Colombia is much celebrated for the diversity of its climates and temperatures, but less well known is how perfect that makes our skies for the practice of extreme sports. Add to the mix our equatorial lack of seasons and you’ve got a country that’s designed for skydiving and paragliding all year round. Here are some ideal places to take the plunge.
Colombia has world-beating paragliding conditions, not least those found when taking off from Las Brisas (The Breezes) precipice in Roldanillo, Valle de Cauca. The thermal winds here are so consistent they allow a paraglider to glide through the air for up to six hours. The site is regularly listed among the best places in the world to practice the sport and the World Championships were held in Roldanillo earlier this year. (You may also enjoy: The six places to camp in Colombia)
Cañón de Chicamocha
If you’re going to fly like a bird, you may as well fly like a bird – as the sun warms the air in Chicamocha, Santander, it flies up the side of the canyon, creating the thermals that help paragliders gain altitude in the same way birds fly without using too much energy. The views over this 2,000m deep, 46-million-year-old canyon are stunning. Many visitors take the opportunity to go caving, kayaking, rafting, climbing, fishing and hiking too. (You may also enjoy: Five national parks you cannot miss in Colombia)
Flandes is Colombia’s “Skydiving Capital” because this Tolima town has such great conditions for the sport and enthusiasts have been jumping out of planes here for decades. The town is 1,000 feet above sea level and most skydivers get up to at least 11,000 when they decide it’s time to leap. Many visit the town for the weekend, coupling their jump with a spot of rafting in the nearby Sumapaz River.
Sopó in Cundinamarca is just 40 minutes from Bogota and it’s one of the most paraglide-friendly places in all of Colombia. Experts love to praise its elevation difference (more than 400 meters, or 1312 feet) and stable east to west winds, which make it a reliable spot to practice the sport all year round. It also has the required thermodynamic conditions and a large take-off area. Many visitors play paintball or go rock climbing too. (You can also enjoy: Colombia: it’s hiking country)
Photo: Miguel Vaca
Santa Fe de Antioquia
Santa Fe de Antioquia is one of Antioquia’s prettiest towns, popular with day trippers from Medellin with its warm weather and sense of history. It’s also a growing skydive destination, thanks to its views of colonial streets and the nearby Cauca River, complete with the Puente de Occidente, once the longest bridge in South America.
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