Hang Gliding Rio de Janeiro

You ever wake up in the morning thinking about jumping off a cliff? No I am not talking about doing something stupid, nor should I say taking one’s life. I mean don’t you have some days that you wake up, still lying there in bed, thinking, today I want to do something different, something most people would not dream about doing. Whether they just don’t think about it, or maybe they do think about it and it does not appeal to them. Fear, could be the main reason. Fear of the unknown.

So on this one day a while back, I was  awaken with the sun streaming thru the window, full force, since many times I don’t bother closing the curtains, my thinking is I will miss out on the day if I have the room dark and sleep late, one of the reasons I am an early riser.

Pete getting ready to go Hang Gliding Rio de JaneiroEarly morning sunshine filling the room, laying there in bed trying to get my bearings, what day is it, where am I at. OK, I remember I am not at home, it’s coming back to me, just flew the all-nighter from Miami to Rio de Janeiro the day before, hung out most of the day yesterday by the pool sleeping and getting some rays. In between waking up, enjoying the view of the Atlantic Ocean crashing below the cliffs of the hotel, I had noticed the hang gliders coming off the mountain behind the hotels lining the beach.

I think to myself, one day I would like to do that. Well, today is that day, as I lay in bed, I say to myself, what a perfect day to jump of a cliff. I need an adrenalin rush today.

Head downstairs, talk to the concierge and within 10 minutes I have talked to Paulo Celani with “Just Fly” and setup a hang glider flight for later that afternoon. With an on time pickup at the hotel we made our way into and then up the mountain of Tijuca Forest National Park, largest urban rainforest located right in Rio de Janeiro.
Reaching the takeoff spot, called Pedra Bonita Ramp, we were introduced to our 2 glider pilots, one for me and one for Mike my copilot, copilot being my real copilot from our flight from Miami to Rio. We were placed in our harness and given instructions on how we would be making the tandem flight. A couple of practice runs were done to make sure we understood. The plan was for my hang glider pilot and me would go first with Mike and his pilot to follow afterward us.

A magnificent view from the ramp at 1700 feet up the mountain in Tijuca National Park, gave us a spectacular view of Sao Conrado Beach, or as the locals calls it “Pepino Beach”.
About a 15 minute wait was given for the wind to pick up, enough time to get a little antsy, or really just enough time to have second thoughts about what we were ready to do.
All of a sudden the Glider pilots start talking in rapid Portuguese, next thing Mike and his pilot were up and running down the ramp, so much for me going first. Next, almost as fast, we were off and running and next thing I knew we were airborne. It’s that first minute that really get the heart pumping, the adrenalin rush and then it settles in that all is fine.

Gliding over the forest and then making the flight above the beach gave us some unbelievable views of Rio de Janeiro, the coast line and that of Tijuca National Park. After almost a 30 minute flight, which seemed shorter since I was enjoying it so much, we made our way to a perfect landing on Pepino Beach.
From pickup at the hotel, the instruction, the flight and then the ride back to the hotel which was all included in the $160 price we spent about 3 hours doing this adventure. Well worth jumping off a cliff for. Hey, just being able to say I went Hang Gliding in Rio de Janeiro was worth it.


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