To start with it will be an adventure in which you will experience great cross country flying over beautiful landscape to new and very interesting destinations, experience different cultures, as well as meet and make new COPA friends. It also offers a welcome change from the winter weather with a warm tropical climate. So let’s start with the overnight stops.
Belize City, is primarily a refuel stop on the initial leg and for the Key West group overnight on the return leg, however if time permits, you can sample local Belize cuisine. Depending on your schedule you might visit the Belize Museum, a converted prison built in the 1800’s listed as one of the top ten places to visit in Belize. Great history and Mayan artifacts some dating back 2500 years.
Tikal, Guatemala, is our first destination and you will spend days one, two and three at the Las Lagunas Resort at the gateway to the Tikal Mayan ruins. The hotel as the name implies is on a lagoon, with breathtaking views of the tropical jungle. Located in the Heart of the Maya world, minutes away from the magnificent Tikal, Uaxactún and Yaxhá ruins. You can experience the richness of the jungle at its best in LAS LAGUNAS BOUTIQUE HOTEL.
Inspired by a Guatemalan visionary businessman who explored for 30 years the undomesticated rainforest of Peten, the property combines 200 acres of land, the comfort of a Boutique Hotel with its Private Reserve focused in the conservation of the native species of Guatemala. The Las Lagunas private preserve blends a breeding facility of wildlife native species with eco adventure activities such as trekking, bird watching trails, kayaking and 4X4 ATV rides. There is a main restaurant and casual by the pool restaurant, and the concierge can arrange a massage or additional activities to the included day two tour of the Mayan Ruins of Tikal. Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization located in the archaeological region of the Peten Basin. The site is part of Guatemala's Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period ca. 200 to 900 AD. During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily. Tikal is said to be the most important, complete and intact Mayan ruin complex in the world.
If you are interested in experiencing a Guatemalan town and getting a taste of the more urban culture a trip can be arranged to Flores, on Lagos Peten. It is located approximately one hour by car/bus from Tikal. The city itself is a wonder — dense with colonial, red-roofed buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, a historic church and Spanish plaza, and restaurants that are easy to stumble upon walking the city's charming streets. Most will find that this island city is more than just a take-off point, for tourists going to Tikal, but a memorable attraction in itself.
So you have a Guatemalan destination with a unique boutique resort, with incredible natural beauty, abundant and interesting flora and fauna, including 250 species of tropical birds, and a UNESCO historical site.
Golfito, Costa Rica, is the second destination, in the very south western tip of Costa Rica, which is remote, that’s why our organizers selected the location. The Golfito area around Southern Costa Rica is often referred to as the last frontier, which features incredible beaches. Playa Zancudo is a magical little sleepy beach town in southern Costa Rica. It is located on the Pacific coast at "the end of the road" in a part of Costa Rica that is rarely discovered by the many tourists that come to Costa Rica each year. That’s why we own an airplane, to go where others can’t go conveniently. Zancudo is a five mile long sand peninsula with a single dirt road that separates a huge Mangrove jungle estuary from one of the most remote and beautiful black sand beaches on the planet. Lined by almond and coconut palm trees as far as the eyes can see, the beach stretches on for miles and miles with no signs of development and very little sign of people. You often get the feeling that you are all alone as you stroll down the beach or take in one of the world class sunsets that Playa Zancudo is famous for. The other side of the road is a giant Mangrove estuary that is created by the mouth of the Rio Coto. The river is a tropical wonderland, full of crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks, waterfowl abound and a multitude of monkeys and other wild life typically found in this place untouched by man. The village of Zancudo is a place to experience the Costa Rica culture that will touch your soul. Scattered along the beach you will find a variety of restaurants, bars, little country stores and friendly people.
El Zancudo Lodge, is a marriage of luxurious accommodations with the rawest traditional and natural environment. Surrounded by the beauty of Costa Rican wildlife, tropical foliage and tranquil beachfront, El Zancudo Lodge is ideally bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Coto River, it offers guests the perfect setting for an unforgettable vacation accompanied by your choice of a variety of thrill seeking activities. You can choose between a list of popular sports such as surfing, paddle boarding, premier catch and release sport fishing and kayaking or a variety of day tours indigenous to the Golfo Dulce such as a visit to a botanical gardens and a wildlife sanctuaries, oceanfront or trail horseback riding, a zip-line canopy flight through the rainforest, or bird watching or hiking through the Piedras Blancas National Park or the Golfito National wildlife refuge. Those who are interested in enjoying the tranquility of the hotel can spend time relaxing by the pool, taking a stroll in the tropical fruit garden, playing a game of bocce ball on a regulation court, receiving a deep tissue massage, practicing yoga or Pilates in the open air or simply relishing the vastness of the Pacific Ocean from the privacy of our Zancudo Beach.
So you have an unspoiled west coast beach location with another unique boutique resort, with world class sports fishing, more opportunities to experience unique flora and fauna as well as the local culture, partake in adventure activities or just be pampered in luxurious surroundings.
There is also a possible optional Panama Canal fly over side trip being researched at this time, information to follow if it proves to be practical.
Tapachula, Mexico is a rest and refuel stop, however if you have time it’s an opportunity to experience far southern Mexican culture in a quaint small city, with the obligatory church and town square. There is a Mayan ruin to tour, if you haven’t gotten enough Mayan history.
Flight Seeing, will provide views unlike anything that you will experience in continental north America. Those flying form Texas will see the arid east coast of Mexico, and beautiful waters leading to the semi-tropical Yucatan Region. The Florida departure will see the northern gulf coast of Cuba, and the Yucatan.
Central America is a tropical canvas painted with developed agriculture areas, rain forests and volcanos, some active sticking out of the jungle. Rivers wind down from the mountain range that splits the western part of Central America.
The mountains are relatively low, only reaching about 6000 feet on our planned route, however they contribute to the beauty of the landscape and the climate. Central America will offer many memorable sights and photo ops.
Climate, did I mention warm tropical escape from the North American winter? We will visit two rain forest regions, however March is in the dry season. We get to see the rain forest without the rain.
Belize City, gets an average of 1.4 inches of rain in the month of March and the temperature average ranges from a low of 74 F, to a high of 83 F. Tikal, averages .5 inches of rain in March, with a low of 64 F and a high of 84 F. Golfito, experiences an average of 1 inch of rain and being farther south, has an average low of 73 F and high of 93 F. Obviously, loose fitting casual tropical dress will be in order.
Sharing the Experience of an international cross country trip with existing or new COPA friends is another reason to join this bucket list trip to Central America. There are plenty of reasons to go, but it’s even better with a group that shares your passion for aviation and adventure. Oh and another thing, the hours of planning necessary for a trip like this has all been done for you by experienced Central American flyers. There is limited space so register for this great trip today.
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