More Than Just a New Name – Belize’s Domestic Airport Is Now Safer and More Efficient

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Belize’s Municipal Airstrip, recently upgraded and renamed as the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport, is another example of how far the little Caribbean country has come in its evolution as a world-class tourist destination, according to Belizean eco-resort The Lodge at Chaa Creek.

The Belize Zoo, on the way to Chaa Creek, is a great way to get up close and personal to some of the eco-resort's natural neighbours

It makes an already pleasant travel experience that much better.

Belize’s recent upgrades to its domestic airport involves much more than just a name change, and represents another step forward in the little country’s evolution as one of the world’s premier tourism destinations, according to The Lodge at Chaa Creek.

“It’s one more example of how the government and private sector are working together to make travel easier for visitors," Chaa Creek general manager Bryony Fleming Bradley said, “And, with the high season and Christmas holidays coming up, the timing couldn’t be better,” she added.

Belize’s Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation had just announced the inauguration of the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport after an extensive renovation project expanded the runway, improved lighting for nighttime landings and saw a range of other improvements.

Ms Bradley said the renovations, which she said enhance the airport’s safety and efficiency, offer benefits to Chaa Creek guests who prefer to fly to the eco-resort via the Maya Flats airstrip adjacent to Chaa Creek.

“It makes an already pleasant travel experience that much better,” she said.

The November 7 2016 media release highlighted the improvements and concluded that, “The remodelled airport is now a world class, modern facility which will boost the already steady and phenomenal tourism growth in Belize.

Ms Bradley said that while the majority of Chaa Creek's guests still enjoy the overland route, with free pickup and drop off at Belize's international airport and a scenic drive along the Western Highway with optional visits to the Belize Zoo, a growing number of visitors are choosing to fly in.

“Many people still prefer the scenic drive, which takes you from coastal mangroves, through savannahs with small farms and homesteads, rolling pastures with the Maya Mountains in the background and past little villages like Hattieville, Ontario, Mount Hope, Unitedville and Roaring Creek before coming into Santa Elena and over the picturesque Hawksworth Bridge to San Ignacio Town. Then it’s a short hop past the ancient Maya site of Cahal Pech and on to the turnoff to Chaa Creek.

“Especially when combined with a stop at the Belize Zoo, the drive gives visitors a lovely introduction to Belize, and with our comfortable, air-conditioned vans and friendly drivers it’s quite a pleasant trip,” she said.

Ms Bradley said the introduction of Tropic Air’s Maya Flats airstrip near Chaa Creek some years ago made domestic air travel an easier option for guests.

“Especially for people on tight schedules, coming from far away, or who just want to check into their rooms, get a cool drink in their hands and jump into the pool or a hammock as soon as possible, the local air service is a real boon.

“With international carriers continually upgrading services from more hubs with increasingly competitive rates, combined with Tropic Air’s great local service, getting to and from Chaa Creek, and from Chaa Creek to Belize’s Caribbean coast and regional destinations like the ancient Maya city of Tikal in Guatemala, travel in Belize is getting easier, more comfortable and more affordable all the time,” Ms Bradley said, “And the newly upgraded Sir Barry Bowen Airport is icing on the cake,” she added.

Ms Bradley said that the municipal airport upgrades are especially welcome in light of new accommodations, tours and other features that include new luxury villas and a Belize Cultural Grand Tour that Chaa Creek is introducing over this year’s holiday season and for 2017.

“Our new Ix Chel Luxury Rainforest Villas opening in December 2016 are setting new standards for luxury accommodations with floor to ceiling glass walls and expansive verandas offering private, 180° degree panoramic views of the rainforest along with personal Jacuzzis, plunge pool and the attention of a personal butler. Guests can literally have breakfast with snow falling in the US and then be soaking under the stars following a sumptuous dinner that evening after enjoying an easy, seamless travel experience.

“It’s all part of Belize’s ongoing evolution as the preferred destination for many travellers, and enhances Chaa Creek’s reputation as Belize’s ‘Destination within a Destination,'” Ms Bradley said, citing Chaa Creek’s variety of accommodation, the number of amenities and activities within the eco-resort’s 400-acre private nature reserve, all-inclusive Belize vacation packages and numerous tours and excursions that cover the country and regional attractions.

“Belize has really come into its own as a premier travel destination, and it’s great to see that the travel industry, international and domestic, has responded so enthusiastically.

“Someone once said it’s not just the destination, but the journey as well. Now we can say that we offer the best of both,” Ms Bradley said.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a multi-award winning eco resort set within a 400-acre private nature reserve along the banks of the Macal River in Belize.

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Mark Langan

Mark Langan
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