in Costa Rica
Defying the waves with the blowing of the wind
Costa Rica’s weather is controlled by the east-west trade winds which blow strongest and steadiest from december through may. This is the main season for wind sports. From april to november, it is still possible to practice these sports though most of the schools and rental operations are closed.
Kitesurfing really came into the public eye at the beginning of this century. The sport utilizes a kite, foil or inflatable, and a board either similar in shape to a wakeboard, or a smaller surf board. Requiring a mixture of skills required in powerkite flying, surfing and wakeboarding where the kiter is attached to the kite by means of a special harness. Kitesurfing can be learnt quickly and due to huge improvements in the safety side of the equipment the sport is far safer than when it started.
Due to the importance of the wind direction relative to the shoreline kitesurfing can only be safely practiced in a small number of beaches in Costa Rica. On Lake Arenal, an enclosed body of water, you can rent the latest equipment and receive classes taught by experienced instructors. The same can be said in Bahia Salinas an enclosed bay close to the border with Nicaragua, where the wind blows on-shore. There are other beaches, especially on the Nicoya peninsula, where, depending upon the local weather conditions you can kite in on shore conditions though there are no schools or rentals available.
Depending upon the wind strength it really is a sport for the whole family. Kids as young as 8 years old can, given the right equipment for their size and strength learn quickly. Lake Arenal is a windsurfer’s paradise with the months of December through March regularly having wind speeds between 20mph-30mph, which is perfect for more experienced sailors, though with the newest equipment it is still possible to learn.
March and April sees the wind dropping, at times, and families can spend a day, or more, at the lake having fun and improving their skills. Windsurfing is also possible at Bahia Salinas though very little rental equipment is available. The hotel Four Seasons on the Papagayo Peninsular also has some beginner, family oriented, equipment for its guests. Windsurfing can also be combined, in light wind, with SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) as many of the newer SUP boards also allow a windsurf sail to be easily attached to the board.
Costa Rica's best places for wind sports
On the map you'll find Costa Rica's tourism regions, where you can participate in these activities. For more information on any of these activities, contact your travel agent or hotel.