Ometepe’s long-awaited $12 million La Paloma Airport received its inaugural flight yesterday on La Costeña Airlines from Managua.
The island airstrip, which was several million dollars over budget and a year behind schedule, has been celebrated by some and cursed by others who fret the airport will bring an influx of tourists and change the atmosphere of the sleepy yet funky island. But for the time being, the “influx” of tourists will be measured in the dozens —and that is if both flights are completely full.
According to La Costeña’s flight schedule, Ometepe’s airport will receive only two weekly flights on puddle jumpers from Managua. If both flights are totally booked, that means 24 tourists a week.
The government says Costa Rica and Guatemala are interested in adding international flights at some point in the future.
But for now, the only flight is a 20-minute domestic up-down from Managua, offered on Thursday and Sunday at noon. From Ometepe, the flight continues on to San Carlos, on the shore of the Río San Juan. The Ometepe- Managua return flight is offered on Thursday and Sunday at 3:02 p.m., according to La Costeña’s flight schedule.
Airfare costs $65 one-way, or $100 roundtrip. Call La Costeña at (505) 2263-2142 (ex. 71) for reservations.