When you look up the term “puddle-jumping,” it might take you a moment of research to learn that it is, in fact, a travel term. So when you hear it recommended in all the local Belize travel groups on Facebook or sites like ours, we’re simply referring to the small passenger planes we use for domestic (and some regional) flights. The difference is simply that there’s no barrier between the pilot and the passengers, and sometimes if you ask, you can even sit up front in the co-pilot seat! If you’ve been back and forth on either taking the long way (transferring by road or boat) instead of a puddle jumper like Maya Island Air, here’s why flying by puddle jumper plane gives you a chance to experience a little extra in Belize outside of your vacation destination.
It’s Much Quicker
All international arrivals land in Belize City at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) and connect to all the major destinations in Belize.
- City of Belmopan, the capital of Belize (BCV)
- Caye Caulker (CUK)
- Caye Chapel (CYC)
- Corozal Town (CZH)
- Dangriga (DGA)
- Independence and Mango Creek (INB)
- Maya Flats, which serves San Ignacio and Benque Viejo (MYF)
- Orange Walk (ORZ)
- Placencia (PLJ)
- Punta Gorda (ORZ)
- Savannah (SVH)
- San Pedro, Ambergris Caye (SVH)
And when we say quick, we mean it. It takes 15 minutes to the offshore island of Ambergris Caye, and about 5 minutes less to Caye Caulker. Comparing that to 1.5 hours, you get to enjoy your vacation even faster. And for mainland transfers, like to the “deep South” of Belize’s southernmost district Toledo, a Maya Island Air flight is the most obvious answer. Consider you land in Belize around 3 pm, and clear customs and immigration by 3:30 pm; that’s a 6.5-hour drive ahead of you on the public bus and 5 hours in a private transfer. Do you really want to start your Caribbean vacation absolutely exhausted? We didn’t think so either. Even including short layovers (for refuels or dropoffs), it’s only a 70-minute flight from PIA to Toledo’s Punta Gorda airstrip.
The Views Are Insane
Especially if you sit co-pilot. Think of it as a tour within a tour, whether it’s following the cuts of the Belize Barrier Reef out to the Cayes or losing count of the shades of green as you head inland to either the Cayo or Stann Creek district. Daily flights, with carriers like Maya Island Air offering multiple time slots, means if you time it right, you can even catch the sunset while wheels up.
It’s Affordable Enough To Try — Even If Just Once
Flying with a local airline like Maya Island Air on your domestic transfer is definitely something to budget for, even if it’s just one-way. Don’t get us wrong: the Hummingbird Highway is an incredibly scenic, meandering paved road that cuts between the Stann Creek River Valley and all its agricultural beauty. But the scenic route in Belize isn’t just limited to its roads—going off the beaten path also means venturing out of your comfort zone, like a small puddle jumper plane. From the PGIA to Ambergris Caye, prices hover at $85 USD one-way, while PGIA to Placencia starts at $135 USD.
And because Maya Island Air’s puddle jumper planes are 6- to 15-seaters, we always recommend booking early once you start fleshing out your Belize vacation details.