Sometimes it’s necessary for someone to come and open our eyes for us to understand how lucky we are. Spending time with the boys from Pangea Central is like having a cold bath in a reality filled with ancient caves, hiking paths, scary ravines and gorges that promise nirvana once conquered. Pangea is all about adventure tourism and knows Andalusia inside out, particularly in and around the Serrania de Ronda mountains which they consider to be “the most comprehensive natural destination in Andalusia”. As if to prove the point, there are three natural parks in and around Ronda: Sierra de las Nieves, Sierra de Grazalema and Parque de los Alcornocales.
Oscar Raggio is the manager of this team that works round the clock to bring together nature tourism with cultural tourism in Ronda. “Ronda has always lived off the back of the bullring and the Puente Nuevo. We’ve never needed any sort of alternative tourism and so no one has had to work at increasing the number of tourists that come to the area. In Ronda the ratio of people who stay overnight in relation to the total number of visitors is one of the lowest in Andalusia. This is because the options of things to do in Ronda are limited to four or five monuments that can be visited in one day,” he explains.
Psychology is an intrinsic part of adventure sports, especially for their team building and business incentive programmes. These activities aim to create objectives according to the requirements and specifications of the companies taking part. “A consultant carries out a survey amongst the employees in question and the focus of the exercises depends on the results. If the aim is to boost the confidence of any particular member of the team, we create exercises to highlight their role and contributions. If there are trust and communication issues, we create high risk tasks that will necessitate mutual trust for completion,” explains the manager. Founded in 2002, Pangea now has a list of clients that includes Hugo Boss, the Nokia Team and the Seville Football Club. The latter won the UEFA Cup after doing team-building exercises with Pangea!
Pangea also organizes gymkhanas throughout the Sierra de las Nieves mountains for which teams need to overcome obstacles and follow GPS instructions. They also put together sailing competitions, death-slides, 4×4 adventures through Morocco, triathlons and even straightforward corporate events and wine tastings. “We do everything made to measure. We create individualized profiles and packages for each client depending on the age of the participants, sex and occupation,” comments Raggio.
Kids are also welcome at Pangea whether with their families or on school trips: canoeing, canyoning and ecotourism are all adapted to suit their physical and mental requirements and thirst for knowledge. Environmental education is also one of their top concerns. However Raggio has his mind made up on the subject: “We get the opportunity to teach kids over one or two days, but their schools and families need to promote environmental awareness back home”. At least Pangea is sewing the seeds.
Besides opening up vias ferratas (mountain routes equipped with cables and climbing equipment to aid walkers and climbers) throughout the province of Malaga, one of their latest projects is what Raggio calls “ethnotourism”. Pangea is hoping to branch out to cover traditional artisan industries such as cheese, bread, jam and preserves. They aim to help people discover and learn historic techniques in order to produce for themselves using raw materials bought from suppliers in the area. “It’s about promoting self-sufficiency at a time of economic crisis,” explains the Raggio. “It’s a really positive and useful thing to bear in mind”.
Their entire catalogue of adventures in Ronda has been put together with one aim in mind: “Creating destinations”. That’s why the entire Pangea team is available 365 days a year. They are open to large groups and even individual couples. “If need be, we reduce the price to cost price. We simply don’t want anyone to leave Ronda without taking part in at least one activity. Our aim is that each of our clients becomes a spokesperson for the mountains of Ronda as a natural tourist destination,” explains a convinced Raggio.
The mountains of Ronda provide a unique setting to witness their thousands of hectares of cork oak forest, traditional white villages, the oldest bullring in Spain and memories of artists such as Hemingway, Viertel, Welles, Rilke and Richmond. Nature and culture come together in Ronda to create an ideal tourist destination. Pangea was one of the first to understand the importance of this unique combination. If you take part in one of their adventures, Raggio and his team will prove that paradise really does exist just a few kilometres from the Costa del Sol.
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