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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Flying High over Oaxaca


Our "Private" Flight from Oaxaca, Mexico to Puerto Escondido and back to Oaxaca City

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

We decided to take a mini-break from our lives in Panajachel, Guatemala and flew to the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. We had been here before in years past, and really enjoyed the beauty of the Historico Centro of the city, not to mention its wide variety of restaurants, mescalerias, museums and shops.

Yet... the beach called us.

We had a choice of taking a twisting and turning 7 to 12 hour winding mountainous road trip on a bus or shuttle as we had done a couple of years ago, or, as someone recommended, take a more-or-less private flight from the city to one of our favorite beach towns, Puerto Escondido.

Rosa at Hotel Monte Alban

We made contact with Juan Carlos Vega, the owner/pilot, via email previously and made our reservations. But due to our busy schedule in Oaxaca, those reservations needed to be changed. He recommended that we go to Hotel Monte Alban on the Zocalo and speak with Rosa at the check-in desk.

Writing our names in the reservation book we affirmed the day, time and number of passengers for which we were arranging this trip. It was 1,600 Mexican Pesos per person one way (currently $86USD). We could pay Rosa in advance, or simply pay Carlos on the day we flew.

We opted to pay Carlos directly. But how would we find him?

Rosa explained that while facing the airport terminal go to the right to "General Aviation" and we would find Carlos there.

Airport signage

At our hotel we made arrangements with the manager, Karina, for her father-in-law to take us to the airport at 7:15 in the morning the day we were to go to the beach. To grab a taxi on the street would have cost us 250Pesos (about $13.50USD) but our family driver would do it for 100Pesos (about $5.50USD).

What a deal, and everyone was happy.

The airport was about 25 minutes away.

General Aviation Entrance

When we arrived at the airport and walked through the General Aviation doors, there were a few people also waiting for Carlos Vega. We took our seats and looked forward to our flight.

If you look straight through the opened door, you can see the tarmac straight ahead.

AeroVega - one of two planes Carlos owns

Our flight was scheduled for 8:30 in the morning and was to take about 30 minutes. This surely beat a whole day on a non-air conditioned bus, winding through the mountains.

Soon, passengers arriving from Puerto Escondido walked through the doors and Carlos Vega followed them in to the waiting lounge.

Three young, tanned, surfer, twenty-somethings with huge smiles on their faces rummaged through their travel bags scraping up the Pesos to pay the Capitan.

El Capitan Vega on the left

There were no lines, no checking of our passports, no clearing security for liquids and no taking off our shoes and going through a security structure that might beep. We simply placed our names on a manifest and followed Mr. Vega out onto the runway area where one of his two airplanes were parked.

After placing our baggage into the compartment, we all climbed in and took seats.

I'm sitting behind the Capitan

So here I am, smashing myself into the back of my seat, thinking Billy wants to photograph something outside my window. It wasn't until he clicked the camera that I realized I was the subject. Sheesh.

We're on our way!

This was a two engine plane and sat about seven people.

Here we are gaining altitude and the day was glorious.

Looking back down from whence we came

It seemed that everything was accessible to us from this little plane, and we didn't jet up into the sky so quickly as with a major airline.

We gracefully flew for half an hour up through the mountains and over some low clouds. Our little aircraft was not tossed around by any air currents and the day was clear. I was most grateful that I was not in some hot bus somewhere on the ground slowing making my way through the winding terrain.

Approaching Puerto Escondido beaches

Before long, we were over the mountains and approaching the beach.


The sea was blue and the sand beckoned.

In front of Captain Vega's plane

We arrived safely in practically no time at all. The morning was still cool and sweet, and we just needed to grab a taxi and get to our hotel in Zicatela.

Zicatela beach

There are many beaches to choose from in Puerto Escondido and we decided to stay in Zicatela. It's a little cutsey surfer town that is very clean and has been steadily growing for years.

We were looking forward to eating seafood and watching the sunsets over the sea in the evenings.

During the days we walked past the surfer's beach with its strong rip tides to the swimming beach, jumped into the ocean, ate fresh fish and drank fresh fruit liquados.

Our hotel had a swimming pool, so when we wanted to have a change, we could just hang out at the pool.

Our return trip - Mr. Vega walking with our bag

Our return ticket was for a short 5 days later and after our taxi driver took us back to Puerto Escondido airport (about ten minutes away), we were ready to board the second of Capitan Vega's planes to fly back to the city of Oaxaca.

A smaller, single engine plane

This time on our return trip to Oaxaca, instead of having six passengers, we are the only two scheduled for the flight. This single engine plane is much smaller and looks like a toy compared to the one on which we took our initial flight.

Years past Billy lost one of his best friends in a single engine plane crash, and swore he would only fly in twin engine planes or better from then on, so this is virtually, his nightmare.

But he bucked up, swallowed hard and uh... prayed. The Captain asked Billy " Are you Catholic?" Billy replied " I am today!"

Tiny, tiny, tiny

Mr. Vega takes our luggage and mooshes it into the luggage compartment, which - I find out later - is simply an area behind my seat in the plane.

The co-pilot seat

Back away from those controls, Billy!

This is where Billy sat during the flight and thank God, he didn't need to take over in case of an emergency.

The total view of the plane

This airplane seats three passengers and the Captain. Here you can see our luggage in the area behind me.

I want you to know that most cars are bigger than this plane. The taxi we took to the airport was bigger than this plane. I have never been in such a small plane in my life!

I know Billy was nervous, but I kept thinking... the sky is clear, there is no wind and no rain... so I think we're good.

The air conditioning?

Ok, so this had me thinking. As I mentioned, this was the tiniest plane I had ever been in and a Volkswagen was larger than this thing. I saw the fan in the back seat with me, and wondered... Was this the air conditioning?

I mean, how hot was it going to get in here during our flight? I looked around and didn't see any air vents so I didn't know what to expect.

Carlos told us earlier that he had been making thousands of these flights - almost daily - for about thirty years... so I had to believe he knew what he was doing.

On the tarmac

On the tarmac in the beach town of Puerto Escondido, the altimeter says we are at 200 feet above sea level.

Our plane headed out to sea

It wasn't long before our plane builds up speed down the runway and we head out to sea trying to get lift to cross the mountains.


We say goodbye to the beach and Puerto Escondido - until we return again.

A safe harbor below

Not far from the beach where we swam, is this small harbor. One can rent a deep sea fishing boat if you want to go out and find the big fish or a small launch to tour the beautiful coast line.

This particular section of the beach is very popular with Mexican families and tourists.

The expansive Zicatela Beach from above

We get a great view of the area from the sky and are able to appreciate the beauty of the beaches below. There were long stretches of sand and from the air, the sea looked so gentle.

We knew otherwise, as we had been down in that surf days before and it was powerful!

Almost ready to turn towards the mountains

It was a beautiful view from up here (about 1800 feet), and it reminded us that there are plenty of beaches to visit and hotels available to stay on our next visit, which will be longer.

Here is the altimeter showing our altitude

As we gain in altitude, we are now about 1800 feet above sea level.

It was very interesting to have these gauges so close by to monitor and Billy's eyes were glued to the fuel gauge!

Captain Vega in the pilot seat

We are flying over mountains now and Mr. Vega seems completely in control.

My quasi-fears about not having ventilation had drifted away some time ago. I never had the inclination to grab that fan, as I was plenty cool.

Over the mountains and above the clouds

So we are at the highest altitude of our journey at this point; Above the mountains and above most of the clouds. The white puffy clouds made a beautiful contrast to the dark forest green below.

Our instruments show we are at 8,600 feet

Not sure how much higher this plane could go... but at this point we are about 8,600 feet above sea level.

Our view straight ahead

Without realizing it, our flight took us twice as long to return in this smaller plane. It was half an hour from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido, but an hour from the beach back to the city.

The landing strip

Back home in Oaxaca City airport, we are getting ready to land.

What a shot.

I guess if you are used to flying in small aircraft this is a common sight, but for us, it was something new.

Retire Early Lifestyle has landed

So now Captain Vega is turning off all the instruments and we are getting ready to deboard the plane. Our taxi is waiting for us outside the doors of the airport and we will head back to the Historico Centro in the city of Oaxaca.

We would certainly recommend flying with Captain Vega if you want to go to the beach from Oaxaca City or vice versa. It's easy to arrange and affordable, considering the alternatives.

Aerovega Puerto 

Email: Tele: Aerovega in Oaxaca 951. 516. 4982

Hotel Monte Alban

Alameda de León 1, Centro Historico, 68000 Oaxaca, OAX Phone: 01 951. 516. 2777

Also recommended


Emilio Carranza 303, Reforma, 68050 Oaxaca, Oaxaca. Phone: 01 951. 502. 0840


Other phone numbers: 01 800. 640. 4148 Phone with 10 lines: +52 951. 502. 0840

For more stories and photos of Oaxaca, click here

For more stories and photos of Mexico, click here

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About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

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