keysman73
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:01 pm

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:51 am

This trip report concerns a flight that my partner and I took when we were on holiday in Mexico recently.
One of the tours on offer was to the Mayan remains at Chichen Itza either by bus(4 hours) or plane(45 mins). We went for the flight option as it meant a more relaxed day and more time at the beach when we got back

Aircraft : Cessna Caravan 208B
Reg : XA-UBL
Flight time : 40 mins

We were bussed in from our various hotels to Playa Del Carmen airport which is just on the outskirts of the town and is quite literally just off the main road.
Got out of the coach and walked onto the airstrip and onto the plane. There were 12 of us and the plane was configured in a 1-2 layout with 4 rows of seats.
There was quite a large area behind the seats for baggage etc and a big cooler of bottled water which came in very handy later on. Air con was delivered to each and every seat which was great.

http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/8529/dscf05038br.jpg

http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/3914/dscf05110lj.jpg

http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/3276/dscf05021zl.jpg

http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/6561/p12000510cn.jpg

http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/6283/p12000505oi.jpg

We all got on and the plane taxied out to one end of the runway before spinning round and heading down towards the other end at great speed.
Take-off was around half-way down the runway and we went out over part of the town and then over the sea before heading back inland for Chichen Itza.
The weather was great and visibility was excellent

http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/7854/p12000559ta.jpg

Our flight path was mostly over uninhabited jungle areas, but still interesting nevertheless. Very smooth as well for most of the time.
The plane was so small you could actually see the pilots instruments and make out some of what they were doing which was good - bit of a change from the norm.

http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/6803/p12000587zs.jpg

http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/756/p12000566ot.jpg

As we neared Chichen Itza, the pilots flew over the site and gave us some great aerial views. The flight started to get a bit choppy at this point and I don't mind saying that I was glad we'd be landing soon.

http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/9137/p12000623dp.jpg



Not long after, we were landing at Chichen Itza International Airport and I have to say it was the most deserted international airport I've ever been in!!!

Nice just walking through security with no-one there for a change.

All in all a great day - certainly much better than sitting in a hot bus for 7 or 8 hours and we got some nice views of Chichen Itza that you don't normally see.
Smallest plane I've ever flown in, but even when it got choppy it was still enjoyable. I'd highly recommend it.
 
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TheRedBaron
Posts: 3081
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:17 am

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:33 am

Man this is something Ill try on my next trip!

How much was the fare ? (if possible)

Thanks
The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
 
keysman73
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:01 pm

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:39 am

Our fare was around £150 ($270 American), but you can probably get it cheaper going direct to the airline.
Ours was part of a package through the tour operator which probably had commission on top and all that.

Still worth it though!!

Cheers.
 
jafa39
Posts: 4320
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:14 pm

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:57 pm

Looks like fun!! Pity you couldn't land at the site though.
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....
 
KLM685
Posts: 1506
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 12:41 pm

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:28 pm

WOW!! Amazing!! I have to try it!!


Alonso
KLM- The Best Airline in the World!
 
freedomtofly
Posts: 714
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:07 am

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:24 am

Oh wow I almost did this very thing when I was in Playa Del Carmen in late 2004, but instead we took the bus. Looked like fun though, very nice pics!! Thanks for sharing.

Aaron
You are now free to move about the world.
 
ghost77
Posts: 4461
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 2:07 pm

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Tue Jan 31, 2006 5:35 pm

Quoting Theredbaron (Reply 1):
How much was the fare ? (if possible)

Try www.aerotucan.com.mx

CUN-CZM-CUN is @ 100USD.

But it's Playa-Chichen doesn't shows up!! Perhaps around 150USD.

ghost77 APM
Ricardo Morales - flyAPM - ¡No es que maneje rapido, solo estoy volando lento!
 
flyingchoirboy
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 10:45 am

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:35 pm

nice trip report! it's nice to hear about trips on small airlines with small planes...makes me jealous!

-flyingchoirboy
 
DesertAir
Posts: 1270
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:34 am

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:23 pm

Thanks for the photos. I visited Chichen Itzá and Tuluúm last summer. I left three days before Hurrican Emily hit. Wow...the Cancún airport was a panic.
 
keysman73
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:01 pm

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:46 am

Ha ha - it was chaos when I was there...and that was just with a normal charter flight!

I can only imagine what it must have been like round about the time that the hurricane hit.
 
9VSPO
Posts: 4187
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 9:03 pm

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sat Feb 04, 2006 5:49 pm

When we were there it was about 130 degrees with no shelter. The pyramid is a lot steeper than it looks too. It took me ages to come back down. Did you climb it? It was a bit scary seeing an ambulance parked up there just in case.  scared 
 
DesertAir
Posts: 1270
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:34 am

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:56 am

I climbed the Pyramid in the high humidity. Going up is like crawling but while coming down I watched my footing and held onto the rope.
 
keysman73
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:01 pm

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sun Feb 05, 2006 9:19 pm

Actually, the weather when we were there was bearable. There was a fair amount of cloud and only later on did the sun really come out on it's own.

I agree that the pyramid is a lot steeper than it looks, however it is now closed for the forseeable future beacuse the week before we got there, someone fell down the steps and died!! No-one is allowed up there just now other than the people looking after it.

Bit of a shame as I was really looking forward to climbing it.

 Smile
 
fly727
Posts: 1752
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2003 8:27 am

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:38 pm

All I can say: GREAT!

I enjoyed your report a lot. I happen to know the pilot, Ricardo Enciso, who took you on that flight. He is a very close friend of mine, a very skilled and professional guy.

Aerotuc?n is a recently-established operator in the Cancun area. It is currently offering non-scheduled services, which are filling the gap for regional on-demand charter left by previous operators (such as the failed attempts of Vuelabus, subsidiary of also ill-fated Vuelamex, millennium and Avioquintana). They do have, however, in my understanding another set of Caravan(s) for their runs in the state of Oaxaca, where it was founded.

A lot of their business in southeast Mexico (that is, not their niche in Oaxaca) is done via local travel agencies or ground operators who take advantage of the huge amount of traffic of "day-stay" cruise ships in the Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and the recently developed Mayan Riviera area. Their sales staff offer the tour packages to tourists, some of which include admissions to the archeological parks, meals, drinks and of course transportation to and from the ships and/or resorts.

This little airline lacks the technical stuff (and honestly the market has reduced ever since some time) to allow scheduled operations, even in the once-profitable Cancun/Cozumel air shuttle, which during some time had 20 flights a day. They do, however, offer safe, reliable and fun rides such as the one Keysman73 took.

The views departing any place in the Mexican Caribbean are absolutely breathtaking; but it takes special mention taking off from Playa del Carmen's 600 meters (roughly around 1850 feet) and narrow runway. Both from the view and because of the knot-feet-degree precision it demands from the pilots. I flew in and out of there several times and there is never something that doesn't challenge one's skills. Though it was designed for single-pilot operation, in Mexico whenever the Caravan is used under a commercial service certificate and registration it is required to have a co-pilot. Chances are that your first officer was building time on his logbook for a little or no pay. Either way a blast of invaluable experience is gained.

About Chichen Itz? International, there are a few facts to mention. Designed as a relief airport for the congested Cancun airport (it would take the flow of some flights from Europe whose passengers are more in the search of eco-archeological experiences rather than the noisy mess of Cancun) it never quiet got important customers as the new owners of nearby CUN saw their interests threatened. Money and political issues in which grupo ASUR was involved (CUN's operator) avoided Chichen Itz? International from getting the traffic. A total shame as CZA was probably one of the finest and most expensive airport projects in Mexico of the last decade. Nice hydraulic-concrete runway, state of the art underground fueling facilities, modern navigational aids... all of them bleeding red ink right now.

Hope the info helps. Got a little carried away with this topic. Hope not have bored you to death.

RM  Smile
There are no stupid questions... just stupid people!
 
keysman73
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:01 pm

Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:34 am

Fly727 - Great detail, not boring at all.

I agree with your comments regarding Playa Del Carmen airport - I can see why it could be demanding.

When we were coming back into land, I managed to get a good view out of the front windshield to see the plane lining up with the runway. Definitely not a landind for the faint-hearted with all the buildings around and what looks like a relatively tight runway!!

Thanks once again.

Alan.
 
TPAnx
Posts: 1007
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 4:53 am

RE: Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:20 am

Brings back memories. Back in the late 80's , we flew from PdC to Cozumel. Walked up a path from the Balam Ha hotel to the airstrip, watched someone
laboriously enter our names on the manifest, and boarded a Trislander..three engine prop plane..two wing-mouinted, the third in the tail..DC-10 style.Fixed gear, IIRC.Flew to Cozumel, stopped on the runway where the pilot left the aircraft, picked up something from the runway, and continued his taxi to the gate. Took the flight after sitting on the porch of the hotel, and watching the plane barely clear it for several mornings. Looked like fun(!?). Heard from one of the passengers that the airline, the name of which I don't recall, had lost an aircraft near Cancun. Thanks for the pix..don't recall the PdC airport being paved..but it was a long time ago.
TPAnx
And yes, the Cancun airport was a true zoo when we left..when we arrived, the Mexicana f/a offered me a "deal" on pesos....
I read the news today..oh boy
 
semsem
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RE: Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:57 am

You indicated the tour costs about 150 pounds. Do you know how much the tour by bus was in comparison. I am guessing 50 pounds.
 
keysman73
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:01 pm

RE: Mexico: Playa Del Carmen <-> Chichen Itza (Pics)

Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:10 am

IIRC, the bus tour was around £75GBP. We were kind of put off because of the 7-8 hour return journey time.
You probably see more of the coutryside, but I thought it was worth the extra money to take the flight.

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