Getting from Oaxaca City to the popular beach town of Puerto Escondido, Mexico is surprisingly difficult, considering it’s only around 140 miles. This is due to the dense jungle clad mountains lying between the two, meaning that you either need to take an 11 hour coach ride around the mountains, a bumpy 6 hour minibus through the mountains, or, as we did, opt for an adventurous 30 minute flight over them.
A quick Google search brought up a couple of old blog posts from travellers who had tracked down and flown with the elusive AeroVega. Since there really wasn’t a huge amount of information around the flying to Puerto Escondido option when we were researching how to get there, we decided to write this blog post to help anyone else who may be facing the same dilemma we did.
Flying from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido (or vice-versa) is the most expensive choice but it’s also the fastest, arguably the most comfortable and definately the most adventurous. If you’re on a budget, have lots of time or like overnight buses then you should absolutely take the road option. If like us, you prefer to spend more time in your destination and like a bit of adventure, read on!
There are actually a couple of options for flights from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido. The first is the small airline ‘Aero Tucan’ who operate daily flights.
The second is the option we took; ‘AeroVega’
I never managed to find a website but eventually I tracked down an email address for Señor Vega who is the pilot, CEO, baggage handler and every other role you can think of. I emailed him with our dates and then waited patiently for a reply. We’d set our minds on flying we were worried that he might be booked up or unavailable but we needn’t have feared, a few days later I received the short reply that yes, 2 persons to PE, 2000 pesos each. Excitedly I replied to confirm details and several days later, again received a brief reply saying to meet at 8.45am in the ‘general aviation’ building (next to the main terminal). Nothing resembling a ticket was provided. Just the email.
Reassured from reading the experiences of others that this informality is totally normal, we arrived at the airport in good time, and waited. There was no security, no X-rays, no desk. We just sat in a small waiting area and waited. Eventually Señor Vega turned up around 9.30am and we were asked to write our names down on a piece of paper. He took our backpacks off us and after another 15 mins we walked out onto the tarmac and were lead to our single propeller, 4 seater plane.
Which looked like something that had seen better days! I laughingly tried to reassure a slightly panicked looking Steve that although it was about the same size as the 1985 Fiat Panda I used to drive, it was undoubtedly a ‘good runner’ that had made the trip many times. Apart from the four seats, there was a small space in the back where our backpacks were stored and that was it.
Steve and I sat in the two back seats while another passenger had the privilege of sitting in the co pilots seat next to Sen Vega. As the engine started and we bounced along towards the runway, we looked at each other and wondered if this was the end….
And then we were up!
The tiny plane felt every breath of wind and turbulence as we went through the clouds but the views over the jungle mountains were spectacular. It’s not often that you get to feel like a bird soaring in the azure blue sky. The lack of cabin pressurisation unfortunately meant that my ears hurt like a MF for the last part of the flight but it was all over pretty quickly.
Finally we could see the coast, and then the runway of the small Puerto Escondido airport coming into view. Trusting that Señor Vega, having made this trip a few thousand times, knew what he was doing, we nevertheless found the steep angle that he took to land rather disconcerting. We needn’t have worried, he landed the tiny plane like a dragonfly on a leaf.
After we ‘exited’ the plane and removed our bags from the back we all walked towards the airport building together. We didn’t even have to go inside! Just handed over the $4000 pesos in cash and were let out through a gate at the side of the building which led straight to the entrance. From there we were able to find a taxi to take us to our accommodation. Easy as pie.
I hope this helps anyone who is trying to work out their options for getting from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido. Would you have done as we did and taken the flight? Or do you prefer to take the longer, cheaper route?
Cost = $2000 MEX per person (single trip) cash on arrival
Journey time = 35 minutes
Adventure points = 100