Flying in South-America

Brasil, Chile, Argentina,...where to go?

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agardilcic's picture

that is the price....santiago to iquique....
40 bus

any questions ,,,just ask..

regards alfredo

Ethan's picture

Alfredo, como va amigo? Hable con el michi hace poco. me parace que encontraron ustedes por europa recien, o no?. como la pasaron?

Gabor, from memory a bus fare from Santiago to Iquique costs around 40 euros, or perhaps a little more.

Food & accomodation: in Chile you can spend a lot or a little depending on where you want to stay and what you want to eat. If you want to do it cheaply, budget 10-15 euros per day for accomodation, 5-10 euros per day for food. The quality will good but not brilliant. If you want to spend more, there are some fantastic places, but it can get a little pricey.

Hope this helps.

gaborkezi's picture

Alfredo, thanx for the invitation, we will send you email soon!

We tried to check on the website of Turbus the costs of travelling from Santiago to Iquigque but we didn't find prices. Do you know the price?


agardilcic's picture

Gabor...i knew you at acroaria and vertigo...
maybe you dont remember me.....
i am also friend of ethan...and the description he gave you is perfect.....
ethan and michael knipping stayed at my home when they came to fly in Arica.

i tell you that the best place to stay in iquique is
FLYPARK....a place where they have everything for the,information,everything..there you wil find only people related to pargliding...transportation...information...all you need...
the cost of a night is about 10 euros per person..
but i think you can negotiate that.....
this is the place:

for example a taxi from iquqiue to the take off in ALTO HOSPICIO....wil cost you about 5 euros...

if you come to fly in Arica can stay at my home....i have plenty of place....and it would be great......

if you have any question...just write me an email---

alfredo gardilcic

gaborkezi's picture


How much does one day cost in Iquique? (with accomodation, transport, food, party, etc...)

Can you please also give the contacts of the local pilots?

Anyway, thanks for the lot of info you give, you help us a lot!


Ethan's picture

Hi Pal,
Iquique is flyable all year round. It is the desert so even in winter there are good conditions. March will be the end of summer so conditions will still be strong for you to get nice and high. Middle of the day will get quite bumpy over the sand, but with a small wing, and highly developed piloting skills it will be no problem. Just take care if you are travelling with less experienced pilots.

There is an airport at Iquique, which is about 25km south of the city and flights leave daily. But if you are travelling on a tight budget, you can catch a bus from Santiago to Iquique that takes about 20 hours. Buses in Chile are excellent unlike some other places in South America, and quite reasonably priced. (No excess baggage restrictions like the plane either). 'Turbus' is one of the best, most comfortable and reliable bus companies to travel with in Chile. Not as quick as the plane, but a lot cheaper, and you will see some amazing scenery. There are a number of good flying sites on the way also, you could break up the trip and stop to parglide along the way. But if you are keen to optimise your time flying acro, then best to head straight to Iquique.

Hope this helps

Cuidase, Chao, Ethan

PalTakats's picture

Hi Ethan!

Thanks a lot for the detailed description!

Can you tell me till what time are there good conditions in Iquique? Is it still good in March?
Where is the closest airport?

Please upload your pictures if you have some time!


lupus78's picture

I think this description should go into the "startplaces" section of justacro! Thank for that Ethan!

Ethan's picture

Hi Pal,

Iquique is fantastic for paragliding. There are two main flying sites:
1) One over the city which as about 350m ASL I think. Buses leave to the top every 3-5 minutes and cost about US$1, or a taxi costs about US$7. Almost everyday of the year there is a good seabreeze and the sand and rock below contantly produce nice thermals to easily climb 100-500m above takeoff. You will fly almost every day you are there.

2) The second site in Iquique is called Palabuke and is about 10km to the south. You have to catch a taxi or get in contact with the local pilots who head out there regularly. At this site you launch from ground level on a little sand dune, and climb 50m on bubbles before crossing to the ridge of mountain, and then snake your way up in slope lift or thermal. You can get big height climbs here of 500-1200m, but it is less reliable than the city site. The air is good for practising acro as there is a strong seabreeze influence which ensures it is not too turbulent, but thermals still create a little turbulence. From Palabuke there are 1000m cliffs for 100kms to the South and you can easily fly up and down the coast. On certain parts there are mountains of sand which are soooo much fun to play with, getting your wing our finger tip to touch the ground while playing with wingovers.

There is a strong pilot base in Iquique and pilots are flying all the time. A local pilot has cabins for pilots to rent at very reasonable proces and you can land inside the property very easily.

Chile is much cheaper than Europe, but still one of the most expensive places in South America. Argentina is cheaper than Chile, and has some great places to fly, but none as fantastic as Iquique.

4 hours north of Iquique there is another great flying site called Arica. There is a 300m ridge that borders the water directly unlike Iquique. Height gains are less, 400m ASL is common, but the air is perfectly laminar as it has no thermal influence. Great for perfecting helicopter or working with manuvuers you are comfortable with at lower altitude. Highly recommended.

If need be I can put you in contact with local pilots who will be able to give you more information. They are very friendly people and are used to receiving people from all around the world. Most speak english, but spanish will help you, as outside the flying community not many people speak english.

There are some other spectacular sites to fly along the Andes in Argentina and Chile, however none as reliable as Iquique. You will fly almost everyday in good conditions. I wish I could join you there, but I will have to wait for another year. I have some photos if you would like to see, but it may take some time for me to upload them.

PalTakats's picture

Hi Ethan!

We would like to travel there in the beginning of next year, as soon as possible. However I don't have the money for that at the moment, but I hope I can manage somehow :-) The main problem should be to find a cheap ticket...

We are thinking about a 2 months long stay, but if there are still good conditions in March we would stay longer.

I know that for acro Iquique is the best, please tell me about this place!

Many thanks in advance!

Ethan's picture

Hi Pal,
I have spent over 10 months travelling through South America with my wing in 2005. I spent most of my time in Argentina and Chile, and can give you a lot of information about flying sites, food, accomodation costs, local pilots, local sites and spunky girls etc.

If you only have two months I would recommend choosing your locations carefully. What months are you planning to travel will determine what flying sites will be best. What maneuvers you want to practise and the skill level of the pilots will also determine what sites will favour you.

I found the best way to get there is with a round the world ticket (from Australia at least). With this ticket you are given 4 internal flights and you are allowed to carry 2 bagss at 32kg each. Great for the pilot.

Advise me of the months you plan to travel and I will try to give you a summary of the hot spots in Chile & Argentina. I also completed a "curso de pilotaje y seguridad" course in Argentina with LopzSAT: Pablo Lopez in Salta. No mountains near water in Salta so we used boat winching.

iris's picture

Hey Pál!

I wrote Fritz an Email for you...he has very good information about Chile.

PalTakats's picture


We are planning to travel to South-America this winter for about 2 mounths, but we've never been there before and we need some tips.
It would be nice to practice acro as much as possible and as I know Iquique (Chile) is the best place for this, however Argentina and Brasil should be also very good.

Any of you guys visited Latin-America for flying? Please share your experiences! What was your impression about the country, I mean not only the impressions you got in the air :-)
Where are the best places, when are the best conditions there, how much did you pay for the flight ticket to get there, how much money you spent, where did you eat the best food and where did you see the most beautiful girls? Any informations are warmly welcomed, but please take in consideration that we fly with 18m2 glider so it needs strong conditions to feel comfortable in the air (concentrating on not to bomb out all the time is exhausting...)

We are also thinking about organizing an siv/acro course somewhere, do you know any good places for that? Is there any mountain+lake or only boat winching is possible?

Many thanks in advance!