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Wedged between Venezuela to the east, Brazil to the south, and the Caribbean to the north, Colombia is the only country in South America whose sugared beaches are lapped by both the Atlantic and Pacific.
Straddling the equator, this lush tropical nation boasts a diversity of fauna and flora so rich as to stagger the mind. With three mighty north-south Andean cordilleras separating the western coastal lowlands from the almost empty eastern jungles, we have a perfect free flight area ripe for exploring.
We first visited Colombia in 2000 when it was still suffering from civil unrest, but we were amazed to discover a strong and healthy paragliding community who were regularly enjoying some incredible XC conditions. Wide thermals, gentle valley flows and high cloudbases provide evry opportunity to explore this fascinating country from above. The launches are textbook with wide grassy knolls - and amenities nearby - perfect for launching or waiting on the wind. And you'll never be far away from a friendly face when you land out and are waiting for your retrieve.
Taking in 5 completely different flying sites, our tour starts in the city of Cali where we collect you from the airport after taking a short domestic flight over from Bogota, the capital of Colombia. Each night we stay in beautiful luxury Fincas. These converted farms have all the amenities we need after a long days flying - including a swimming pool! Our private A/C bus takes us to launch each morning and retrieves after the days flying.
On arrival in Cali, we drive to Piedechinche for our first night. This is an absolutely stunning site and a perfect introduction to flying in Colombia. We spend our first day flying here before heading further north to Roldanillo for the next 3 days. Rolda is the premier XC site in the country, home to the PWC in 2011, it is located in Valle del Cauca, a huge north-south valley 10km wide. Although we launch in the mountains, we primarily fly in the flats and the foothills on the east side of the valley. The town of Roldanillo is a very cool place to hang out, a permanent local fiesta, endless sounds and colour. We stay just above the town in a Finca overlooking the valley.
Heading north up the valley, east of Cartago, we come to Anserma Nuevo and its huge grassy launch. We are less affected by the Pacific breezes here, so we can spend more time flying in the mountains.
After 6 days flying in the Valley, we head north again to the sites around the beautiful city of Medellin, in the heart of the coffee growing region. The beautiful mountains and foothills will be our playground in this peach of a flying arena. The stunning Pintada cliffs, lovely thermic breezes, evening restitution flights, huge landing options, we will be clocking up even more hours heading into our second week of continuous flying.
ADAM HILL has been flying since 1994, is a member of the British Paragliding Team and a World Cup pilot. He established paragliding in both Nepal and Bhutan and runs paragliding tours around the world. As Director of Frontiers Paragliding, he has introduced hundreds of pilots to the adventure of flying in some of the most incredible landscapes in the world, and is excited to be able to add Colombia to his 'rich pickings' list.