Valle de Bravo is a colonial village, founded in 1531 by Franciscans located 2 hours from Mexico City.
It is stamped "Pueblo mágico" by the government, which is a token of its tourist interest, its authenticity and its history. The Mexican billionaires are not mistaken: on the outskirts of the village, there is an upscale neighborhood: Avandaro.
During the flying season, it is cool in the morning, especially since we are located at 1850 meters, but quickly the sun takes over. Valle, as we say here, is located on the edge of a large lake and there are the usual nautical activities: boat rides, sailboat and paddleboat rentals. Don't miss a visit to the Callejón del Hambre (the alley of hunger) where street vendors prepare your tacos in front of you. You choose the meat, the filling and, for a small fee, you are satisfied. 20 kilometers from the village, swarms of monarch butterflies are finishing their incredible migration from the United States. You may have the chance to go flying there.
Flight over the lake
The take-off from this paragliding site in Mexico is located near a radio transmitter, hence its name: la Torre (the tower), and overlooks the village. We land near the lake. The landing is called Santa Mariais the name of the nearby church (and by extension of the district).
It is here mainly that the paragliding tandems are done for the tourists. The conditions are usually quite mild, so much so that it is sometimes difficult to stay in the air. Do as the tandem pilots do: wait for the breeze from the lake to set in because the take-off is short. Also the landing (Santa Maria) is not much bigger than one or two tennis courts. The approach, until the final, is made over the water. Beware of flying at the end of the day because, if you wait too long, the breeze reverses. Here, even more than elsewhere, a preliminary visit of the landing is necessary.
You will have to go through some kind of red tape to take off from Monte Alto (the regional park where the take-off is located), which we are able to provide you.
This is essentially a liability waiver.
Finally, the park rangers will ask you to pay an access fee before taking off, just like any other visitor, similar to what happens in Pokhara (Nepal).
This is the site that made Valle de Bravo famous, which has hosted the PWC (Paragliding World Cup) 6 times, proof of its enormous flying potential. It will also host the PWC superfinal in December 2022 !
It is sometimes referred to as "Valle de Bravo", although it is located 15-20 kilometers away as the crow flies. Peñón means "big rock" because an impressive monolith, similar to the sugar loaf of Rio de Janeiro, stands one kilometer away from the takeoff, a bit out of nowhere.
Its unique feature: the multiple convergences that are never in the same place from one day to the next. Here, the conditions are more generous, it is advisable to become familiar with the site by flying rather in the morning and at the end of the day, at least at the beginning, in order to get used to it. I ask students to land at 12:30, in general, depending on their level and the conditions of course. In the middle of the day, it is sometimes difficult to land.
Despite the sometimes impressive number of pilots, we can take off without waiting because the grassy takeoff, is very wide (about a hundred meters). The landing area, Piano, is 8 times larger than in Santa Maria. The left side is dedicated to hang gliders that need space because of the ground effect. If a hang glider is approaching, it has right of way. For the same reason, it is requested to clear the landing quickly after landing. It is necessary to respect a direction of rotation in the thermals: to the left on odd days, to the right on other days .
To get there, you can take a cab. However, as the landing of Piano is a little off-center, it is not easy to find one to get back, and some refuse, because the road turns into a track eventually. That's why the vast majority of pilots uses paragliding companies for logistics.
It is sometimes possible to return directly to Valle de Bravo and land at Santa Maria (lake landing), but this does not work every time. Refer to the Cross-Country (XC) section, where the flight routes are detailed. Please also read :