Medellin, Colombia, is 1495 meters above sea level. It sits in the Aburra Valley, a central region of the Andes Mountains in South America. With a temperate climate, the area is known as the City of eternal spring.
The government is investing heavily into the area, to move the city far away from its history of drugs and violence. This means tourism is increasing, and the mountains surrounding the city, although where most of the previous issues had been, are also being utilized for pleasure.
The elevation and steepness of the mountains, coupled with the warm air that create updrafts, makes Medellin the perfect spot for paragliding.
The journey from downtown Medellin to San Felix takes about an hour and a half from San Antonio metro station. To get there, take the Line A Metro to Caribe Station, where the Northern bus terminal is. Inside the bus terminal, there are twenty-four ticket booths. Find ticket booth eleven, pay the $2800 COP (0.85 USD or 0.55 GBP) for the ticket to San Felix and hop on the bus.
A colorful bus takes you deep into the Colombian countryside. It’s noisy, but the seats are comfortable and there is Colombian music playing over the radio, enhancing your local experience. It’s hot and sticky, even with the windows ajar, as you navigate the steep, winding roads, zig zagging up the hillside. The drop to the right-hand side looks very steep and daunting. The bus will stop at various points along the way that look nothing like a regular bus stop. People randomly signal the driver and jump on or off. This seems to be the norm in Medellin and it works just fine.
The journey from the Northern Bus terminal to San Felix takes about an hour. Along the way, there are signs that show images of paragliders but do not get off the bus until the driver says so. It’s a long walk either way. Eventually, the driver will pull over and signal to his right-hand side.
Crossing the dusty parking lot, You will arrive at Zona De Vuelo. I was asked if I had a reservation and I did not have one. I had not booked ahead as a hostel had advised that there are usually spots free. It may be advisable to book ahead, but I was ok at this time.
A twenty-five-minute flight with video and photographs costs $155’000 COP which is £30 or $46 USD, incredibly cheap in comparison to anywhere in the world. After signing the paperwork, you collect a memory card (which you keep), a wristband to show you have paid and a piece of paper notifying your instructor what you have paid for. Then is a short walk across the road and up the hill to meet my instructor.
Just as an FYI, I have an honors degree in Adventure Tourism so I understand all the health and safety regulations required within this environment. I am happy to report that everything was fine and the paperwork was completed as expected, except everything was in Spanish, and my Spanish is abysmal.
The hill to the jump zone is incredibly steep and takes a good few minutes to get to the top. While you navigate the very steep steps, you are shaded from the sun in a canopy of trees, your instructor awaits.
Once you get your breath back at the launching area, you are greeted by an amazing view of the city and a smiling lady (whose name I have unfortunately forgotten). The lady takes the piece of paper from you and has you sign my waiver and introduces you to your instructor. My instructor was Dario, he grew up in these mountains and lives in a house that is directly under the jump zone. Knowing Spanish would be very helpful, my instructor knew very little English, but we made it work.
Next is a simple process. Hand the instructor the memory card and he puts it in the camera. Your instructor and a helper guide you through putting the harness on. The instructor attaches the camera to your harness, then he attaches his harness to you and checks everything again. Once everything is checked, you and your instructor walk forward and off the edge of the hill and the parachute takes over.
Here is my video it is best watched in HD 🙂
This is an amazing experience and one I highly recommend. There is an adventure in the journey to the flight zone in itself, the views are the best over Medellin and the value for money is phenomenal. It is the perfect opportunity to go flying
It is the perfect way to spend a few hours and an opportunity to go flying above the birds, over waterfalls and have an amazing view of the city.
Have you been? What did you think?
And remember to follow my journey 🙂