By Joanne Blanchard
Sometimes when touring around other countries, especially not-so-affluent countries, the challenges aren’t so much in the flying. What gets your heart pumping and palms sweating is the stuff going on while being a mere ground-trotting tourist like everyone else.
|Cort Montague - Our Spanish language expert
When our diverse group of 17 hit the road in San Jose, Costa Rica in February, 2010, for a tour of the Pacific coast, we bragged of the big air we knew we’d spend all day, every day in. We loaded four rental vehicles, laughed, partied, hit the road. And pulled over. And turned around. And turned around again. We must have been a real spectacle by then because a local motorcycle Policia with blue light flashing, led us far enough out of town that we could not possibly return by the end of his shift.
|Rich Hass at Dominacal, Costa Rica
|Looks good. You go first! - Tom Allen, Rich Hass, and Mike Brand
Dominical’s launches are short, flat, with steep drop off, and a challenge in very light wind. But we all ridge soared and made either the soccer field or the beach. Fantastic, gorgeous place…until the local madman comes with a long stick and a short temper, making threats and prohibiting us from flying near his home or landing on the public beach. Yeah, whatever, we’ve heard that before.
We were assured by other locals not to be concerned and we were scheduled, anyway, to move north to Jaco Beach. A modernized, congested town, Jaco is popular with tourists and Costa Ricans from San Jose, who make the weekend trek for swimming and lounging. There’s no soliciting like “buy this, buy this” - a relief - but the other form of solicitation is legal and accepted….. Just a side note, no relevance to anything.
From Jaco, we enjoyed flying Caldera, an hour north at a private home. A pilot offers his patio seating and large, manicured cliff launch for $5-10/day. Mid-day conditions are typically quite strong but flyable for some, and tapering to 10-12 for sweet glass off into glowing sunsets, landing at the beach below. Fresh seafood dinners were excellent everywhere. How about stopping for a coconut, hacked open with a machete and a straw inserted?
|Tom Allen - Caldera, Costa Rica