Welcome to my 5th flight report. As usual I try to post something different, and this time if I´m not wrong it´s the first post for an airline, Air Panama (7P) and for an airport, Contadora Island (OTD). I hope you like it :)
I had a business trip planned for Panama City and I whenever I travel on business to a new country, if I can, I stay a little bit longer and get to explore the country.
This was my second time in Panama already and I wanted to spend a few days on an island. Contadora came to mind as I remember a childhood friend used to go there on holidays, after reading some reviews and checking several options, I decided to go for Contadora.
Contadora is a small island in the Pacific ocean, just a 20 minutes flight away from Panama City. The island is considered to be an upmarket destination, there are just a few small hotels and B&Bs and then a few villas from wealthy Panamanians.
There are basically two ways of getting to the island, by plane with Air Panama or by ferry, both of them quite expensive IMHO, though Panama it is an expensive country for Latin American standards.
I made the booking through Air Panama´s website which is a little bit outdated and did not allow online check-in.
As you will see later on, check-in in Contadora was something out of this world :)
Contadora is a very small island and still has an airport that divides the island in two parts.
The airport was busier than expected, Air Panama only operates one flight daily (two on Fridays and Sundays) but the airport is still busy with lots of private planes bringing wealthy people to their luxurious homes on the island, so it was great for spotting.
My B&B was literaly one minute walking from the runway and to go anywhere I had to go around the runway.
Parking lot by the airport, most people move around the island with one of these golf carts.
Control Tower under construction, is it really needed?
Plane taxiing towards the end of the runway in order to take off.
Some activity going on, a private plane parked and passengers waiting for their plane to land.
A Cessna Caravan
Despite the informal look of the airport, passengers must check-in two hours before such as in any other airport.
There is no terminal in Contadora and check-in is done at Air Panama´s ticket office which resembles a little more than a tropical hut :)
Air Panama´s ticket desk where check-in takes place.
Check-in desk :)
Me happily being weighted with my luggage :)
Voila! A high-tech boarding pass for me…
Now it´s time to wait for the flight to arrive at a nearby bar, once I hear the plane landing I should go to the airport, advantages of staying at a small island.
Boarding was also an experience by itself. Once we could hear the plane landing people were approaching the runway, once pax disembarked, boarding was called and though I had been allocated a seat at check-in, the boarding agent told us that it was free seating, so off I run in order to get the best seat in the plane.
Obviously boarding was a breeze, we were running with delay, but no problem for me, I was enjoying so much the whole experience, that it could have lasted a little longer.
Seat pocket content, just the safety card and the life jacket
Reading material, anyone interested?
Route map as shown on the inflight magazine, that I found in another seat.
Taxiing in the runway before taking off.
A glimpse of the sunset before we take off
Some small island shortly after take off
Approaching Panama City
Bridge of the Americas
Lining up in preparation for landing
You can easily tell who´s the largest operator in Albrook Panama Airport.
Control Tower and fire fighters
Fokker 50, so big that it can´t land in Contadora
Last flight of the day for our Cessna
Bye bye Caravan, it was a pleasure flying with you.
Baggage claiming area, no carousel, just the bags being left in the floor for passengers to pick them up.
Empty check-in area at this time of the day.
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Some pics of this beautiful island, I can´t wait to come back :)
Playa Larga and its abandoned ferry
Playa de las Suecas
Playa de las Suecas
Amazing sunrise at Playa Larga
Contadora - OTD
Albrook - PAC
The best of this flight was the experience as a whole, no terminal, no catering on board, no flight attendants, no inflight entertainment, but one of the best fligths I ever had.
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