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La AntenaCotuíMichesCofresíIsabel de TorresLa ManaclitaAlto del GuayaboLas AguitasGalvánLa JobEl ManaclarLa PlayitaAzuaMatúa


Location: Matúa is about 35 minutes NNW from Santo Domingo. Any vehicle can reach the launch area.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 250
Description: Matúa is a private property. The owners have gently allowed pilots to use it, even though it is their own weekend house. In fact, its front yard serves as the launching spot indeed.

The takeoff is located in the top of the hill, just in the beginning of a range which runs heading NW for about 45 km, with a maximum height of 900 m ASL.

Conditions and flight:

Normally, gliders use the lift produced by the sea breeze coming from SE to soar gently in the afternoons. The chances to do thermal flying are not too high because the slope isn't steep enough.

If there is no sea breeze, the wind would normally blow E. There is an alternate takeoff for these days. There are more chances to fly thermals on this side because the slope is really abrupt, but you may find it a little turbulent.

Matúa is one of the most used training hills because it is the nearest to Santo Domingo.

Maximum XC distance registered: 36 km (done only once!)


Location: Azua is a town located about 1 h 20 m W from Santo Domingo, in the South Coast. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required, otherwise you have a 15 minutes hike up (not that hard).
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 90
Description: The takeoff is located in a small range which highest point is less than 350 m AGL. This range runs E, parallel to the first big ranges of the Central Range which is about 2 km N. The takeoff faces the sea (Bahía de Ocoa), about 5 km S.

Azua, as most of the rest of the South West, a semi-desert terrain.

Conditions and flight:

It's an amazing flying site considering the takeoff altitude.

Pilots often takeoff early in the morning, about 10, to soar with the incoming sea breeze. A little later you can start feeling thermal activity that gets to a peak about 12:30 PM.

Thermals may be disordered, but if you are patient and get more than 800 m AGL then you can head N for the bigger stuff. If you succeed in reaching the big mountains behind the takeoff area, then the normal route would be NW along the Central Range, exploiting the altitude wind blowing E. XC potential is remarkable as the Central Range goes depp into Haiti, for more than a 150 km.

Maximum XC distance registered: 60 km

La Playita

Location: The takeoff is about 25 m S from Azua (1 h 45 m from Santo Domingo). A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 130
Description: The takeoff is located in a tiny prominence about 9 km long and 450 m high facing the Caribbean sea (Bahía de Ocoa).
Conditions and flight:

A gentle soar is the type of flying in this site. You can fly either with S or E breeze, which blows from 10 AM to 8 PM. A perfect alternative for the flight in Azua when conditions are too strong for thermaling. You can fly along the ridge for 5 km out and back.

Maximum XC distance registered: 6.5 km

El Manaclar

Location: The site is about 1 h 30 m SW of Santo Domingo, near a city called Bani. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 1000
Description: The takeoff faces S. It is located in a branch of the main Central Range. This smaller range grows up to 1800 m heading NNW as it penetrates the main Central Range.
Conditions and flight:

This is an advanced flight. There is no landing field in your glide range from takeoff, so you've got to be sure you'll go up (most of the time is pretty obvious you will).

The predominating wind in the area and at that altitude is E, but the takeoff heads S. The range travels N and that's the main XC route. To the W side of the range there is a wide valley that runs parallel to it. On the other side, to the E, there is nothing but bigger mountains ending in the steepest valleys I've ever seen.

So the easiest XC flight is when the meteo wind is weak enough to let the anabatic flow set in at the takeoff height.

Maximum XC distance registered: 33 km

La Job

Location: La Job is a mountain located E of Barahona, about 3 h 30 m from Santo Domingo. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 1650
Description: The mountain is a part of the Sierra de Baoruco that runs WNW and grows nearly to 3000 m, parallel to the Sierra de Neyba in the north and also parallel to the Central Range. The takeoff faces E, which is the direction of the predominating winds all around the island at this altitude (Alisios).

To the S, there are more mountains and valleys, to the N, Valle de Neyba. This valley is a big plain which descends up to 50 m under the sea level.

Up in the mountains there are plenty of cold humid woods, down in the plains, desert.

Conditions and flight:

Flying from La Job is an amazing experience. The view of the valley, the Caribbean Sea and the Sierra de Bahoruco are outstanding. The takeoff is rather exposed to the trade winds which can sometimes be strong. That's why we takeoff by noon, once thermal activity in the lower mountaims and in the valley started kicking. The layer of meteo wind is p\forced up and conditions get nice.

The most obvious XC route is heading downwind (W), but that's until you see an endless sea of bushes and not-appropriate-for-landing cactus fields. So you either go N first (to the valley) or headwind (E) to the nearest town, Cabral. There is a fourth choice and is to go south to the bigger mountains, and end up in the south face of the Sierra de Bahoruco.

Maximum XC distance registered: 35 km W


Location: Galván is a town located by the Sierra de Neyba in the Valle de Neyba, 10 km E from a town also called Neyba. The takeoff is 3 h 30 m W from Santo Domingo. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 1030
Description: The takeoff is facing S, looking at the great Valle de Neyba. This part of the island has very dry conditions, because the great Central Range filters moisture in the Alisios wind blowing NE. The Sierra de Neyba runs parallel to the Central Range, 30 kms S.
Conditions and flight:

With an amazing altitude in the takeoff, this is one of the 4 best XC flying sites. This range is protected from the Alisios winds by the Central Range and is also out of reach of the sea breeze entering the valley (because of the takeoff altitude and distance to the sea).

So you may find strong thermal conditions (+3 to +6) with healthy cumulus forming with bases over 1400 m AGL most of the time). Thermals are wide and well formed, with rather strong cores.

There are several XC possibilities, as you can fly along the range either W or E. You can also try getting into the valley where some dust devils can be seen once in a while.

When cloudbase is high, the range can be crossed and flown on the N face, with an obvious chance to fly into the Valle de San Juan.

Maximum XC distance registered: 52 km

Las Aguitas

Location: Las Aguitas is a 3 h 30 m drive from Santo Domingo heading WNW, in the Valle de San Juan. No four-wheel drive vehicle needed as you have a 30 m hike anyway. Gliders can be taken to the launch area on horses.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 400
Description: The takeoff is in the SW face of the Central Range, about 4 km from a town called Sabaneta. The Valle de San Juan at this level is about 500 m ASL, so the takeoff is over 900 m ASL. This part of the Central Range has very little erosion and mountains are sharp and over 2000 m high.

The valley is over 20 km wide and the landscape is greener than the rest of the south because of the numerous rivers and water streams coming down form the Central Range.

Conditions and flight:

This site is also very protected form the Alisios wind and is definitely out of the reach of the moist sea breeze.

Thermals are wide with lovely cores (+5 over the peaks and +2 in the valley).

There are amazing XC possibilities. The Central Range runs WNW entering Haiti. This flight would be the continuation of the XC started in Azua (look at the map). If we ever get to join them, then we would have a 130 km flight in a Caribbean island... Should I say anything else?

Oh yes, just one more thing... there are great triangle possibilities too because wind blows mildly from E and there is a lot of activity over the valley. Plus, cloudbase is often above 3000 m !

Maximum XC distance registered: 56 km Open Distance, 69 km Out and Back.

Alto del Guayabo

Location: The takeoff is on top of a tourist town called Jarabacoa, about 2 h 30 m NNW from Santo Domingo. A four-wheel drive vehicle is needed, otherwise the 10 m hike would turn into a 25 m one.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 600
Description: Jarabacoa is a tourist town located in a very nice valley in the Central Range, about 450 m ASL. Nearby peaks exceed 1700 m ASL. The takeoff heads N, to the valley and the range where it is located runs WNW. To the S, we see beautiful hills and mountains getting higher and higher.
Conditions and flight:

This site is quite versatile. You can fly on very different conditions, with the wind blowing either N, NE, S or SE.

In good days nice cumulus form over 1200 AGL (1700 m AGL in winter). Thermals are middle sized with a lot of cloud activity.

You can travel W or E, and there is also a possibility to go S, entering a set of valleys inside the Central Range.

Maximum XC distance registered: 19 km

La Manaclita

Location: La Manaclita is located between two cities along Duarte Highway, in the heart of the island, about 1 h 30 m NNW from Santo Domingo. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 500
Description: La Manaclita is located in the eastern face of the Central Range, facing E to the southern Cibao valley. The Central Range extends from this point up to Haiti to the W.
Conditions and flight:

This is a good thermaling site that can also offer soaring conditions in the afternoon. Thermals are smooth and wide, often generating fairly healthy cumulus downwind from the takeoff.

The wind blows either from E or SE setting XC options either heading N, S or W.

Maximum XC distance registered: 18 km


Location: Cofresí is a tourist village 10 km W from Puerto Plata, about 3 h 30 m from Santo Domingo. Any vehicle can get you near the flying area.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: From 0 to 40.
Description: The flying site is a small range 2 km long and 250 m high, right by the Atlantic Ocean. It is now a private property and permission from the owners is required pass the fences.
Conditions and flight:

It's a beautiful soaring site a hundred meters away from the coast with big landing fields next to the beach. Most flights take place either early in the morning up to 11 AM and in the evening, because the wind may get to strong by noon.

You just have to pull your wing up on the plains, take a few steps climbing the first hill, turn around and enjoy the elevator!

Maximum XC distance registered: None

Isabel de Torres

Location: Isabel de Torres is a mountain in Puerto Plata, about 3 h 30 m NNW from Santo Domingo.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 310
Description: Isabel de Torres is a mountain isolated from the Septentrional Range, which runs E-W about 10 km S of the takeoff. Facing ESE, we see the Atlantic Ocean and the moist plains of the northern coast.

This is a very popular mountain because it has a funicular taking tourists to the top, which happens to be a National Park. Despite these facilities, there is no suitable takeoff on the summit, so we rather have a 20 minutes walk to a spot in the middle of the mountain, and let thermals do the rest of the job.

Conditions and flight:

Predominating wind alternate along the year. In winter we have NNE and ENE or just E in the summer. Both directions are OK.

Conditions in summer, which is the wet season, are very "tropical" like. Cumulus cycles are very short and dew point rather low because of the moister air. This generates constant rains coming in from E.

But the dry season promises higher cloud bases and the chance to leave the mountain high enough to get to the Septentrional Range which runs W almost reaching Haiti.

Maximum XC distance registered: None


Location: Miches is a town in the northeastern coast of the island, about 4 h 30 m from Santo Domingo. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 250
Description: The takeoff is in a mountain isolated from the Oriental Range, which runs E-W about 7 km south from the launching spot.
Conditions and flight:

This can be a perfect soaring site by the coast, and could also take you to the Oriental Range, downwind.

Winds may be too strong sometimes, but it holds a good direction all over the year (ENE).

This is the least explored site we mention here.

Maximum XC distance registered: None


Location: Cotuí is a town about 1 h 30 m N from Santo Domingo. Any vehicle can take you to the flying site.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 40

The 2 km long dam of an artificial lake serves a a great "play site". The "wall" is only 40 m high, and about 40 degrees steep.

Conditions and flight:

The road goes right across the dam, so you just have to take your glider out of the car, and kite while the wind is mild. If it blows up to 15 km/h, then you can turn arround and float your way around...

Maximum XC distance registered: None

La Antena

Location: The takeoff is on the NW side of a tourist town called Jarabacoa, about 1 h 45 m NNW from Santo Domingo. Any vehicle can take you to the takeoff.
Launch Altitude AGL [m]: 170
Description: Jarabacoa is a town located in a very nice valley in the Central Range, about 450 m ASL. Near by peaks exceed 1700 m ASL. This takeoff is an alternative for the Alto del Guayabo, used for students doing their first soaring and thermal flights. The takeoff heads SE, facing the valley. It is located in a tiny range being with the takeoff as the highest point.
Conditions and flight:

Early in the morning, about 10 AM, when the wind blows E, pilots start soaring and circling the first thermals rising. Most of the days the wind gets stronger by noon, when the valley breeze starts blowing.

Maximum XC distance registered: None

Bringing you laptop and cell phone

Some pilots think it's a good idea to bring their laptops. Despite there aren't many Wi-Fi spots in the southwest, the central area and tourist areas as well do provide some free internet access. Most of the cities have at least one or two cyber cafes where you can find laptops and computers to access the Internet. Some of these sites even have inkjet printers in case you need to print an email or weather report. Regarding cell phones, it is quite easy to get a SIM Card for your GSM cell phone. Just make sure they work on USA's bands. If your cell phone doesn't work on Dominican providers' networks, that shouldn't be much a problem, as you can find cheap cell phones for less than 20 Euros... that price including activation and a few minutes of credit.

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