As far back as I can remember, I’ve been uncomfortable with (read: scared of) heights. I wasn’t the kid who went on the high dive or the person who casually leans against the ledge on a rooftop and takes in the view. So it came as a surprise to my friends and family that I decided to face my fear by going skydiving.
The Skydive Portugal team operate from the aerodrome outside historic Évora due to the region’s favourable weather conditions, so you can jump year-round. I won’t lie: I was still debating whether or not to get on the aircraft even after I put on my jumpsuit. I was lucky enough to have an awesome instructor who had done over 4,000 jumps and really put my mind at ease by answering my many questions. Once I was in the air (and my only option was to jump), it was easy and I completely embraced the experience.
It was a bright day and I could see the land stretch out all around me as we sat on the little ledge on the side of the plane. For the record, this was the part I was most nervous about, but turns out it was my favorite part of the whole experience. I could’ve hung out on the ledge for a long time. It was amazing!
When you first jump out, you do a backflip. You have to keep your eyes open during this part; otherwise, you risk getting really motion sick! Then comes the free fall. It lasts 25 seconds if you jump from 3,000 m, 55 seconds from 4,200 m or 75 seconds from 5,000 m. My instructor made me feel comfortable and safe the entire time, so I could enjoy the free fall and the smooth sailing once the parachute opened. He even let me steer us back to the landing site! The fun doesn’t stop after you land: you’ll have a blast looking at the photos and video footage of your jump.
Verdict: The Skydive Portugal team was super friendly and really take care of you. The flat land and (mostly) clear skies of the Alentejo means you could see far into the distance and feel like you’re on top of the world! Though you won’t find it on travel guides, if you crave a little adventure and want to do something different on your vacation in Portugal, consider skydiving.