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Paragliding and Rock Climbing in Medellin, Colombia

Paragliding and Rock Climbing in Medellin, Colombia

Deep into the hills which overlook the red-brick city of Medellin, we soared high above the sweeping green pastures and miniature hamlets of rural Colombia. Small pueblos, livestock, and serrated hills swirled beneath me.

We had been climbing through the sky for more than 20 minutes when we began our descent. The farmhouses below were becoming larger and larger, until we reached the same small clearing that we had taken off from.

Passing over it, I wrongly assumed that we’d be landing there…

No, no. We kept moving forward, toward the dark patch of bushes just beyond the landing pad. Thinking we were going to circle around, my feet scraped the top of the shrubbery at a speed that could only be described as “too-fast-to-land.”

POV Over Medellin, Colombia

POV Over Medellin, Colombia

Less than an instant later I was sprawled out on a hill, upside-down and on my back in a patch of undergrowth. Two men came running to greet us and spryly pulled us to our feet. “Was that supposed to happen!?” I shouted at Ruben, the man attached to my back. “No. Don’t worry about it,” he said calmly. “It happens.”

I was smiling, despite our crash-landing. We brushed ourselves off and walked back to the launch pad.

Paragliding in Medellin? Check. Another airborne adventure activity to add to my “completed” list.

The takeoff was more adrenaline-inducing than I had anticipated. The flight itself is calming, relaxing, and tranquil (until the gut-wrenching flips and spins begin, that is). But the departure? That’s the real fun of paragliding. That moment when grounded becomes weightless and your heart (and stomach) drops as you liftoff into the sky.

View from the Sky

View from the Sky

Ruben was our guide and pilot for the day. He loves what he does, and he’s been doing it for 25 years. He lives his life far above the city of Medellin, with an elevated view that many never get to experience. I highly recommend you try it.

Go Paragliding in Medellin

Name: Paragliding Medellin
Phone: (310) 517-7940 or +57 (4) 388-0185
Price: 20 minutes: $45 USD. 30 minutes: $60 USD.
Notes: Ruben speaks perfect English and is an absolute pleasure to fly with.

But the Adventure Continues…

Once our feet were back on the ground, Ruben made it a point to introduce me to his colleague, Felipe. Felipe looked at me and said, “Jeremy, do you like rock climbing?”

“Of course,” was my obvious answer.

“Want to go?”

“Definitely.” I said. “When?”

“Right now,” Felipe quipped, already holding a harness in one hand, reaching out with his other for a fist bump.

I didn’t have a clue what the plan was, but I was going with it. We suited up, complete with harnesses, helmets, and gloves and we began our descent into the forest.

The Descent

The descent begins

Our tromp into the woods didn’t last for long though. It was quickly interrupted by a 200-foot gap between two 150-foot cliffs and a wire connecting itself from one side to the opposite one.

“Wait, how do we get across?” I asked with confusion. I hadn’t connected the dots yet.

With almost no explanation, discussion, or hesitation, Felipe clipped me to the wire and ushered me over the edge, through the air, and face-first into a patch of bushes on the other side. I hadn’t planned on zip-lining through the Colombian jungle when I woke up that morning. But it’s cool. I’m always ready for an adventure.

Impromptu zip-lining in Medellin

Impromptu zip-lining in Medellin

Once across, we continued our descent into the wilderness. The terrain was surprisingly more rugged than anticipated. It was steep, rocky, and frankly, difficult. We climbed down through the stony forest, over boulders and rivers, hanging onto tree roots for dear life.

We stumbled into a large clearing, furnished with enormous boulders, a sizable waterfall, and a massive rock face. Without so much as a word, Felipe grabbed hold of a notch in the rock wall, and pulled himself up. No more than three minutes later, he was hanging 75 feet above the ground, and he had strung the belay line all the way to the top.

I quickly followed suit and, once he had made his way to the ground, I grabbed hold of the same notch in the ragged rock wall and pulled myself up.

Rock climbing in Medellin, Colombia

Rock climbing in Medellin, Colombia

Climbing to about 50 feet, I found myself stuck inside an A-shaped crevice. The trick was to climb your way out, but as much as I tried, I just couldn’t get around it. I reached my legs as far as possible, secured them as best as I could, and grabbing tight, I gave it one last attempt.

My feet dropped out from under me, my left hand slipped, and I swung outwards, only holding on to the very corner of the crevice with my right hand. It was like one of those miraculous saves that you only see in the movies, where Jason Statham gets thrown over the edge of a skyscraper and just barely saves himself with the grasp of his fingertips.

Ironically, that little maneuver put me into the position I needed, allowing me to secure my feet and climb my way out of the crevice. By the time I got on top of it, though, I was dead tired (all this Colombian food and beach relaxation has done a number on my fitness). I called down to the bottom, let go with my hands and pushed off the rock with my feet, until Felipe lowered me down to the ground.

Bouldering Selfie!

Bouldering selfie!

But were we done yet? Absolutely not. There was still more hiking, more boulders to climb, more streams to hop, more rock faces to scale, and more jungle to conquer. But I’m not going to tell you about the rest of that. You’re just going to have to find out for yourself.

When we returned to his shop, Felipe turned to me and said, “What are you doing tomorrow? Nothing? Good. We’re rappelling through waterfalls, then. You in?”

And I’ll give you one guess what my answer was.

Canyoning in Medellin, Colombia

Go Rock Climbing and Canyoning

Name: Aventura Psiconautica
Phone: +57 (322) 412-5178
Price: Rock climbing sessions start at $35 USD for 3 hours. Canyoning begins at $40 USD for 1.5 hours.
Notes: Felipe speaks perfect English. He’s traveled around the world, setting up courses like this one. He runs a community-based program for children in his village, teaching them how to be adventurers and training them to be tour guides. His goal is to give back to his community by providing the children with opportunities for their future.

READ NEXT: Hiking 15,407ft in a Hailstorm to the Top of the Pichincha Volcano in Ecuador

Disclaimer: The above activities were complimentary, but as always, all opinions, are entirely my own. I never vouch for a person or product I don’t like or trust.

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19 Responses to Paragliding and Rock Climbing in Medellin, Colombia

  1. Doreen Pendgracs March 17, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    Paragliding, OK. I’ve done parasailing, so think I could handle that. Amazing views! But rock climbing. Not with these knees! Thx for the ride, Jeremy.

    • Jeremy Foster March 20, 2015 at 3:33 am #

      If you’ve gone parasailing, you can definitely do paragliding! Just don’t crash-land like I did 😉

  2. Bo (el Mundo Ok) March 19, 2015 at 6:25 am #

    WOW, Your are having a good time in Colombia, I never did Paragliding and rock climbing, maybe in the near future! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this exciting post and great pictures.

  3. noel March 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Wow, what a great combo activity. Colombia has been on my bucket list for awhile and this has amp it up, gorgeous landscape!

  4. Piritta March 20, 2015 at 5:51 am #

    That’s cool! We went to paragliding years ago in Romania, but I’d love to do it again, it was such fun! Would try all the other activities, too! I’m always up for an adventure!

  5. Agness March 20, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    What an awesome experience, mate! I would love to to that soon! Colombia is on my bucket list :D!!

  6. Suze The Luxury Columnist March 24, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    This looks amazing Jeremy, did you prefer rockgliding or paragliding? White water rafting is probably my most thrill-seeking activity so far

    • Jeremy Foster March 25, 2015 at 1:36 am #

      I loved them both, to be honest. They’re entirely different experiences! I hope you’ll give one of them a try soon!

  7. Miriam Risager March 25, 2015 at 8:10 am #

    Love this post, Jeremy! It looks like you’re having a great time in Colombia – I’m dying to visit myself.

  8. Becky Padmore March 25, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    I’m very curious about doing this but not sure if I’m brave enough! 🙂 Great post!

  9. Dave Cole March 25, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    The views are incredible! I would love to do this in Colombia. It’s one of my pending destinations and this is such a perfect way to experience the scenery up close.

  10. Linda Bibb March 25, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    As odd as it might sound, although rock climbing terrifies me, I’d like to try paragliding, and the fee sounds fair. For those readers who aren’t as wimpy as I am, what was the cost of the rock climbing and canyoning, in USD?

    • Jeremy Foster March 27, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

      Hey Linda! I’ve just updated the prices to reflect USD instead of COP. They are $35 and $40, respectively.

  11. SJ March 31, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    Whoooahhhhh that looks so cool. I am such a scardy cat, I am not sure I would do this – but I would want to try!

  12. Susan April 11, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    Glad you had fun, but it’s not the most fun read for a mother. 🙁

  13. Sand In My Suitcase April 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    Wow! Back-to-back adventures. Glad you happily survived your paragliding “crash landing”. But if that can be expected, we don’t suspect we’ll be signing up for paragliding in the near future :-). How about hiking? Any good hiking there? That we’ll do…

    • Jeremy Scott Foster April 19, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

      I fully recommend it! Paragliding was one of the best things I did in Colombia! There is lots of good hiking though, and even some really great multi-day treks if you’re up for it.

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