Fly Away With Maya Island to Caye Caulker
The heat of the midday sun had my jungle shirt drenched through and through with perspiration as we travelled through the narrow and twisting back streets of Belize City in the front seat of an un-air-conditioned taxi. Luckily the cabbie had a sense of humour, for I had hailed he and his cab unconditionally from in front of the bus station following my late arrival by way of a local bus I caught after crossing the western Belizean border from Guatemala.
Not ten minutes after arriving into Belize City, I was standing at the ticket counter at the Maya Island Air desk at the Municipal Airport. Having been in the Guatemalan highlands for the last two weeks, as the smiling and quite pleasant Maya Island agent explained to me my flight options I couldn't help but notice the ocean directly on the other side of the airport's single lane runway over my shoulder to the right.
Noticing that my attention was elsewhere, the pleasant Maya Island ticketing agent smiled widely and said, "yea, that's the Caribbean". She then handed me my boarding pass for the flight to Caye Caulker and again with her infectious smile she said, "On behalf of everyone at Maya Island Air, welcome again to Belize, we hope you enjoy your stay on Caye Caulker."
After enjoying the air conditioning in the Maya Island Air Municipal Airport terminal for a short time, the 1:30pm flight departure was announced and I made my way to the exit door to the tarmac. I was greeted by a young Belizean man at the exit door that took my boarding pass and politely explained to simply follow him to the plane. Together with the Maya Island representative and my fellow passengers I walked the short distance to the Cessna Caravan C208, a thirteen passenger Turbine (Jet-prop) powered aircraft.
Being first onboard, I found my seat that was located directly behind the pilot. As I buckled up he turned and said, "welcome aboard!!" With the hatch shut and the luggage stowed away, the pilot over the intercom explained the safety procedures for the flight to Caye Caulker. After that, we taxied down the runway with the turquoise waters of the Caribbean sea to our right, did a quick 360 degree turn at the end, revved the engines and headed down the runway and off into the wide open blue.
The skyline of Belize City quickly disappeared away into the distance. With open skies and an occasional island popping up below as well as upon the horizon, the Cessna soon smoothed out to it's flying altitude. From my window seat vantage point I could make out a fishing boat along a flat with a lone fly fisherman and his guide directing him to probably a bonefish or an elusive Permit. Then I noticed what appeared to be two men in a dugout canoe casting their net for live bait along the shores of an isolated caye.
The 'airport' on Caye Caulker
In less than thirty minutes the pilot re-entered the cabin by way of the intercom to say it was time to prepare for our landing on the island of Caye Caulker. Through his sunglasses I saw the reflections of the island landing strip not too far below the blue sky that defined where my vacation was leading me this day. It would be a sparsely populated beach laced with Caribbean seas washing ashore, with a few hammocks swaying under idyllic palms. A place where time seemingly stands still, where the sound of tropical recipes combining pineapples and Travellers One barrel rum proportionately in a blender with ice and sugar create what would in the end be, paradise found by way of a Maya Island Air flight to Caye Caulker, Belize, Central America.