Merida Travel Blog› entry 140 of 424 › view all entries
So this is what it´s like to glide like an eagle through the air!!! Our next adventure trip involved us putting our lives into the ´hands´of nature (i.e. the wind) as we went paragliding!! You will see from the many, many photos that we have put on here for your viewing pleasure that paragliding is a lot of fun, and depending on your personality, bloody scary too!! (Scary when I thought " I wonder what would happen if this carabeena breaks...).
As the 4-wheel drive took us up and up the mountain not far from Merida, the views were amazing and the valley below got further and further away.
When we got to the launch site, we had to wait a while until the wind was ´right´as it was a bit too strong when we arrived. Then our pilots unpacked the sails and we got strapped into our ´seats´and harnessed in.
As I was called over to the edge and the harness was hooked onto the pilot and sail, I was starting to think that this wasn´t such a good idea when the wind filled the sail and my feet left the ground! Then we were off!! The wind carried us fast away from the launch sight and suddenly Simon and the others were very small and a long way down! It was amazing!! We floated along, whipped around in circles (a lot of fun), went very high, flew very low and close to the mountains and flew very close to some gliding eagle-type birds. My pilot took us quite close to Simon as he glided along so that I could take some pics of him.
The scenery of the Andes mountains and the valley below was amazing and I could see for miles and miles. We glided for nearly an hour and close to the end, my pilot took us round and round in circles (to the point of nausea) and then very high and let me steer the glider with my legs! (basically just shifted my weight to one side and moved my legs right over to one side).
I was a bit worried about how on earth we would land but we just gently drifted to the ground and landed with a plonk as a few guys on the ground grabbed the harness. One girl came into land and nearly got swept off the other side of the mountain as the wind picked up. One of the ´ground crew´nearly went with them as both his feet came off the ground! Simon had a perfect landing, and watched my pilot glide us in that resulted with me landing on my arse.
We both landed safely and then sat and watched other people on their take-offs and flights for an hour. I´m glad I went first as I don´t think I would have done it after watching others. It just seems impossible that 2 people can stay in the air like that! It was great to watch but we couldn´t believe we had actually done it! So there we are, we are paragliding survivors!!!
If anyone reading this wants to go paragliding, we went with a company called Guaguanco Tours in Merida that Simon has done a review of so have a look! The paragliding cost us about US$45 each.