In major Belize transportation news, Tropic Air announced that they are expanding their routes and will now be servicing the remote San Ignacio (Benque Viejo del Carmen) area beginning on December 10, 2012.

The October 3rd announcement comes in response to the requests of locals and international travelers looking for easier options for traveling to the Cayo District. Service will be daily from San Pedro and Belize City, utilizing the Maya Flats Airstrip, conveniently located between San Ignacio and Benque Viejo.

“When we inaugurated San Pedro Sula earlier this year, we promised the people of Belize to add even more exciting destinations. With the support of our resort partners and area residents, we now feel the time is right to add San Ignacio to our growing network,” said John Grief III, President of Tropic Air. “We hope that in the coming months, we are able to add flights and other destinations from San Ignacio.”

Cayo is often considered the cultural gateway of the country, offering an ideal location for exploring much of the country. Eco-tourism, Maya temples, and a wealth of outdoor activities are some of the key reasons travelers head inland to towns like San Ignacio.

The Maya Flats Airstrip is close to the renowned Lodge at Chaa Creek and other recommended resorts in the area. The new route will help facilitate additional tourism growth in the area, along with increasing trade between Cayo and the remainder of Belize.

Tropic Air’s website has been updated with the new destination, and travelers can book now for December 10 and beyond. The daily schedule is as follows:

  • Flight 941 departs San Pedro (SPR) at 11:30 a.m. and arrives in San Ignacio (MYF) at 12:40 p.m.
  • Flight 981 departs Belize City (BZE) at 12:00 p.m. and arrives in San Ignacio (MYF) at 12:40 p.m.
  • Flight 940 departs San Ignacio (MYF) at 12:45 p.m. and arrives in San Pedro (SPR) at 1:50 p.m.
  • Flight 980 departs San Ignacio (MYF) at 12:45 p.m. and arrives in Belize City (BZE) at 1:30 p.m.

There are lots of ways of getting to Belize and we’ve been providing regular updates on many of them on our blog (eg. Cancun to Belize by bus,  Belize car rentalsBelize airlines, and Belize cabs) our Facebook page and especially on our website’s, US to Belize airfares page. But here’s one we hadn’t thought of yet: as recently reported by prolific Belize blogger “tacogirl” on her Facebook page, San Pedro Water Taxi now includes a daily route between San Pedro and Caye Caulker in Belize to Chetumal in Mexico.

So, one adventurous and inexpensive way of getting to Belize would be to fly to Cancun, Mexico on one of the many low cost flights regularly offered to that major airline destination, then to take one of the awesome express buses down to Chetumal on the northern boarder of Belize. (I took that express bus trip once back in 2003 and it was the most luxurious bus trip I’ve ever taken, comparable in some ways to first class seats on an airline!)

The final leg of your trip would be via the new water taxi from Chetumal out to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye.

What’s the best way to find Belize flights?
After years of advising people about Belize travel arrangements, we summarize the options and strategies this way:

What airlines fly to Belize?
There are not that many options for flying to Belize because it’s a small country and there are only a few flights/day, and all go through the United States. There are no direct flights from Europe or Canada. You fly to Belize on one of five carriers: Continental (out of Houston), American (out of Dallas or Miami), U.S. Airways (out of Charlotte), Delta (out of Atlanta), or Grupo Taca (out of Houston or Miami). Even if you wanted to go to Belize after traveling in Costa Rica, for example, you would have to fly first to Miami from Costa Rice, then back south to Belize.

How do I find cheap flights to Belize?
There are no really cheap flights, for some reason people expect to find $300 round trip fares to Belize just by looking harder. You should expect to pay around $600 round trip, depending on where you are coming from, of course. If you find a fare less than that, buy it! You will get the best rates if you book early. Another technique is to try other dates (fly in Thursday even if you really need to arrive Saturday). Or try a different airport, possibly driving a little further. If you get a killer rate on a flight to Cancun, you can take the bus down, see our blog post “How to get to Belize from Cancun”. You can fly to Belize from Cancun, but it’s so expensive it cancels out the savings on the Cancun leg of the journey.

Any other advice on flying to Belize?
When you make your reservations, try to arrange for as few connecting flights as possible. If you have several connections, small delays can add up to missing your final flight from your gateway city to Belize. If at all possible, do not accept reservations with less than two hours between connections; very tight connections increase the possibility that you will miss one of your connecting flights. If you are flying in a day early you don’t have to be as concerned about multiple and tight connections. Because most airlines only fly once a day to Belize, if you miss your final flight to Belize, you will be 24 hours late.

We fly to Belize every year, what do we do?
From Moab we drive to Grand Junction, CO or Salt Lake City, UT and on to Houston or Dallas on whichever airline gives us the best deal, or with which we have frequent flyer points, and we often overnight in that US city if the connections would be too tight to get to Belize in one day. We might then switch to Continental or American to fly to Belize. This way we get the best price, and if staying in the US overnight, our luggage can catch up (it may be still behind).

Belize Air Schedules and Rates
For Belize air schedules, visit our Flying to Belize web page. For rates visit our Belize Flights page.

Flying to Belize
Our guest Rich Mitchell took this photo out of his plane window on the way to Belize. He put his sunglasses over the lens!