What is it like to hang glide in Rio de Janeiro?
It must have been the movie, Rio that I convinced myself of doing it one day.
Perhaps my love for adventure was another factor as well. It's that feeling of living on the edge. The satisfying, liberating, and fulfilling adrenaline of being in the moment. It became a #bucketlist, so to speak.
Living in Brazil made this easier to achieve. I've done a lot of research and followed some travel bloggers who have done this in Rio de Janeiro, and finding a right time was a big part of the equation.
Rio Carnaval week was the perfect time. Thankfully, working on a school calendar made the trip quite easy to plan, including a room for this spontaneity.
I ended up signing with Hang Gliding Rio de Janeiro. We made exchanges through facebook and then whatsapp. They were very organized and efficient. They arranged the pick-up and drop-off as well, which was part of the R$590.00 fee (no pics and videos) or R$740.00 (including pics and videos).
We arranged the pick up point at my hotel, Hotel Ingles at 12:00 PM and the car driver arrived on the dot. We also picked up another guy at another location, and together we reached our take-off point.
The Hang Gliding place was close to Leblon beach, almost na hour away from the city center of Rio.
Wikipedia.com: Hang Gliding is na air sport or recreational activity in which a pilot flies a light, non-motorized foot-launched heavier-than-air aircraft called a hang glider.
What I didn't know about hang gliding was--- flying depends on the direction and the current of the wind. We literally waited for four hours for the freakin' wind to come to our direction! Not to mention that there were other hang gliders from other companies that were lined up before us.
Few minutes before our flight, my instructor-- Meu, practiced with me on how to take off. As he said, we need to coordinate our running pace/running feet together. It was a breeze on my first try. (Maybe I can do this as a pro! haha) Basically, just run as fast as you can while looking ahead, until your feet is flying mid-air.
The wait was so worth it! I had the best seven minutes of my life--- flying bird-like, through windy condition, overlooking the sandy beaches of Rio de Janeiro, viewing the contrast of high-rise buildings and the favela communities from a distant, and appreciating the green scenery on my horizon.
It was freaking awesome!!!
I think whether you're afraid of heights or doing something crazy--- hang gliding is very doable for your very scared soul!
Don't bring a bag or any heavy belongings. Try to wear a wallet belt if you're just bringing your phone and some cash.
Wear comfy shoes or sneakers. You can wear shorts but not too short. ;)
Be prepared to wait at the starting point for hours! So don't do other plans because you will end up doing this as a whole day activity.
If you opted for the package fee with pics and videos, bring your own USB. The company give their copies on a dvd. It was a bit of a hassle for me to transfer their files. So make sure you bring your own USB disk, or just bring your GoPro cam, they don't mind having you filming your own flight.