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Ballooning in Costa Rica

Listed under Flying, Gliding & Ballooning in Costa Rica.

  • Photo of Ballooning in Costa Rica
  • Photo of Ballooning in Costa Rica
  • Photo of Ballooning in Costa Rica
  • Photo of Ballooning in Costa Rica
  • Photo of Ballooning in Costa Rica
  • Photo of Ballooning in Costa Rica
  • Photo of Ballooning in Costa Rica
  • Photo of Ballooning in Costa Rica
Photo of Ballooning in Costa Rica
Photo by Photography: Phil Dunnington
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Ballooning in this tropical Central American country is one of many adventure sports available including rafting, tubing, canyoning, horse-back riding, canopy walks and off-road driving. There are two centres, both run by an American-owned company, at Turrialba and near the volcanic region of Arenal. Both are within a couple of hours’ drive of the capital San Jose, which is best reached from Europe via Miami. Pilots are American-trained and the balloons British-designed.

This is a year-round destination, though there are periods of greater humidity and rainfall. Countryside is a combination of primary jungle and sugar cane and pineapple plantation interspersed with roaring rivers and active volcanoes. There’s nearly always a crowd of enthusiastic cane-cutters to welcome your arrival when the balloon lands.

Accommodation is in bunkhouse-style rooms at the horse farm or in rather grander (but more expensive) hotels nearby. Flights are early-morning and offer either a ride down the narrow ravines above white water rapids or a rather more sedate drift over parrot-crowded jungle where howler monkeys screech at the balloon occupants as they pass only metres above. The smoke of volcanic activity is never far away and each flight is followed by a typical Costa Rican breakfast of black beans and fried bananas washed down with beer or cane spirit.

Written by  Phil Dunnington.

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