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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