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Low airtime pilots achieving amazing feats of flying in Colombia

Colombia Mentor plus

This has been the second year we’ve run a low airtime tour to Colombia. It dawns on me I’ve been running holidays in Colombia for nearly 12 years!

Colombia has fantastically transformed itself into a safe environment for modern tourism, whilst keeping the charm and breathtaking excitement of a flying holiday in South America.

Launch briefing in Colombia with FlySpain

Appealing to new pilots

Following on from last years successful trip, this year we took a group of ten pilots, ranging from brand new Cp pilots to 30-hour pilots, we work locally with an organization that helps with logistics, and accommodation who we’ve known for as long as we’ve been coming to Colombia. I guess we could do it ourselves now and we certainly have in the past but the extra spending means I can solely concentrate on looking after the group.

We spend the majority of the time in the south end of the Cauca valley near Santa Elena. It's one of the few consistent flying areas, that offers friendly air, consistent thermalling and easy landing fields and the infrastructure to get a re-flight when you bomb out.

Colombia flying for new pilots and students

Skills Refresher and massive progress

The first few days were spent remembering how to launch and land, dusting off the cobwebs…but by the fourth day, we had everyone at cloud base. We set our daily task of thermal practice, there's no point talking Xc if you can’t climb up in lift first. We brief and debrief daily, fly with each pilot and tweak flying style, etc in flight. We had three guides on hand to coach, thermal spot, encourage, and fly with. By day ten the group was making 20 - 30 k flights, consistently finding and climbing in lift and flying over two and half hours. It was brilliant work for us and a wonderful push for new pilots to get more confident on their equipment and turning a valuable corner in understanding how to really fly.

Colombia flying for new pilots and students

The pictures obviously just give you a glimpse of what we achieved, and obviously, we’ve been doing the same in Algodonales for the last twenty years but having the weather and environment on our side over winter makes it so rewarding for all involved.

Mega accommodation

We spent the first week at a farmhouse with pool, table tennis and pool table facilities. We had staff come in the mornings to make some of the best breakfasts ever, lots of tropical fruit, eggs, cereals juices and plenty of coffee. It was like having your own caterers. Rooms were shared or singles.

After a week we moved to an old favourite in the village called Siga la Vaca, a massive hotel and restaurant. The change was like a break in itself, with even more, swimming pools and decadent dining at Colombian prices. You’d be struggling to spend 15 euros a day presuming you had steak and plenty of beer!


We start early

Our flying day started at 9 am loading up the bus to go to launch, a short stop in the village for snacks and then the half hour ride to take off, By 11 we would be airborne. We would grab lunch on the fly if needed, the landing field has a cracking restaurant and juice stall and we had both a landcruiser and a bus to take us back up to launch. We took care of take off site fees, all the guys had to do was concentrate on flying.

Colombia Celebrations - Paragliding tours | FlySpain

Our clientele was super varied, apart from one guy who had also trained abroad all the clients were either ex-FlySpain customers or FlySpain students. Although they will cringe when they read it as they hate the constant adulation of pilots but our shining stars were Bev and Maurice from Canada, at 74 & 85 respectively they are not strangers to FlySpain but they constantly impress the watching pilots on launch with stunning take off skills and some superb flying.

Great restaurants 

In the evenings we ate in a mix of local bars and restaurants depending on how folk felt, by the second week, fatigue was showing and many took the occasional option of dinner at the Siga restaurants or local pizzeria. Weather-wise its always warm, mid-twenties, we did lose three days to poor weather but the days that were flyable were simply excellent days.


The pilots were making 2 - 3 hr flights each day, some days you might bomb scratching in weak lift after 45 minutes but you’ll learn more in that 45 minutes thermalling weak lift than you will in 6 hours soaring a ridge, of sure. It was great to see the group progress so well and feedback was all about what a great springboard it was for Spring in Europe.

Big flying for Colombia pilots | FlySpain

We will of course be running another trip next year, dates are on the calendar now. Last year the holiday booked up by end of June, Colombia certainly is the goto winter hotspot for flying.

Back to work in Spain

Obviously, we are back now, regular paragliding training lessons and courses begin from the 12th of March as do guided paragliding holidays and courses for all levels of pilot.

See the calendar for availability or get in touch if you’d be interested in more bespoke one-to-one coaching

Next dates are 17th February - 2nd March 2024


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