Immerse yourself in rich cultures on this 18-day journey visiting a total of 8 countries and exploring truly diverse heritage. This Air Rally provides the unique opportunity to visit the Caribbean Island, and part of South and Central America in 18 days!
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Every year, fun, passionate and like-minded people get together to share unique and binding experiences. The Itinerary is planned taking into consideration slowest aircraft. Alternate “overland route” are always suggested but not mandatory.
Participants arrive at Sano Jet Center in Fort Lauderdale (KFXE). Crews are greeted with the usual VIP service and friendly smiles, as they fuel their aircraft for the first official flight of the Air Rally Around the Caribbean Sea tomorrow.
Registration and a 2 hour workshop are held at 3:30pm at the Courtyard by Marriott in Fort Lauderdale Cypress Creek. Pilots and crews are briefed on safety, navigation, air transport regulations, customs, international flight planning and eAPIS.
WHAT’S NEW THIS YEAR:
In this Rally edition, the teams will collect a flag from every country. One crew will be designated to represent each country. In some destinations, flags will be earned by answering correctly to a quiz or a game organized by destination.
The executive director of Dominican Republic airports, Mr. Collando, arranged a delegation to welcome the teams at the Puerto Plata VIP salon where all the dignitaries, including Airport Director Mr. Collante, IDAC director Cheo Zorilla, airport Manager and other oficials.
Pilots received a number of gifts and a wonderful welcome from the Dominican Republic !
Photo: Catherine Tobenas receives the Dominican Republic Flag from the Governor of the Puerto Plata Province, Dr. Iván Rivera.
Participants had full day with professional guides exploring the Dominican Republic Countryside! We discovered the ‘7 charcos’ refreshing and beautiful lagoons and waterfalls while enjoying a majestic landscape; Going though back country roads, crossing rivers, streams and sugar cane fields. And visiting small colorful villages and have a firsthand experience with the local people.
At 6:00 pm sharp, pilots meet in the lobby for a briefing on the flight to Anguilla. All flight plans are collected by a Puerto Plate controller for a smooth departure.
The Air Rally landed in Anguilla on runway 10 with a good crosswind, and a nice lunch waiting for us at Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport!
After refuelling the aircraft we were invited to a cocktail reception at the Governor’s personal residence. What a lovely time we had! Every island is welcoming our group with open arms!
We were then transported to Sandy Ground for dinner at leisure. We had to choose between a number of restaurants and bars. The nightlife and livelihood of the area was the perfect way to end this day.
As you know, the Air Rally is not only a leisure trip, an important part of this journey is the connection with the locals.
Today we had the wonderful opportunity to mentor Anguilla primary school students and discuss aviation careers. This was followed by a quiz on Anguilla’s history where Air Rally participants were paired with 2 students.
The winners collected the island official flag, and will be representing Anguilla at the Air Rally finals!
This fun day continues with an organized lunch on the beach and a snorkel excursion! We spend the afternoon in the sun, making friends and enjoying ourselves before heading back to Paradise Cove Resort for a dinner by the pool.
It’s a 442NM flight from Anguilla to Tobago. We start the day with an early breakfast at 7:00am. The takeoff departure is from slowest to fastest aircraft this morning.
As we land in Tobago ANR Robinson International Airport /Crown Point, we are in for a very nice surprise: Professional dancers perform a beautiful show for us. And the welcoming committee is composed of Island representatives and students from five local schools. A total of 30 students divided in groups of five toured the airplanes with the pilots.
The fuel dispatch to Tobago was acquired thanks to the involvement of professional Caribbean pilots: Captain Alfred Bell, Captain Ron Junya Montano, conducting commercial operations in the region, and Kara Randall Air Rally Bequia coordinator in 2017 and aviation enthusiast. Thank you!!
We leave the airport and make our way to the Bacolet Beach Club Hotel with a big smile on our faces. How could this get any better?
We couldn’t wait for the official reception at Pembroke Heritage Park. There again entertainment did not disappoint as dancers and music were waiting for us!
Today is adventure day! The crew chose between a few activities:
Taking a glass bottom kayak to view the under water flora and fauna of one of the most popular reefs in the Caribbean: The Buccoo Reef.
Others went to a rainforest tour! Abundant flora and fauna abounds in Tobago. They walked the Gilpin Trail listening to a variety of exotic Caribbean bird from the Blue Backed Manikin, Blue Crowned Mot-Mot, Parrots to the White-Tailed Sabrewing Hummingbird.
The third group visited the thriving cocoa plantation, viewing its pods and dried beans from which one of the world’s finest dark chocolate is made. The tour ended with a swim in the majestic Argyle Falls.
The group takes off to Flamingo International Airport in Bonaire! It’s a beautiful flight along the Venezuelan coast.
Upon arrival, the Air Rally is welcomed by Bonaire Tourism and Bonaire airport Authority . Fuel was provided especially for Rally by: CUROIL GROUP of Curaçao.
After a diner offered by the Tourism department, now it’s a tremendous happy hour in honour of the participants of the Air Rally offered by the Airport Authority in presence of dignitaries and Bonaire airport manager and friend, Rosalinda! Congressman James Kroon gives each pilot the Bonaire pin!
Rise and shine! We meet at 8:00am for a pilot briefing where we hand in our flight plans for Panama and Limon to the Team Leaders.
We are then transported to the airport where the kids are waiting with great excitement to see the planes and their pilots!
After showing off the planes, the group has the opportunity to enjoy Bonaire Marine’s Park which offers a total of 86 dive sites. It is home to over 57 species of soft and stony coral and more than 350 recorded fish species!
We leave Bonaire with a heavy heart, but we will be back! Such welcoming hosts! Our next destination: Baranquilla Colombia!
The group lands in Baranquilla, Colombia, but we are transported to Los Campanos Aeroclub, and there we meet aviation passionates and amazing, friendly and hospitable people: Members of the LOS CAMPANOS AEROCLUB a group of reputable business men and pilots. The president, Jorge Luis Prieto, owns air cargo operation and the private landing strip where they established the aeroclub.
The day is ours! We embark on a modern city tour bordering one of the most beautiful and protected bays of America (Bay of Cartagena), tour of the island of Manga, a visit to the convent of La Candelaria on the hill of the stern, Monument to the old shoes, Fort San Felipe de Barajas, Bóvedas (shopping) and finally walk through the walled town.
We takeoff early today as we spend one day only in Panama! Air Rally arrives at Aeropuerto Marco Galabert where FBO handler: MAPIEX takes good care of us. We meet Mr. Fabrega, President Aeroclub de Panama & Panama AOPA representative who helped us ensure an expedited clearance : information sent ahead, papers prefilled.
The group is transported to Panama Canal to have lunch at the Restaurante Atlantic & Pacific Co. and visit the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center, a museum that tells the story of this incredible engineering feat through exhibits.
We meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30pm to leave for Casco Viejo — Panama City’s Old Quarter — 17th-century Spanish colonial architecture lining cobblestone streets and public parks, France Plaza, Iglesia de San Jose,the Flat Arch and the Metropolitan Cathedral as well as Paseo Las Bovedas, a stone promenade and seawall now home to shops and cafes.
Friday, March 23 (Costa Rica – MRLM) :
This morning we fly to Costa Rica!! We will be passing through the Nicaragua airspace. What a beautiful flight as we enjoy the view of Costa Rica’s gorgeous Caribbean coast !
Upon our arrival at Limon International Airport : a delegation of aviation and Government officials and media is there to welcome us! The Government has big plans for this airport and we are just what they need to show how important it is to invest in the airport infrastructure.
Juan Belliard, (a good friend of the Air Rally) director operations and security at the major airport of San José, Rolando Richmond, Director Civil Aviation, and other dignitaries, were there to welcome us.
We pack our bags and leave for Manzanillo: Wildlife and Marine Refuge, small laid back fishing village. The main attraction of this tiny town is its fabulous white sand beach strip lined with palm trees, bathed in the calm and gentle waters of the Caribbean Sea. Located nearby is one of he most scenic beaches in Costa Rica, with fantastic weather all year round. Our hotels are nearby: the Congo Bongo, Almond and Coral are located near each other and with same tropical jungle character.