Thursday, July 18, 2013

Maya Island Air BZE to SPR

To get from Belize mainland to Ambergris Caye, we took Maya Island Air. It was an amazing experience because the plane was so small and the views were spectacular. It was a bit more expensive than going by ferry but it was less time consuming and more convenient and that made it worthwhile for me. The ferry is only cheaper if you think your time isn't worth anything.

When we landed at Philip Goldson International (Airport Code: BZE) we first had to go through immigration, where we they were blasting some reggaeton music while verifying our passports. Then we grabbed our bags (we checked a cooler full of sunscreen and bugspray) and then waited in a queue to hand in our customs forms. FYI, we did bring some food with us, but it was all packaged dry goods (like nori - a.k.a. seaweed, breakfast bars, ramen). We didn't bring any fresh fruit or meat.

Once we got out to the main part of the airport, we checked in at the Maya Island Air desk. I had to show them my printed confirmation form and then they gave us our boarding passes. We had to check our larger bags - anything that can't fit on your lap - and then we waited to go through security.
The boarding passes were just forms that were filled out by hand. They stapled all three of our passes along with our baggage claim tickets to a little envelope so that we wouldn't lose anything. Once we got through security, we had to check in at our gate where they snipped off the bottoms of our boarding passes.

Once it was time to board, we walked outside towards our plane.
The plane we were boarding was a 12-passenger plane. It was so small, it looked like a toy.
We just climbed up a tiny set of stairs and sat wherever a seat was available. There is no assigned seating.
I thought this 'Low Clearance' sign was so funny because it's a pretty obvious statement. It felt like we were just climbing inside of a van.
We were a little nervous but also quite excited. It was a new experience for us to be on a plane this small.
I took this photo just to show you how skinny the seats are and how little space there is. There are no overhead compartments and not much space under the seats so any bags you bring on board with you must fit comfortably in your lap or by your feet.
Just a few minutes after boarding, we were taking off.
And we're in the air!
Once we were out over the ocean, the views were breathtaking and the blues and greens we were seeing were incredible.
We saw lots of little islands and the clarity of the water was insane. The water was clear and shallow so you could see right down to the sand and seagrass in the bottom of the ocean.
After just 15 minutes, we were landing in San Pedro.
And we were content.
After we landed, we simply walked off the plane while the airport crew unloaded our baggage from the undercarriage. They stacked it on some carts, wheeled it over in the shade, and asked us for our baggage claim tickets so they could verify that we were getting our actual belongings. Then, we just walked right over to our hotel.

If you plan on heading to Ambergris Caye, I definitely recommend flying. It's a fun experience with amazing views of the ocean and it's a comfortably short flight.

Cheers.

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