Hello everyone. Here I go with another special FR about my trip to the Amazonas jungle in Colombia. During the month of july I decided to make a visit to a colombian friend who invited me in this remote area of the world. As I had some free days in Colombia I decided to accept and make a short trip during a few days.
Barrancominas is the second largest city in Guainia, just after Inírida, the capital. The city is located next to Guaviare river, one of the largest of the country. Because of it's remote position, the only way to arrive there is by boat from San José del Guaviare or from Inirida, which is a very long but interesting trip, or by plane from Villavicencio and Inírida. In my case I decided to took a very old DC-3 plane from Villavicencio. These planes are common here and it's not the first time I used (there are 2 previous FR on my trips to the southern part of the country last year).
DC-3 in Colombia are used in the southern part of the country. These planes are the only ones allowed to land in these kind of airports/fields. Villavicencio is the "main hub" of the DC-3 and from here there are many routes to the remote regions of the country such as Guainía, Vaupés and Guaviare. San José del Guaviare is another important airport when we are talking about the DC-3, so from this airport there are some routes to the southern part of the country.
Most of the airlines are wearing freigh as it is the fastest way to arrive, and oficially they are not taking passengers. But as this is the main way to arrive in these areas, DC-3 were converted and they have 15-17 seats to wear passengers. At the beggining of the year the DC-3 was sadly famous because of an air crash on one of it's flights covering the route San José del Guaviare-Villavicencio, killing all passengers on board. Reasons are still unknown today.
On the 22th of july I woke up quite early in the morning in order to buy my ticket and reserve my seat. The airline used was AeroGuainia (here it appears as AeroVaupés because AeroGuania isn't able to appear on the website, but the planes used are the same). So I was requested at the travel office at 6AM to left my bag before heading to the airport. The office is located at the center of the city in Villavicencio and passengers must visit the office in order to make the "check in" of their bags and load which have to be sent. Then bags are sent by the airline directly to the airport.
This flight is making the route Villavicencio-Barrancominas-Inirida-San Felipe, which is located in the most remote area of Colombia. So the flight is a jungle hopper. The flight back is normally flying the next day as DC-3 can't land during the night.
After my visit to the office I took a taxi and made my way to the airport. The weather in Villavicencio this morning was, again, very bad.
Once at the airport, as I am not colombian, I had to made a visit to the police office in order to be authorized to travel. They just anwser me the purpose of my trip, but it was very fast, no more than 5 minutes. So after that I decided to go to the main terminal and wait.
As the weather in Villavicencio was very bad, the airport was closed (again) and most flights weren't able to leave. So there was a big accumulation of passengers, most of them travelling to Bogotá, but a few of them were also travelling to Barrancominas, so I decided to seat next to them and we started a nice conversation about the area.
Here there are a few pictures from La Vanguardia Airport
The STD on the DC-3 flights is never exact. I was advised that the STD was about to be between 6.40 and 7 o'clock. But due to weather conditions the delay was about 4 hours. So it wasn't until 10:30 that the passengers heading to Barrancominas were requested to present to the "pre-boarding area". No announcements were made at the airport, it was an airport worked who screamed though the whole terminal.
So after a security check and another good 30 minutes waiting, an old man started screaming the names of all passengers in order to follow him.
Another Avianca flight was getting ready for it's flight to Bogota
But yes, today we're gonna fly this beauty
Of course there are no seats assigned, so everyone seats wherever they want, like on Easyjet a few years ago :P
A few pictures during boarding. Aliansa was again operating the flight.
Once on board, I managed to take a good seat in order to take pictures. But windows were very dirty and it wasn't easy to focus good.
Some cabin pictures taken during flight.
Much more legroom than any other airline on Economy Class :P
Ground service told us safety instructions "Fasten your seatbelts!!", closed the doors and disappeared. We were ready to go, so engines were started and headed through the runway. Another Avianca and Easyfly airplanes were arriving. Good traffic at that time!
Full power and take off. Noise was crazy but, for me, it was an amazing experience.
So we were in the air heading to the south-east. We crossed some clouds and stablished in our cruise altitude. As you can imagine, no inflight service here, no on-board magazine and of course no IFE. But the experience is great. All passengers were asleep for a while.
Cabin during flight
Another "mate" was enjoying his flight with the DC-3
So I started talking with him during flight about the DC-3 and his trip. He was travelling to San Felipe for a few months because he was tired of the city. It was funny at all and he explained me some interesting things about the jungle, and it's biodiversity.
A motorbike was also travelling with us today
And some fresh air also coming from outside. Temperature inside the plane was kinda cold, so you must wear a jacket.
Outside, landscape was getting more and more greener. We were lefting back "los llanos" and were entering to the colombian jungle, Guainia department.
As the window at the other side of the plane wasn't so dirty, me and my new friend decided to leave our seats and take pictures from the other side. Views were crazy, just milions of trees under us. I was expecting not to have an engine failure at that time :P
And soon enough, descent started. And my flight was arrving to the end.
Guaviare river in sight. Barrancominas was closer
There's the second largest city in Guainía
We made a 180 circle and entered from the east. At the very back some mountains were able to be seen. Close there were the famous Cerros de Mavecure. One of the major tourist attractions in the country.
And after 2 and a half hours in the air it was time to go back to the earth. Touchdown was made in 3 times. As the runway was very wet (during the morning rain was hard) waterfall came inside of the plane who knows from where, and the passengers located at the back part of the aircraft were affected, specially me and my new friend who were seated on a load box.
Finally parked at our position
Engines were turned off and doors were opened. Passengers and pilots disembarked and load which was ending the trip here was also removed from the plane.
Seats on the DC-3
And here's our plane after the flight
By the time another DC-3 from San Felipe and Inirida arrived. It was making the route to Villavicencio
After a military check I found my friend and we went to have some lunch at the restaurant next to the runway. The pilots were eating there along with the rest of the passengers. After they finished I say goodbye to all them and boarded again the plane for their next hop. By the time I went to the house and protect myself against mosquitos.
Some pictures from Barrancominas and the Guainia region I took during these days. Thank you for reading!!
Amazing experience on board the DC-3