travelers passed in 2023. In that same year, MIA was named the fifth worst airport in the country by Family Destinations Guide, for its many flight delays and cancellations. Because of these problems, travelers should consider flying into the less crowded Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL), which is closer to north Miami than MIA, or the Palm Beach International Airport (PBI; which is about 1.5 hours from Miami.

Visitor information is available 24 hours a day at the Miami International Airport Main Visitor Counter, Terminal E, second level (miami-airport.com.; [tel] 305/876-7000).

Getting into Town

Miami International Airport is about 6 miles west of downtown and about 10 miles from the beaches, so it's likely you can get from the plane to your hotel room in less than half an hour. Of course, if you're arriving from an international destination, it will take more time to go through Customs and Immigration.

By Car -- All the major car-rental firms operate off-site branches reached via shuttles from the airline terminals. If you're arriving late at night, you might want to take a taxi to your hotel and have the car delivered to you the next day.

By Taxi -- Taxis line up in front of a dispatcher’s desk outside the airport’s arrivals terminals. Most cabs are metered, though some have flat rates to popular destinations. The fare should be about $17 to $45 to Coral Gables, $20 to $30 to downtown, and $35-$55 to various parts of Miami Beach, plus tip, which should be 15 to 20 percent (add more for each bag the driver handles). Depending on traffic, the ride to Coral Gables or downtown takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and to South Beach, 20 to 25 minutes, but prepare for the traffic, because it’s almost as ubiquitous as the palm trees.

By Van or Limo -- Group limousines (multipassenger vans) circle the arrivals area looking for fares. Destinations are posted on the front of each van, and a flat rate is charged for door-to-door service to the area marked.

SuperShuttle (tel. 305/871-2000) is one of the largest airport operators, charging between $11 and $60 per person for a ride within the county or into Fort Lauderdale. Its vans operate 24 hours a day and accept credit cards. This is a cheaper alternative to a cab (if you are traveling alone or with one other person) but be prepared to be in the van for quite some time, as you may have to make several stops to drop off passengers before you reach your own destination. If you have patience, great, if not, you may want to consider Uber, Lyft or another ride share service, which may end up being cheaper and faster depending on the time.

Private limousine arrangements can be made in advance. A one-way meet-and-greet service can cost as low as $69 to astronomically higher depending on car and destination. Recommended limo services include Aventura Limo (tel. 305/306-5466), Miami Prestige Limos (tel. 888/978-2532), and Miami Airport Limo (tel. 305/517-1177).

By Public Transportation -- Public transportation in South Florida is a major hassle bordering on a nightmare. Painfully slow and unreliable, buses heading downtown leave the airport only once per hour (from the arrivals level), and connections are spotty, at best. It could take about 1.5 hours to get to South Beach via public transportation. Journeys to downtown and Coral Gables, however, are more direct. The fare is $2.25. For those heading to South Beach from the airport, the 150 Airport Flyer provides direct express service from MIA to Miami Beach and costs $2.65. With only one minor stop en route, the trip to the beach takes about a half-hour. Not bad.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.