A Journal, with Pictures

Archive for March, 2019

COPA Mayan Adventure, Gautemala

by on Mar.30, 2019, under Flying

This year COPA Cen­tral Amer­i­ca Adven­ture Trip focused on explor­ing Mayan his­to­ry and cul­ture and includ­ed vis­its to two UNESCO World Her­itage sites, the first in Tikal, Guatemala. We again had Caribbean Sky Tours (CST), orga­nize and escort our trip. We had a full com­ple­ment of COPA air­craft this year includ­ing an SF50 Cir­rus Jet along with Cir­rus SR20 and 22’s. Groups depart­ed the U.S., one from Brownsville, Texas the oth­er Key West, Flori­da. Joyce and I flew with the five planes fly­ing the 650 miles across the Gulf of Mex­i­co land­ing in Guatemala, near the vil­lage of Flo­res. The Key West group met for din­ner at a COPA favorite restau­rant, Louie’s Back­yard for a great din­ner under the stars. The next morn­ing, Sun­day, March tenth,  we flew to the north of Cuba, then over Cozumel, down to down to Belize City then west to Flo­res. We are met by CST han­dlers whisked through cus­toms and immi­gra­tion into vans and off to our hotel.   Our hotel is the fab­u­lous Las Lagu­nas resort with rooms over the water and the cen­tral build­ing over­look­ing an infin­i­ty pool and the lake. We start our vis­it with a cool cerveza, relax then meet with our total group for our inau­gur­al cock­tails and dinner.

The next morn­ing we enjoy a great break­fast pre­pared to order with a stun­ning view of Quex­il lagoon. We meet our guide then depart for the one hour trip to Tikal Nation­al Park a mag­nif­i­cent arche­o­log­i­cal site. This was the cen­ter of the Mayan civ­i­liza­tion. There are 4000 struc­tures iden­ti­fied, most remain cov­ered by the jun­gle. We will vis­it the cen­ter and most impor­tant struc­tures. Our guide reminds us that the Mayans built these struc­tures with­out met­al tools or any ani­mals to assist them. We explore the ruins with our guides in a trek through the jun­gle end­ing with an out­door lunch of local dishes.

In the after­noon there are lots of options includ­ing the spa, a muse­um at the hotel, the pool or the hot tub in your room over­look­ing the lake (our choice). We meet for cock­tails and anoth­er great dinner.

The next day there are a num­ber of options includ­ing explor­ing the lake and vis­it­ing mon­key island. Being inter­est­ed in nature pho­tog­ra­phy I had a great time pho­tograph­ing mon­keys. After the boat tour, the major­i­ty trav­el into the vil­lage of Flo­res which is on an island on the near­by lake Peten Itza which is acces­si­ble by a cause­way. This is our sec­ond vis­it so we just enjoy the muse­um, resort pool and our hot tub after a great lunch at the hotel.

That evening after our flight brief­ing by Rick Gard­ner, our leader from CST we have cock­tails and yet anoth­er great din­ner at Las Lagu­nas. In the morn­ing we are off to Campeche, Mex­i­co. With all of our air­craft togeth­er its a pret­ty impres­sive flight line, with the SF50 right up front.












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COPA Mayan Adventure, Mexico

by on Mar.30, 2019, under Flying

Wednes­day morn­ing we bid farewell to Los Lagu­nas, after anoth­er great break­fast over­look­ing Quex­il lagoon. Our han­dlers have us through depar­ture quick­ly, flight plans in hand for our first leg to Cozumel where we will clear Mex­i­can cus­toms. Its a beau­ti­ful flight along the coast on the route we were sup­posed to take com­ing in. We see the inlets where fresh water from under­ground rivers mix­es with salt water that was used by pirates as a hid­ing place dur­ing the Span­ish peri­od. Cozumel turn around is unevent­ful and we are on to Campeche, where no ATIS, gusty quar­ter­ing winds, plus low-lev­el wind shear make for an inter­est­ing land­ing. We are quick­ly off to the Hacien­da Puer­ta Campeche which is inside the old walled city and very quaint. We meet for din­ner after set­tling in and cock­tails in the hotel bar.

Thurs­day after break­fast we meet our guide Felix who starts his descrip­tion at the city land gate across the street from our hotel. We then take the one hour trip to the Edz­na Mayan arche­o­log­i­cal site which dates back to 600 BC and was a cen­ter for cer­e­mo­ny and trad­ing for the area. Unlike Tikal, this site was built in an arid region and did not have to be exca­vat­ed from the jun­gle so it is bet­ter pre­served. We make a brief stop to taste local corn­bread made in a char­coal oven, very tasty. The Edz­na ruins are very impres­sive and Felix edu­cates us about all aspects of Mayan his­to­ry. After the ruins, we stop for lunch at the Hacien­da Uaya­mon an estate dat­ing back to 1700. After we return we have time to explore Campeche on our own or relax at our hotel, before din­ner on our own. In our case, we dined at an excel­lent local restau­rant, Mar­gan­zo, serv­ing tra­di­tion­al region­al cui­sine and Mayan dishes.

Fri­day after break­fast we do a walk­ing tour of Campeche, walk­ing through the local mar­ket, not nec­es­sar­i­ly your super­mar­ket at home. We also vis­it church­es, the square, and both his­to­ry and arche­o­log­i­cal muse­ums. We have lunch at a local street restau­rant and then relax, pack, before the brief­ing for our flight back and our final din­ner together. -

This was a great group of COPA pilots and part­ners from all over the unit­ed states includ­ing Ore­gon, Cal­i­for­nia, Texas, Wash­ing­ton DC, South Car­oli­na, and Flori­da. We had a great time, saw some amaz­ing things and beau­ti­ful places. The first group depart­ed for Brownsville, Texas and beyond and the sec­ond to Key West back across the Gulf of Mex­i­co. In our case, after clear­ing cus­toms, we overnight­ed in Fort Laud­erdale to cel­e­brate our old­er daugh­ters birth­day before return­ing home on Sun­day. Real­ly an out­stand­ing trip thanks to COPA, Caribbean Sky Tours, a great group of COPA peo­ple plus the excel­lent warm hos­pi­tal­i­ty of Las Lagu­nas in Guatemala and Hacien­da Puer­ta Campeche in Mexico.

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