Paragliding is an up-and-coming sport in Costa Rica. It has really taken off with national as well as international tourism considering the beautiful sites for flying in Costa Rica.
Tandem flights are offered near the Central Pacific port town of Puntarenas near Puerto Caldera at a site called "Nido de Las Aguilas" (Eagles' nest).
No experience is necessary to do a tandem flight.All you will need is a pair of hiking boots, long pants, and the desire to get a bird's eye view of Puerto Caldera without the noise of an airplane.
After a brief explanation by and experienced, certified tandem pilot you will be flying over the 2 km long ridge over Caldera for a half hour.
The parapente was born in the bases of a ram air parachute with a bigger wing with a perfect aerodynamic side. The nylon wings are made of open cells in the front and close on the back. The air that blows in to the cells makes the wing raise up and jump to the emptiness.
You don't have to jump from a plane to have these experience, you can do it from a little hill or a mountain. The pilot is seatted on harness and controls the "parapente" with both hands; the parapente waist 6 kg and the pilot can be ready in only 5 minutes, searchig a speed up to 40 km/h.
The "parapente" is the easy, fastest, practical, safe and economic way of flying. There are almost 500 000 active pilots around the world that practice these air sport.
The first fly was done in 1978 when a crazy climber decide to get down from the top of a mountain; jumping on a parachute. Inmediately these sistem was adopted from all the young sport climbers in Europe and all over the world. In Costa Rica you can have the expierence specialy near the coast.
A mountain site located opposite a five-star hotel on the way to Jacˇ. If you survive the 4-minute hihe to launch, it offers a beautiful flight. With a 460-meter elevation abovesea level or landing, it has a small soaring ridge. The breeze is consistent from the southwest. Around 11:00 am, the thermals can begin pumping with a potential bouncy ride considering the coastal temperatures. The LZ is extensive; just watch out for the electric cable in the first nice pasture. Try to land as close to the fence as possible considering the many mad oxen below.
In general, mountain sites in central valley are very unpredictable. One day it can be blown out and the next it may be perfect. You either need luck or time to lounge. Cloud base is anywhere between 2000 and 2500 meters MSL. San JosÚ lies at approximately 1000 meter.
Flying this site is like launching from the Swiss Alps, except conditions are not always that great. In the dry season (December through April) the northeastern trade winds blast away. In the rainy seasom, the winds are not as strong but thundershowers abound, especially in the afternoon. Ridge soaring is great on a dood day. Thermaling is also an option on good afternoon. The approach is a 4wd road in the dry season, which becomes a 30-minute, muddy hike in the rainy season. The LX is about 200 meters below in a pasture next to the town church.
This has been the best site for some great thermal flying. Launch is at 1800 meters MSL. The launch site is a small peak with nice pastures but surrounded by ravines and trees. Acces is exclusively by 4wd any time of the year. A sled ride is not so bad, considering you drive all the way up. Thermals abound on the valley slopesand there are great opportunities for cross-country fliying but beware of the proximity to nearby airports. Nobody has tried it yet!. The LZ is a huge fieldin the valley, a short walk to the natural seltzer water springs.
This site is located between two volcanoes: Iraz˙(the highest active vulcano in Costa Rica) and Turrialba. Access is by 4wd and then 30-minute hike over potato patches, mud cow manure grass. Launch is 140 meters above landing and this site can produce weird thermals. There is a short soarting ridge. Once it startas heating up, thermaling can be great. The LZ is very open(except for the electric wire fences around every 20-square-meter parcel).