On May 26th, 2004, the Government of Belize (GOB) announced the official
closure of Caye Caulker's airstrip. This came following notification from,
Tropic Air and Maya Island Air, both of the country's airlines, that they
would no longer land on the deteriorated runway. The upgrade project of the
airstrip was scheduled to take a period of six months, and was estimated to
be completed by the beginning of Belize's high (peak) tourism season and/or
the Thanksgiving holidays.
It is now Thanksgiving and the Caye Caulker runway is still being
worked on. In an interview with Caye Caulker Village Chairman Alberto
Villanueva Jr., The San Pedro Sun was told that the project's estimated date
of completion is now December 22nd. "We understand the financial state of
the government and we appreciate it being done as quickly as possible. The
in clement weather we have been experiencing recently has also put our
progress on hold," he stated. "We are sacrificing now for later!"
According to Mr. Villanueva, some businesses in Caye Caulker have stated
that there have been direct cancellations from visitors to the island due to
the airport being closed. "Visitors have two alternate routes to visit our
island. Once at Belize's International Airport, they can go to the city and
then take a water taxi to Caye Caulker, this route takes approximately
two-three hours. The other choice is to fly from the International Airport
to San Pedro and then take a water taxi to Caye Caulker. The latter being a
shorter route," he explained.
However, other businesses state that the closure of the airport has not
hampered the arrivals of their visitors. "We have to sacrifice a little, in
the end we will have an excellent runway for years to come. That is a great
advantage!" ended Mr. Villanueva.
Always offering a variety of excursions, tastes, and sights for all
their visitors, Caye Caulker remains one of the treasures within "The Jewel
of the Caribbean."