Tropic Air (9N) is one of only two Belize-based airlines. Alongside competitor Maya Island Air (8M), Tropic Air operates all domestic flights to various islands across the small Central American country. We flew Tropic Air on a short 7-minute flight, 9N0081, from Caye Caulker to Belize City’s Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport – the largest airport in the country.
Sometimes overlooked, Belize is a stunning destination. The nation sits between the Central American jungles and the Caribbean Sea, providing some of the best diving locations in the world.
Perhaps as a result, air travel is comparatively expensive for what you get – but is certainly the most convenient option with most flights from Belize City only taking 7-20 minutes to arrive at their destination.
Due to the timing of our flight leaving Belize we decided to fly from Caye Caulker, one of the nearest islands back to Belize City. This was certainly one of the most basic ‘airports’ we’d been to, with just a small building used for check-in and no airport security to be seen.
Half of the building is dedicated to Tropic Air and the other half to Maya Island Air, both of which serve Caye Caulker. Each side has a small waiting area which is air conditioned and serves cold water, perfect for the tropical weather in Belize.
A small sign attempts to deter anyone from straying onto the runway, other than that there was little stopping passers-by who felt like a jog on the runway.
The flights start quite early in the morning at about ~7 am buzzing over the island. At night, there are no flights into Caye Caulker.
We checked in shortly before our scheduled departure time and received one of the more interesting boarding passes we’ve seen! At least it saves on printing costs.
Shortly after check-in our Cessna C208 Caravan arrived to take us on this short flight. These planes can accommodate around 10 passengers with either one or two pilots. These aircraft make up the backbone of air travel in Belize. Given the frequency and size of the airstrips, they seem well suited to the task.
On our flight to Belize City, there was a pilot in training operating our flight under supervision – so the seat next the pilot was occupied. From the rear of the plane, we still had some fantastic views during the flight.
The scenery is certainly second to none!
All Tropic Air and Maya Island Air domestic flights park at remote stands near the arrivals terminal when arriving into Belize City. Since anything larger than a backpack needs to be put in the hold of the aircraft there was a short wait while our bags were unloaded.
In addition to Caye Caulker (CUK) and Belize City (BZE), Tropic Air’s domestic route network extends to Belmopan (BCV), Corozal (CZH), Dangriga (DGA), Orange Walk (ORZ), Placencia (PLJ), Punta Gorda (PND), San Ignacio (CYD) and San Pedro/Ambergris Caye (SPR).
Interestingly, Tropic Air also serve a number of international destinations: Cancun (CUN) and Mérida (MID) in Mexico, Guatemala City (GUA) and Flores (FRS) in Guatemala, as well as three destinations in Honduras: San Pedro Sula (SAP), Roatan (RTB) and Tegucigalpa (TGU).
Air travel in Belize is certainly the quickest and most convenient option for getting around Belize. While the alternative boat options are regular and significantly cheaper, if your journey to Belize City is quite lengthy then a simple flight is likely the best option. Both Tropic Air and Maya Island Air have similar pricing, so make your decision as to who to fly purely based on schedule.