We booked a paragliding experience through “Paragliding Medellin” and the Colombian paragliding pioneer “Ruben Fly”. That morning we woke up and made our way to the San Javier Station. We rode the Metro Cable Car up to La Aurora and our driver met us at the station about 15 minutes later. We got into his car (not the marked van as advertised on their website), but then had to wait for another couple who was supposed to be there when we were. After waiting another 20 minutes or so, we were finally given the go ahead to make our way to the launch site in San Felix for paragliding. It was a winding, twisting road on the way up, and would definitely have been difficult to navigate on our own.
We were dropped off in a parking lot with a few restaurants around and then hiked up a hill for about 10 minutes to get to the actual paragliding site. Once there, we filled out our paperwork and were given helmets and attached to a parachute and a guide. The site was filled with about 50 people waiting for their turn to take flight. Everything there ran smoothly and orderly, and it was clear that this company knew what they were doing. Everything felt safe and professional.
We had a few minutes to watch other people run, launch and fly through the air before it was our turn to make the plunge. There wasn’t enough time to be nervous or ask questions, all the sudden I was attached to my tandem pilot and soaring through the air.
It was actually less scary than expected, as once you’re in the air, you’re just lounging back in your harness, almost like you’re sitting on the couch. My guide spoke some English, as some of his family members were from Chicago, so he and I were able to have a conversation while floating through the air. Tim’s partner spoke only Spanish but responded to his reactions and knew he wanted a more wild ride. They scraped over the tops of trees, powerlines, and even flew right next to birds. We did the 30 minute ride through the air, which was plenty of time to enjoy the experience and get some pictures and videos. The views were incredible, and you’re able to see the whole city down below. For a small fee you can add a GoPro to your flight package, but we had our own.
After our flight, were sat in a nice homemade structure with stairs and enjoyed some popsicles that were sold by a local with a cooler. Next we hiked down and then we had to wait for our ride back to the Metro station, so we wandered around the shops and restaurants. There is a great viewing spot where you can grab a beer or a cup of coffee and watch other people paragliding. We had to wait another 30 minutes or so for our driver, and the communication was definitely lacking. We did get to meet “Ruben Fly”, and he was very nice, but definitely needed a few more drivers that busy summer day. Overall though, we’d highly recommend booking with “Paragliding Medellin”.
We took the cable car back down the hill and then rode the metro over to San Javier. Right outside the station there was an amazing bakery where you could grab lunch before your next adventure. We had various empanadas, pastries and cakes- and there was a guy nearby selling freshly made sugarcane juice.
We only had a half a day left to explore the town and we weren’t feeling great so we didn’t get to experience the true nightlife and culture of Medellin. However, just walking around the El Poblado area was full of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. We unsuccessfully tried to hire our Uber driver to take us on an off-the-record Pablo Escobar tour, but just saw the outside of his house (it was $30USD each to go inside) and his grave. Before we went to bed that night, we did make sure to have a shot of Aguardiente, the local anise-flavored spirit that tastes like black licorice. It may have been better at the end of a night of drinking, but we went to bed early after only one lone shot. We can’t wait for our next trip to Colombia to be able to return to Medellin and fully experience the town of eternal spring.