It is very reasonable and common to get around the country in puddle jumper planes. Some Belizean airstrips are paved and somewhat official-looking (Belize City and San Pedro, for example); the rest are more like short abandoned roadways or strips of mown grass, but they work just fine.
Because such small planes are used, you not only watch the pilot handling the craft, you may also get to sit next to him or her if the flight is full (which is easy in a 12-seater). Best of all, flying low and slow in these aircraft allows you to get a panoramic view of the Belize barrier reef, cayes, coast, and jungle (keep your camera handy).
Two airlines offer regularly scheduled flights to all districts in Belize, from both the international and municipal airports: Tropic Air (tel. 501/226-2012, U.S. tel. 800/422-3435, reservations [at] tropicair [dot] com, www.tropicair.com) and Maya Island Air (tel. 501/223-1140, U.S. tel. 800/225-6732, mayair [at] btl [dot] net, www.mayaislandair.com). Daily flights are available from Belize City to Caye Caulker, San Pedro, Dangriga, Placencia, Punta Gorda, and a handful of other tiny strips around the country.
The Maya and Tropic flights usually combine several destinations in one route, so if you’re traveling to PG, you may have to land and take off in Dangriga and Placencia first. Ditto for Caulker and San Pedro, the two of which are linked together. There are also regular flights to Flores, Guatemala, and you can fly between Corozal and San Pedro. If your scheduled flight is full, another will taxi up shortly and off you go.
Several charter flight companies will arrange trips to remote lodges like Lighthouse Reef Resort, Blancaneaux Lodge in the Mountain Pine Ridge, and Gallon Jug airstrip near Chan Chich. Javier’s Flying Service (municipal airport, tel. 501/223-1029) is one such charter, offering local and international flights, air ambulance, and day tours.
Charter a chopper for a transfer, adventure tour, filming/photography assignment, aerial property survey, search and rescue mission, or medevac with Astrum Helicopters (Mile 31/2 on Western Highway, near Belize City, tel. 501/222-9462, www.astrumhelicopters.com); expect to pay around US$1,000 per hour (US$250 per person for most sightseeing tours). Astrum is a modern, professional outfit with new aircraft and a very skilled father-son pilot team.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition