Paragliding has always been my dream. Ever since I saw someone do a flight, it has been something that I have always wanted to do. Ironically, I have a fear of heights which I know doesn’t exactly go hand in hand with paragliding but to me, it didn’t matter. Considering I have this fear, over the years, I have also managed to find myself in multiple situations where I was forced to face it head on.
Skydiving, doing an upside down pendulum swing over a canyon, and many more. Now I don’t know how I manage to place myself in these situations and although I am terrified moments before the big jump, the excitement and thrill afterwards makes up for it. From the moment I found out that I was going paragliding, I couldn’t contain my excitement!
Paragliding in Baños, Ecuador with GeoTours
After spending almost four days experiencing almost every adventurous thing that Baños had to offer, we were bound to leave and head off to the Amazon Rainforest. However, our trip wouldn’t have been complete without one last hurrah. Set in the mountainous Andes region, Baños is a picturesque little town with rolling hills and a stunning volcano as a backdrop. Mind you, when I did my flight, the Tungurahua Volcano was very active, spewing smoke and lava while I was mid air.
I am proud to say that I can now happily tick paragliding nearby an active volcano off of my never ending list of adventurous things to do (as it is naturally on everyone’s list, right?) The pilot and I were sailing between trees, over hills and mountains, and through strings of clouds as we soared up high. It was an unreal feeling and being able to do it in such a dramatic backdrop will always be unforgettable experience.
My Paragliding Experience with GeoTours
After a quick briefing on what to bring, we soon found ourselves in a van on our way to the jump site. The paragliding pilots that we were with were all young whose enthusiasm for their sport was contagious. These guys live and breathe adrenaline, much like all the guides that we have encountered through GeoTours. We drove for about 40 minutes up to Niton mountain in Pelileo Canton where we had a perfect view of the Tungurahua Volcano. As soon as we arrived, the guides unloaded the gear and got in position. The wind was initially too strong when we arrived so we waited around for a couple of minutes.
While we were waiting, the crew began to set up the gear. Dario, my paragliding guide told me that I was going to use a brand new harness and kite which made me feel a lot better. One of the reasons why we loved working with Geo Tours is that in every activity that we did with them, we felt that they had the utmost regard for safety. Their equipment were all well maintained and new and the guides they had were all knowledgeable and confident. While we were waiting for the ideal wind conditions, other groups started to set up. This was when I began feeling my anxiety build up. Was I really about to put my life in the hands of a kite and a pilot I didn’t know? I was watching other paragliders take off, and although it seemed effortless and easy, I was starting to feel nervous. Soon, I was being outfitted with a harness as the pilot began to slowly attach himself to me and launch the kite. This was it. Knees trembling, hands shaking, and gut wrenching stomach twists and turns, I took a deep breath, let go, and up we went! The wind was so strong that it shot us straight up in the air.
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Paragliding is definitely the closest thing to flying. As soon as I got up there, my fear of heights was immediately replaced with “maaaaan…this is awesome!” Initially, we kept a steady pace, rising higher and higher allowing me to take in the awesome view from up above. Then, the pilot started spinning the kite, tugging it from one side to the next, making us spiral down. It was such an exhilarating feeling that left me slightly dizzy but completely pumped.
I can’t even begin to describe the feeling while we were up there. It was a mixture of pure exhilaration and freedom, but slightly nerve wrecking at the same time as gushes of wind would blew us around.
Midflight, all of a sudden, I see a billow of smoke escape the volcano. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was I really paragliding over an exploding volcano? Soon. my disbelief ended and I was starting to get worried. I looked over at Dario, and saw sheer excitement and exhiliration on his face. “Woooohoooo! Let’s go closer!” he said. Given that he has done this a million other times (okay maybe that’s an exageration), I trusted him. I braced myself as he flew our kite higher and higher, giving us a birds eye view of this exploding volcano. I tell you, that’s a moment that I will probably remember forever.
After 15-20 minutes, we began our descent. We landed quite gently, with another guide assisting our landing. As soon as my feet reached the ground, I realized that my knees were still a bit shaky and wobbly. I had the time of my life flying high up in the clouds, but I guess the combination of altitude and adrenaline all went up to my head.
What to Bring for Paragliding:
- Warm clothes (it is cold up there!)
- Closed shoes
- Long trousers
- Thick jacket
All the safety equipment including transportation is provided by Geo Tours.
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What Paragliding in Baños Costs
For an updated price list of the paragliding experience, you can contact Geo Tours or check out their website for more information.
Overall Experience Paragliding
Overall, I loved my paragliding experience. I couldn’t think of a much better location to do my very first paragliding flight. The instructors were highly skilled and confident, allowing me to fully relax and take in the fantastic views from up above. Would I do it again? A 100% yes as it was definitely an unforgettable experience.
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