Valle de Bravo paragliding guide for first-time travellers will help newbies ease into the process. The lakeside town of Valle de Bravo makes for a perfect weekend getaway or a short one-day trip for those visiting Mexico City.
Valle de Bravo is not only a trusted paragliding spot in Mexico but also among the most popular gliding destinations in the world. With Lake Avándaro, verdant green hills and red roof-topped buildings, this town is THE place for paragliding.
In my current blog on Valley de Bravo paragliding guide, I will be elaborating on every detail that a first-time para-glider would want to know. Also, common questions and concerns will be addressed.
Valle de Bravo Paragliding Guide: An Overview
After spending a couple of days in Mexico City, I was excited to indulge in some adventure. I had read somewhere that Valle De bravo near Mexico offered some of the best paragliding experiences, so I decided to check it out. The experience totally lived up to all that hype.
Before venturing deep into the Valle de Bravo paragliding guide, it is important you understand the locale. This becomes even more important if you’re a first-time traveller to Mexico.
Valle de Bravo
140 kilometres southwest of Mexico City
Mexico uses the Mexican Peso (written as MXN, M$ or Mex$)
The conversion rate in terms of three currencies – Mexican Peso (MXN), American Dollar (USD), and INR (Indian Rupee) is as follows. This was back when I visited Mexico:
1 USD = 19.04 MXN and 1 MXN = 3.62 INR
|Best time to visit
January, February, and March
The average temperature throughout the year varies from 15 to 21°C
|Getting to Valle de Bravo
By bus from Mexico City, by taxi from Toluca airport
1 night, 2 days
|Price for paragliding
Approximately MXN 1895 (99 USD) per flight
|Other things to do in Valle De Bravo
San Francisco de Asis church
Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
Monte Alto Reserve
Adventure sports, mountain activities
It’s almost unbelievable how beautiful Valle de Bravo is. When I visited this dreamy town, I finally understood why it’s a favourite of most Mexico City residents. Along with Teotihuacan Pyramids and Xochimilco, this is one of the best options for a day trip from Mexico City. It’s just a 2-hour drive away from the hustle and bustle of the city and is completely different from the stereotypical image of Mexico.
Valle de Bravo Travel Blog: Key Points to Remember for Paragliding
Whether you are a first-time flyer or an experienced one, you need to know the following things about paragliding in Valle de Bravo:
295-310 days a year
|Best time to paraglide
December end to April end
La Torre and El Peon
Acclimate yourself to low oxygen levels
Although paragliding is a popular and fun sport, one must exercise complete caution before stepping into it. Knowing the locale, the weather, and your body well is necessary.
Month-Wise Flying Conditions in Valle
There’s no such month as unfavourable for paragliding in Valle. However, there are definitely months that are the absolute best for this adventure sport.
In the subsequent table, I’ll mention flying conditions for all 12 months of the year. Also, wherever necessary, the ideal time of the day for paragliding is provided.
January: Best (especially in the afternoons)
June: Favorable only without rains
July: Favorable only without rains
August: Favorable only without rains
September: Favorable only without rains
December: Good (the best season for beginners)
In a nutshell, Valle de Bravo weather is favourable for paragliding through the year, with December and January being especially great. Valle receives rainfall in the months of June to September, but gliding is possible when it isn’t raining. Generally, in the rainy months, flights are preferred in the morning.
The Take-Off: Top 2 Flying Sites in Valle de Bravo Mexico
As mentioned above, the top 2 sites for paragliding in Valle de Bravo are – El Penon and La Torre.
This is the main paragliding site in Valle de Bravo. Every year, thousands of tourists, adventurers and professional gliders set out on a picturesque flight from El Penon. It has a wide and even surface. Additionally, the surrounding lands are suitable for an emergency landing, thus making El Penon a super safe paragliding site.
This literally translates to “The Tower.” It is a 30-minute drive up from the main town of Valle. The launch site here is much smaller than the one at El Peon. Additionally, the winds here are much heavier and thus require good kiting skills.
As per my Valle de Bravo paragliding guide, El Penon is the place to go, especially for first-timers.
You are done with all the formalities and are finally ready to jump right into the adventure. Let me give you a gist of what it’s going to be like.
Once you make it to the paragliding site, instructors will provide you with the mandatory safety instructions. Then, you will be assigned a guide and be provided with a helmet. Your guide will be strapped to you and this moment can be very exciting. It almost feels like you are about to unwrap a much-awaited gift.
Your pilot will wait for the perfect moment – when the winds are blowing in the right direction. When the perfect wind current blows, your guide will ask you to run on the platform. This helps in getting ‘lifted’ off from the ground and in a split second, you are in the air!
Your Flying Moment
My flying moment was finally here. I’d been waiting for it throughout my Mexico trip.
My guide glided close to the trees to add some thrill to the slow descent. It is safe to carry a camera around your neck to click pictures the way I did. You will be so immersed in this spectacular display of colours that you will forget how quickly you are descending.
Sooner than you expect, it will be time to land. They go in circles to lose height for a slow and smooth descent. You will land on the soft grass on your feet, and that moment is absolutely exhilarating.
As you look above, you will notice the sky is dotted with colourful canopies drifting in the sky like feathers in the air. Thank your instructor for a great time and spend some time around the lake if you want.
How Much Does a Paragliding Experience in Valle Cost?
How much you’ll pay for a paragliding experience in Valle de Bravo depends largely on the duration of the flight, the site, the company, etc. But here’s what it would roughly cost you at El Penon:
|A 20-30-minute flight: 1900 MXN (100 USD)|
|A 45-60-minute flight: 2500 MXN (130 USD)|
|A 60-minute+ flight: 3000 MXN (150 USD)|
My Valle de Bravo paragliding guide would advise you to do a quick price comparison when you’re in Valle.
Inclusions in the price:
Most of the deals would include an experienced and licensed pilot, round-trip transportation, bilingual staff, and required equipment. However, before finalizing on a package, ensure that all of this is included in the price you’re supposed to pay.
Additionally, find out the scene with photographs. Most companies provide pilots with a GoPro for your flight to be filmed. Find out beforehand if you’re going to have to pay separately for the same. After all, wouldn’t you want a few shots of you flying high in the air?
Do I need to pre-book?
As per my Valle de Bravo paragliding guide, this isn’t mandatory. However, to ensure you get the slot and timing of your choice, you could choose to book online. Most paragliding companies provide an option for you to make your bookings online.
After a lot of search and deliberation, and research I decided to prebook my fight with Alas del Hombre. They were extremely professional when it comes to their service.
Valle de Bravo Paragliding Guide: What to Wear?
This was one of the first questions that came to my head. What exactly do you wear for an experience of this sort? I wasn’t going to go paragliding again soon, so I wanted everything to be perfect.
As per my Valle de Bravo paragliding guide, the following tips would make for a comfortable flight:
|Pants: Make sure that you wear full-length pants or trousers. This will prevent you from injuries in case you stumble while landing.|
|Top: Usually, anything that’s comfortable for your works. A light jacket or a wind stopper is recommended. This will keep the cold at bay.
Overall, try not to wear loose and heavy clothes. Loose outfits will bother you by coming in your way during flights. Heavy clothes make take-off difficult sometimes. In case you’re worried about feeling cold, dress in light layers.
|Shoes – Wear comfortable and closed sport shoes.|
|Accessories – You can wear gloves in case of cold weather. Additionally, a hat and a pair of sunglasses will shield you from the sun. You do not want to barely be able to see because of the sun-rays when you’re up there.|
Other equipment like gears and helmets will be provided by the company itself. So, you don’t have to worry about that.
Commonly Asked Questions by First-Time Paragliders
Trying out a new adventure sport can be daunting. For obvious reasons, you might be faced with a lot of questions if you’re planning to try your hand at paragliding. Here are a few commonly asked questions, and the answers to the same:
- Can I take my own camera on the flight?
Most of the times, you will be allowed to. However, it depends on the size and characteristics of your camera, and the company’s rules. Additionally, this will be done at your own risk and in case of any damages, you will not be compensated.
Tip: As per my Valle de Bravo paragliding guide, in case you carry a camera, make sure it is secure with a lanyard.
- Can I wear glasses during the flight?
Yes, you can wear glasses or lenses during your flight.
- Do I get a discount or reimbursement if my flight is short?
No. The duration and quality of a flight largely depend on weather conditions and isn’t something that can be controlled.
- Is paragliding dangerous?
Paragliding is always performed in the presence of well-trained, experienced, and licensed pilots. But just like any other sport, it is obviously not 100% risk-free. Before your flight, you will be made to sign a waiver acknowledging that you’re okay with the risk the flight comes with. In case anything goes wrong, the company won’t be liable.
- Can I carry a bag?
If it’s a small bag, you can carry it along. Otherwise, you can leave it in the car.
- Are there any health restrictions?
Yes. You will not be allowed to paraglide if:
- You suffer from serious heart or lung diseases.
- You’re pregnant.
- You have been recently operated.
- You suffer from vertigo or similar conditions.
- You’re under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
What is a tandem paragliding flight?
This is when a passenger flies along with a pilot. A tandem paraglider is designed to fly two people at the same time.
Taking It One Step Further: Paragliding Courses
If you fall in love with the sport and wish to take it to the next level, companies in Valle de Bravo also offer paragliding courses.
These courses will take you through flight theories, launch practice, equipment training, etc.
Courses are across all levels – beginners, intermediate, and advanced.
You will be required to appear for a written and practical exam. Certification will follow on clearing the exams.
A number of these courses in Valle are in association with APPI (Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors). APPI is an association based in Switzerland, and its key motive is to offer pilots and instructors a unified education system.
Note: If you want to opt for one or more of these courses, you will have to spend a longer time in Valle de Bravo. Courses can be for a duration of 7 days or more.
Additionally, the cost would generally be exclusive of your daily expenses like accommodation, food, etc. Getting an APPI certification doesn’t come cheap.
Paragliding Organizers in Valle
There are a number of paragliding organizers in Valle de Bravo. In case you’re feeling a little lost about which one to go with, I can tell you about my experience.
I personally made a booking with Alas del Hombre. They are extremely professional when it comes to their service, and have also won several laurels in paragliding events.
Alas, del Hombre offers both one-time flights and courses for those who want to take it one step further. For the experienced, you can also rent out or buy equipment from them.
Getting from Mexico City to Valle de Bravo
According to this Valle de Bravo paragliding guide, using public transport is the best way to get to Valle. Let me explain the journey to you in steps:
Head to the nearest metro station, and make your way to Observatorio Metro Station. Here, you will find the Terminal de Autobuses Poniente. This is where you can find a bus that will take you to Valle de Bravo.
As advice, try to take an early morning bus to Valle to avoid traffic.
Buses depart every one to two hours and run from early morning to late afternoon. A ticket to Valle will roughly cost about 240 MXN (12.5 USD) and the journey will take about 2.5 hours.
Enjoy the journey, for the landscape shifts from concrete buildings to the quiet countryside. Finally, you will reach the bus station in Valle de Bravo on Calle 16 de Septiembre.
You are now in the aptly called Pueblo Mágico. Valle de Bravo is termed a magical town by Mexico’s tourism department. It offers an exceptional experience to travellers with its adventure sports, natural beauty, heritage, culture, history, tradition, hospitality and more. The list is endless.
Valle de Bravo Travel Blog: Other Things to Do
Paragliding is not all that the unworldly Valle de Bravo has to offer. Here’s a quick overview of the main attractions in Valle de Bravo. A lot
The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
This Sanctuary is the best place to spot the beautiful monarch butterflies. They migrate from Canada and the United States every year and can be seen here from November to March. The sanctuary is open every day from 9 AM-4 PM. For those who are just interested in paragliding, you can also take a day trip from Mexico City to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary with a bit of sightseeing.
You must visit the waterfalls Rio de Molino and Velo de Novia which present a beautiful sight. Also, the park in which these falls are visited has some beautiful trails that are not visited by many.
The Temple of Saint Mary of Ahuacatlan (Black Christ)
This is the oldest church in Valle de Bravo and is located in the old part of the town. The church houses the image of a Black Christ which is believed to have miraculous powers.
La Pena is a rocky cliff that is host to many adventure activities. It can be reached partly by a vehicle and partly on foot. The cliff offers panoramic views of the town.
Monte Alto Reserve
Another place for adventure activities in Valle de Bravo is the Monte Alto Reserve or Water Mountain. It’s the perfect place for hiking and hand gliding.
Water Sports at Lake Avandaro
The lake is a central attraction of the town and offers many water sports activities. You can try your hand at kayaking, boating, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, etc.
End of My Adventurous Shenanigans
Paragliding is hands down one of my favourite adventure sports. It is wonderful to be able to see the world from a completely different perspective for once. I wish I could capture those moments in my head, and replay them over and over again. Truth is, no photograph or video will do justice to capturing how I really felt during my flight.
I hope this Valle de Bravo paragliding guide answers all your questions. Do visit this quaint Mexican town to experience all the magic for real.
Happy wayfaring 🙂