Who in the world is crazy enough to do that right?! Well…us!
We’re the crazy kids running off the mountain in the hills of Colombia for some adventure, fun and unforgettable memories. And it certainly didn’t disappoint!
Matthew and I went paragliding in Medellin for my 27th birthday and I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable activity in one of the most amazing cities we’ve been digital nomads.
Thinking about going paragliding in Medellin? We’re going to share the whole booking process, what it was like for us, how much we paid and quick tips if it’s your first time paragliding.
Here’s everything you need to know about paragliding in Medellin.
Why You Should Go Paragliding In Medellin, Colombia
- Celebrating a birthday?
- Want to try something new?
- Maybe an anniversary?
- Want an unforgettable experience?
You should go paragliding in Medellin, Colombia!
My 27th birthday was coming up and we happen to be in the City of Eternal Spring. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do but I saw that it was quite the popular activity to go paragliding in Medellin. And I thought why?!
Paragliding in Medellin would allow you to see the city from a different perspective – from the sky. Medellin has one of the coolest landscapes of any city we’ve been to. You have these orange buildings that make up the concrete jungle of a city but…you’ve also got all this forestry and greenery around every corner of the city. It’s absolutely amazing and to me, it’s quite literally a ‘concrete jungle’.
This is a top thing to do in Medellin, even if you don’t have anything to celebrate you should still go paragliding in Medellin! It was an amazing experience that we will never forget – I mean how many people can say they went paragliding in Colombia right?!
What It Was Like Paragliding In Medellin – Our Personal Experience
Matthew booked the entire experience for us because it was my birthday. He went and found a good company with *5-star reviews (you can bet we are going with a 3-star paragliding spot lol).
It was super easy to message them via WhatsApp and book a slot for the date we wanted. We had to change it twice because the weather conditions were acting up and they were more than happy to reschedule it all for us!
We booked the entire experience which included a car pick-up and drop-off service from our Airbnb, the GoPro package and obviously the paragliding itself (15 minutes of flying time). This was such a great thing because we were taken care of the entire time!
Getting To San Felix
You take off from a spot called San Felix which is about 30 minutes away from the neighborhood we lived in (Laureles). It’s quite the windy road up to the hills and it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere – you wouldn’t want to NOT have a dedicated driver. We have seen people take Uber to the top but I honestly couldn’t figure out how they got back home but maybe Ubers do go that far!
Once you get to San Felix, you have to register with the company. They will make you sign a couple of waivers and you’ll need to watch the 5-10 minutes safety video (which can be in English or Spanish). They gave us a memory card since we had the GoPro included in our package which you will give to your pilot before taking off. The pilot will set up the GoPro for you. We had to pay in cash, we got our receipt and that was it!
You have to hike about 15 minutes to the top which doesn’t sound like much but trust me, it’s all uphill and it will have you huffin’ and puffin’! You’ll need a minute (or two) to recover before you fly off into the skies.
Waiting To Paraglide
There’s a section where all of the people about to fly will sit and wait for their turn. But there’s also an outer section where the people who are next but like maybe 3rd or 4th to fly will stay.
There’s a whole system, just go up to the booth and give your ticket, and the lady will direct you on what to do next (whether wait or get inside). We had to wait on the outer section for about 30 minutes before it was our turn to paraglide.
We could never paraglide on our own (nor would we want to) and it was great to be able to do a tandem paragliding flight where you have a pilot take full control and you get to sit back and relax!
The paragliding pilots are well-train, confident and ensure everything is safe. I felt super comfortable as they have been paragliding for years and it’s like second nature to them. You could just tell! This made us feel way more comfortable.
They are also super friendly and nice, although it might help to speak some basic Spanish. They explain things to you before and if you don’t understand make it clear and they might have someone help to translate. You wouldn’t want to know what’s going on when you’re paragliding lol.
A Little Mix-Up
Unfortunately, there seems to have been a mix-up with the paragliding timings because Matt and I didn’t go one after the other. I went first thinking Matt will follow shortly but for some reason, they made him wait. I took off and landed in the city which was awesome but that meant I had to wait for a car to pick me up and go drive all the way back up the hills of San Felix again because Matt didn’t land with me.
It took 30 minutes alone for the driver to come and pick us up (I was with one other paraglider). Once we were picked up, it took 30-45 minutes to get to the top. I had to hike those 15 minutes up again and I thought Matthew would have already flown but no! He was still waiting to paraglide – that means he was waiting for over an hour after I had taken off to paraglide himself.
Once we told them about it all, they were quick to get him inside strapped on and taken off. We understand that with the flaky weather conditions this could happen. The reason is that depending on the wind, you’ll have two landing options:
- down below in the city (near Bello)
- back to where you started (on the hills of San Felix)
When I was flying, the paragliding pilot thought it was best to land down below in the city. When it came to Matthew, the winds had picked up and it was better for him to land back on the same hill he took off – I got to see him take off and land.
TTA TIP: Make it clear that you want to fly one after the other and you’re more than happy to wait longer if it means you can do so. We spent way longer than we should have for the whole paragliding experience but it was amazing nonetheless!
Paragliding Companies In Medellin
The best way to start is to choose the right company that suits your needs and budget.
Paragliding in Medellin has become such a popular activity. There are several ways to book your paragliding experience. You can either book through third-party sites such as:
- Get Your Guide
- Airbnb Experiences
If you want to book directly though, you can simply message a company via WhatsApp to make your reservation. We did this option and researched extensively (reading reviews, comparing companies, flight times vs price, etc).
We booked our experience with ParaglidingMedellin.com. They are very professional, have solid TripAdvisor and Google reviews of 4.9 stars. Paragliding Medellin has also been in business since 1992 which is a very long time so we were confident they knew what they were doing. A basic flight with Paragliding Medellin starts from $48 USD depending on how long you want to fly. We recommend booking the full package which includes door-to-door transportation and GoPro footage – this costs us $60 USD per person.
TTA TIP: When booking things in a foreign country, we always stick to the local currency. It’s easier to make sure you’re getting a fair price and not some tourist just happy to go along with any price they give you. I feel we got a great deal because of this – they quoted us in COP ($260,000 per person).
Where Do You Fly From When Paragliding In Medellin?
You don’t fly from the city center, silly! Maybe you’re not silly like me in thinking that lol. When you see photos of paragliding in Medellin you think wow they are so close to the city but you actually fly from a barrio nearby called San Felix.
San Felix is located 45 minutes away from El Poblado. While it’s only around 35 minutes from Laureles. These time estimates all depend on traffic! It’s not that far but we do have to warn you that once you start climbing the hill – the roads are pretty windy the whole way up.
How To Get To San Felix And Back
We booked the full package with Paragliding Medellin and this included door-to-door service which we highly recommend. You could easily order an Uber to take you up to San Felix but I honestly don’t know if Ubers would pick you up from San Felix. You can make it a full day of adventure and figure it out once you’re there – it’s up to you!
Where Do You Land Paragliding in Medellin?
There are 2 landing options when paragliding in Medellin:
- down below in the city (near Bello)
- at the top in San Felix (the same spot you took off)
We did both because of the little mix-up! I think it depends all on where the pilot feel is best at the time. With the winds changing at any moment, you can’t really guarantee where you will land.
If the winds pick up, you’ll likely climb much higher nearby the mountains and amongst the birds like Matthew did. If it’s not that windy, you’ll probably land in the city which is such a cool view and perspective. Either way, it’ll be a great paragliding experience.
Medellin Paragliding: What Do You Need To Know?
There are only a few things you need to bring with you. I will say it’s best to keep it light especially if you’re traveling solo. If you bring a backpack – you will have to paraglide with that backpack which isn’t ideal!
Here are the things that you should know before paragliding in Medellin:
- bring some form of ID (we brought our licenses)
- wear long pants because it does get cold up there
- bring a jacket if you get cold easily
- sandals/flip-flops are not allowed to take off (wear shoes)
- a mask (if it’s the pandemic era still)
- cash – they may or may not take a card, just bring cash
The most important thing is that you keep it light. I had my favorite Patagonia fanny pack with me which was perfect for the flight. It didn’t get in the way and I could put my sweater over it! When Matthew took off, he actually gave me everything he had in his pockets. We also left things like our water bottle in the card with our dedicated driver.
Paragliding Medellin: When Is The Best Time To Go?
Medellin is known as the City of Eternal Spring because of its perfect 70F-degree weather all year round. When we first arrived the weather was absolutely perfect – sunshine, cool breeze and it’s never too hot or cold.
However, Medellin weather can change pretty quickly. After a month of sunshine, the rainy season started and it just didn’t stop. We had showers almost every single afternoon!
Here’s the best time to go paragliding in Medellin:
Time Of Year
The best time to visit Medellin is from November to March if you want complete sunshine. Everyone knows this is the best weather in Medellin so you’ll have to deal with the crowds of tourists. If you want to visit during the rainy season which is from May to September, it’ll be much cheaper for housing and fewer crowds but obviously there’s the rain to deal with.
For paragliding, we didn’t want to take off during a cloudy day because you don’t get the stunning views of the city. We wanted a clear day with plenty of sunshine! That’s our personal preference, it’s up to you when you want to visit. The best time to paraglide in this case would be from November to March.
Time Of Day
We got picked up around 9 am and I took off around 10:46 am. There are pockets of time that no one took off because it all depends on the wind. We waited about 30 minutes for our turn and I wish we had held off longer.
Matthew took off around 12:37 pm (yes it was quite the gap after the mix-up) and the winds picked up around this time. People were taking off left right and center! If I could do it again, I probably would have rather waited an hour plus to get better winds.
It’s really hard to say a specific time of day because it all depends on the wind. I’d ask your paragliding pilot or the staff around the area when the best time to fly would be.
Note: You might have to fly at a specific time too, they didn’t seem too flexible but I think you could get away with an extra 30 minutes or so.
Day Of The Week
Want fewer crowds? Go paragliding on a weekday! The paragliding take-off area can easily become crowded if you go on a weekend. If you need a little time to prepare mentally and maybe you’re a little nervous – a crowded takeoff area might not be great!
The weekend gets really busy and it’s a popular time for people to go paragliding in Medellin!
Paragliding Medellin: Is It Worth The Experience?
If you want an unforgettable activity, go paragliding in Medellin! It’s very easy to book and it doesn’t cost as much as other places. We booked with Paragliding Medellin and we recommend texting them on WhatsApp directly for the best deals – their number is (+57) 311 6165 601. We paid $60 USD each for the whole package!
I absolutely loved the experience and I’m so happy I got to paraglide in Medellin. It’s one of the coolest cities especially from above! Matthew didn’t necessarily enjoy the paragliding himself but that’s just personal taste.