Tropic Air & Copa Airlines Announce Agreement; Opposing Views About International Airport on Ambergris Caye

Friday morning I attended a morning press conference in San Pedro where Belize’s Tropic Air announced an alliance with Copa Airlines.

Wait…you haven’t heard of Copa?  I had but honestly…I didn’t know much.

Here are some of the very good reasons why we should know them.  Copa Airlines is based in Panama City Panama – the city which is also their hub.  They are on of the most punctual airlines in the world (#1 in Latin America and top 5 worldwide), they operate from 74 destinations around the Americas and the Caribbean and, as their VP of Global Sales said at the press conference, you still get a free checked bag and free food and drinks on your flights.  You can even order a scotch. For free!

They even have a super cool “Visit Panama” program where you can book a stopover free – so you can stop for a few nights in Panama City and then on to your next destination with Copa.  All for the same price.

Medellin AND Panama City!

Now, Copa’s passengers can book one ticket for flights to or from one of Copa’s 74 destinations right thru to almost anywhere in Belize – all of the 10 destinations that Tropic flies to.

***Can you name ALL ten destinations that Tropic Air flies to in Belize?  (Answers below)

Think Rio de Janiero, Brazil to Placencia or San Pedro, Belize to Medellin, Colombia.  (I like to think of the second one.  I’ve been dreaming of going back to Colombia since I visited about 5 years ago.  Magic.)

Or even Belize City to Georgetown, Guyana!  (Guyana is my new obsession)

*** True or False:  If you have many many days to spare and plenty of gas, you can drive a car or take various buses from Belize City to Bogota, Colombia on the Pan American Highway?

Since December 2015 – Copa Airlines flies from Panama City to Belize City twice a week – with Tuesday and Friday flights.  This link to Panama opens up a huge amount of flights and destinations.

And Panama and her capital there are AMAZING destinations themselves.  (I just check for late July/Aug and you can fly from BZE to Panama City RT for about $370US.)

It’s great that it makes everything easier for us in Belize but the most important part is how it can simplify things for those looking to visit Belize.  Especially for our neighbors to the south.

Brazil is one of the largest economies in the world (9th largest in the world by GDP) .  Millions with more discretionary cash are looking to travel and this alliance targets that demographic perfectly.

*** Brazil is the 9th largest world economy by GDP.  Is Canada (significantly smaller in population) above or below in ranking?

A population of over 200 million, a growing group of people that can travel and a country that generally travels on our “off-season”.

Now you can book the “all-in-one” Copa/Tropic tickets through your travel agent and later this year, you will be able to do it all online.

Plus, there will be bundling discounts in the near future.

I’m already expanding my bucket list.  I turn 45 in a few months after all…

After the presentations and the announcements, breakfast and mimosas were served and the representatives of Copa Airlines, Tropic Air and our local government officials were available for comment and questions.

Jules Vasquez of Channel 7 news was there to ask Minister Heredia about the proposed international airport on North Ambergris Caye – Basil Jones International Airport.

While many speculate that this idea is some sort of government boondoggle (I wrote a post a few months ago suggesting it makes ZERO sense) – there has been a recent article in a Quintana Roo newspaper suggesting that it will happen.

Minister Heredia says the airport “they are doing” is for international charters and later other destinations.  John Greif III, President of Tropic, says he “doesn’t see it happening.  Ever”

Interesting.

Let me wrap this up with one last trivia question and then you can scroll down for the answers.

***Copa is the “flag carrier” or official airline of Panama.  Does or did Belize ever have an official international airline?

Or better yet…is this picture real or not?

Photo from AmbergrisCaye.com

 

 

 

 

Answers to my trivia questions:

Easiest.  10 destinations for Tropic in Belize:  San Pedro, Caye Caulker (temporarily suspended), Corozal, Belize City, Belize International, Belmopan, San Ignacio, Dangriga, Placencia, Punta Gorda

No, you can not drive or take a bus all the way thru Central America to Colombia.  At least not in a regular vehicle.  There is a swampland, a dense jungle that has remained relatively lawless called the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia.  The Pan American highway ends and the Darien Gap begins and starts again in Colombia.

Brazil vs. Canada:  Brazil #9 with a GDP of over 2.7 trillion USD vs.  Canada #10 with a GDP of  about $1.8 trillion (population of Brazil is about 207 million vs. population of Canada 36 million)

Despite the photo, I think this is the hardest.  YES!  In the late 70s, there was an airline that flew from Miami to Belize called Belize Airways Ltd.  BAL.  Barry Bowen was one of the founders!  Here’s more of the story.  TOTALLY FASCINATING!





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  • Cartagena beats Medellin hands down — THAT is where you need to go when (not if) you go back to Colombia. Let me know when you do; I lived in Cartagena for two years & go back a couple of times a year.