Mexico Tours


I have been to so many flying sites and run countless mountain trips, but the Mexico tour would be tops in my book for the full range of great thermal flying, unbelievably good food, and amazing towns and adventures.   For starters, a flight to Guadalajara from most USA locations is relatively inexpensive and not a wasted full day of travel.   Tapalpa or Colima are about 2 hours drive time from Guadalajara’s International Airport.  Better yet, these towns are super real, not typical tourist location.   In all of the trips I have done there, you rarely run into tourists from anywhere but Mexico.   Pilots are surprised at the great variety and  food quality.  In 2018, we added a new site called El Rinćon.  On the first flight of week 4, 3 pilots flew together 50 miles to the north and Evan Cohen set the site record for Tandem there.  El Rinćon is about 1.5 hours from Tapalpa, so when the winds favor that site, we do day trips there.  We also try each week to visit Colima at least once.   Colima is about 2.5 hours south and I include a hotel there if we choose to spend the night.

2022 Changes!  In 2020, I made the decision to change the way the venues are handles.   In the past years, we have secured a room for the entire week for each tour in Tapalpa.  If the weather is good in Tapalpa, this works out fine.  However, when it is good  or great in Colima, San Marcos or El Rincon, it is best to head down to enjoy some flying at these sites without having to return quickly.   So, we now have a list of hotels at each location, so that we can port the trip for longer stays, wherever the weather is best.   Any of these sites can work with a nearby hotel location and this eliminates traveling back and forth.  The tour in 2020 was incredibly successful.   We actually flew every day for 3 weeks straight.

Flying Tapalpa, San Marcos, El Rincon and Colima


Flying in the Tapalpa is perfect for learning to thermal.   The launch is about 2,500 feet above the main LZ.    The LZ is huge, flat and our driver/s will go get you should you dive down quickly.  If you get up at all, the flat area below the ridge runs both to the north and south from launch and large LZs are available, not far from the highway.  But better yet, the launch is about 8 miles east of the city of Tapalpa, where we stay.   Between the launch and town, along the road to launch, it is mostly flat farms and such with abundant LZs along the way.   There is even a nice LZ for top landing a 5 minute walk from launch.

Gravidad Cero (English – “Zero Gravity”) launch is perfect.   I have seen 5 or 6 gliders side by side, ready to launch.   There is a per day fee to fly here, this is included in our tour.   There is a free launch, La Ceja ( Say-ha ) about 1/2 a mile to the South and it works, but only allows 1 glider at a time to launch.   They have a nice little restaurant there serving Pizza and Burgers etc. if you get hungry at Gravidad Cero, you can walk over in less than 10 minutes.

The launch is about 7,100 ft MSL and the ridge runs 20 miles to the north.   The ridge increases to about 9,300 ft around the 20 mile mark, just before dropping off to the valley floor.   On some of the best days,  a convergence can set up above this ridge and there are roads on top too.

The thermal flying in Tapalpa can be big, but not too big.   In Valle de Bravo, each year, you hear about reserve tosses every week.   Tapalpa is much more friendly.   In the tours I have done, student pilots usually go higher than they have ever gone before.   I know one pilot that got to 16,000 there, but on the tours I have done, 14,000 was done once and most weeks every pilot at one point or another gets to 10,000 or higher.   After getting comfortable with the site, flying a first XC to the town between launch and Tapalpa, takes you to La Frontera that has a couple large LZs walking distance to Taco Stands where you can get food while you wait for the driver to come pick you up.   If you come us short on the way, there are LZs along the highway for an easy retrieve.

El Rincon – Note: For the present, the road to launch at El Rinco, the site is unpassable for a Van we rent, at this time, we are not going to attempt flights there on the 2022 tour.

This site is basically mid-way between Tapalpa and Colima.   It is a S facing thermal site with great XC potential.   Just 1.5 hour drive from Tapalpa, El Rincon, is a great site for XC.   El Rincon faces south and often a cloud street lines up with the ridge behind you at launch that runs nearly 50 miles.   There are suitable sugar cane fields that have been recently cleared for landing below launch.  This is the trickiest launch we use, strong thermals once it comes on.

San Marcos

Just 1 hr drive north from Tapalpa, there is a ridge above the Town of San Marcos.   This ridge is about 1000 ft high and when the West winds blow, the evenings have phenomenal glass offs in the evening.   Pilots have soared this up in the evening hours to well over 10,000ft.  Although it is unlikely we would stay in a nearby hotel to fly this site as a primary, we will do trips here from time to time.


We usually do one road trip south to Colima.  From Tapalpa, it is about 3 hours, but it is just over 2 hours after you pass the Tapalpa LZ.   Colima has two volcanoes next to it, one is active.  Video of flying site at Colima is below.  The Mexican government built this amazing launch for the local pilots.

In the main video below, there are scenes of flying there.   Colima has a launch like no other.  Built by the Mexican Government, it is a perfect slope and covered in AstroTurf.   The flying there can be just as amazing as Tapalpa.



This eruption occurred while we were in Tapalpa in 2017, unfortunately, we did not see it.

This eruption of Colima occurred while we were in Tapalpa in 2017.

Active Day

Colima Volcano (the one on the left), erupting, as we drove past.

Tapalpa City

Tapalpa has “historic” status.   All of the buildings are painted the same colors.   There is a “Centro” area in the town with businesses and restaurants offer native arts and clothing, as well as exotic gifts etc.   There is a street lined with Taco stands and local food that you can eat at for near nothing.   If you want to go fancy, there are some nice restaurants as well, but you will be amazed at the lack of cost.   You could walk around the town for a day or two and find many cool stores outside of the centro as well.

Tapalpa has the reputation of being a “magic” town.   In fact, they call it “Pueblo Magico”.   Until you go there, it might seem that this is hype, but after spending about 8 weeks there in the past 5 years, I am a believer.

Tapalpa Centro area.

Tapalpa Centro area.

Non-Flying Activities

Sure, I know you just want to fly.  But, weather is not perfect or controllable at any flying site in the world.   There is an amazing Waterfall just outside of town, about a 15 minute drive to get to the trail head.   Picture a stone walled canyon about 500 feet deep with two waterfalls at the upstream end.   On the way down, you can visit come natural caves on the wall of the canyon.   We visit this if there is a day with bad weather.

  • There are horseback riding stables in town and just outside of town.
  • There are hiking trails not far from town.
  • They rent bikes and also quad motorcycles in town.
  • Every February, there is a Strawberry Festival in town.   Driscol Strawberries are grown in fields near the town, these are one of the largest brand of strawberries sold in the US during the winter months.
  • Just outside of town there is a spot with a collection of huge granite rocks called “Las Piedrotas”.   They charge a minor fee to walk around near the rocks.  We go there sometimes after flying, it is also a good spot to practice kiting.

    10 minute drive to Las Piedrotas.

What is included – Rates – Dates for 2023

  • Dedicated Driver and Retrievals for all flying.
  • Pick up and drop off at Guadalajara International Airport.
  • Daily Coaching Clinics about Thermal Flying and Safety
  • Launch Coaching and Radio Guidance available for every flight.
  • For those ready, XC guidance.
  • Meals for any Day Trips (Arrival Meal on way to Tapalpa, Trips to Colima, El Rincon or San Marcos)
  • Welcome Meal and some Extra nice meal/s TBD.
  • Hotels at each venue

       2023 February Dates 

Week 1      Jan 28 – Feb 4

Week 2      Feb 4 – Feb 11  


    • 1 Week Tour

      • Private Room $1500
      • Shared Room $1250 (both are pilots, if significant other, call Jeff for conditional options and rates)
        Specials and Conditions   

        • All pilots need to be P2 or Higher Rating to attend.
        • Returning Pilot —> Discount $100   
        • P3 Pilots —> Discount $50
        • P4 Pilots —> Discount $100
        • Early Sign Up!!!   —–>  November – Discount $50
        • Sign up requires $300 “non-refundable” deposit.  Full Payment required prior to Dec. 1 for those with deposits.  After Dec. 1, full payment for all others.
    • 2 Week Tour

      • Private Room $2500  
      • Specials and Conditions   
        • All pilots need to be P2 or Higher Rating to attend.
        • Returning Pilot —> Discount $100   
        • P3 Pilots —> Discount $50
        • P4 Pilots —> Discount $100
        • Early Sign Up!!!   —–> November – Discount $50
        • Sign up requires $300 “non-refundable” deposit.

Tapalpa Rooms

Private Room

Private Room

Shared Room

Shared Room


Lobby Area

2017 Group from Week 2


Videos of Flying in Tapalpa and Colima – (do not watch, if you do not want to come)