Want to know if it is possible to kitesurf in Colombia? And if so, how to include it in your itinerary?
The practice of this sport is relatively recent in the country, and the information is often lacking.
It’s a pity because there are many fantastic kite spots!
To remedy this, I went to Riohacha to interview Etto, nicknamed “the German of La Guajira,” who played an important role in the widespread use of windsurfing and kitesurfing in Colombia (since 1995!).
By the way, look at his partner page to discover the school he runs with his wife, Paula. He organizes a mind-blowing kite trip several times a year.
Continue reading this exciting article full of tips to discover the best kitesurfing and kiteboarding spots in Colombia.
Since 2015, Adrien, Alejandra, and I (Tom) have been helping travelers explore Colombia. Here, you will find everything you need to fall in love with this beautiful country easily.
Map: Kitesurfing in Colombia
Why do People love kitesurfing in Colombia?
Between the ideal climatic conditions, the sumptuous landscapes, and the kindness of the Colombians, there is enough to drive any kitesurfer crazy.
You can kitesurf all year round in Colombia
In Colombia, the windy season (known as “El Verano” or Summer) is from December to April. During these 5 months, you can be sure to kitesurf or kiteboard in all the spots of the country.
But that’s not all!
La Guajira is known to have steady winds for 10 months (except October and November), and the wind blows all year round on Lake Calima.
You won’t always need a wetsuit
If you kitesurf on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, the water is around 25-28 degrees Celsius, and it’s hot all year round.
On the other hand, if you venture into the country’s center, a thin wetsuit is recommended for kitesurfing on the lakes.
With the devaluation of the Colombian peso, the cost of living is very affordable if you earn Euros or USD.
Depending on your destination, private kitesurfing classes cost between 35-60 USD/Hour—Riohacha is the most affordable place, and Calima/Cartagena/San Andres are the most expensive ones.
On-site, you can eat for 4-8 USD and find a room for 20-40 USD (or a hammock for less than 8 USD).
Kite spots for all levels and styles
Steady winds, large beaches, and shallow, flat water are ideal for beginners. You’ll find these kite spots in Cabo de la Vela, Punta Gallinas, Riohacha, and La Boquilla.
But there are also perfect spots for experienced riders looking for strong winds and big waves. Salinas del Rey is one of the stops of the GKA Kite Worldtour, and the waves of Laguito beach (Cartagena) and the dunes of Tarao (Punta Gallinas) are well-known in the community.
There are also very good downwind spots around Santa Veronica and the Ensenada la Boquita (Punta Gallinas).
Having good weather conditions is great. But if on top of that, you find yourself surrounded by stunning nature, it’s heaven.
Nature lovers will be amazed by the lunar scenery of the Guajira desert, the different shades of blue of the Caribbean Sea around San Andres, and the impressive Andean mountains overlooking the Lago Calima and Chivor.
Cool kitesurfing communities
Single travelers will have no trouble making friends. Places like Cabo de la Vela and Santa Veronica have become known mainly for kite surfing. You will find many schools and a relaxed atmosphere.
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Where to kitesurfing and kiteboarding in Colombia
Here is a list of the most famous kitesurfing spots in Colombia. I’ve put together the information given by Etto and this great kitesurfing website.
1# Kitesurfing in Riohacha
Riohacha is the most accessible destination for kitesurfing in La Guajira (and the best kite trips to Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas leave from there). It is also the most affordable place in Colombia to practice this sport. The city itself isn’t very attractive, and there is little to do. You will find a few good restaurants and nice hotels.
There are many kitesurfing schools, including Etto and Paula, our great local partners!
☀️ The best season is from December to April (strong wind, kites 7-8 should be enough). The wind speed is, on average, 20-30 knots (kts), and it is usually better in the afternoon. The wind speed drops slightly from May to September, but you can still easily organize your daily kitesurfing sessions. It is hot during the day, but the breeze makes the temperatures pleasant in the evening (even a tad chilly). The rainy season is from October to November.
🪁 There are 4 nearby kite spots:
- Mayapo beach is a beautiful white sand beach 40 min drive from Riohacha. Depending on the wind direction, it won’t be a good spot for beginners.
- A small lagoon (la laguna) north of Mayapo offers ideal conditions for beginners—if it has rained enough during the year. Flat water and water up to the hip.
- Riohacha beach offers good conditions in the afternoon.
- Camarones is another beach 30 min South of Riohacha (famous for the flamingos), where you should be able to kitesurf in the afternoon.
🚗 You can come to Riohacha by bus from Santa Marta / Cartagena / Valledupar or by plane from Medellín / Bogotá.
2# Kitesurfing in Cabo de la Vela
Cabo de la Vela is one of Colombia’s most famous kitesurfing spots. The town, located in the middle of the La Guajira desert, spreads out along a wide bay with flat and shallow water. The surf schools have all settled in the north of the city, which creates an enjoyable atmosphere with many kitesurfers who meet in the evening in one of the few bars on the beach. There are also 2 nice beaches nearby (Playa Dorada & Ojo de Aguas) and several viewpoints to admire amazing sunsets.
Prices are higher than Riohacha (kite courses, accommodation, food), but you can save money by sleeping in hammocks (chinchorros). Be ready to eat seafood and lamb.
Cabo Kite Center & Awalayu’u Kite School both have solid recommendations.
☀️ You will find strong winds all year round (between 25-35 kts), ideal in the early morning or mid-afternoon. The rest of the time, the wind is gusty and can be annoying for beginners and experts trying to perform their tricks. The wind speed decreases a little in the rainy season (October-November), and the path to reach Cabo de la Vela will be much more challenging (muddy).
🪁 The only kitesurfing spot is where the schools are (yes, just a few meters from your bed). You will find a large area of flat and shallow water. There are many kitesurfers simultaneously, and it’s a bit like the Wild West of kitesurfing (priority and safety rules are less respected).
Notes: Unconfident beginners may find it difficult to start in good conditions in Cabo de la Vela. I recommend Riohacha to them instead. It is also sometimes complicated to find suitable gear.
🚗 You must take a jeep (private or shared) from Riohacha or Uribia. It takes about 3 hours.
3# Kitesurfing in Punta Gallinas
Punta Gallinas is the northernmost point in South America and the ultimate kitesurfing destination in Colombia. 5 rancherias (Wayúu hotels) are scattered around Bahia Hondita, far from any cities. The stunning beauty of the landscape and the wind quality make it Etto’s favorite place. Most people sleep in chinchorros, but private rooms are also available. Electricity is cut at night, and the running water for showering is a mix of fresh and salt water.
The prices are higher than in Cabo de la Vela because of its remoteness.
Luz Mila is the main rancheria for kitesurfing. You can take lessons and rent the equipment.
☀️ A constant wind blows all year round between 25-35 kts. However, there are times (especially between October and November) when you can’t go there because the rain makes the road impassable.
🪁 There are 3 kite spots in Punta Gallinas:
- The lagoon is a few meters away from Luz Mila, with calm water and offshore winds.
- La Boquita is similar to the lagoon; you can reach it downwind from Luz Mila.
- Las Dunas de Taroa is an excellent spot for experienced kitesurfers looking for good waves. Beware of strong currents, do not go alone.
🚗 It’s complicated to get there. You must arrive in Cabo de la Vela (3h) and find another jeep to Punta Gallinas (about 4 hours). Otherwise, you can ask Etto when he will organize his next kite trip to Punta Gallinas.
4# Kitesurfing in Santa Veronica
Santa Veronica is a small, spreading town rarely visited by travelers except for …. kitesurfers. Over the years, a good community of expats has settled in, and you will find a relaxed atmosphere where time is of little importance. There are a few cheap restaurants along the beach, and the tuk-tuk is the main way of transportation.
Most kite hostels are in Salinas del Rey, but you can also look at Casa Agua De Vela.
Santa Veronica has recently gained international recognition as it is now one of the stops for the World Kitesurfing Championships.
I recommend you check out this excellent site for more information.
☀️ Depending on the kite spot you choose, you can have winds up to 45 kts from December to April (the average being 30 kts). This wind is constant all day, which makes it ideal for training. The water temperature is pleasant (+25° C.). The wind direction is usually onshore / side-onshore, ideal for downwind and allowing beginners to learn the sport in no time.
🪁 There are 3 main kite spots in Santa Veronica:
- Salinas del Rey is the most famous spot and a paradise for kitesurfers looking for waves (about 2m). The rocks nearby, the possible broken tree trunks, and the narrow launching area make it a place for experienced kitesurfers only.
- If you are a beginner, you should go to Puerto Velero, 10 km north of Santa Veronica. It is a bay with flat water conditions and small waves (on the seaside). Head to La Punta to avoid the gusty wind at the marina.
- Palmarito beach (5 km from Salinas del Rey) is another alternative to Puerto Velero. You’ll find fewer kitesurfers, flat/choppy water, and the wind is always a few knots weaker.
🚗 You can travel to Santa Veronica from Barranquilla (45 min, wait for the buses Expreso Colombia Caribe on Carrera 46 North of the city) or Cartagena (1h15 with Marsol or Berlinastur).
5# Kitesurfing in Cartagena De Indias
Cartagena is a romantic city with a beautiful historical center and delicious restaurants. Unfortunately, it is also a destination invaded by tourists (especially in high season) and the most expensive destination in Colombia.
☀️ You will have a decent wind from December to March (10-20 KTS).
🪁 There are 2 kite spots in Cartagena:
- La Boquilla is the main spot. It is a fishing village (“absorbed” by the expansion of Cartagena) 15 minutes by cab from the historical center. You will find a wide beach ideal for kite launching and a calm and shallow sea. There are several kitesurfing schools and basic accommodations.
- La Laguito is a residential area in “Modern Cartagena.” There is a small beach (sometimes crowded) with nice waves.
🚗 You can easily get to Cartagena thanks to its international airport.
6# Kitesurfing in Puerto Colombia
Puerto Colombia is a large beach town near Barranquilla on the Colombian coast. Locals love to get there on the weekend to relax at one of the beach clubs, like Pradomar. In addition to kitesurfing, there are many yoga retreats. Several accommodation options (Portoazul Casa de Playa) and apartments to rent.
Etto recommends Kiyakitesurfing.
☀️ Constant winds blow from December to April (about 20 Kts).
🪁 You’ll find 2 kite spots:
- There are beautiful waves on the ocean side.
- Flat water in the lagoon nearby.
Note: The mouth of the Magdalena river is close and can carry branches of trees.
🚗 Public buses or taxis from Barranquilla.
7# Kitesurfing in San Andres
San Andres is a Caribbean island near Nicaragua’s coast, with beautiful beaches and a turquoise sea. Unfortunately, the island is a victim of mass tourism (combined with poor management), and new constructions increasingly spoil the coastline. It is still a little corner of paradise (pick your area well) where you can alternate between kitesurfing sessions and cocktails under palm trees. Daily life is expensive on the island. Expect to pay prices similar to those in Cartagena.
☀️ You will find a constant wind of 10-20 KTS between December and July. The sea is even warmer than on the Caribbean coast.
🪁 You’ll find 4 kite spots:
- The shallow sea in front of the city beach is flat in the morning, and the beach allows easy kite launching. However, beware of the many tourists. It’s not the ideal spot for beginners.
- Johnny Cay is a tiny island 9 km away from San Andrés, surrounded by white sand beaches and coral reefs. Beware, it is a place highly visited by tourists, so avoid weekends and holidays.
- Another spot is Chamey’s Nautica (South of the city). The sea is crystal-clear and ideal for beginners once they’re on the water. On the other hand, the launch is rather challenging, with only a small beach and several jetskis and boats anchored nearby.
- San Luis (el Paraíso) is a beautiful white sand beach that has kept its laid-back atmosphere. The onshore wind makes kitesurfing dangerous for beginners.
🚗 There are direct flights from the main Colombian cities. You’ll have to pay a tourist tax to enter (about 125,000 COP).
7# Kitesurfing in Lago Calima
Lago Calima is the largest artificial lake in Colombia, built to produce electricity for the city of Cali. Its geographical position allows it to benefit from strong winds all year round, making it one of the country’s most famous places for water sports. Most hotels and kitesurfing schools are located near El Darién, a popular weekend destination.
Etto recommends Pescao Kitesurf.
☀️ There is wind all year round, between 15 and 25 kts, but it can be gusty. Temperatures are cooler than on the coast (chilly in the evening), and the water is around 23° C. A thin wetsuit will be useful.
🚗 Take a 3-h bus from Cali.
8# Kitesurfing at Chivor
Chivor is a town in Boyacá known for its emeralds and lake (Esmeralda). This artificial reservoir attracts Bogotá residents every weekend for hiking and water sports.
There is a cool coliving space called Chivorkite that offers kite lessons & rentals.
☀️ The best season is from November to March, with a good wind from 10 am. It’s usually not very strong, and you’ll have to use kites 14, 15, or 16.
🚗 2.5 hours from Bogotá.
The best kite trip in Colombia
As you read this guide, you may have thought to yourself:
-“Boy, Punta Gallinas must be a blast. It’s a shame it’s so complicated to get there”.
Fortunately, I’ve got a solution for you.
Paula and Etto organize several times a year a 5-day expedition to Punta Gallinas (groups of 4 to 12 people).
They take care of all the logistics (transportation, rescue boat, accommodation, food). All you have to do is enjoy.
Travelers can bring their own gear, rent some or take private lessons on-site. And you’ll be able to visit the tourist spots too!
In general, the itinerary looks like this:
- Day 1: The group will leave at 5 am from Riohacha (you should arrive around 12h30 pm). You’ll have plenty of time to kitesurf in front of Luz Mila (your hotel) in the afternoon.
- Day 2: It is divided into 2 kite sessions (morning and afternoon). In between, you can take a nap in a chinchorro by the beach and drink a cold beer.
- Day 3: It’s time to organize a downwind trip to La Boquita beach. The less experienced students go first, and the rescue boat is always nearby. In the afternoon, you will have another kitesurfing session at La Boquita.
- Day 4: Today is the day when the group splits up. The more experienced ones can go kitesurfing at the Taroa dunes (big waves), and the others can continue taking lessons / having fun in front of Luz Mila. If you are tired of kiteboarding, you can plan a visit to the dunes or the lighthouse.
- Day 5: If the road back is in good condition, you can do an early morning kite session. But in general, everyone is tired and wants to leave for Riohacha.
Are you interested? Discover their partner page and contact them directly to ask all your questions!
Bottom line: kiteboarding, Colombia
Kitesurfing is a great experience to add some spice to your trip to Colombia. Beginners should reserve at least 3-4 days (about 10 hours) to learn the basics. The schools are located in different strategic areas of the Caribbean coast (between Cartagena and La Guajira) and on the shores of some large man-made lakes. The best of the best is a 5-day trip to Punta Gallinas to kitesurf in ideal conditions in the middle of spectacular scenery.
Before leaving, don’t forget to read our La Guajira travel guide.
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