Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why Am I Going to Iquique Again?

Warning: this might be perceived as an advertisement! If any pilot decides to join the tour for the first time and they mention I referred them I will get 10% off! The tour costs about $2,000 and airfare is about $2,000. It takes two days to get there and two days to get back. The city is unattractive and dirty. Why would I want to go there again? Last year I went as a new P2, with the idea to increase my skills and be comfortable traveling to other sites, launching, flying and landing in wind, ridge lift and strong thermals. Mission accomplished! I flew about 65 hours and averaged over 5 hrs per day!

I now feel confident and have flown places like Dunlap, Woodrat, Marshall, Kahana, Makapuu, 6k, and the Dumps. I considered going to Europe, or Columbia, or Mexico, or Brazil this year. So why go back to Iquique? I love to fly and I STILL want to improve my skills as fast as possible!!

Also, the cost per hour of flying is lower than going to the other best places to learn, Rat Race, or Northern California or Southern California XC League meets.

You are guaranteed to fly every day or you get a refund (but they have never given a refund)! Where else can I fly 6 hours per day every day?

Typical day: big breakfast at the hotel. Van to Alto Hospicio, fly 2+ hours. Land on the beach next to the hotel, eat lunch, and take a nap. Van to Palo Buque. Fly from the bottom up to the top of a 3,000 foot sand ridge. Fly or drive to the restaurant for a fresh fish dinner and pisco sours. Rinse and repeat!

You can land and launch from just about anywhere, and if you do, it's because you want to, not because you have to. You can see the thermals via the birds and the movement of the sand below.

See the huge beach we land on next to our hotel?

I'm still a new pilot so for me it's all about the FLYING!

If you want to learn about the EXCELLENT instructors/tour leaders, or see video or pictures (some without me:-) go to paraglidingtrips.com. If you decide to go - tell 'em Mark sent you! Oh yeah - a round trip from Maui to Lima is only 45,000 United miles, and Lima to Iquique is $517 at LAN.com. Or you could come fly Maui - not a bad place either!


Gary said...

I too have been to Iquique with Todd and Luis. I too am planning to join them again. Next year. Truly, can't be beat. Best flying trip ever.

Gary Beach

SusanK said...

I went twice, two years in a row and had to take a day off to get some rest. The second year I did a 112 mm xc. I highly recommend this tour!

Susan Kent

MauiMark said...

I think Susan ment 112KM (69 miles)

112mm is about 4.4 inches

I will try to beat Susan's 112k this year!

Alex said...

Mark, you know Susan schooled both of us at the Rat Race this year, and she doesn't even like comps. I'm sure if she chose to defend her personal XC record against either of us at Iquique she would school us again. Not saying I'm going to Iquique anytime soon, although it's certainly on my list. (I'm still smitten by the Alps, and I owe Dorothy a trip there before I go anywhere else interesting!)

JK said...

Yes, Susan did in fact lead Alex down the road to goal on what was in my opinion, the most difficult task of the comp. Impressive. As for Iquiqe, I would LOVE to experience this place! And perhaps THIS is the way to see it. It looks like an amazing trip.

Sharky said...

Uh oh...I keep relooking at Mark's article, and the whole dune thing (low and/or skiing around) look like fun as well as learning thermalling/xc with instruction in a spot that is easy to do it.

Anyone of the Oahu Monkeys thinking of goin? The instruction days 11/19-11/24 looks like my level. Any Maui Monkeys going?

@Mark, hows the quality of instruction?

I'm thinking its Iquique or an SIV if I can squeeze a late one in this year.

I've got the United Miles to get to Lima, so that offsets a good portion of the trip.

=-) Sharky

mauimark said...

Hi Sharky,

Here are the instructor bios http://paraglidingtrips.com/iquique/bios.html

I was VERY happy with the level of instruction. They take the instruction seriously and gave me many pointers I was able to use immediately. The value of this trip is to get the instruction then the hours & hours of practice (flying) Makes doing the right thing automatic! Luis & Todd are both amazing I have not flown with Kari Castle but have heard very good things from other pilots.
Luis helped me with a mini SIV @ Palo Buque though I still did the full thing with Brad G. in May. Hope you can make it happen!