Tamarindo, Costa Rica

The Pacific coast of Costa Rica offers many activities for one to partake in, but none as breathtaking as paragliding presents. One can experience Costa Rica from above with a panoramic view of the gorgeous country. The best thing about this experience is that most days are flying days in Costa Rica, even during the wet season. Sit back in your seat, relax, and experience the breathtaking view flying over the oceans, trees and towns of Costa Rica. The best part about this ride is that you let your guide do all the flying for you. Command him to slow down a notch as you pass over a lush forest, or speed it up a notch as you maneuver above the water-whatever is to your liking, it can be done. The lightweight sensation of paragliding will leave feeling as if you are floating in the sky. Not to be confused with a hanglider, there a few key differences between the two aircrafts. The major difference lies in the shape and design of the wing.  Paragliders have wings made of fabric that are inflated to create an elliptical shape whereas hanglider wings are made up of solid aluminum and shaped in a V formation. For paragliding, the pilot sits in a harness below the wing and controls the direction of the craft with their hands, weight, and feet. Brake controls are held in each of the pilots hangs and are connected to each side of the wing. These are the primary means of control for the aircraft. Weight shifting is used in order to steer properly. A speed bar is an accelerator attached to the harness of the craft and controlled by your feet. A paraglider can achieve speeds from 15-25mph and lasts for hours while covering hundreds of kilometers during a trip.  It is quite simple to launch and land this aircraft. There are typically three ways to launch: forward, reverse, or towed. In forward, the pilot runs with the wind behind them so the generated air pressure inflates the wing. Reverse is used during higher winds. The pilot must face the wing to bring it into flying position and then turn around and begin running in order to lift off. A towed launched is conducted on flatter areas, in which the pilot must release a cord, dropping the towline after ascending. To land this aircraft, one must flare the wing to minimize speed and increasing the amount of force applied to the brake until the landing is complete.

In Costa Rica, there are many opportunities to paraglide over the pristine beaches or lush jungles. Non-experienced or non-certified gliders may find interest in taking part of a tandem paragliding adventure, in which they are attached to a qualified pilot.

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