I visited Lima for three days before heading to Cusco to hike to Machu Picchu. Each day I found myself walking from the artsy Barranco neighborhood, up the Malecon to Miraflores to the paragliding launch point. I’d find an empty park bench and simply watch as they jumped off the edge of the cliff. It looked like fun, but I wasn’t entirely sure I could muster up the courage to jump. Each time I passed I told myself, today is the day! But it never was. I left feeling as if I’d missed my opportunity to go paragliding in Lima.
Why Couldn’t I Jump?
That question plagued me the entire time I traveled through the rest of Peru. While hiking to Machu Picchu I kept thinking that one of my main goals for traveling was to do things that scare me. To find things that sound amazing, that I would normally talk myself out of doing, and actually do them.
What did it say about me if I didn’t fulfill my promise to myself? I strengthened my resolve that on my return to Lima, I would jump.
So after exploring the rest of Peru with the Peru Hop bus, I returned to Lima. I went to the Malecon every single day with the only intention of paragliding. Except this time, they weren’t flying. The first day, when I asked about flying, I was told to come back around 5:00 pm as the winds were usually better in the afternoon. There is a flag that flies off the edge of the cliff. If it’s red, no one flies, if it’s yellow it’s possible, and green means fly away!
So, for two more days I went to check and each time the flag was red. It came to my final day in Miraflores and I was really disappointed with myself. If I’d have just had the courage to do this the first time I visited, I could spend my time doing other things besides stalking the paragliders.
Finally, Paragliding in Lima!
At around 5:00 pm on my last night in Lima (literally, I had a flight later that night to Argentina) I meandered down to see if they were flying. And like it was meant to be, they were changing the flags from red to yellow as I arrived. I paid the man my $85 I’d been carrying around for this exact moment, signed my life away, and walked to the flight area.
Seemingly out of nowhere, all of these paragliders began showing up. Running from the apartment complexes with huge bags to the launching area.
My heart began to race.
When my pilot arrived he didn’t unpack his bags immediately. I asked if we were going to fly, he said maybe. He told me that the wind still wasn’t very strong and that we would watch the person in front of us. If they flew, we flew.
This did not exactly calm me down. My brain started to talk myself out of flying. I hadn’t paid anything yet. Who cares if I didn’t paraglide in Peru?
Well, I did.
While I was in my own head about this, the pilot before us was suddenly taking off. Then in a flash, my pilot unpacked his bags. His wife strapped me into some sort of chair apparatus, the man measuring the wind put my helmet on and attached me to my pilot.
For a minute I wasn’t entirely sure I was attached to him. I had a fleeting thought that once we jumped I would fall to the freeway below as he glided off into the sunset. But with every move he made, I moved, so I figured I was good to go.
I was strapped in, there was no turning back.
Jumping Off of the Cliff
He said “It’s time to go”, and like that we are running off of a cliff, over a freeway, next to the Pacific Ocean. The drop off of the cliff was surprisingly smooth. I thought I’d scream or close my eyes, but neither happened. There was no drop in my stomach or sudden lurch from the parachute. It was all incredibly smooth. He then turned us north and we glided through the air.
The name of the sport does not lie. It truly feels as though you are gliding through the air. Do you know those simulation rides at theme parks? The ones where you sit in a chair and there’s a huge movie screen in front of you. The chair begins to move as the screen projects scenery in front of you as if you’re gliding through it. This felt like that, except real and way more of a rush.
We began our 10-minute flight just as the sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean. We made a few turns, he climbed quite high over the coastline. The noise of the cars that were rushing below us slipped away. I could only hear the wind as we moved and the crash of the waves. I was totally at ease gliding up and down the Malecon. With the sun casting its colors along the buildings of Miraflores to one side and the vast Pacific ocean to the other, I could not wipe the smile off of my face.
Don’t go paragliding without travel insurance!
Where to Find Paragliding in Lima?
The flight area for paragliding in Lima is located on the Malecon in Miraflores, just north of Parque de Amor. In front of the flight area, there is a stand where you fill out your waiver and wait your turn. When it’s your turn, the pilot will find you.
What is the Cost of Paragliding in Lima?
I’m always hesitant to put the cost down in my posts because the prices are always subject to change. As long as you know this I paid $85.
How Does the Weather Affect Paragliding?
Good winds are important for successful and safe paragliding. Obviously, I don’t know what good winds are, but you’ll notice a flag flying towards the edge of the cliff. Green means they’re flying, yellow means it’s a possibility, and red means no flying. I flew on a yellow flag day.
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