Tag: Tropic Air

Reaping the fruits of labor – The Sea Grape Tree

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 383

If you have visited any coastal areas of Belize be it on the mainland or on the Cayes, you will have come cross the Sea Grape Tree interspersed with Sea Almond and soaring Coconut Palms. Scientifically known as the Coccoloba uvifera, Tidibu Beibei in Garifuna and Uva de Mar in Spanish, it is actually related to the buckwheat family of plants. The tree is a great beach stabilizer tending to sprawl in high winds and become bushy. In a more protected environment it can grow up to 35 feet. The branches are covered in broad, circular, leather hard, bright green leaves that have a red central vein running through the center. These leaves can be boiled until the water is purple and then the extract drunk to lower blood pressure.  The hard wood of the sea grape tree makes excellent firewood and historically was used to carve weapons, whilst the red core was used for dye.

Sea grape trees can survive pretty much anything – sand, salt, wind (even hurricane force).  The one thing that doesn’t sit well with them is frost. Luckily frost is not something we get much of in Belize. Each sea grape tree is either male or female and needs cross pollination via bees or other insects in order for the fruit to develop. The fruit of the tree appears in late summer as a green “grape” approximately 2 cm in diameter and ripens to a purple color by late July/August. These grapes appear in hanging clusters much like the traditional grape on vines. In contrast to the grape, the pit is very large and makes up most of the fruit. As a result, they aren’t very juicy and can be a bit on the tart side. Kids however love them and in late Summer it has long been a Belizean tradition to scour the beach in search of trees, climbing and shaking the trees to release the ripened fruit.  Kids eat them directly from the tree or collect them in buckets for later.  Birds also love the fruits as do termites who often build their nests on the branches.

A tasty jelly can be made by boiling the ripe grapes to extract the juice, straining through a mesh bag adding sugar and pectin and boiling until set. The grapes can also be fermented to produce wine and vinegar. It takes a lot of sea grapes to make a little juice, so patience is a necessity but without doubt you will be reaping the fruits of your labor as any end product is delicious.

TROPIC AIR ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF TWO MORE AIRCRAFT

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 351

PRESS RELEASE
July 31st, 2018
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

 

Tropic Air announced today that it expects to take delivery of two Cessna Grand Caravan EX’s. These aircraft are equipped with Garmin avionics, weather radar and air-conditioning. Expected delivery is within the month of August.

“These aircraft represent a BZ$14,000,000 vote of confidence in the continued growth of tourism in Belize and in the expansion of Tropic Air,” said John Greif III, President. “The Caravan is the right aircraft for Tropic as it allows us to serve all domestic airstrips within Belize. It also is the most technologically advanced aircraft in its class. We love its performance and passengers love it for the air-conditioning and comfort.”

“As evidenced by our recent announcements of new interline partnerships with COPA and Condor Airlines, our increased service to Placencia, Roatan, San Pedro, and a restart of Caye Caulker operations, we are confident in our continued growth” said Steve Schulte, CEO of Tropic Air.

With the addition of these two new aircraft, Tropic’s fleet will number 16. Tropic also has lease options on two Twin Otter aircraft for seasonal use.

About Tropic Air
Tropic Air currently flies over 200 daily scheduled flights with 14 aircraft to 15 destinations in Belize, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Tropic Air now employs over 360 team members and will carry over 300,000 passengers and 425,000 items of freight system wide this year.

Tropic Air recently completed IATA’s Industry Standard Safety Audit successfully for the third time, after joining the program in 2015. In September 2017, Tropic was 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.

TROPIC AIR INCREASES FLIGHTS BETWEEN SAN PEDRO AND BELIZE CITY

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 407

PRESS RELEASE
July 26th, 2018
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Tropic Air announced today that, effective August 1, 2018, it is increasing service between San Pedro (SPR) and Belize City Municipal (TZA). There will now be 15 daily roundtrip flights, with departures as often as every 30 minutes. Flights will now begin earlier (6:30AM), and end later in the day (6:00PM).

“Our business customers have been asking for earlier and later departures, as well as greater frequency on this important domestic route,” said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “With more aircraft being added to our fleet, we now have the ability to offer them greater flexibility to make the most of their day.”

The new San Pedro – Belize Municipal schedule is as follows (all flights are daily). New flights are highlighted:

 

The flights are now bookable via the web at tropicair.com, via e-mail at reservations@tropicair.com, by phone at +501 226-2626, via Whatsapp at +501 622-5857, by WebChat, at any of our stations, or by visiting any of our authorized sales agents.

About Tropic Air
With nearly 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

TROPIC AIR ADDS FLIGHTS BETWEEN BELIZE CITY INT’L & PLACENCIA

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 368

PRESS RELEASE
June 28, 2018
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

Tropic Air announced today a substantial increase in flights for visitors to, and residents of,
Placencia. The increase is effective November 15th, 2018 and represents the company’s
confidence in the growth of tourism to Placencia, Maya Beach, Seine Bight and the surrounding
communities.

“Our commitment to the residents and tourism community of Placencia is to increase service in response to demand. We are now doing so,” said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “Placencia is an integral part of the network for Tropic Air, and as Belize’s leading airline, we feel that it is important to expand and show our confidence in a growing domestic marketplace.”

The new schedule for Belize International to/from Placencia. New flights are listed in Bold.

The new flights are now bookable via the web at www.tropicair.com, via e-mail at
reservations@tropicair.com, by phone at +501 226-2626, via Whatsapp at +501 622-5857, by
WebChat, at any of our stations, or by visiting any of our authorized sales agents.

About Tropic Air
With nearly 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

 

The Blue Holes of Belize – there’s more than just one!

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 531

Blue holes or cenotes are underground cavities occurring in carbonate rocks that are open to the surface.

©Tony Rath Photography – trphoto.com

One of Belize’s most famous attractions, and an example of these, is the Great Blue Hole. Located in the lighthouse reef atoll approximately 62 miles from Belize City, it is 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, and it’s a diver’s paradise.

Most visitors to Belize are probably unaware that in mainland Belize close to Belmopan, Belize’s capital city, and just off the Hummingbird Highway lies another of these craters, known as The Inland Blue Hole. Unlike its marine counterpart, this Blue Hole is a fresh-water cenote, located within the St Hermans Blue Hole National Park, a 575 acre forest teeming with wildlife. It is significantly smaller than the Great Blue Hole with a diameter of 300 feet and a depth of 100 feet. It’s a great spot for a refreshing dip while taking a Belizean road trip.

© Tony Rath – trphoto.com

Belize’s third Blue Hole is still something of a secret. Located in the rainforest area on the border between the Orange Walk and Cayo districts between the Valley of Peace and San Jose, Cara Blanca is just one of a series of 25 cenotes. If you look it up on google earth the pools can be clearly seen. Cara Blanca is approximately 330 in diameter and 230 feet deep. In recent years archaeological diving expeditions have discovered pre-historic bones of huge mammals, along with Maya artifacts. The latter demonstrating how Cenotes and caves played an important part in ancient Maya culture as they were thought to be the opening to Xibalba or the underworld. The presence of a small plaza with sacrificial pots and other relics here, is thought to be evidence of this worship.

It is rumored that other Blue Holes exist in Belize. There are definitely underwater caverns behind Caye Caulker and deep blue cenotes in both southern and northern Ambergris.

Let us know if you know of any, elsewhere in the country. We’d love to hear from you.

TROPIC AIR AND COPA AIRLINES ANNOUNCE INTERLINE AGREEMENT

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 473

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.

Gud Maanin Belize

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1306

Belize is a happy country and its normal to greet each other with a “Hello”,” Good morning “, a “Hi how are you” or a “What’s happening”. We are the only country in Central America where English is the official language. But depending on where you are in the country and who you are talking to, you will discover quite a diversity of language in the manner of greeting strongly related to the melting pot of cultures that are our people.

“Gud Maanin” or “Weh di go aan?” are two familiar Kriol greetings, sung here in a Belizean favorite by the late and well-respected King of Brukdown, Mr Wilfred Peters.

Whilst English is the official language, Kriol is spoken by most Belizeans, particularly at home or in informal situations. Often thought of as a dialect, it is in fact a language with its own set of rules and grammar.

In areas where the Mestizo culture is strong particularly in northern Belize and the Cayo district, the favored language is Spanish and familiar greetings are “Buenas Dias”,”Hola” and “Que Pasa?” Northern Belize still has several Maya villages, where Yucatec Maya is still spoken, though sadly the language is dying out. “How are you” is “Bix yanikech”, Good morning is “Ma’lob Ja’atskab K’iin”

Two other Maya languages are spoken in Belize, predominately in villages in the Toledo district where the Maya culture is strongest. The village of San Antonio is mostly populated with Mopan Maya and a traditional greeting which means both Hello and Goodbye would be “D’yoos”. San Pedro Columbia is the largest Q’eqchi Maya community and they also have their own language. A typical greeting would be ” Ma sa’aach’ol” (how are you?) When speaking to an older woman the greeting would be “Naxin” and for an older man “Waxin”. The younger generation greet each other with the more informal “Chan xawil”.

Stann Creek is the cultural heart of the Garinagu or Garifuna. “Buiti Binafi” is the greeting here. This language which is part of the Arawak group of languages is rich in stories of the Garifuna culture.

In the Mennonites communities of Belize such as Spanish Lookout, Blue Creek and Barton Creek, the language spoken is low German. Good morning is “Goomorjess” or the informal “Morjess” Like many other Belizeans they also speak Spanish, English and Kriol.

Whilst the languages mentioned above make up the main cultural groups in Belize, today there are many other peoples, who have visited, fallen in love with and settled in the country. It’s not un-usual to hear Lebanese, Chinese and even French. Belize really is just one big melting pot.

TROPICMILES – TROPIC AIR’S FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 999

San Pedro,
Ambergris Caye,
Belize
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Today, Tropic Air unveiled its Frequent Flyer Program, TropicMiles, which will officially launch on January 1, 2018. This loyalty program will reward customers for flying with Tropic Air, and provide them with unique benefits for being a member.

Once registered and enrolled, members can redeem their miles for seats every day. Members will earn miles for every dollar spent on Tropic Air flights, and miles won’t expire as long as there is earning activity within a 12-month time period. The number of miles earned is based on the fare and fare category purchased, and the same is true for redeeming miles. In addition, members that reach certain annual thresholds will be elevated to TropicMiles Gold status, which will entitle them to additional benefits, like bonus miles for each flight.

“We are always looking for more ways to engage our customers and make their journeys with us more rewarding,” said John E. Greif, President of Tropic Air. “The TropicMiles program highlights our commitment to constantly grow the benefits of flying with us.”

“The feedback from our test customers on this new program has been fantastic. The availability of a Frequent Flyer program for those that travel within Belize has been the number one request by our customers” said Steven Schulte, CEO of Tropic Air. “Today, we are pleased to give it to them.”

Customers wishing to become a TropicMiles member, or wanting to learn more about the program can do so by visiting http://miles.tropicair.com

About Tropic Air
After nearly 40 years of service, Tropic Air continues to differentiate itself by offering a reliable product with exemplary customer service. Flying 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.

The Sport of Kings

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1329

Horse racing’s history dates back thousands of years to the domestication of the horse by the people of Central Asia. The sport consisting of horses with rider racing round a track, was adopted throughout the world and was christened the sport of Kings when King James 1st of England made it his pastime of choice.

© horseracingbelize.com

Horse racing was introduced to Belize in the 1920s. At that time there were 2 major horse races. The Dewars Cup, named because of its sponsor, took place on Boxing Day, December 26th. The other race took place on 1st January. Some horses were imported from Jamaica, others were the Belizean bred family pony. People gathered for a bit of fun, to race their horse and of course to drink, bet and hopefully make a bit of cash.

Today there are several stables in Belize that breed horses but horse racing hasn’t changed much. Unlike the rest of the world it is relatively small scale and Horse breeders and owners come from all walks of life. There are now 3 race courses, Castleton Race Track in Burrell Boom, The Benny Padron Race track in San Felipe Village, Orange Walk and the Peoples Stadium in Orange Walk, which also acts as a football pitch and sports stadium. The terrain is grass, the type of race for those who know their horse racing terms, flat. Race meetings take place most months throughout the year at one of these three tracks. The Belize Triple Crown Challenge which takes place in April/May consists of 3 races, The Castleton Derby at Castleton race track, the San Felipe Stakes at the Benny Padron Race track and the Old Masters Stakes at the Peoples Stadium race track. This race series is open to three year old thoroughbreds from Belize. This year the horse Padrino made history by winning all three races.

If you are here for the Christmas vacations and are interested in seeing horse racing Belizean style, Castleton Races still take place on 26th December. Its no longer called the Dewars Cup but it is still the Sport of Kings.

 

Featured Photo: © horseracingbelize.com/

Queen Conch in Belize

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1990 0

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.