Valle de Bravo is a popular destination for weekend getaways from the capital. For this reason, it has everything a discerning tourist is looking for, from chic hotels and restaurants, to spas and golf courses. Oh, and of course, paragliding.
About a 2 hour drive from Mexico City, Valle is located on the shore of Lake Avándaro. The lake is popular for boating, sailing wakeboarding, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding. Reminiscent of the Upper Italian Lakes, and having one of the most beautiful colonial centers in Mexico, the area has certainly earned its reputation as a pueblo mágico. The town offers an exciting but safe nightlife with many bars and clubs to choose from. Because of the elevation, 6000 feet, it stays relatively cool year round with daytime highs between 67 and 75F.
Above It All
The town itself is lovely, but to get a really great view of the town, the mountains, and the huge lake, you need to see if from above. Vale is surrounded by hills where visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, rappelling, climbing, and paragliding or hang gliding. The weather conditions here are perfect for paragliding, and the surroundings are breathtaking.
Valle is famous the world over for paragliding because its landscape and atmospheric conditions make it ideal for the sport. Because of this it is the site of international competitions nearly every year. In 2009, Valle hosted the World Championship, receiving competitors from over 40 countries. There are over a dozen schools and tandem operations in town. Paragliding is done here year round, so locals have become accustomed to having angelitos land in their gardens when the wind shifts direction. Monte Alto, also known as “the kite hill” is a preferred take-off spot for paragliding.
If you’re tempted to give it a try, a 30 minute tandem ride with an instructor will cost about $120. Don’t forget your camera, and a jacket, it gets chilly up there. Even for a tandem glide you will get some basic instruction so that you understand how it all works and how to behave safely. The instructor will handle the flying while the student just relaxes and enjoys the flight. If you enjoy it, you can then move on to a full course where you’ll learn how to fly the glider yourself.
You can rent everything you need to complete your course here, the wing, radio, and harness. Experienced paragliders travel with their own equipment, but if they encounter any problems, they can get spares or service on their gear.
Adventure sport travelers are not generally wealthy, so it’s nice that the area caters not just to the elite Mexican tourists, but also to the budget travelers. Food and lodging are available for every budget.
Flight Of The Monarchs
If you’re looking for something interesting to do that doesn’t challenge your fear of heights, you can hike with a guide to see the millions of Monarch butterflies. To see them take flight in the bright sunlight is spectacular. These migrating Monarchs return to the same place they were born to lay their eggs. Every day around noon the butterflies fly down from the mountains to a river. Seeing these swarming orange and black butterflies is pure magic, especially when some of them land on you.
L. Evans leads a team of Online Spanish teachers connecting native speakers from Mexico down to Tierra del Fuego with professionals working on learning the language. She loves travel and extreme sports.