While many are content on taking chicken buses while traveling throughout Central America, the sinking prices of regional and international flights within and to the tropical land mass are hard to ignore. From Miami you can get to almost any major airport in Central America via a direct flight, while flights run also to the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and elsewhere in the United States. Here are a list of major airlines operating in the region and where they fly to:
Regional Air Carriers:
Copa – This Panama based airline runs on the Continental system. The Panamanian air carrier Copa has direct service between San Jose and Panama City, and many destinations throughout Central America. Connecting flights in Panama City can fly to Houston, Texas with Continental.
Taca – Taca is Costa Ricaâ€™s leading air carrier and is based out of Juan Santamaria International airport in San Jose. They have flights across Central America; to Lima, Chile, and Brazil in South America; and to Miami and other locations in the United States.
Taca Regional Airlines – Taca has numerous regional airlines that operate only within a country:
IsleÃ±a – Honduras
Aviateca – Guatemala
La CosteÃ±a – Nicaragua
Sansa – Costa Rica
Aeroperlas – Panama
Air Panama – Flights to Bocas del Toro and David, Panama.
Aerolineas Sosa – Honduras regional airline serving La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, La Mosquitia, and the Bay Islands.
Atlantic Airlines – Similar to Sosa. Atlantic is a regional airline in Honduras serving La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, and the Bay Islands. UPDATE: Grounded!
Nature Air – This small carrier has frequent flights to/from San Joseâ€™s TobÃas BolaÃ±os Airport to all parts of the country. The planes are small, sometimes just 4-seats and are used by many of the top tour operators in Costa Rica.
International Air Carriers:
Air Canada – Air Canada flies direct between Toronto and San Jose and Liberia, Costa Rica, as well as other routes in Central America, often though Miami.
American Airlines – Has some of the most flight sin Central America. American flies direct to Miami, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and has connecting flights across the United States.
Avianca Airlines: This Colombian air carrier, based in BogotÃ¡, has frequent connections to/from Panama City, Panama.
Delta airlines – The major air carrier is expanding gradually in the region and has recently added a second daily flight between San Jose and Liberia airports in Costa Rica and their hub in Atlanta and JFK in New York.
Continental– Continental flies direct to Houston and Newark from San Jose and Liberia airports in Costa Rica, and Panama City Panama. You can sometimes find a lower rate if you travel with Copa Airlines on Continental planes.
Jet Blue – Jet Blue only begin flying to Central America, only Costa Rica at that, in 2009, though there is a good chance they will be expanding their routes. They’ve begun to fly to Bogota, Colombia and throughout the Caribbean as well.
LAN airlines – LAN has the most flights to and from South America, however, they are rarely the cheapest option. Most flights to/from Central America fly to Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; or SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil, where connections elsewhere can be made. and with the moist locations in
Spirit airlines – Spirit recently launched service between San Jose, Costa Ricaâ€™s Juan Santamaria airport; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Guatemala City, Guatemala; or Managua, Nicaragua and Ft.Lauderdale with unbelievably cheap fares. Some lucky passengers have been able to take advantage of sales and have landed tickets for less than $80 roundtrip with taxes.
Cubana – Direct flights to Havana, Cuba with connecting flights around the Caribbean.
Others with just one or a few flights include: Air Nippon, Cathay Pacific, Aeroflot, KLM, AliItalia, AeroMexico, Air France, US airways, Varig, and many others.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.