Kiteboarding in Colombia
This is my first post here. I hope it helps people thinking of going to Colombia.
***After writing this, I realized that people might want contacts in the places I've been. If you are heading to Colombia, contact me and I'll give you contact info for the people you need to get in touch with for various places***
I spent over 2 1/2 months in Colombia kiteboarding pretty much every day up and down the coast.
I think there were 7 days when I didn't ride. Three because i had to go to Medellin to get a tooth fixed. Two because of travel. And two other days there was no wind.
Here's my thoughts (the good and the bad) on the places I kited including La Boquilla (NativoKite), Santa Veronica (Kitesurf Experience), Cabo de la Vela (Awalayuu), Punta Gallinas (Luz Mila), and Riohatcha (Dan's AirBnB).
I spent most of my time in La Boquilla at NativoKite School in the hostel at the school. I'd highly recommend staying and kiting there. The easiest thing to do is contact Sebastian on WhatsApp at +573136717339. He speaks perfect English and Spanish and can do everything from getting you booked in the hostel to renting equipment to setting up lessons with an instructor who speaks a language you know.
Here's my thoughts on KiteNativo and La Boquilla:
The owner of the hostel, Sebastian, also owns ColombiaKite where he can get you great deals on gear. He is ALWAYS willing to help you get around town or arrange transportation and flights and whatever else you need.
I was there when the corona virus got bad. Sebastian was at the hostel every single day making sure every guest was taken care of and had everything in order to get out of Colombia. He even offered to take me to the airport -although there was a travel ban - if the taxi didn't come to get me.
Even before the virus, he was always going above and beyond to help those of us staying at the hostel or kiting. Having someone like that looking out for you is reason enough to stay and kite there.
Nativo Kite was the best all-around place to stay and kite, for sure my favorite and I stayed there almost 2 months.
I talked to a lot of riders and almost everyone said that Nativo Kite was there favorite place to stay and kite overall in Colombia. Cabo for flatwater, Santa Veronica for waves, and for all around kiter atmosphere and a great place to kite, NativoKite was the # 1 place I heard from people.
I was there on and off from January to late March. That whole time there were only 2 days when the wind was too light to kite.
Every day you could kite for 1 or 2 sessions and get in 3-4 hours a day right in front of the hostel. Most days there was a down-winder organized as well.
You can live there really cheap compared to other kite spots along the coast. In fact compared to Cabo and Punta Gallinas, it's almost half or one third as much to eat and sleep at NativoKite. There are cheap restaurants in easy walking distance, a little store nearby, a barber, and various shops.
The rooms are cleaned daily and the hostel was the cleanest that i stayed in while in Colombia. A really good breakfast is included with the room. I'd recommend having fresh fruit, eggs, arepas and granola.
During the time I was there, I stayed in all the rooms, privates, and the dorm. Each room has a really nice balcony with chairs and a hammock that looks out over the beach and ocean. It's a great place to hang out with friends, dry your gear, and chill.
You can store your gear safely with the school's equipment.
You can walk to the beach with your gear and pump up, getting help from the kids. There are 8-10 kids around to help launch, land and clean your equipment. This was great for me because I didn't have to take a cab to the beach like in a lot of other places in Colombia.
And, with the kids to help, you can just grab your stuff, go pump up, and someone will help you launch. You're on the water 15 minutes after you decide to go out.
The beach is really long, the wind is side-shore, and the waves are fairly small-- making it the best place I found to learn to kitesurf in Colombia.
There were instructors there whose first language was Spanish, English, Dutch, and German. So it should be easy to find an instructor you understand.
There is a bar right on the beach where everyone hangs out after kiting. It's fun to just chill there after a session.
There's not much of a night life in the area and it's not recommended to go out at night.
There isn't much to do in the daytime either-- just kite and eat and sleep. It costs about $1.50 USD for a colectivo or motorcycle to and from Cartagena if you want to do normal tourist stuff .
But, if you want to kite and hang with other kiters, this is the place to be.
My thoughts on Santa Veronica:
I heard from others that Kite Eco House is the place to stay in Santa Veronica. I stayed at CasaKite and I wouldn't recommend it. I'll never stay there again. I pre-paid for a month, used 5 days and just told the guy to keep my money for the other 23 days. I wanted out that bad.
I was pretty much just learning to kiteboard when I went to SV. I could get up and ride, but not go upwind. Between the waves and really small beach, it was just too damn hard for me. I spent most of my time flailing around in the water trying to get my board back, getting hit by waves, or walking up the beach all the time because the beach is so small.
I was also not comfortable using my own gear there because there is a "school" run by f*&k-wits where the instructors crossed lines with people at least once a day and I saw one instructor tomahawk a kite into some driftwood and blow it up. These guys made it dangerous for other learners. But, if you weren't learning, you could just go out deeper where the experienced people were riding and it wouldn't matter.
JP at KiteSurf Experience is a great instructor and I'd highly recommend him. I wish I had a better skill set and could have stayed to learn from him. The guy knows his stuff and knows the area, plus is a really good guy.
I met a lot of people who loved Santa Veronica. Strapless guys had a great time there on the waves and even though it was peak season when I was there in January, it wasn't that busy.
Some people would ride downwind from SV to the kiting beach in Salinas del Rey,, then finish their session out at Salinas and take a tuk-tuk back to their hostel.
Otherwise, you have to take a tuk-tuk to the beach and then back again, which I didn't like.
Santa Veronica is a good place to hang out but things are spread out and you have to arrange a tuk tuk to do most things. It's not touristy although there are a few businesses like hostels and restaurants owned by ex-pats. The food is cheap there. There are lots of really cool kiters in the town and that makes it fun too.
Thoughts on Cabo de la Vela:
Everywhere you go, you hear how great Cabo is. And, it's pretty good. There is wind every day, sometimes starting at 10am and lasting until sunset at 6:30pm. The kiting atmosphere is great. There are restaurants on the beach where you can just sit and chill between sessions, watch people, and talk friends.
The wind was gusty when I was there, and that was okay because after a week, I kinda figured out how to deal with it, adding that to my skill set. But before I figured out how to deal with the gusts, I seriously got launched a few times when a big gust hit.
Cabo is a pain to get to. You have to change from bus to taxi to 4x4 if you want to do it cheap like I did. Or you can get private transport that's easy but expensive with all your gear. Either way, figure you've got a day of travel and if you want to get a session in, leave early morning from Barraquilla or Riohatcha.
I honestly preferred La Boquilla for the kiting experience. But the kiter atmosphere in Cabo is great.
In Cabo spent a lot of time at the Awalayuu school and I loved it there. Great people running the place, super friendly and helpful. They really look out for you whether you are out in the water, on the beach, or getting ready to go out. There's a kitchen where you can cook your own food, and that was good because going out to eat in Cabo gets expensive. In fact besides Punta Gallinas, Cabo was the most expensive place I stayed.
Oh, there is crappy internet, limited electricity, and no running water or flush toilets in Cabo or Punta Gallinas. Bring an external battery to charge your phone and be prepared to have limited ability to contact friends on your phone.
My next trip, I'll stay in Cabo a few days to break up the trip to Punta Gallinas and to buy a bigger mochila than the ones I bought. But, Punta Gallinas beats Cabo for kiting, hands down...
My thoughts on Punta Gallinas:
I loved kiting in PG. Flat water. Good wind from 13:00 until dark. It was a little gusty, but not even close to as bad as Cabo. The places where you kite are beautiful... stunning. And there is no one there. I was alone for 4 days, then the last 3 days 3 other guys showed up, and that was it for a week. One of the guys who I was there with has kited all over the world. He PG is the 2nd best place he's ever kited.
You can do a downwinder that is also just amazing. Stopping at 2 other places that have beautiful beaches, great wind, and flat water.
The only reason PG doesn't get my #1 spot for Colombia is that it's expensive to get there and really expensive to stay there. I spent 3 times as much money on food and a place to sleep there as compared to La Boquilla.
Also, it's in the middle of nowhere. Internet sucks, no running water, no flush toilets, and no electricity. But for the kiting experience, nothing beat it.
I'll definitely go back my next trip and stay at the same place, Luz Mila. It's worth the time and money to get and stay there. I'd plan on staying at least a week to make it worth the long, long travel there and to get the most out of kiting there.
My thoughts on Riohatcha:
So I only got one session in at Riohatcha so I don't have much to go on. It was good kiting and we were the only ones there besides the fishing boats. The wind was consistent and laminar. I'll go back for sure, the place has a lot of potential. I liked that finding transportation to the beach was really easy and cheap.
I stayed at an AirBnb run by a guy named Dan and his girlfriend. It was a great place to stay. It's set up for kiters with a place to for all your gear. There is breakfast included in the night's stay and you can make whatever you want for breakfast. Dan makes his own yogurt and it is some of the best yogurt I've ever had. There's grocery shopping nearby and the kitchen at the place is really well set up and pleasure to cook in.
Dan is really nice and looks after everyone, putting the needs of his guests above his own. He really goes out of his way for people. I'd go back to Riohatcha just to stay there, the experience was that good.
****PM me if you want more info, I'm happy to help. And Maybe we can meet there some winter. I'll be back for sure in 2021.****
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