Miami: Things to know

All your pre-visit and on-location info, from transport and tipping to visas and vaccinations. Take the cue from Miami’s southerly location: pack your shades and a handful of Spanish phrases and you’ll fit right in


English, but speaking Spanish will take you far – at least pick up a few words of Spanglish

Time zone

Eastern Standard Time (EST), but tardiness is the norm, Miami calls it Cuban time


Dollars (USD$)

Country dialling code



The annual average temperature is 24C/74F. Brief spells of torrential rain and thunder are usual in the late afternoons in spring and summer (March-August). Hurricane season is between June and November

When to visit

High season in Miami runs from January to April, and sees the city jam-packed with revellers and sun-worshippers. Choose low season (typically May to September/October) for a more relaxed and affordable experience


Visitors from participating Visa Waiver Program countries will need a current ESTA, although some exceptions apply. Visitors from all other countries require a visa, which must be applied for in advance


None required


Type A/B (two- or three-prong)


15% of your bill, but review it first. Some tourist bars and restaurants automatically add a gratuity, even if your party is smaller than six


Dial 911 for police, fire or medical assistance, 311 for police non-emergencies

Tourist office

Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau; they also have a great website

Getting there

Airlines and airports: Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport service most major airlines

Transfers: If you’re staying just a few days, opt for taxis. A taxi to downtown or Miami Beach from Miami International is $25-45; from Fort Lauderdale, about $75. Both airports service most major car rental companies

Getting around

Public transport: Buses are mostly used by working locals; the Metrorail elevated train from South Miami to downtown is modern and safe. Taxis are the easiest way to get around, although opt for an open bus tour if you want to see it all. A trolley system in the Brickell district is loved by locals

Car rental: Best value if you’re staying more than a couple of days – look into options here. Be warned, however, parking is at a premium. For garages and street parking you have to pay at machines and get a receipt for your dashboard; there’s valet parking at most fine restaurants, hotels and clubs; and hotel overnight parking rates are up to $40 per night

Hotel Offers

Worldwide deals and discounts for American Express Cardmembers