:: Parapente and Hang Gliding
There are two main types of apparatus used by those fond of flying: flying mechanisms that use the aerodynamics of wings in order to fly; and the classic parachute, which simply drops. Paragliding and hang gliding share a structure made of a cloth or synthetic fiber which moves with the winds. The difference stems from the fact the paraglider is not rigid, while the hang glider is.
Hang gliding was born from an unsuccessful model developed by NASA to improve aerospace rescue parachutes, something which caught on amongst those with a penchant for flying. The first hang glider was brought to Peru in the 1 970s. Paragliding, meanwhile, did not take off in Peru until the early 1 990s. Its origins date back to Savoie in France, where persevering sportsmen modified the classic parachute until they came up with others split up into cells, allowing for a longer flight with more room for maneuver. The concept has since improved, to the stage that today flyers can glide for 10 km for each 1 000 meters they drop.
Once up in the air, sportsmen tackle two kinds of currents: ascending, which are divided up into thermal (columns of warm air generated by the heating up of refractory surfaces) and orographic (which are created when air rebounds off a cliff or similar obstacle); and descending, similar to pockets of air that produce turbulence for jet airplanes. Choose your best option... and head for the vertigo.
:: Hot Air Ballooning
Since 1 988, a company based in Cusco, Globos de los Andes, has been running tourist hot air balloon flights over the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The one-hour flights cost US$300 per person. Setting off in the morning from the community of Maras, 55 km from the city of Cusco, balloonists take to the air and enjoy an unusual view of the Cusco countryside, its snow-capped peaks, several archaeological sites and main towns.