Paragliding in Colombia

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The beep of a car’s horn indicated my ride had arrived. Having booked a paragliding trip through my hostel I had no idea what the company itself would be like. I was hoping at the very least that safety would be a top priority. After all, when you’re floating high above the ground you want to be sure you’re securely strapped in! The minibus waiting for me wasn’t so reassuring. It was quite old, but it was when I got in, sat back and the seat-back collapsed that I had to laugh. Hopefully they take better care of their equipment than they do their vehicles!

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A few stops and a few extra passengers later we took the half hour drive from San Gil to a hilltop above the town of Curití. There we had a brief introduction to our tandem pilots, were told the teenage helpers would assist us in sitting down on takeoff and that was it! Simple! No instructions needed! Despite my previous reservations the staff were professional and obviously knew what they were doing. Even so, I was glad I wasn’t the first to take off. Instead I relaxed on the grassy bank, bathing in the sun and watching other para-gliders soar above.

Paragliding selfie!

Paragliding selfie!

Soon my turn was up, helmet on and harness strapping me to my tandem pilot. I was expecting to take a death-defying run off the edge of a cliff but the wind just caught the parachute and pulls you up. The harness creates a seat so once you’re up in the air it’s quite a peaceful experience. Soaring high above tobacco fields and forests I could see for miles around. No noise, just the breeze on my face and the sun on my skin. Amazing, but not the extreme adventure sport thrill I was expecting. I obviously spoke (in my head) too soon as the next thing I know we’re jolted left, then right, and then spiraling down seemingly to a crash landing in the trees below, before being pulled up at what felt like the last second. As we return to soaring tranquilly I finally start breathing again and the pilot laughs at me. “Again?” he asks. “Si!” I reply, a grin across my face.

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Soon my time was up, although truthfully I’m not sure my stomach could have taken more than the 15 minutes of roller-coaster in the sky. I’m told to keep my feet up and a bumpy landing later I’m sat on terra firma, no longer a paragliding virgin and sure I’ll be returning for more one day.

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Posted on June 28, 2014, in Colombia, South America and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. paragliding seems less terrifying than jumping out of a plane or bungee jumping to me. Stunning pics. Great job. Maybe I’ll do it one day…

    • I agree, compared to a bungee jump it was definitely less scary. I’ve never jumped out of a plane but I would imagine that would be the most terrifying of the three!

  2. Good for you! Not sure if I could cope 🙂

  3. Was he doing it intentionally or was it the wind that caused the roller coaster ride? Sounds like so much fun! I would so love to give this a try…:)

    • It was intentional! The pilot has lines attached to the edges of the wings that can create the tricks. And yes, it was a lot of fun! 🙂 �

      • It’s called “the big ears”. It’s intentional to reduce the wing area to stabilize the glider in severe wind condition or to perform a fast decent. Anyway, for me flying is the most amazing thing you can do in the world. You have to thank god you did it!

  4. This is awesome! I wouldn’t have the courage to do this. I’m scared to death of heights and jumping (or being blown) off a cliff sounds like my worst nightmare. Too bad, because I can imagine the exhiliration of flying. Luckily, I felt it vicariously through you.

  1. Pingback: Eating Big-Bottomed Ants in San Gil | Everyday Postcard

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