Wake up, pour a cup of hot coffee and sit on the bluff watching the surrounding nature stir to life. Small birds darting around through the tall grass let you know the ground is heating up, warm air lifting the small flying bugs from their shelter. Larger birds gathering to fly in lazy circles let you know thermals are forming and it's time put on your gear. And when round little puffs of clouds start to form in the sky, you know it's time to step off that cliff for an amazing day of flying.
Bucaramanga is a lively city and one of the best places in the world to learn how to fly. Get in touch with Richie Mantilla at http://www.colombiaparagliding.com/ if you want a fantastic instructor.
Classes are taught year round, and typically take 10 days to get earn an international certification. Once the course if over, there are options to hang around and fly as much as you want.
When visiting Dunlap, take a look to the sky once in a while and you may see hang gliders and paragliders cruising up above you. If you're interested in learning to fly, or taking a tandem flight, get in touch with sfbapa.org.
Do no miss out on the pristine mountain town of Bovec if you're in Slovenia, Austria or Northern Italy (it's very accessible from all 3). Situated between several rivers and valleys, Bovec perfectly combines serenity and adventure. I highly recommend Avantura Adventure (Jelena runs the office) for caving, paragliding, canyoning and rafting. They are located in the main town square. All of the guides speak perfect English and provide local history to accompany the breathtaking setting. I also highly recommend driving in through the Vrsic pass (location of this picture). Perfect starting point for an amazing mountain experience.
When you hear "Maui" your brain might conjure up images of beautiful beaches, luau's, sunsets and water sports. Well you wont be disappointed, they're all here, but one of the most memorable experiences I had in Maui was paragliding. When I heard that I was going paragliding, I pictured a hang glider, I'm not sure why but that's what popped into my head. I was thinking, do I really want to be tied to a huge kite and run off a cliff....well, maybe, I've done dumber things. But I was very happy to learn there was no "big kite" involved. I would be flying tandem with a certified instructor and there would be no jumping off a cliff, just a quick run down the hill. After my brief orientation on the basics and safety, me and my instructor were ready to take off! Run, run, run....and after a few seconds we were soaring high above the beautiful island of Maui. And since there are no motors,...
Queenstown is known as the adrenaline capital of New Zealand, and it is indeed populated by speed junkies and bungie pros and mountain bikers with death wishes. However, if you sidle up the mountain that cradles the town, past the gondola, around the dirt jumps on the biking course and just past the paragliding jump off point, you'll find a scenic path to the exquisitely serene summit of Ben Lomond. The trek is perfectly grueling, providing flat, flax-lined paths after each steep jaunt. On the way up, spectacular views of the Remarkables (the south island's famous mountain range), Moke lake, Lake Wakatipu, Cecil Peak, and other gorgeous geographic wonders that surround Queenstown. The round trip is 7-8 hours, and you can save an hour either way by taking the gondola up or down the bottom leg of the hike.
This was my favorite thing to do to flee the hustle, bustle and grind of downtown...
I was rather shocked to see just how many people try paragliding in Nepal, but I guess there really is no better way to get up close and personal with some of the world's tallest peaks (save for climbing to the top of one yourself).
The Pokhara Valley is stunning in and of itself, but from a few thousand feet above the ground, gliding along on gusts of wind, it is even more impressive.
A nice hike to the top of this 1500 meter mountain leads you to the Croix du Nivolet which overlooks Chambery in order to keep the residents safe.
As you are hiking you will experience amazing views of the town, the Alps and the largest lake in France, Lac du Bourget.
If it is a nice day you can also get up close and personal to the wild life along the trail. You may also have an opportunity to watch paragliders flying in between the mountains. Definitely a must see that you may not find in a tour book.
The end of a beautiful day in Lima, Peru. This is where people could go paragliding along the coast. Watching the sun go down over the Pacific was incredible.
Our friends were supposed to fly home to the States on a Thursday last October but due to increased security threats, their flights were overbooked. We took advantage of the clear day and the extra time with them to drive up to Waldegg and Beatenberg for a picnic lunch and to watch the paragliders taking off. As we walked up the slope to the launch site, this is what we witnessed! The Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau in full splendor, the air unusually free of haziness.
Pokhara, Nepal is the starting point for many treks to the Annapurna Himalayas as well as other adventures including paragliding. The day was all around amazing, riding the van up the side of the mountain on hairpin turns, strapping into the harness, running off the side of a cliff, and instantly getting transported to the views of the valley and mountain range. The day could not have been better, the views were honestly one in a million.
I've been to my family's ancestral home in Unterseen, Switzerland, many times over the years, but never in autumn. Last year I spent several weeks there from late September to late October. One morning towards the end of my stay, as I gazed out over the scenery from our dining room balcony, the view of the Niesen with fresh snow was breath-taking. There were even some paragliders already enjoying the day. What a treat!
France's Chamonix Valley is one of the most scenic places on the European continent. A narrow river valley which houses everything from rock climbing centers to pulsing bars and pubs, on both sides of the valley the peaks of the French Alps explode thousands of feet into the sky.
While there are numerous ways to experience the grandeur of the Alps from Chamonix--riding the ski lift at Les Grands-Montets, mountain biking along the steep ridges, or paragliding off of the many peaks--the most accessible for the common layperson is to ride the Aiguille du Midi cable car, a hair-raising ascent which gains 9,200 vertical ft. over the course of 20 minutes. From the summit perch it's possible to take in a 360-degree view beneath the base of Mont Blanc, and from this frigid vantage point set nearly at the top of Europe, it's almost possible to reach straight out and touch the sky.
Last June my partner, Damon, and I, two forty-something late-blooming recreational cyclists, were three days into a two-week cycling trip through the Swiss Alps and Italian Lakes. Because of some 'overpartaking' of the red wine in Martigny, Switzerland, we had agreed to join a few others for a paragliding adventure about 36 hours later in Zermatt.
The photo above is the snowy hill we ran down to catch the air. We buckled in with our German "hosts" and at the sound of "Go! Now...!!!" we took off running towards the edge of the mountain.
For 20 minutes we floated thousands of meters above the (suddenly) ant-sized town of Zermatt. Our expert guides working our chutes on the warm air currents like dough in an expert pizza maker's hands.
At one point my guide started a controlled spiral, taking us almost horizontal for five or six rounds. I can still get my heart to race on command just by...
No cars, parachutes, fresh fish and margaritas. Many reasons to not just tour Yelapa for a day but spend a week.