Fort Lauderdale the ESL Student City Hack

 In Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is the largest city in the Greater Metropolitan Miami area.  28 miles North of Miami, it has all the beauty of Miami Beach without the expense.  Port Everglades hosts cruise ships, but nowhere near the number that the Port of Miami does, and there are 185 miles of waterways and canals in Fort Lauderdale, making it an eco-waterpark!  Dolphins, alligators, manatees, sea turtles, and exotic birds can all be seen in their natural habitats.

fort lauderdaleFort Lauderdale – The Essentials

State:               Florida
City:                 Fort Lauderdale
County:           Broward County
Zip codes:       33301, 33304-06, 33308-09, 33312-13,33315-16, 33334, 33394
Area codes:     754,954
Local population is approximately 178,000+ people.

Fort Lauderdale has about 6 crimes per 1,000 people, slightly higher than the national average.  The number of crimes per square mile in Fort Lauderdale clocks in 5 times higher than Florida in general.  Thankfully, most are property crimes but this is a big city, you need to use your common sense and street smarts to avoid being a statistic.

Getting There

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is where you’ll fly into.  Depending on where you’re staying you’re minutes or tens of minutes away.

The Transportation Area is outside the baggage claim on the lower level.  They have “comparison lists” posted with telephone numbers for cabs, shuttle van services, and private sedans—for all of these you’ll need to check in at the podium with the attendant to wait your turn.  However, shuttle stops for the “Go Airport Shuttle” are on the lower level, outside baggage claim at the west end of terminal #1, and between terminals #2 & #3, and terminals #3 & #4.

A cab will cost you about $15.00+ depending on traffic.  There’s no flat rate from the airport to Fort Lauderdale.

Shuttles can be compared with the airport list, or compare and book on “Jayride.”  The “Go Airport Shuttle”, and “Super Shuttle” are the 2 most popular and will cost around $17.00-$28.00.

Uber and Lyft are both available at the Fort Lauderdale airport—you use your app to arrange a ride.  The cars can’t wait at the curb so contact them after you have your bags.

The “Sun Trolley” will take you for free to the “Welcome Center” in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  The trolley runs every hour on the hour and can be found on the lower level outside baggage claim at/near the “Go Airport Shuttle stops (see above).  If you choose to take the trolley, make sure to pick up museum passes, store and restaurant discount coupons, and the free all-day Sun Trolley pass while at the “Welcome Center”.

The Broward County BCT bus can be found at the Airport Rental Car Center.  The Airport Rental Car Center is a few miles from the airport—take the free shuttle that’s accessible from the same points as the “Go Airport Shuttle” and “Sun Trolley”, the shuttle will say “Airport Rental Car Center” in the destination window.  Once there go to stop 7 for the route #1 bus to Broward Central Terminal in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  The bus runs every 20 minutes from 5:51am-11:52pm weekdays, and 5:20am-11:15pm Saturdays, 7:03am-10:03pm Sundays.

You can rent a car at the Airport Rental Car Center—take the free shuttle over.  You’ll need to be 21 years of age or older, have a valid driver’s license from your home country, the appropriate insurance coverage for the vehicle—which you can buy at the time of rental–and you will need to present your passport.  If you decide to rent a car, get a GPS, and ask about the “Toll-By-Plate” system to have your tolls automatically added to your rental charges.

However you get there, remember to check for discount codes to save money on all transportation, there are often student specials.

Getting Around

The options for getting around Fort Lauderdale are great!  Walk, bicycle, take a cab, Uber, rickshaw, trolley, water taxi…the choices are many.

Rent a bike from “Broward B-Cycle.” Bikes are stationed at 27 locations around town.  Get the free app, and think about getting a “B Card” to save money and make rentals quicker.

Let someone else do the pedaling while you take in the sights—call 954-561-2808 to schedule an “Oceanview Rickshaw,” they’ll pick you up from anywhere in central Fort Lauderdale.

You can hail a cab in the city, just step to the curb and raise your arm, an available cab will pick you up.  If there’s a dearth of cabs call Yellow Cab: 954-777-7777, or Sunshine Cab: 954-467-8100, they’re the 2 largest cab companies in Fort Lauderdale.

Take a trolley.  There are 2 trolley companies that operate in Fort Lauderdale—“The Hollywood Trolley,” and “Sun Trolley.” Trolley fares can be free or a few dollars, but will most often be $1.00.  Check their sites and download the free apps for both trolley companies to see route maps, and track trolleys in real time.

Broward County Mass Transit has buses servicing 40 routes, a one-way fare is $2.00—you’ll need exact change.  The buses also link to the Tri-Rail.  The Tri-Rail connects Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties.  There are free commuter connector shuttles too!  Fares vary based on distance.  Get an “Easy Card” if you find yourself using the Tri-Rail often because students qualify for a discount.

Water shuttles and water taxis are a fun way to get around Fort Lauderdale AND sightsee.  There are a number to choose from, but the most popular are:  “Water Taxi”, for an all-day fare of $15.00 you can hop on and off at all the popular stops, the taxis arrive about every 30 minutes; “Riverwalk Water Trolley” is the water arm of the “Sun Trolley” it has 8 stops that you can hop on and off at from 11:00am-2:00 pm, and 4:00pm-11:00 pm for FREE.  Get the app for the “Sun Trolley” to track trolleys in real time, and see the routes.  The “Fort Lauderdale Water Shuttle” is an eco-tour shuttle that requires an appointment—the shuttles are only 10:00 am the 4th Saturday of each month with tickets costing $35.00.

Important Numbers

Dial 911 in an emergency!

Fort Lauderdale Library 954-357-7890




Fort Lauderdale Police Dept. 954-828-5700


Fort Lauderdale Fire Dept. 954-828-6800
Broward Medical & Urgent Care 954-462-7558


Fort Lauderdale Hospital 954-463-4321


Gentle Care Animal Hospital 954-524-1111

Fort Lauderdale is a great choice for a place to learn English.  It’s a big city with a lot of attractions in town, and nearby.  Fort Lauderdale is famous for its beaches and canals, but there’s plenty of ‘turf’ to go with the ‘surf’—restaurants, bars, and clubs line the promenade known as, “the strip” along the ocean side highway.






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