We love living in Belize. But we also love taking vacations to explore new places. This year, we picked Italy for our “big” trip. The bad thing about living in Belize is that it is not easy to travel from. So instead of flying from San Pedro to Belize City to Miami to Italy in one day, we had an overnight layover in Miami. Which, when you live on an island, is a fun way to spend 24 hours!
Here is how we spent our 24-hour layover in Miami!
From Belize, we flew into the Fort Lauderdale airport. Not because it was more convenient, but because it’s so much cheaper than flying into Miami (Thank you very much Southwest Airlines!). We needed to get from the Ft. Lauderdale Airport to our hotel down by the Miami airport, but wanted to do it for as cheap as possible.
The solution? Take the Tri-Rail from Fort Lauderdale down to the Miami Airport. Once at the airport, call our hotel and have the free shuttle pick us up. Sounds simple. And it was very simple – with just one very funny glitch.
Riding on the train –
When we arrived at the Miami airport, all we had to do was call our hotel. Hmmmmmm, but we don’t have U.S. cell service on our phone. We walked around and found a phone bank for all of the hotels – but of course, our hotel wasn’t there. Our next option: Find a pay phone. After wandering around for about 10 minutes, we found them. In all of their 1980s glory: a wall full of pay phones!
What was the funny glitch?
We needed 50 cents to make a call. 50 U.S. cents. Not 50 Belize cents. And we only had Belize coins. Luckily we did have some U.S. bills and Lisa was able to buy a soda and get change. She bought a $4.00 soda so we would have U.S coins to make a 50 cent phone call. Brilliant.
Crisis solved. A few minutes later, our hotel shuttle was there and we were on the way to our hotel. We stayed at the Cambria Hotel and Suites and really enjoyed it.Great staff, extremely comfortable and quiet rooms and quick airport shuttle service.
When we arrived at the hotel, they had lots of packages for us –
Since we knew we would be traveling to the states, we took the opportunity to order new luggage and some other items. We sent them to our friend who delivered them to the hotel for us. Thanks so much Joel!
For dinner, we ordered our typical hotel meal: One large pizza from Dominos. (Hey, it’s our thing. Don’t judge.) But it wasn’t as easy as it used to be.
Lisa went to the front desk and called Dominos. They told her that they couldn’t take her pizza order over the phone.
They said, just use our app on your smart watch to order the pizza.
Smart watch? We don’t even have a dumb watch!
Luckily, Lisa was able to download their app on her phone and get the pizza ordered.
Ruben was our hero that night.
The next day our flight to Italy didn’t depart until 7:00 pm. What to do all day? Take a trip to the Dolphin Mall! Or should we say, “Dolophon Mall” as our shuttle driver called it.
Why did we go to the mall?
Two reasons: They have a Bass Pro Shop and a one-hour eyeglass shop.
Our hotel arranged for a shuttle to drive us to the mall. When we arrived we were handed coupon books and a passport.
First on the list, get new lenses in Ronnie’s glasses.
But where is the store?
To say this mall was gigantic would be an understatement.
Thank’s to Ronnies navigational skills we found the store and dropped off his glasses.
They had some pretty funky sunglasses –
Ronnie thought they would look better on him –
And he was right.
Next up on our list, Bass Pro Shop!
This was the most well stocked Bass Pro Shop we have ever been to. Rows and rows of saltwater fishing gear.
Ronnie was in saltwater fishing heaven.
Their ceiling was an underwater scene that included a shipwreck and every saltwater fish under the sea.
It was very cool! We checked out and picked up Ronnie’s glasses. One interesting note about the Dolphin Mall: every item we purchased was tax-free. With 2 hours to kill until our ride back to the hotel, we decided on lunch over more shopping.
We stopped in at Kona Grill for sushi and sake.
As we were walking through the mall on the way to catch our shuttle, we passed by this shop:
What? Gelato! We didn’t have to go to Italy after all. It was all right there in the Dolphin Mall.
We hopped on the shuttle with plenty of time to spare before our flight – so we thought. It only took us 20 minutes to get to the mall, but it took us 1 1/2 hours to get back! The shuttle driver stopped at what felt like every single hotel along the route. At some stops, people would get off of the shuttle. At other stops, the driver just beeped the horn and drove by. We were starting to get a bit panicked as we had no idea how long we were going to be stuck on this crazy shuttle.
Luckily as soon as we arrived at the hotel, they loaded up our luggage and us into the van and drove us to the airport. We still arrived with time to spare before our flight departed.
Boarding our Swiss Air flight.
First stop Zurich! Final stop, Milan!
Italy here we come!