After a week in Oaxaca City, we decided to move out to the the coastal town of Puerto Escondido 170 miles away. Only one airline (AeroTucan) flies here, driving takes six hours or public transportation nine hours and is locally known as the ‘Vomit bus’ due to bumpy roads and the maniac tendencies of the bus drivers.
With the twelve seated AeroTucan flight fully booked our options were running out fast until Tracy heard about AeroVega, a one man band called Don Vega (Yep, sounds a bit Mafioso) running daily flights from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido.
Not the easiest guy to track down, we eventually found an email address and fired off a message. And so began a series of messages, texts and phone calls all very vague and non committal. Fearing we’d be too late, and with no accommodation booked beyond the next two days, we were about to change plans when a confirmation email came through with instructions to go, with cash, to a nearby hotel to purchase our flight tickets. Without delay, off we strode to the Hotel Monte Alban, £90 in hand – the price of two human, and one dog tickets. We could now book our next apartment….
Patiently waiting and boarding
The day of our flight was easy enough. With instructions to arrive at the General Aviation area of the airport by 08:45am for a 09:00am departure. And so we waited…. and waited a little bit more… until finally Don Vega met us at the waiting area and carried our bags to his plane; not the seven seater we were led to believe but a four seater Bi-plane like a reincarnate Red Baron – we were the only passengers.
Control panel… What button do I press?
Our bags loaded up… no security, x-ray or identification needed, we jumped aboard. Tracy and Hamish taking up the two back seats, leaving me as co-pilot and my seat in the cockpit with Don Vega.
And off we chugged down the runway, the single propeller spinning like an out of control ceiling fan we soared into the air like a Inca Condor leaving Oaxaca city behind us.
Before and during take off.
The flight would only last 45 minutes as we skimmed over mountains and jungle on our way to the coast. Our light aircraft feeling every bit of wind and turbulence and at times it felt like we were being tossed around like a rag doll on a bouncy castle.
With each buffeting I feared we’d end up in a new series of Lost and it took all my will power not to grab the controls right in front of me to steady the ‘ship’.
My stomach was now like a butter churn, turning and twisting like the Mississippi river. I thought of the ‘Vomit bus’ and how could it be any worse than this?
Skimming over the jungle
With that, we began our descent and in the distance I could see the sea followed not long after by the runway, the final terrifying moment as that runway comes at you, ever closer, ever faster and at an angle.
The landing was smooth and I could feel the heat of the day shining through the cockpit window as we came to a stop, the colour returning to our faces. We’d made it. Our pilot, Don Vega, helped us with our bags through arrivals and we waved him goodbye.
Would we do it again?????…….Absolutely!!!!