On our recent visit to Napa Valley, when we stayed at the luxurious Las Alcobas Napa Valley Hotel, the lovely concierge helped us book a once in a lifetime experience — a hot air balloon ride over wine country with Napa Valley Balloons! And… we loved it! Even Craig, who has an intense fear of heights (so much so that he couldn’t cross this bridge in Vancouver), loved it and would do it again! Out of all the things to do in Napa Valley, this is a MUST!
We were collected from our hotel at 5 am, and whisked off to the town of Yountville, a few minutes down the Main Road. Luckily, there was no fog that morning, and we took off on time. The alternative is travelling an hour out before taking off to avoid the unsafe conditions with poor visibility. We arrived at the stop before taking off and given coffee to warm up! Once the whole group had arrived, we popped over next door to the golf course — the site for take off!
The baskets are actually much bigger than I remembered from my Balloon Ride with family years ago. This one could easily fit 20 guests, plus the driver/pilot. The compartments are divided into 4 so it did not feel like we had too many people right up against us. Craig also ended up using the compartments to lean against, away from the sides, because he was a little nervous. Can you imagine how he felt when we reached 3500 feet in the air?! (LOL).
Our pilot, Bob, was amazing! His personality really added to the experience. Every joke made me more at ease and made Craig squirm a little more — it was the best! 🙂 Early on in the flight, he pointed out where he wanted to land and he got it, spot on! The landing was the most nerve-racking to me (even though I’ve done this before). You’ll be told to bend your knees slightly and lean forward. But the landing was so quick and soft that I needn’t have even worried.
The price, at $239 per person, is nothing to sneeze at. But it is also a once in a lifetime experience, that was worth every cent. The price includes a pre-flight coffee, the hour flight, and a champagne breakfast after you land at Domaine Chandon Winery in Yountville. You can book the package online here.
- #1: Bring a cap (hat), if you’re particularly tall or bald! The heat that comes from the fire can be a bit hot!
- #2: You can’t bring a bag, so if you bring anything, it must be able to fit comfortably in your pocket. But to be honest, you don’t really need anything up there!
- #3: If you bring a camera, make sure the strap stays around your neck!
- #4: Don’t worry about too many layers, once you’re in the basket it warms up! A throw over denim jacket is perfect.
- #5: If you’re not keen on travelling far out of Napa to take off in the event of fog, call ahead and see if they’re still taking off in Yountville. You are always given the option of choosing whether to go to the alternative site or not.
Is this on your bucket-list?! It was definitely on ours! It’s a MUST on your list of things to do in Napa Valley! We would love to do it again in the Swiss Alps or Cappadocia in Turkey. The photos are incredible!
Please note that this flight was not sponsored.
Still Floating on Air,
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