As the country begins to reopen, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
Location, location, location. Just as finding the perfect waves is essential to a successful surfing adventure, kiteboarders must find hearty, consistent windsthe key when choosing the perfect boarding arena. And although there are miles of Mexican shoreline, only a few spots are notoriously windy. We've combine these prime conditions with access to water and a great instructor to create a reliable list of Mexican hot spots catered to teaching you the ways of the kite board.
WINDOW TO ADVENTURE: Captain Kirk's Kiteboarding School in La Ventana
First, there's San Quintin, a small farming town in Baja located 200 miles south of the U.S. border. While it's well known for smaller waves, a ten-mile long beach, and giant "pismo clams," it's also a second home for San Diego-based West Coast Kiteboarding (619.813.2230; westcoastkiteboarding.com). The full-time kiteboarding school offers lessons to all ages. Beginners have their choice of a land-based three- to four-hour session for around $170 or an extended class for an additional $60.
What about after September? Located on the eastern coast of the Baja peninsula and just 40 minutes from La Paz rests the remote but very wind sport-oriented town of La Ventana. The home of Captain Kirk's (310.833.3397; captainkirks.com), an established kite boarding school, newbies like yourself will find an educated staff of PASA (Professional Air Sports Association) instructors. As one of the most consistently windy places in the world during peak season (September through April), the town has a tight community of dedicated kiteboarders. Founded in 1993, Captain Kirk's was La Ventana's first resort and kiteboarding school. Lessons for beginners are offered at $199 for three hours. A three-lesson package goes for $499, with 50 percent of the price going toward the retail cost of a new kite and board. Nine hours will cover everything from kite inflating and rigging to performance analysis. Lodging at Captain Kirk's is also available from $99 per night (peak season) in a house trailer or $149 for a night in a small casita. When not riding the wind, consider some sport fishing; the region famous for dorado, yellowtail, wahoo, and more. There are no true grocery stores or hotels in La Ventana, so camping (Kirk's is quarter-mile mile north of the public campground) or renting a bungalow is essential if you'd like to spend a few days on the water.
And if you'd like to make a trip to the Yucatan, plan on visiting a group of friends who founded the IKARUS Kiteboarding school in 2002 (+52.984.803.3490; kiteboardmexico.com), becaming Mexico's first certified kiteboarding instructors. The school pioneered wind sports in Playa del Carmen, where gusts are best November through May. The Riviera Maya of the peninsula allows riders of all levels to explore diverse boarding conditionshigh wind, gentle gusts, rough seas, smaller waveswhile immersing themselves in the Yucatan landscape. IKARUS Kiteboarding School offers lessons in the National Marine Park of Puerto Morelos, where snorkelers will find blue parrotfish, barracudas, and spotted eagle rays can be found just 550 yards offshore. Three kiteboarding programs are offered, each reinforcing your achievements with a certified kiteboarder card. The first level will take you through piloting a two- or four-line kite, safety tips, equipment requirements, and the fundamentals of launching and landing. The next program will get you up on a board for your first ride on the water, and the last lesson teaches the ins and outs of managing your practice area, riding upwind, and jumping. Lessons are priced at $55 per hour and full equipment rentals including kite, board, and harness, start at $60. IKARUS also offers lodging packages in Playa del Carmen, as well as daily lessons at their school in Cancun.