“I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, I think about it every night and day, Spread my wings and fly away, I believe I can soar, I see me running through that open door, I believe I can fly...”(R. Kelly).
You have a choice either to hum this song and walk along the long stretches of the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro or you can very well take your singing skills to an elevated level to scream out in joy the sensation of flying through the clouds of Rio. The sky will become shy and the sea will see you hovering all over her, the green forests along the hills will thrill you and the feathered friends of Rio will be surprised to see you in their territory. You can get the wind beneath your wings in Rio only when you shed your apprehension and fear by running off the cliffs with Rio Hang-gliding, the Horus (half-bird, half human) Gods who command the skylines of this fabulous city offering this thrilling experience.
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Let me make one thing very clear – you could actually book yourself for a hang-gliding experience in any city but doing it in Rio takes the experience to another level mainly due to the fact that the city itself is the jewel in the crown of Brazil, with its sunshine, sea, vibe and vibrations all around. In other words, being in Rio for a while will make anyone jump in joy once in a while. So adding the experience of free-flying with a glider will feel like a natural consequence of an ecstatic state of mind. So the next thing to book right after your flight and hotel in Rio will be a hang-gliding experience and look no further but book with the Rio Hanggliding.
We were picked from our hotel lobby by the company’s driver and we were greeted with a couple of guys inside the van heading to have the same experience. The butterflies started to take off inside our stomach before we could as we made our way through the Rio streets towards Sao Conrado. Having reached there, we realized that this was the place in Rio where you would look up to the sky more than you would to the sea, the only place in Rio where you will not see the sea but only the sky. The adrenaline junkie Garudas outnumbering the birds in the sky will baffle you. All the hang-gliders at different positions in their aerial itinerary, some taking turns, some gently floating away, some preparing for landing and some elated adventurers just busy collecting their experience captured in go-pro inflight cameras.
We were transferred into a different car which brought us to the mountain top location of the Hang-Gliding Club in Rio, the usual location from where the flights take place. We were greeted by our respective trainers who did a dry run with us on ground on how to run down the take-off platform and jump! The instructors of Rio Hang-Gliding described in great detail the various safety measures and do’s and don’ts of the experience. Follow what they say and don’t panic, don’t be too brave either! We saw glides taking flight one after another and everything seemed very coordinated. We started having a mixed feeling of nervousness and excitement. The very sight of seeing Rio and the shoreline from such a high distance and the thought of actually jumping down the cliff to fly through the clouds to land along that same shoreline seemed surreal but exciting.
Tanusree was the first one to take the plunge – literally! Her trainer who is also the owner of Rio Hanggliding helped her secure the safety belts and they got ready at the edge of the take-off platform for the final run. Then in a matter of seconds, four, five, six laps or so and voom! The glide disappeared immediately from sight taking an initial dip down along the forces of gravity. But shortly thereafter the glide negotiated well with the clouds and started floating like a gentle message travelling to reach the shores down there. Shehzaad shortly followed the same routine and both were airborne over the clouds in Rio to experience this magnificent feat. The professional instructors of Rio Hang-Gliding jokingly welcomed us “to their office in the air” as they controlled the glides as per the direction of the sea winds. Having the ‘bird’s eye view’ over Rio, the ocean below and the clouds all around – we could even see from up above the always watching Christ the Redeemer far at the peaks of the Corcovado.
We could feel the gentle turns as we were sliding down the wind for over 20 minutes or so. Immediately after taking the plunge the glide falls steeply downwards for a short while before the wind makes it float. As soon as you will be air-borne, you will see lavish bungalows with backyard swimming pools along the mountain side. You will also see many other flyers around you at different altitudes which will be an amazing sight too. But more importantly, you will see the endless Atlantic stretching its arms as far as your eyes will see. You will also sport the ever-watchful Christ The Redeemer at a distance.
Finally when we landed on the beach, it was smooth and all was well instructed by the instructors. When we actually landed back on ground it took some time to sink in that we actually completed a free-falling flying feat straight from the cliffs of Rio, through the clouds over the sea and straight down on the beach.
Here are some customised summary tips for you to bear in mind –
Book now, book early! The most convenient method is to book online with Rio Hang-Gliding as soon as you can. Please note that due to upcoming Rio Olympics 2016, there may be certain ‘no-fly’ days and extra surcharge so make sure you check out their website for latest information. We paid around $150 per head after a discount of 10% for paying in full. This price included free transfer from and to your hotel, one set of pictures and a full side-angle video (by GoPro). You have options to buy the front-view video as well if you like.
Wear or not to? As always, Team OneTimefashionista did not forget to conduct due diligence to find out what to wear and what not to. We suggest you avoid wearing sandals, flip-flops and you cannot go barefoot. Comfortable trainers will be just fine. As far as clothes are concerned, don’t wear loose clothes, skirts, maxi-dress or anything that can get tangled with safety tools of the glide. It is advised to wear sunglasses but avoid the usual ones which you would have put on while on ground. Sports-sunglasses that will not come off your face due to force of wind or while looking down are suitable for this adventure.
I dare, I do! Before anything, you will be taken to the Hand Gliding Association’s office to digitally accept and sign the ‘declaration’ that you are consciously taking ‘the plunge’ – pun intended. Note you have to pay 40 Brazilian Reals here per person which is on top of your hand-gliding fee and at the counter of this office, they only accept cash.
Smart decisions! The safety-jacket you will have to wear will be given by the trainers and there will be a zipped pocket to keep your smartphones, loose cash, coins, etc. It is best not to carry too many additional items and just fly without much baggage. Incase you have to, you can keep inside the pocket of the safety-jacket.
Hello sunshine! It is advised that you put on some gracious amount of sun-screen lotion on your face and bare parts of your body. Remember you are flying to be in the clouds and say ‘hi’ to the Rio sun?
Say cheese! Note that there will be two GoPro cameras attached to your glide, one attached to the side wing and one to the front of the glide. So make sure you pose well by knowing where exactly the cameras are. Don’t try to paddle your legs, because you will not be swimming and you are not in water – in air that is. Your legs will be tied up to help them from falling loose. You will have enough time to put up a ‘V’ for Victory sign, wave your hands at the camera and what not! Just make sure you don’t panic, don’t grab tight the instructor and don’t faint. Just trust your instructor, relax, take deep breathes and let Rio enliven you from up above.
Cool it with coconut! It is highly recommended that you treat yourself with some fresh and cold coconut water to cool down your excitements which is available at the kiosk next to the landing strip.
Inked in Memory! Finally, you will be asked to sit in front of a computer to see your antics while you were flying. You have option to buy with an additional charge of 120 Brazilian Reals the GoPro front-video. You will be then given all your memories of the unique adventure in a generous SD card for you to take away. Finally, you will be dropped back at your hotel to come back and fly another day too, and why not?
We rode on a private helicopter over Buenos Aires in #Argentina, we snuba dived 200 feet down below in the Pacific ocean in Hawai'i, #USA, we rode a hot air baloon over #Luxor in #Egypt and we flew like birds in a hang gliding over Rio de Janiero now. Life began….more adventures to follow….we don't buy posh houses, expensive cars, bonds and provident funds, gold and diamond jewelleries…because we make memories. Two fleet-footed, mercury ruled free thinking influencers. #onetimefashionistagoestoBrazil #visitRio #voyagers #travelblog #fashionblog #coupletraveller #couplegoals #fleetfooted #mercury #influencer #freethinker #photooftheday #passionpassport #wanderlust #worlderlust #workforleisure #helicopterride #hotairbaloon #Hanggliding #Riohanggliding #snubadive #pacificocean #instagood #instadaily #riodejaneiro
So the flying remark that we want to leave you with is that don’t come to Rio only to feel the splash of the Atlantic waters across the beaches of Copacabana or Ipanema. Do feel the wind of Brazil through your hair and as they touch your face as you experience Rio from the aerial side and the best way to do this is with hang-gliding.