Tag: San Pedro

TROPIC AIR AND COPA AIRLINES ANNOUNCE INTERLINE AGREEMENT

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 95

PRESS RELEASE
June 15, 2018
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

Tropic Air and Copa today announced the commencement of an interline agreement that allows customers to purchase connecting flights on one ticket and receive boarding passes for all segments at their first check-in. Tropic serves 15 destinations from Belize’s Goldson International Airport which Copa serves nonstop from its home at Panama’s Hub of the Americas.

“We are thrilled to enhance our partnership with Belize and provide great connectivity to our customers from 75 cities in the Americas offering the best regional on-time performance and service standards,” said Christophe Didier, VP of Global Sales for Copa Airlines.

Steve Schulte, Chief Executive Officer of Tropic Air commented, “We are thrilled to start our interline relationship with Copa. We look forward to welcoming more Latin Americans to Belize, and to providing both of our customers with access to our growing list of destinations across the region.”

“At Tropic, we strive to put the customer first in everything that we do,” said John Greif III, Tropic Air’s President. “This partnership will enable us to connect our customers to Copa’s extensive network of destinations, offering greater choice and convenience. It also enables our tourism partners to have seamless travel options, and demonstrates our determination to expand and strengthen our connecting route network.”

The agreement commences immediately, and tickets are available for sale. Connecting flights can be bought through professional travel agents.

About Tropic Air
With neary 40 years of service, Tropic Air flies over 200 daily scheduled flights with 15 aircraft to 15 destinations in Belize, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Tropic Air now employs over 350 team members and will carry over 300,000 passengers and 425,000 items of freight system wide this year.

Tropic Air recently successfully completed IATA’s Industry Standard Safety Audit for the third time, after joining the program in 2015. In September, Tropic was also admitted as a member of the Latin American Airlines Association (ALTA), after meeting its professional standards requirements.
Journalists with media enquiries, please contact the press office: pr@tropicair.com

About Copa Holdings, S.A.
Copa Airlines and Copa Airlines Colombia, subsidiaries of Copa Holdings, are leading Latin American providers of passenger and cargo services. The airlines offer service to 79 destinations in 32 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

During Copa Airlines’ 70 years of continuous operations, the Hub of the Americas in Panama has become the leading hub on the continent. Copa operates one of the youngest and most modern fleets in the industry and has one of the best on-time performance rates in the industry. In addition, in 2017 Copa received the award for “Leading Airline in Mexico and Central America” at the World Travel Awards and earned three Skytrax 2016 awards: “Best Airline in Central America / Caribbean,” “Best Airline Staff Service in Central America / Caribbean,” and “Best Regional Airline in Central America / Caribbean.” Copa is a member of Star Alliance, which offers passengers more than 18,450 daily flights to 1,300 airports in 190 countries.

Queen Conch in Belize

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1477

As we discovered in a previous blog, everything is not always as it seems.  Cashew nut is in fact a fruit and chocolate comes from a seed.  This month we talk a little about one of Belize’s favorite foods, Conch; where it lives, how its caught, how its cooked and how… it’s a snail!

If you are eating conch in Belize, you are most likely eating Queen Conch. Horse Conch or mai mula as it is locally known is also eaten especially in ceviche but sadly it is now rare and considered a delicacy. Queen Conch is a large sea snail that can be found close to the reef in shallow water in the sand or seagrass.  Conch don’t like to stay in one place and tend to travel miles looking for food. They move about in groups or schools using their “foot” to drag them across the sandy sea bottom.

Local fishermen are skilled at knowing where to find them and only those with a commercial fishing license are allowed to catch them. They are relatively easy to catch but extracting what’s inside requires skill and precision. The fisherman makes a small hole in the spiral part of the shell preferably using another conch shell (a knife is liable to break). This hole breaks the vacuum inside the shell making the meat easy to extract. Once extracted it needs to be cleaned of all the brown skin, best done with a fillet knife.  The “nail” and eyes are normally discarded or kept as bait or to chum. Experienced Conch fisherman never throw the empty shells back into the same place they have caught the conch as other conch will not return to this place. Instead they wait until their catch is complete at the end of the day and throw the shells back in, where there aren’t any conch. That is why you often see piles of shells in one place.

Freshly extracted conch meat can be eaten immediately as its sweet and tender. The tough muscle or foot can be tenderized with a mallet so that it too can be consumed. Every local fisherman and chef have their own special recipe for conch ceviche but staple ingredients include conch meat of course, lime (lots of it) cilantro, onion, tomato and habanero pepper(if desired). Conch fritters, conch soup (which is known to be good for the back) and conch steak are the most popular dishes you will come across in Belize. However, if you want to ensure that you get to try one or all of these tasty dishes you need to visit between 1st October and 30th June which is open conch season. At all other times of the year, the fishing and serving of conch is forbidden in order to maintain the conch population. Luckily that time is now.

 

 

TROPIC AIR ADDS FLIGHT FROM ORANGE WALK TO SAN PEDRO

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 970

San Pedro,
Ambergris Caye,
Belize
Monday, September 4, 2017

Tropic Air announced today a substantial investment for its Orange Walk customers as it it will be increasing air service between Orange Walk and San Pedro to three (3) times a day, effective November 15th, 2017. Currently, flights are scheduled at two times a day, and this will add an often requested evening service.

“When we launched scheduled Orange Walk service on December 15th, 2011, we also promised that we would grow the route. We are now doing so,” said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “Orange Walk (Tower Hill) is an integral part of the network for Tropic Air, and as we carry more passengers to, from, and within Belize, we feel it important that we expand locally to reflect our confidence in the growth of the domestic marketplace.”

The schedule for the the additional flight between San Pedro and Orange Walk is:

DEPARTS TIME ARRIVES TIME
San Pedro (SPR) 4:00PM Orange Walk (ORZ) 4:20PM
Orange Walk (ORZ) 4:30PM San Pedro (SPR) 4:50PM

 

The new service bookable via the web at www.tropicair.com, via e-mail at reservations@tropicair.com, by phone at 226-2626, via Whatsapp at +501 622-5857, by contacting any of our stations, or by contacting our authorized sales office in Orange Walk Town.

About Tropic Air
Founded in 1979, by John Greif III, with just a single airplane and two employees, Tropic has steadily grown to become the largest and most experienced airline in Belize. It now employs over 350 staff, and offers over 200 daily scheduled flights with 15 aircraft to 15 destinations in Belize, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Tropic Air joined IATA’s ISSA Registry in 2015. In 2016, it carried 280,000 passengers and moved 424,000 pieces of freight system wide.

Tropic believes in giving back. It supports the development of the communities its serves through health, sports, drug prevention, education and community projects. Tropic also supports the development and growth of the wider tourism industry of Belize and the destinations it serves through promotional initiatives locally and internationally.

The Mysterious Blue Hole

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 2829

Throughout the world, Blue Holes have always been surrounded in mystery and superstition.  Tales of bottomless pits, sea monsters and ship wrecks abound. The Great Blue Hole of Belize is no exception. In fact, a recent movie Posiedon Rex  even has dinosaurs erupting from its depths.

Located in the lighthouse reef atoll approximately 62 miles from Belize City, Belize’s Blue Hole is legendary around the world and is on many a scuba divers bucket list. An almost perfect circular chasm of deep blue in an azure sea, 1000 feet in diameter and more than 400 feet deep, it is the only Blue Hole on earth that is visible from space. It is also spectacular from the air.

It was originally made famous in the 1970s when the French explorer and diver, Jacques Cousteau and his team of divers, undertook its exploration in his famous boat The Calypso. In his documentary, he embarks on the treacherous 7mile trip from Lighthouse, through uncharted territory of shallow waters resplendent with dangerous coral heads, and eventually arrives unscathed at the Blue Hole. From here he and his team undertake its exploration.  See the video below:

Cousteau and his team realized the importance of the Blue Hole in providing knowledge of Earth’s history. Discovery of stalactites deep within the sinkhole provided the evidence that it was in fact a land based cavern as stalactites only form on land.  One such stalactite was removed for further scientific investigation.  Over many thousands of years as sea levels rose this cave was flooded at a least four stages as demonstrated by the formation of ledges. There is also evidence of earths shift as some of the stalactites are at a slight angle.  Cousteau declared this one of the top diving sites in the world and he is attributed with making it popular as a tourist destination following his discoveries.

In 1990, The Blue Hole was given the name The Great Blue Hole by British diver Ned Middleton. It forms a part of the Belize barrier Reef reserve system and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Alexandra Cousteau after her Tropic Air flight over the Blue Hole
Alexandra Cousteau after her Tropic Air flight over the Blue Hole

Some 35 years after her grandfather’s exploration of the Blue Hole, Alexandra Cousteau , who works closely with Oceana as a senior advisor, visited Belize for the first time and was thrilled to observe that in those years, this national living monument seemed to have changed very little from what she had seen in “The Sunken Caves” documentary.  Alexandra’s love affair with Belize was sparked and has continued to blossom over the years.   She taught her husband to dive in our waters and her daughter got her first taste of the ocean here at age 2 months. Last year she visited Belize again as a speaker for Oceana for The Energy of Nature vs. the Nature of Energy conference and it was then that she saw The Blue Hole from the air for the very first time.

©Tony Rath Photography - trphoto.com
©Tony Rath Photography – trphoto.com

You too can experience The Blue Hole from the air with Tropic Air’s stunning Blue Hole aerial tour. Don’t forget to bring your cameras as this is a photo opportunity you don’t want to miss.

Email reservations@tropicair.com for details on our Blue Hole Tour.

To Catch a Lobster!

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1902
Contact Reservations at 226-2626 for details on our Belizean Summer Special.

 

Do you every wonder how that succulent juicy lobster tail arrived on your plate? Catching lobster is a little bit more complicated that catching a fish and involves a few more steps. We asked some local lobster fishermen to give us the low down on how to catch a lobster.

So, the million dollar question.. how do you catch a lobster?

There are two ways to catch a lobster: using a trap or using a hook.  The trap method is used in shallower water in areas such as Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. The second method is normally used further afield.  Lighters (a 30ft sailing sloop) sets sail for 10 to 15 days at a time with 6 to 7 fishermen and a boat load of ice.  These fishermen skin dive the outer reef and atolls and catch lobster with a hook stick or gaff.

What do the traps look like and how do they work?

The lobster trap is made from strips of wood from the palmetto palm. They are un baited and have a funnel on the top.  They are set in the open seagrass. The Caribbean or spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) which is nocturnal leaves the safety of the coral reef to find food and graze on these seagrass beds.  As soon as the sun comes up they are looking for a hiding space.  They aren’t the brightest of creatures and if they see any chance of shade such as a trap they will scurry down the funnel and then won’t be able to get out.
The shade trap is made of palmetto and corrugated roofing.  The lobsters hide under these shades. Tin Drums are also used as traps.

Who makes the traps?

The traps are made by the fishermen themselves.  This skill has been handed down from generation to generation.

When do you start to lay traps and how do you know where to put them?

At the beginning of June the traps, old and new are put in the sea to soak. This makes it easier for them to sink.  About a week before the beginning of lobster season the traps are situated. Each lobster fisherman has a fixed territory which is usually inherited from previous generations and on the whole other fishermen respect this. The secret to location and pattern of laying the traps is known only to the individual.

How big should the lobster be?

A whole lobster, must measure three inches or more from the eye to the start of the tail; the lobster tail should weigh at least 4 ounces.  There are big fines for being caught with undersized, spotted (which means the lobster will soon lay eggs ) or those with eggs .

tropicairlobster
©SanPedroScoop.com

How early do you get up on the first day of lobster season and how long do you catch lobster for?

At the break of day until about 10 am or until you have a good catch

Do you go out every day during lobster season?

Normally its every few days to check on the traps.  With a fast powerboat checking your traps doesn’t take that long.

Where do you sell your catch?

In times gone by the catch would be sold at the Fishermen’s Co-operatives which existed in the major towns of San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia and others. In the past lobster was a big export and here in San Pedro a cargo plane full of ice would fly in to take the catch. Today the tourism industry has changed all that.  The co-operatives don’t really exist as before and fishermen tend to have an agreement with a hotel or restaurant, who will buy all their catch.

Lobster season this year opens on 15th June.

San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Placencia all stage Lobsterfests which for the lobster lover are a must!  Lobster abounds!! And Tropic Air can take you there.

Come fly with Tropic Air

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1253

Ever dreamt of being a pilot?  Well with Tropic Air’s Redbird CRV flight simulator, your dreams can come true.

TropicAir-RedBird
Tropic Air’s Redbird CRV flight simulator

In October 2013 Tropic Air, the airline of Belize introduced The Redbird CRV flight simulator to Belize upstairs in its San Pedro terminal.  This Advanced Aircraft Training Device (AATD) is the first of its kind in the region and is a complete replica of the Cessna Grand caravan.  The computer generated 220 degree screens are a true likeness to the landscape of Belize both on the ground and in the air and the simulator offers a fully lifelike range of motion.

TropicAir-RedBird2
Inside Tropic Air’s Redbird CRV flight simulator with Captain Ancona

The main aim of the flight simulator is to aid in the ongoing training of all Tropic Air pilots.   Every Tropic Air pilot takes part in a mandatory 3 hour training session every 6 months as part of Tropic Air’s Safety Management Program. The simulator enables all pilots to get practical experience in emergency procedures, system failures, unfavorable weather conditions and familiarization with the airports to which Tropic Air flies.  The session culminates in a one hour flight test on the simulator.

Tropic Air’s Pilot Training Program, a turbine hour building program now available for student pilots also takes full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Redbird. Each hour of simulator time counts as actual flying time.

We are very pleased to be able to offer the simulator to the general public to try their hand at flying the skies of Belize.  For the real flight enthusiast or those seriously considering a flying career the cost is $295Bz per hour.  The session is given by one of our experienced training officers. If you are a licensed pilot on holiday in Belize an hour simulator session will build your flying time. For those who just want to get an idea of what it’s like to fly a plane a 15 minute session is normally sufficient. A 15 minute flying session is available for $75Bz (37.50US).  During your “flight” you will be taught how to switch on the aircraft, going through a checklist before embarking, how to taxi on the runway, how to take off (normally from the International airport) how to fly midair, bank, turn around and finally how to land.  It’s a really fun and informative experience for young and old. We look forward to welcoming you aboard. Come fly with Tropic Air, the airline of Belize.

Check out the short video below:

Come take a flight in Tropic Air’s flight simulator from Tropic Air on Vimeo.

Lobserfest in Belize

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 729

Belize is famous for its spiny lobster (called crayfish locally), whose harvest season begins annually on June 15th.  This date also marks the celebration of all things lobster including three festivals held in three Belizean communities.

The beach towns of Caye Caulker and Placencia have traditionally had lobsterfests and in recent years, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye has added one to its calendar as well. If you are lucky visit Belize in June, you will be able to experience at least one of these delicious events.

San Pedro Lobsterfest is a week-long event usually starting with a kick-off party and culminating in a grand fiesta in Central Park. During the week, there are events planned all over town including a lobster crawl that involves partaking in lobster delicacies and libations in a series of establishments on a given night.  One can obtain a “lobster passport”, where each day a different island establishment is represented and acquisition of a lobster “stamp” in this passport renders the holder eligible for the grand prize, drawn on the final night’s event in Central Park. The prize is usually vacation for the following year that includes tickets from Tropic Air. The final block party is a lobster lovers delight. Front Street is closed to traffic and most of the local restaurants have booths serving their rendition of the tasty crustacian. There is a competition for the best dish so culinary imagination knows no bounds. There is some serious deliciousness to be found here, all accompanied by local musicians to give the real party atmosphere.

Caye Caulker lobsterfest is a weekend event. This is a local Belizean favorite, and people flock here from all over the country.  Stalls and restaurants everywhere offer anything from lobster tacos to barbecued lobster.

Placencia’s festival is also a weekend event and, in their own words, promises  “a mega beach party like no other in Belize “ with live music, family games, a legendary raffle and of course more lobster than it is possible to eat.

If you want to enjoy lobster, then come during the open season because between February 15th and June 14th, the crustacean is off the menu. This means that fishermen are not allowed to catch it, restaurants are not allowed to sell it and it is illegal to have in your possession.  Whilst this is harsh for the many tourists and locals, it is necessary to preserve this valuable resource for the future.

If you are planning a trip to Belize and you love lobster then June is definitely the month to come visit. Book your travel with Tropic Air.