The best part of being your own pilot is the freedom it offers. The world seems to open up as you take to the sky. Your biggest problem just may be where to go next. Your next dream vacation could just be a short flight from home and that is never more true than for those lucky enough to live in Miami.
Miami is a private pilot’s dream. From Miami, you can take short trips into the Everglades for a wildlife adventure or fishing excursion or up the U.S. coast to neighboring states and new beaches. But maybe one of the best trips for any private pilot based in Miami is south, island hoping through the Caribbean. Just the sound of the Caribbean is enough to bring up childhood dreams of long ago pirates, ancient explorers, tropical remote islands, and some of today’s most luxurious getaways. Commercial flights do make daily trips to any one of these island paradises, but as everyone knows, nowadays commercial flights are getting more expensive and the hassles associated with international airports can be a nightmare. But, if you are one of the lucky few with a plane and sense of adventure here are some of the regions best island destinations.
The Bahamas should be on everyone’s list of places to visit at least once and probably more than once. Pilot getaways dedicated a whole article on this destination for private pilots. Every international flight begins with good planning and preparation. For any international excursion, be sure have your passports. You will always need all your standard aircraft and pilot documents required for any flight. Be sure you have your pilot certificate, any medical paperwork, air worthiness and registration papers, and be sure to have your radiotelephone operator’s license for yourself and your plane.
You may need special insurance for the island, so be sure to check beforehand. Then just stock up on any gear your plane might need. An ecommerce aviation shop for pilots can offer you a variety of useful accessories for your trip.
Once you arrive at MYAF airport, get ready to enjoy all the island has to offer. Small Hope Bay Lodge, owned and operated, by a pilot is a must. The owner, Jeff Birch, has a wealth of knowledge and can help you plan for any journey to any of the other Caribbean islands. He also runs a dive shop so for those interested in scuba, not a problem, you can jump right in and enjoy some of the world’s clearest and life-rich seas.
Turks and Caicos
Your next stop should be the Turks and Caicos, so fly into the local airport, MBPV. Be sure to fuel up there as there are no other fuel stations around. Once settled in be sure to check out Grace Bay. It is an amazing beach and houses some of the nicest resorts you can imagine. If you’re looking for a pilot friendly experience, stay the Allegro Resort. The owner is very pilot friendly, offering special rates on stays including drinks and food, not to mention she is a great local to know. This might not be a place to stay for too long unless you are looking for the Club Med poolside experience but before you go, book a trip to a near by island teeming with large lizards and some amazing reefs. Talk to Silver Deep Catamaran–they will set you up.
From there you will most likely want to fly into the Dominican Republic. Be sure to have some cash on hand, at least $500 dollar for fuel and fees as this airport will not take credit. The Dominican Republic is big and populated. But filled with history and a wild nightlife. The capital will offer anything you need and if you have never been go for sure. There are two choices of airports in the Dominican Republic the MDSD and FBO, and if the weather is bad your best choice is MDSD.
You can always stop at Puerto Rico next, and If you have never been you should go once and soon. It is a part of the U.S. and as such western culture is starting to make an impact. Fast food restaurants and expats are becoming ubiquitous. It’s worth a stop but most seeking an exotic adventure will most likely not want to stay too long. The main airport, TJIG, is just like any in the states with long customs hassles and long walks, so be prepared.
Virgin Islands and Back
From there you can visit the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin and St. Maarten, then back to Key West and next home. Miami can be one of the best place in the world to start your own “Fly yourself” adventure. With enough time and money it can be a trip of your life time. There is so much more to mention and so much more to do, but discovery is part of the adventure so if your based in Miami, or can make it your base, do it, fly south and live life.