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INFORMATION   ON   CENTRAL   AMERICA




Back to the Planning Page

Contributors.

Obtaining Clearances

Disclaimer :
The information found on these pages is published as supplied by pilots and has not been verified. It does not replace official documents produced by foreign governments or Airways Manuals published by specialised firms and should be taken at face value and used only for planning purposes. Governments change their aviation regulations without notice. Neither Earthrounders.com nor the pilots supplying the information are liable for inaccuracies or subsequent changes in that information.

Click on the country name below for information.
  Mexico   Nicaragua NEW Guyana
  Belize   Costa Rica NEW French Guyanne
  Cuba   Panama NEW Martinique


CENTRAL AMERICA WEATHER and NOTAMs

COCESNA is the Central American traffic control and aeronatical organization. Their web site usually has airport-specific NOTAMs, and METARs at the major airports. The link is http://www.cocesna.hn

To view the info, on the top left of the page put your mouse over the menu item that says "Productos Y Servicios".
When a menu pops up below this item, select "Informacion Aeronautica" from the popup menu.
Then a menu pops up on the right, select "Informacion Aeronautica Web".
Now you'll see a map of Central America, and can put your mouse over the yellow circles, representing airports, to view NOTAMs or METARs for that airport.

I have found that:
1) when the weather is beautiful, they don't publish METARs on the web site (although I wouldn't count on the lack of a METAR as meaning the weather is beautiful); and
2) in Belize at least, there are TFRs and NOTAMs that aren't posted here, which we have to pick up through the Civil Aviation office at Phillip Goldson International. The NOTAMs posted on the web site are airport-specific for example taxiways being painted and runways being modified.


MEXICO

Overflight - info current November 2006
To overfly Mexican airspace, it is necessary to first get approval.
We ended up doing this via email, following an entertaining series of calls and faxes. I highly recommend sending the email and skipping the frustration.
The email address is mgarrile@sct.gob.mx, and the (female, so don't call her "sir") contact's title and name is "Lic. Maru Garrido". They will send a fax back with the approval, but count on it taking 2-3 business days for this to happen.
If you prefer you can send a fax along with a copy of the flight plan to +52 55 55 232955
But you will have to call the fax number first, and ask the person that answers for a fax tone. They will ask to whom you are faxing, and you should indicate that you are trying to fax to "Maru Garrido".
*Unless Ms. Garrido is in, you will need to be able to speak Spanish to make this happen, or enlist a Spanish speaker to help.

In the email we had to specify normal Overflight Request stuff: airplane model
serial
registration
where to/from
indicate that we are just overflying Mexico
flight plan details
name of person/pilot
sign the request
include return fax number


BELIZE

Landing - info current December 2006
With Belize you can fax a copy of the flight plan. They want a copy of the flight plan at least 2 hours prior to departure, but they want to know you're coming 24 hours in advance.
It might be smart to ask for a fax back with confirmation, but we didn't and all was ok. fax +501 2 225 2533
The Airport Concession company gave us mostly accurate information (BACC: +501 225 2045)
Below I have made notes where our experience differed from their info.

The official I spoke with indicated they would need copies of:
- certificate of registration
- airworthiness
- insurance covering Belize - covering Belize or Central America as a whole; liability for our aircraft.
NOTE: We have a worldwide policy, and the authority in charge at first did not believe that it was possible to get such coverage, but politely shelved his doubts after some discussion and, we suppose, called to verify the policy at some later point.

Also we had to show:
- pilot-in-command's license & medical
- of course our passports (no special visa required for U.S. passports)
- customs clearance from departure airport.
NOTE: we were told we would need this, but were unable to convince u.s. customs to give us such a paper before departing (they said no such animal exists); and it turned out we didn't actually have to have show this in Belize
- general declaration, 4 copies.

We were advised to arrive between mon-fri 6am-6pm (normal hours); after hours and on the week-end there are "overtime" charges for customs, immigration, and quarantine.
We were told we would be charged a landing fee for landing at intl airport, but would not be charged to land at any government airstrip after that.

NIOTE: The reality was that we paid no landing fee, but we paid Belize $20 (US$10) for "quarantine treatments", and BZ$30 (US$15) for "aircraft inspection". We also ended up paying a very small fee US$20 to a local handler due to a misunderstanding - he approached us immediately after landing and began asking for our paperwork, and we assumed he was a government official. However, this handling fee may have expedited our entry (we ran the gauntlet in just under 40 minutes).
The Civil Aviation office personnel at the airport were very kind and made photocopies for us of the Belize airport list (with coordinates, elevation and so on), and the current NOTAMs. This is the only way to get the local NOTAMs, so be sure to get paper copies if you intend to fly around the country.
Flying in Belize is a delight. There is little traffic and one common frequency for all of the local airports, though you must contact approach at the international airport once you get airborne (hard to make contact from the ground). The scenery is beautiful and weather is usually great. Lots of local traffic between Belize City and the cayes (Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye aka San Pedro).

Note on fuel: before leaving we called and got an unbelievable price of BZ$5.43/gallon (US$2.72). I asked the young man to repeat the price and currency to be sure. As they say, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. When we went to actually purchase the fuel, we found the price to be closer to US$5.43/gallon.



CUBA

Overflight - info current November 2006
Cuban overflight wasn't necessary apparently, but here's their email in case you want to get a permit number to be safe: ppv@iacc.avianet.cu A. Figueredo from Aerocivil was very cordial and responded very quickly - gave us a permit number but said we didn't need it, provided we file the international flight plan with U.S. flight services as normal.



NICARAGUA

Landing - info current January 2007
Mario Altamirano: aisac@mti.gob.ni
Send request at least 24 hours before you want to land in Nicaragua, but 48 hours is preferred.
Include all the flight plan details.
Mario replied to us with the permit number via email. I wrote in Spanish initially but he was very happy to practice his English.

Fees:
Bluefields Airport
Landing US$4
Technical Services US$7
Flight plan US$3
Parking US$1.50 (we were there for 1 hour)

Big Corn
Landing US$4
Technical Services US$10.50
Flight plan US$3
Parking US$2 per day

Managua
Landing US$8
Technical Services US$21
Flight plan US$5
Parking US$4 per day


COSTA RICA

Landing - info current February 2007
Bernardita Mora Segura:
aiscr@dgac.go.cr
Prior permission not required, just send the flight plan 2 hours before the flight.

To fly internally after clearing in to Costa Rica, you have to get a "permiso temporal", or temporary permit, for the airplane. We landed in Pavas, and were made to shuttle back and forth by taxi between Pavas and Juan Santamaria to get the permit (weren┤t allowed to fly over because we didn┤t have permission yet...) The Customs/Aduanas office wanted copies of our passports, pilot licenses, medicals, airplane registration and so on. They also want to see the originals, and they will not make copies for you there, so make your own and bring the originals and the copies of all this stuff. Supposedly in May they were going to start letting people request this temporary permit from Pavas. The permit is free.

Costa Rica has great documentation on their airports and airspace on their web site: www.dgac.go.cr/ais/aip/
The bottom three links on that page are for PDF files in English. There is a lot of info on the site but it is helpful if you can read Spanish.
A lot of the local airports are privately owned and you have to get prior permission from the owner to land there, and negotiate the rate for landing and parking.
Parking in Pavas was a little more than US$2 per day, and parking at a gravel strip was more.


COSTA RICA

Increase in parking fees in Costa Rica. It must be pointed out that these fees are for any aircraft be it a Cessna 152 or a Boeing 737, foreign or national. Landing fees remain about the same and are computed by the ton.
Entry Requirements:
You must request and receive permission to land and/or over fly Costa Rica. Fill out and fax (or email) the form along with a copy of your aircraft registration, airworthiness certificate, pilots medical and license, and a copy of your insurance to number/address below.
Contact Information:
DGAC Phone/Fax: 506 2232 1265
DGAC email: aviquez@dgac.go.cr
frodriguez@dgac.go.cr
Click here to go to the DGAC website

Thanks to R Gannon and BPI


PANAMA
Landing - info current April 2007
Sidney Collins: dtta@aeronautica.gob.pa

Send an email with:
Aircraft info
Insurance info
Owner and pilot info
Physical residence address
Where you┤re coming from
Address & phone where you are right now Dates and flight details
Sidney gave us the permit number via email

═f you want to fly within Panama, for example land in Bocas del Toro and later go to Panama City, let him know what you┤re doing and he┤ll email you a MS Word document, Permiso de Circulacion Interno, which just requests the plane and pilot info. You can email it back and they┤ll put you on a whiteboard in Panama City as one of the foreign planes allowed to circulate in Panama. The permit is free.
We landed in Bocas and paid $6 per day parking plus $35 for the initial landing.
After we flew to Panama City the only charge we paid was $1.50 per day (national rate) for parking.

Many thanks to Rebecca Bartlett for all this up to date information.

NEW
GUYANA
Georgetown
October 2012

Expensive place to land, USD85 for a small 2 seat airplane, best is to arrive early and depart as quickly as possible if the only reason for landing is lack of fuel endurance to continue to Cayenne.
Prepare to handle 7 copies of Gendecs. New rules as of 2012, first you need to clear customs, pay airport tax at the tower, need to walk around all the way under equatorial sun (...) and only after all this is done, you will be refueled. No credit cards accepted, bring US$.
TM

NEW
FRENCH GUIANA- GUyanne
Cayenne
October 2012

Very efficient and quick French authorities, fuel in this part of the world is expensive, friendly airport people. No place to tiedown with ropes, not even ultralights are tied.
TM

NEW
MARTINIQUE
Fort de France
October 2012

Very efficient and quick French authorities, fuel in this part of the world is expensive, friendly airport people. Lot's of small planes, great tiedown.
TM


Disclaimer :
The information found on these pages is published as supplied by pilots and has not been verified. It does not replace official documents produced by foreign governments or Airways Manuals published by specialised firms and should be taken at face value and used only for planning purposes. Governments change their aviation regulations without notice. Neither Earthrounders.com nor the pilots supplying the information are liable for inaccuracies or subsequent changes in that information.



Last update: October 29, 2012
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