Cuba from the Sky from the Tourist's Eye
ON THE LARGEST CARIBBEAN ISLAND, WINDTROTTERS BALLOONS, THE EXCELENCIAS GROUP, ECOTUR AND THE CUBA AVIATION CLUB OFFER YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THE UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE OF FLYING OVER NATURAL PARADISES IN THE COMPANY OF FRIENDS AND LOVED
“Cuba from the sky from the tourist's eye. This sentence is just about to make sense and will soon be a reality for millions of travelers who come to this island every year. However, only a few will have the opportunity to live out this unforgettable experience of overflying its natural paradises in the company of friends and loved ones because daily slots are limited.
The adventure is guaranteed, although always under the umbrella of security. The approach for tourists is very simple: they should just handpick the area they would life to gaze at from the air, get set to wake up in the wee hours of the morning and come with a camera and SD cards to capture photos and immortalize the experience.
One of the flying areas they could choose is the majestic Viñales Valley, just three years ago ranked by New York Times as the tenth finest travel destination from a list of just 50 attractions worldwide. Located Pinar del Río, the local town awes visitors for its kindhearted and fun-packed inhabitants, and for having fantastic sites to feast eyes on, such as the Indian Cave, the Valley of the Nightingale, the Palenque of Runaway Slaves, the Great Cavern of Santo Tomás. In the same breath, its flora and wildlife are splendid and teeming with exclusive features. But if you add to it the privilege of being able to watch its plantations of the world's best black tobacco and croplands
from the air, together with the typical thatch-roofed peasant houses, the mountainous hills and the mogotes, that look like divine whims of nature, as well as the colorful Mural of Prehistory, then you can rest assured that you wouldn't like come back down to safe ground.
Early in the morning, our guests come to the meeting point and with a cup of coffee in their hands, the Captain welcomes them as he spells out details of how the whole daytrip experience will play out. A preflight brief will show them how to climb in and get off hot-air balloon, what they would see and how to behave up in the air. Then, all together reach the liftoff area and the show begins.
At that time, they will witness how those majestic gadgets begin to be lifted amid the noise of the fans which blow hot air into the sail, while the powerful roaring flashing burners start heating up the air just to make it lighter. Then comes the moment nobody wants to miss: right the balloon starts rising up in the air. Cameras starts clicking frenetically and the bustling excitement accrues.
Passengers are then invited to climb into the balloon basket and they are reminded of the most appropriate positions and of the particularities of the device before letting go of the tethered cables. Then, the aircraft starts rising and the ground below looks smaller and smaller with each passing minute.
As tourists look over the horizon, they will see the sun rising from behind the towering mogotes. Sometimes you get the feeling that you can touch them by just reach out your hand out of the basket. Later on, after having ridden the winds amid laughter and some nervousness, the landing process begins. It'll go sometimes smoothly and other times not so smooth, but it'll always be fun to touch down.
Once on the ground, while the support vehicles arrive to take tourist to their next to-do, we toast with the good friends we have just met and who promise that we will surely meet again to share a new experience. That experience will come by the hand of Windtrotters Balloons, a company of the Excelencias Group trained to organize this fascinating activity on the largest Caribbean island, with the support of the ECOTUR Travel Agency and the Cuba Aviation Club.