Have you ever dream about flying? Have you ever thought about feeling the wind on the face while you see everything from the sky? I bet you did. So, now go one step further and make it real. Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) is the perfect city, with a perfect spot to do it! So, don’t miss the chance to experience it in a marvelous place with mountains, city, beach and sea to see.
At the end of São Conrado beach, you can find the landing spot of the paragliding and hang gliding, a little triangular park, just where the street Av Prefeito Mendes de Morais ends after the roundabout -if you are getting there by car. There you can find the Clube Sao Conrado de Voo Livre.
If you are going by Bus: You can take the Bus 308 (Linha 308) at Leblon on Av. Bartolome Mitre, or even earlier on its route on the Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana (Copacabana), depending where you are staying. It’s a quick ride, depending on traffic. Once you cross the tunnel you have to pay attention as the Sao Conrado area may pass quick. You will pass a golf club on the right (a very long green wall), and then you will see a Shell Gas Station. At that point you can ring the bell to get off at the next bus stop. From there, you just cross the avenue and walk to the beach side. Go right to the end of the avenue and you will be on the landing spot. If you feel lost, just look at the sky and you will see the “birds” flying around.
Another bus to reach there could be from Real Vip Service # 525 which starts at Terminal Alvorada and go thru main avenues in Rio (e.g Av das Americas / Av Armando Lombardi / Av Ministro Ivan Lins) – check full itinerary on the link- with a 30 minutes frequency.
Once you are there, you may be approached by one of the experienced “pilots” or you can go directly to the club and ask. The prices in general are around R$300, including the pictures and the GoPro video. You may have found a similar service thru tourism agencies and/or a lot of different webpages that the instructors may have. Well, if you go thru a webpage you will probably see that they want to charge you additionally for each service (+X R$ for the pictures, +Y R$ for the video). I wouldn’t recommend getting the service thru webpages, as you have to book in advance a day and a time, losing flexibility, and also you don’t know how weather will be that day if you have pre-booked, which may limit the experience is the day is cloudy or windy to fly. Also using a web page, you will probably pay more. The only advantage you may find is that you can pay with credit card, a service that most of the pilots on there don’t have. So, for taking it “on the go” I do recommend you to go on a weekday -there would be very few people and easier to negotiate, early morning or noon. They have a limited number of flights allowed per day, so they start eager to fly. If you don’t find anyone around, you can go directly to the club and ask there. You will need to go there anyway to pay for the “Free Flight Club” membership and insurance, a one time payment that is about R$30.
With all this set, your instructor will take you up to the mountain by car, in a 20 minutes trip. Up there, go to the bathroom before having the equipment on if you think you might get nervous, just follow your pilot instructions and don’t look down when you are going to
run walk fast on the platform… just look ahead, at the horizon, to the sky and the sea. Feel the adrenaline and enjoy the flight!!
PS: Have you done it? Tell us your experience! What additional advice would you give?