Where to Paraglide in South America

Paraglier over Iquique
••• Paraglier over Iquique. Matthias Clamer / Getty Images

One of the most popular extreme sports activities in South America is paragliding, and there are a huge number of sites across the continent that offer great conditions to allow people to go paragliding.

Steep hillsides or cliffs are particularly good as launch sites, and from first flight novices to experts who have flown hundreds of times, these sites offer excellent paragliding experiences. If you are looking to go paragliding for the first time, these sites offer some stunning sights and are also known for having experienced paragliding schools that offer tuition as well as tandem flights for less experienced or nervous fliers.

Here are the best places to paraglide in South America.

Banos, Ecuador
The town of Banos in Ecuador has been developing a reputation as a popular city for adventure sports, and its mountainous terrain makes it a prime spot for going paragliding.

The town is located in the shadow of the Tungurahua Volcano, paragliding offers a great view of the volcano, although it is certainly wise not to get too close, particularly avoiding the ash plume that is produced by the volcano. The mountain scenery in the Banos area is stunning, and while the walk up the steep slopes can be tiring it provides perfect launching spots for paragliders, giving them a great chance to get into the air.

Quixada, Brazil
On Brazil's northeast coast, the town of Quixada has become one of the most popular launch sites in the country for paragliders, and has been the launch site for some of the world's longest paragliding flights.

The town's distinctive geography makes it a great place for paragliding, as on each side of the town there are tall rock outcroppings over a flat plain, and the winds are often particularly good for flying. This site is popular among fliers who enjoy long distance cross country paragliding, and depending on the winds it can be possible to fly for hundreds of kilometers from the launch site.

Mendoza, Argentina
Another popular paragliding sites in South America is located in western Argentina, close to the town of Mendoza where the nearby Cerro Arco hill is one of the best launch sites available.

One of the best ways is by using one of the local paragliding schools, as the 4x4 journey up to the top of the hill can be particularly taxing for those going on foot or by bicycle. Another benefit of these beautiful hills is that it is generally possible to go paragliding here throughout the year, as the winds are stable and the weather favorable for most of the year.

Iquique, Chile
The town of Iquique is located in northern Chile, and is one of the best locations for paragliding because it is next to the Atacama Desert.

While the desert itself is one of the most barren and driest places in the world, it is also one of the most beautiful, and the natural unspoilt scenery provides one of the most impressive backdrops for a sensational paragliding flight.

Dunes can stretch as far as the eye can see in some parts of the desert, so it is usually a location that is best for experienced paragliders or those taking a tandem flight, while the steady winds and almost zero percent chance of rain make it a place where it is possible to fly year round.

Miraflores, Peru
The Miraflores Cliffs are just a short distance outside downtown Lima in Peru, and are one of the most popular paragliding sites in South America and the world because of the combination of city and coastal landscapes.

There are several tour companies operating from the area that can assist with tandem flights and paragliding lessons, while many people come from the city and enjoy their time flying by themselves. Once your flight is done the landing area is on a wide stretch of beautiful beach just a short walk away, which makes it a practical option for those looking to fly solo.