Through the small Dutch community in Rio de Janeiro, Basir was introduced to Ernst Daniel Nijboer, a professional cameraman and documentarian. Daniel invited us to his lavish apartment with a bird’s eye view of Ipanema Beach and lush decadent furniture designed for giants. I just remember thinking “wow I could live here!” The Ballet bar in the living room was an immediate attraction and I asked Daniel about it a little puzzled. It was an obvious answer… “duh!”, the ballet bar belonged to his Ballerina girlfriend. I just thought to myself, “I like her already!” Daniel asked a lot of sharp blunt questions like a true documentarian (and Dutchman) trying to get down into the heart of our unconventional story. He exuberated seasoned wild one and I sensed he identified with Basir as a younger version of himself. He was extremely open and our first encounter felt more like a visit to an old friend rather than meeting someone for the first time. We exchanged video footage of some of the content we had captured during our paragliding flights in Brazil and he seemed interested in the sport and expressed a desire to fly. He took to us somehow and invited us to visit with him and his girlfriend on their massive farm, Reserve Eco-Lodge Rancho El Dorado. My eyes lit up instantly and without hesitation blurted “YES!” “We’d love to.”
Within a few weeks we rocked up to their countryside paradise, Reserve Eco-Lodge Rancho EL Dorado. Upon our arrival to the main gate we were greeted by a pack of energetic and enthusiastic dogs, which followed us up the entire property. Literally they had an entire litter. We drove past the worker’s quarters, which given the size could have easily been mistaken by our host’s home. Then we drove up hill to the next plateau past the gardens, ponds and ducks. The road continued winding up to another plateau with beautiful stables and ridding arena. Until finally we spotted our hosts further up one more plateau lounging by the pool. The view from there was just breathtaking. The design of their home, surrounding pool and gardens screamed decadent understated luxury in harmony with nature and I fell in love with the property instantly. We were immediately escorted to the guest quarters; a separate building which unknown to us at the time as we had only planned a short weekend getaway would become our home for two weeks! We really enjoyed our stay!
I was in heaven with an entire litter of dogs to play with, horses to ride and a massive property to explore on my daily runs. The remote relaxing vibe on the farm and the working internet made this location one of the best places I have ever worked from. Basir was in heaven too because on the fifth plateau of the Reserve Ecolodge Rancho El Dorado there was a paragliding starting field. Yes, you read correctly, they had their very own paragliding starting field. It was from this starting field that Basir flew one of his most epic solo paragliding flights in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Pioneering the first 3-hour paragliding flight to Petropolis and back from this starting field, with a cloud base of 2.6K meters up!
During the day we were left to our leisurely adventures on Reserve Ecolodge Rancho El Dorado. And evenings were spent with our hosts watching sunsets by the pool, sharing travel warrior stories and savoring glasses of fine wine. The time shared with Daniel and his lovely girlfriend on their farm were some of our most memorable memories of our time spent in Rio de Janeiro. Since our visit they have now made their beautiful second home accessible for hire. So if you find yourself in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and you want something off the beaten path with your very own paragliding starting field, look no further. Check out their place here.