A Surreal day in Paragliding Paradise, Aug. 10, 2009

Stunning Sunset over Bucaramanga, Colombia

Stunning Sunset over Bucaramanga, Colombia

A surreal day in Paragliding Paradise
More than one traveler has told me that Bucaramanga, Colombia is the best place in the world to learn paragliding.  Near perfect year-round conditions, steep accessible terrain, and great teachers were almost convincing enough to take a 10-day training myself.  But lacking the time and the money, I figured I would just try a tandem flight, and pray that I wouldn’t get hooked.  I figured the last thing I need is another expensive, gear-intensive sport.
Richi, owner of KasaGuana and Colombia Paragliding picked us up from downtown to show us his school.  Richi is truly living the life.  Having instructed gliding all over the world (including the glaciers of Alaska), he now runs a top-notch thriving business, and loves every moment of it.  Richi’s energy is contagious and meeting people like him is another reason why I travel.  He runs a fabulous international license course, and I know I will be back to take it.
Richi picked up two other travelers and me from his downtown hostel to give us a tour of his operation.  Nestled on a steep ridge, his paragliding school and his other hostel have a stunning view of the city.  We spent the day with his students, and I absolutely loved watching their progression.  I splurged and took a 15-minute flight over the city, and then we all sat around the firepit overlooking Bucaramanga.  As we watched perhaps the most stunning sunset of my life, I reflected on the day, and imagined myself living here.  I dreamed of flying at the launch after work, sharing the sunset with paragliding friends, and cruising home on a motorcycle.  My search for a job in Bucaramanga began the next day.
More than one traveler has told me that Bucaramanga, Colombia is the best place in the world to learn paragliding.  Near perfect year-round conditions, steep accessible terrain, and great teachers were almost convincing enough to take a 10-day training myself.  But lacking the time and the money,  I would just try a tandem flight, and pray that I wouldn’t get hooked.  I figured the last thing I need is another expensive, gear-intensive sport.
Launch site over Bucaramanga.  Richi is on the left.

Launch site over Bucaramanga. Richi is on the left.

Richi, owner of KasaGuana and Colombia Paragliding, is truly living the life.  Having instructed gliding all over the world (including the glaciers of Alaska), he now runs a top-notch thriving business, and loves every moment of it.  Richi’s energy is contagious and meeting people like him is another reason why I travel.  He runs a fabulous international license course, and I know I will be back to take it.
Six Days into her course and flying!

Six Days into her course and flying!

The afternoon sky was full of flyers.

The afternoon sky was full of flyers.

Richi picked up two other travelers and me from his downtown hostel to give us a tour of his operation.  Nestled on a steep ridge, his paragliding school and his other hostel have a stunning view of the city.  We spent the day with his students, and I absolutely loved watching their progression.  I splurged and took a 15-minute flight over the city, and then we all sat around the firepit overlooking Bucaramanga.  As we watched perhaps the most stunning sunset of my life, I reflected on the day, and imagined myself living here.  I dreamed of flying at the launch after work, sharing the sunset with paragliding friends, and cruising home on a motorcycle.  My search for a job in Bucaramanga began the next day.
In my tandem flight, I was floored by both the amount of control and the ground speed you can attain.

In my tandem flight, I was floored by both the amount of control and the ground speed you can attain.

Reflecting on a great day

Reflecting on a great day

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