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Cross Country Paragliding Iquique

Listed under Flying, Gliding & Ballooning in Iquique, Chile.

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There is plenty of good paragliding to be had in Chile but the top spots, especially if you like distance, have to be Iquique and Santiago where the wind conditions coming in off the Pacific Ocean are perfect almost every day and a local pilot told me it hasn’t rained in 14 years. Iquinque is a great spot to begin or continue your training. There are huge sand dunes (600 metres) all around so you can land and take off from almost anywhere along the long ridge and there are good thermal updrafts that mean your take of point can be quite low, but you can still get some good height in the air. This is a good place for newer pilots to try their luck with thermals for the first time or to clock up hours in the moderate wind conditions of the mornings and afternoons. There is plenty of lift and if you fall off you don’t have to travel too far back to the ridge to take off again. If you’re after cross country you can soar along the top of the line of the Atacama desert cliffs which make for any easy route to follow. More experienced pilots will want to go further, probably out along the coast to see the beautiful, peaceful, sunsets you have seen pilots hovering over in so many photos. Flights of 180+ kms aren’t out of the question. This is another nice destination to fly with impressive cloud bases and plenty of space. It’s sunny, it’s a good sized town and the beaches and surfing are also excellent, it’s also part of a duty free zone, so it’s quite cheap. Apparently it’s won some awards for being one of Chile’s most attractive cities (this may help persuade non flying partners.). You can camp if you’re travelling on the cheap, the weather is ideal for it but you need to watch your security.

Written by  Kirk Browne.

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