Snowkiting in Norway > The Hardangervidda: SPOTS & WIND & TIPS
Were back, back in Norway for some snowkiting action. And I can tell you : After 4 times the Hardangervidda is still as awesome and nice as usual, always full of snow and plenty of wind (for sure this time). It really never gets boring here!! I will explain some of the snowkiting spots along the Hardangervidda in Norway to help you to never miss out on an awesome snowkite session! Or be catch on the other side of the road
In Haugastøl usually, the Snowkite season starts around mid-October and ends somewhere in May. In general October to January is regarded as the low season with less snow and generally more stormy weather than later in the season. We have been here only in March & April. In Norway and in general, in December the days are shorter, so less time to enjoy the snow. February to May is the so said high season. More lighter wind days, but don’t worry – still enough for your tube kite to fly easily And there will be still some storms passing through. Especially this year, more than 50 knots two days a week.. It used to be more sunny in this period on The Hardangervidda and it tends to be more busy with snowkiters coming to explore the biggest mountain plateau in Northern Europe. But that isn’t a problem, it NEVER gets crowded! The Hardangervidda is endless, endless mountains and endless Snowkite possibilities, with around 3422km2 ridable terrain!
Finding wind is not about skills, it’s about the right timing and reading the wind and weather forecasts (oke and sometimes it’s all about luck) :
The most important one is that when the wind is coming from the east there will almost always be more wind the further west that you go. It is not uncommon that there is no wind at Ørteren, Halne and Skulevika. But when you get to Skiftesjøen the wind starts picking up. If there is 5 m/s (18km/h) at Skiftesjøen you will often experience 7-10 m/s (25-35km/h) at Dyranut which is only 2 km away.
When the wind is coming from the west you have a similar effect. (more wind on the east side of the Hardangervidda plateau).
Winds from the north tend to be colder and stronger in the morning. So don’t sleep in when the forecast is northerly.
Winds from the south tend to give snowy weather, so bring good goggles to make the most out of low light conditions. And out of experience I can tell you, you can find sun somewhere, I am sure
Useful links and tips
to be the perfect weather expert of The Hardangervidda:
First of all, download the app. It makes your live way easier around the Hardangervidda. It will send you push messages when the road is closed, when its driving in convoy, also when the road is open in the morning and closed during the day.
It will also show the weather measurements, to choose the right spot.
That’s not all, it also gives you links to the webcams, to see if someone already launches his kite or.. how the view is up there.
Windguru can give you a kind of good direction in what to expect, wind, snow and temperature.
Always ask the locals having any doubt.
Thank the Right diesel, as you might know it can be ery cold (-35 degrees) on the plateau. Make sure you thank the right Petrol (Diesel). The German Petrol is not resistance enough for the cold, in Norway the add some extra to make sure its not freezing. – Just to let you know
You can go snowkiting before the R7 , not in the mountains. A little tip when it I s too windy, snowy and the road is closed. On stormy days the road over the mountain can close due to to much snow and poor visibility.
Being flexible to move around the the best spot of the day will greatly improve your chances of epic snowkite days during your holiday. So come with a car or rent one. Make sure to take a shovel and snowchains, you might need them.
Spots: The Highway 7
So now the important part: the Snowkite spots! There is just one important road you need to know: The Highway 7. That is the only (accessible) road that stretches from Haugastøl over the biggest mountain plateau in Northern Europe, the Hardangervidda in Norway. The drive from Haugastøl, starting on the east side of the plateau to Maurseth on the west side is around 42 km long. 35 km of the 42km offer world class snowkiting spots. It’s hard to miss any.
From haugastol to the end of the hardanggervidda starting with the spots just before the R7 goes into the mountains:
It is the lake 25 kms away from the hotel: Slødtfjorden. (the lake levels are controlled by the hydro company). The ice will be good from December – April. You can go here with South, South East, East and North East. But it will be gusty because of the mountains surrounding the spot.
1km north of Haugastøl towards the Hallingskarvet national park you will find Lillevann. The lake is about 2 square kilometres, so there is plenty of space for many kiters.
The flat lake is perfect for beginners, more experienced riders can explore the terrain towards the Hallingskarvet.. TIP: The walk to Lillevan is about 15 min, but if you are a guest at Haugastøl and the road is closed you can get a free shuttle by snowmobile.
Some private cabins are around the lake, which are not intended to be used as kickers/rails. All wind directions work here except South.
A big lake which is really nice with Westerly and Easterly winds. Nygårdsvannet is located 1 km west of Haugastøl along the Rallarvegen. The only point is that this spot is NOT accessible by car. You can get there by skiing/walking (about 20 mins) or by snowmobile. This spot is often used as a side way when Highway 7 is closed.
*These three spots are a good option if the R7 is closed.
The following spots are just after the R7 goes into the mountains, from Haugastol:
Told to be a secret spot, but almost on the road….. Hard to keep it a secret, I think. Named Ørterdalen, the spot that “always” has wind, even though there is nothing anywhere else in southern Norway, here you will have wind. But, it’s a small spot on a hill/valley and some electricity cables on the bottom. The spot is pretty small (I was actually surprised they called it a “spot”) coming down from Ørteren and down to Slødtfjorden at Haugastøl. You can kite here with East and west winds, the falling winds from the valley. Parking is on the other side of the road. If I had to kite here.. I rather skip and do something else J
Probably the most used and best spot (not in my opinion though), might be because it’s on the beginning of the R7 so easy to get to. (Also the only option to stop if you have to drive in convoy with the snowplow – and the hotels offcourse). It has a flat lake and a hill, you can go far away into the mountains or stay close. Ørteren is labeled as the best snowkite spot in Norway. Might be because the Norwegian championships, World Championships and the Redbull Ragnarok have all been held here. At this Kitespot all the wind directions work, generally there is a lot of snow here and the biggest parking spot. You can kite here with all wind directions. And its suitable for beginners and more advanced. Easy to access the terrain behind.
You can expect some water around the edges of the lake or cracks with ice rocks because, the level of the lake is controlled. It is lowered after the lake has frozen. The part that is unsafe is marked with a fence around so, it’s not a problem to see it (although it’s always really small). It might be a good idea to stay away from this…
Lægreid and Ørteren are are split by the road on the end of the spot. The water level of Lægreid’s is not controlled and a a lot shallower than Ørteren (so it will be one of the first to freeze in the autumn). It’s a bit smaller than Ørteren, but has room enough.
The other side of the road: Lægreid is a great place to start if you want to do longer trips to Tuva, Ustaoset or Geilo. Here the Redbull Ragnarok is held three times behind each other. You can kite here with all wind directions. Parking on the other side of the road.
Fagerheim / Lappestein
Next stop is a great freestyle place between Lappestein and Fagerheim. The best kite spots are found on the lakes ‘Little’ and ‘Store’ Krækkjavann or around the weather station at Lappestein. All directions work, but North west and south west are the best, since the wind will come through the valley. Usually there are three parking areas along the road. A lot of people start here cross-country skiing to their cabins or for a trip with the dogsleds.
Båtstjørn is a lake 1 km west of Fagerheim . You can kite here with any wind direction and with all skill levels,. From beginners on the lake and more experienced on the surrounding terrain.
Halne can be a great spot when the wind is right. That means North West, West , South West, Soputh , South East, East. On the south side of the road the spot consists of the lake (Halnefjorden) and on the other side of the road, the north side some great terrain riding. You can park along the road and at Halne Fjellstue (the lodge), but make sure to ask for permission first. Big mountains on the north side, which tend to make many of the wind directions gusty. Not an easy spot.
A great spot for all kiters, Skulevika is located in a small valley, going east from Skiftesjøen towards Haugastøl. Skulevika is also a great place to start if you want to do trips going south on the plateau. All wind directions are fine. Although the valley is South West – North East so that are the most used wind directions here. Parking directly on the spot. You can also set up on the other side of the road, where some great mountains await you.
In my opinion one of the best! And perfect for beginners on the lake and for the more experienced riders there is a mountain and some terrain around. At Skiftesjøen the lake is shallow, so the ice freezes early, and the rolling hills surrounding the lake are perfect for snowkiting. When the winds are from the east, the wind speed tends to be stronger here and in Dyranut compared to Ørteren and the other spots on the east side of the plateau. You can kite here with all of the wind directions J And the mountain is nice to fly off! J Parking is directly on the spot.
Although you can go with all wind directions to Dyranut, wind coming from the east is really good! This spot looks like Skiftesjøen, also with few rocks around. On the south side of the road there is a small lake perfect for beginners. The north side of the trerrain is more for the experienced riders. There tends to be wind on the ridges in the north than on the lake to the south. If the tourist cabin is open you have to ask for permission to park on the parking spot there. Otherwise park, but completely off the road… the snow trucks are big… Or the village, not in winter time before is a small parking which is more flat and easy to start. You can kite straight down in the valley. (make sure you have enough wind to come back again )
After Dyranut the terrain starts falling towards Eidfjord and the Hardangerfjord. Makes it perfect for some falling wind coming from the east. Along this spots/ places are not to many (or somedays none) parking spaces. There also tends to be less snow than higher up in the mountains/plateau, and a few more rocks sticking out. On a light wind or now wind day it’s definitely worth a drive to look for wind or just to enjoy the scenery!
Have fun and enjoy your snowkiting on the Hardangervidda in Norway!! Hope you guys will have some great days overthere.
Watching Sunset s around the world is boring no – one ever said! What is your next destination?
For the once who do know me or think they know me: I love to travel, love to discover the unknown and go the places I have never been before!
What`s next? That’s the question I always ask myself even if I am far away from home or just home for a few days. There is always something new, unknown, an adventure that needs to be discovered somewhere on earth. Some mountains, fresh tracks or undiscovered paths. The past years, and … I was going to say the purpose changed a bit but that’s not true. So no; it’s still the same; I like to see the country itself and the local environment but the main purpose was and still is the sport (to compete, to train, to progress and to have fun). he past years that became more and more kitesurfing or snowkiting! Chasing the wind and finding the ocean.
What’s your next destination? …Well… I have one or two or… more in mind.
“Some Journeys can only be traveled alone”
It has been a journey that separates my live, sometimes it feels like there is no end to that journey. “Travelling for so long and wondering when you arrive” . The best thing ever happened during that journey is getting to kite. It gave me a whole new purpose, a whole new adventure, something to train for, something to live for – its all about the journey.
The past 5 years of my kiting career I Have been to a lot of countries, some on my own, some with family or friends. Sometimes with the plane and sometimes with the car. Or another vehicle; boat, bus, train, motorbike, tricycle, horse, donkey… everywhere where I can take my boardbags A little change with before, not that much luxury but more off myself, my own road, creating my own new way! Starting from zero.
My first month in Peru – Paracas, part II. More than kiting
Last time, my article was all about the most important activity in Paracas, Peru (and in my life) – Kitesurfing. You know how to get to the kitebeach, the important Windguru facts (how not to miss out on a session or wait for 5 hours on the beach) and you got a short introduction about the kitespot(s) I have seen until so far. If not > findit here! Than off course it`s also important to life, next to kiting you should get somehow to Paracas and stay somewhere. My second priority….Although Paracas isn’t a big town, there are plenty of options and possibilities for everybody and every budget.Just like another important priority for the most people fooooood, available for every budget, if you are a good explorerer. BUT before heading over to food and accomodation, you need to know how to get to Paracas isnt it ?!
Getting there: Lima- Paracas
Comparing with some other countries I have been to, Peru is a super easy country to travel in, even with boardbags and lots of luggage (okay with 95kg you will get some strange faces… where not?!). The first step is coming from Lima (the closest airport where all international flights arrive). There are two easy options, first is a privatecar ride to Paracas, second is the bus to Paracas. Both perfect and easy to do (also with 95kg of kitegear). The employers are actually nice and don’t recommend straight the bigger taxi on the airport but will help you fitting it in the smaller and cheaper ones. (+ 1 for the employees of Greencar on the airport, I paid a reasonable 40 soles). And for the ones who would like to know, Uber is also working here. (just say no on the first price and they will start thinking), but will be more expensive and you never know in what car they are coming.
The first option: Take the bus from Lima (bus station), it’s a three/four hour bus ride depending on traffic. From the airport you can jump into a taxi to the bus station, that will take you something like half an hour. The easiest is to book the bus going to Paracas in advance. At the bus station (no matter how early you are) you can check in your luggage already and tour a bit around before your bus leaves (just make sure you lock your luggage when leaving it behind). There is WIFI on the bus station and a small restaurant to sit. (I also had working WIFI in the bus ). Luggage is very cheap, I took 95 kg extra for 12 euros. It will all go on the scale and you have to pay for it, if it’s not in your free luggage (20 kg). That depends on the bus company and on the bus you will take (note that sometimes there will be in the rules that sports equipment is not accepted, but they will – or they will figure something out for you – next bus ore bys before). More expensive companies are more luxury buses and more luxary seats, you even get a sandwich and a drink on the road :). I took the Cruz del sur (or Peru Bus, also recommended by a local sitting next to me in the plane ) . Just check where the buses are leaving this is different per company. More luxury (10-25 euros a ticket) and more basic (8 euros a ticket). The bus will drop you at the bus station Paracas, there will be friendly staff to help you out. You can walk your way to town – a few 100 meters or take a ride with a taxi (7 soles). Even with your kite gear (with wheels) its walkable, a little work-out. Just to let you know: there are some sand roads to cross.
The second option: From lima, a more expensive, less adventures option, but maybe a more convenient option is a private car ride. Contact your hotel or guesthouse about it. It will be around 160 dollars / 500 soles. This is easier to arrange beforehand than on the airport itself, that will be more expensive. You will drive straight to Paracas in 3- 4 hours.
On the way back you take a taxi-transfer or you can book a bus. Usually they are still available last minute. If you want to be secure, book not the last bus as sometimes they might not ride. And if you want to make sure your luggage will fit: be earlier on the bus station, leave it there and go back to town for a drink or dinner. You have to pay but it’s not that much 1 sole per KG more …but a boardbag on the scale in Peru is not what it look like….. I am not sure but mine is definitely not 7 kg . for 30 soles I took 90kg. (with cruz del sur). The taxi will be ready to take you to the airport from the bus station. Think it’s the first time I didn`t negotiate over the price, it was a really (!) fair price of 30 soles. Even though the driver was a bit scared of seeing me with all my luggage. Not because, he was scared it would not fit in the car, but if he could lift it out of the car… without my help. After I handed the bags, he offered me the driver seat. If you want to communicate the way to the airport, it’s good to speak some Spanish, if you like a quit ride, don’t speak Spanish
Where to stay?
That question might be the most important after all. Don’t worry there are plenty of options! More basic and budget – San Martin, that’s the area around Paracas Town, where usually (more) the locals live. Which is just a few meters walk from the town, read one sandroad down.
For long term this might be the best option, to walk around and just ask if there is a room available by locals (bring google translate – if you don’t speak Spanish). There will be a lot, really! You just have to find it, but while asking you will get there easily. All the locals are ready to help you out. For the best price you might have to do: the say no and walk away trick. Come back later and ask again. Mostly its guesthouses or a room in the property of a local (basic but fine) for around 100-150 dollars a month. Off course for some more you will get more! Usually the second price they give will be a fair one, 1 sole means more for them than for you after all. Just make sure you check the room before taking it. Depending on priority’s: Hot water? WIFI? Shared bathroom? Kitchen? Sheets? Etc.
For short term (or long term but more expensive), you can also stay in Paracas town, which you can find on booking .com, air b&b etcc. These are the more popular hotels and is the more touristic area. Sometimes it’s better not to book straight through Booking.com, airb&b, etc. See my recommendations more later in this article. If you check booking.com you will not always see the cheapest prices, the real availability and the best options. Better is to go there and ask the price. A lot of places to stay are not even on the booking.com websites. The town area will be a bit more noisy because of the road and restaurants, bars.
The other option is stay close to the kitespot but far from everything and everybody else. More expensive but also more luxury. Like the Hitlon hotel or the double tree hotel.
More than enough choice! And if you are a kiter, you don’t have to stay close to the kitespot in the more expensive options. Its more cheaper in Paracas – Sant Martin. The collectivos are really cheap (1 sole), you can walk (35 minutes) or take a taxi (7 soles). There is kitestorage availbale at the beach in one ofthe kiteschools.See my other article about kitesurfing & Paracas.
*. If you stay longer than for a few days, expect some faces with big question marks. What are you doing three months in Peru? …..eeuh kitesurfing….. be aware you open a new world for them, some friendly locals don’t even know that part of Paracas (on windy days).
Hostal Barlovento: A clean, overall quiet (even with firewors around), nice place, managed by a local family. Private room and private bathroom, shared common room with fridge and kitchen (on its way, by writing this). One of the less accommodations with thick concrete walls. The owners are really nice and are introduced by kitesurfing .. not my fault or….. They are used to the sand in the rooms and showers . Hostal Barlovento is situated just above the town, so it’s nice and quiet and a nice playground, some local shops and restaurants around the corner (cheap). Wifi is really good. The hostal is just starting and still improving a lot. Link.https://www.youtube.com/embed/fWO6oN0QBjE?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
Kokopeli Hostal: The place to be? Or not? Opinions are different about this place and that depends all on yourself, what you want and what you like. 75% of the visitors will stay here or start there stay here…a more popular place, a more noisier place (party’s), but with great company from other travelers. A swimming pool, bar and restaurant inside and different options of rooms. They also offer a deal, work in the kokopelli bar and stay for free. Kokopelli is situated on the edge of Paracas Town – straight on the local “beach”. (don’t get over exited, because the kite beach will be nicer to the definition beach.Link
Willy`s House: Managed by another super friendly family, serving breakfast every morning. Willys House has a lot of different options sin rooms and is a really clean place, with a nice shared kitchen. You have private rooms but also the usual hostel options. Its situated just on the main street. But to enter remember to take the back door instead of the front door on the main street (it seems closed that way, but its not). Here as well, the Wi-Fi is really good. Link.
More budget or long term budget
Atenas Backpacker Hospedaje: A big hostel with a lot of room options, and a lot of private rooms. A nice rooftop and good Wi-Fi. A shared kitchen and some hammocks. Located on the main street of Paracas and as they say a few 100 meters from the local “beach”, as far as you can call it beach. They also offer tours at Paracas Backpackers. Link
Local house: the best option for a long term stay or a budget stay. You can find them everywhere. Not directly but by asking around they will pop up everywhere. Book something for the first days and then walk around. Also ask the Hostels, usually they can give you another price as you will find on the internet.
Or off course, Camp: You can park your car, tent or anything where you want to sleep in on the parking lot of the beach for no charge. But there is nothing besides sand and the sea. In Paracas town is a bathroom and there you can take a “shower”for three soles, otherwise find the tas used for watering the public grass .
Close to the kitespot. But more expensice: DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Paracas, & Bamboo Paracas Resort .
Local food & sandwiches , the town Paracas – Sant Martin.
Buying fruits, breads, cookies and sandwiches is really cheap and even cheaper if you choose the right place. Dinner is also cheap if you go out, but there are big differences. Low quality – high price – high quality – high prices –big portions or the other way around. It’s fun to find it out yourself and make your own opinion, I will just share some of my experiences. Since I am not a food guru or fancy -healthy instagram – fitgirl… and just buy the vegatables in the grocerie store and eat the, like they are , you wont find any of these pictures or posts .
In the town Paracas are little shops, which will have fruits, vegetables and other daily things for a fair price. In the streets more up in San Martin its mostly cheaper, but these more hidden. Or in houses or behind windows, or just open when its time to earn. But its worth it to discover these and support the locals. Some days you will hear an annoying voice of a man going around town, or he will wake you up, but note: this can be the fruit or vegetables man, selling fruits from a motorbike. .
Furthermore there are small stands along the water on the seafront, some every day, some just when its crowded like the last stand, just in the weekends (but is selling some nice lunch for take away). Some others are selling juice, ice-cream or sandwiches. These will also drive around in the evenings with all different kind of food. These are good and cheap. Sometimes even better as in the restaurants.
In the streets you will also find windows with sandwiches, cookies, these vary from a price of 1 soles to 4 soles. Usually the simple once are 1 and the once with chicken 4. On the main road there is a woman every morning with egg (1 soles) , avocado (2 soles) , fish, chicken sandwiches and also coffee/tea or soup, a little nice improvised local outside restaurant. In the street behind is also a small window, selling sandwiches with egg and some vegetables inside for 2 soles. Sometimes with spinach … the proof that we at home are not really strange if we eat egg with spinach J
There are wayyyyy more. Above in San Martin are also people selling bread, some stores and some in person on the corner of the street, 5 small breads are 0.50 soles, bigger ones 5 for 1 sole isn’t that bad. Buy your own vegetables in the supermarket and done – no kitchen needed.
Search and you will find. It’s the same, same but different with restaurants for dinner, lunch or breakfast. Look a bit more up into San Martin there you will find local restaurants, well sometimes it’s just local houses or the street, but hey why not? Just walk inn, look around and ask them for something nice. Dinner will be around 8 soles in the streets. Be aware that you can get a whole fish for dinner if not expected You can also go for burgers for 3.5 soles. Down on the seafront are lots of restaurants varying in prices / ask them for the daily menu which is the most value for money (if you do care). Shops up in the streets are usually also the half of the price from the ones down in the seafront.
Recommendations – “places”
Miski, has a lot of different options in food. Big pizza`s and always something to drink. A great place to go for dinner if you want nice scenery, music and other people (mix of tourists and locals).
Arena café, a nice place for breakfast (take the combo deal), lunch, dinner, dessert or just a juice or coffee. – and best WIFI in town, for real! (if you go in the night its equal to the Dutch Wi-Fi!!). A place where usually the tourist come.
Restaurant Paracas, upstairs of the ATM machine. A good restaurant, also selling local food. And a view from above.
Down on the water front you have Local café peru…a super nice small place with friendly owners to go for breakfast. The owners are local and will help you with everything. Next to this place is also a pizza place which ou should try! These two are down in Paracas but al the way on the end past the souvenir shops. The first time I talked about this, people told me there was nothing…. But it turns out there is a lot!
Also the way to the seafront are lots of places, if you want to look in the menu without getting asked inside, go in the night and check the menu when they are closed , come back next day to eat
In the night there will be people sitting on the streets, selling burgers, hotdogs and all kinds of food. This is cheaper than inside the restaurants and sometimes even better. So worth to try it, if you don’t mind joining the local people on a table or eat at the beach
*order food and bring it to the beach to eat. Build a shelter from the boats and enjoy!
Above in San Martin, you get the same but maybe even better. There are a lot of options and cheaper. During the day you want find them but during the night and Peruvian dinner time you will. (some open only after 19:00). Just walk around the streets and find the lights or open doors:
Roys: Chicken place with lost of different choices.
Burgers place, well or the other place. Somme don’t have a name, but the town itself is not that big, go out and explorer! Another tip is to always ask for the menú del día (cheap, fresh).And if there is no TV…. Are you sure it’s a restaurant? .. if you don’t speak Spanish look at the banners or pictures and choose something , they will have rice, chicken and soup everywhere. Also vegetarian dishes they can improvise for you
As in accommodation, dinner and food, there are also big differences in scenery between the road to the kitespot and the living of the local people. The village of Paracas up on the hill is more local, while down to the sea/front are some luxury restaurants, but also some local restaurants, a few hotels, hostels and small shops. The road to the kitespot is full of big houses all with swimming pool and luxury hotels. It’s a nice walk just to watch it all. You will see all the luxury hotels, but no shops or local food things around. All the food, restaurants, shops are located in and around Paracas. Just as the loading poles for your phone… Yes you can charge our phone for free while watching the sea front (or getting asked a hundred times for dinner, but here no is no -I like that!
Some call it time travelling by opening the backdoor of the hostels on the main road. On one side its really nice, concrete, trees, benches, shops and like a real time – 2019. Opening the backdoor will put you 100 years back in time, sand roads, wooden houses but still nice people, shops and nothing to worry about. The streets get watered as well, otherwise it will blow away. And Sunday morning you will see the people picking up all the garbage, I thought all this people where going to church…
That’s the basic area – San Martin around Paracastown you will see some concrete buildings, some wooden buildings, all different. You will hear the phone of the neighbor 8 wooden houses away and it will be always, always sound if they knock on your door, but in reality it`s always on the door of some neighbor. That’s how thin the walls are. The people are nice and friendly, won’t sell you anything in this ere, you actually have to search and go in many times yourself. You will also find a nice soccer area and playground, if you get bored. The beeping taxis you will find everywhere just like the bad sound that always needs to be on loud volume – televisions (while no-one is watching…I still don’t get it). But in the nights it`s nice and super quiet up in San Martin. Even though they are building sometimes the whole night. Paracas Town can be more noisy, that’s where you go for a drink or dinner. San Martin is a great place to stay when you’re staying for long term or want to have more for a small budget.
Photo Credits: Casey from Perukite
To be honest I can’t really answer this question, because I have been kiting every single day…..But from hearing I know there are Sunsets trips and lots of other activities like sandboarding, wakeboarding, SUP, boat trips, trips to the reserve, oasis and more. Also a lot mentioned option is Paragliding (in the morning before the wind starts’. Or play soccer with the locals!! I never go anywhere without kites and soccer ball. It’s a great way to enjoy the no wind days or get to known the local community. I g ot this question a few days ago from a stranger, you have been here long? Well yes. What can I do in Paracas? Euuhm kitesurfing? All but except kitesurfing… Okay, eeuhm well the Nature reserve? You can kite there as well…. Oke sorry I can’t help you out. This means that this place is perfect for kiting, every single day again and again. The only reason why I can’t answer this question, guess there will be more to do seeing all the tour companies.
Think Caley from DEEP – outdoor will be happy to help you with all non – kiting adventures (even in English)
But the best to do here is off course kiting or learn kitesurfing. I have seen a lot of people starting here and riding away, joining on kite-trips or making the first jumps. Peru Kite Paracas will help you reach that goal, be a friend, future family from this kiteboarding community and for sure the: #perukitefamily.
Around Paracas – Peanut butter!
So you are done with the shops in Paracas town? Can’t find the granola for breakfast or the edammer cheese? or still looking for that one jar of Nutella spread or peanut butter? Well, than its really time for a small trip to Pisco- town. Its bigger as Paracas and has several shops and big supermarkets, where you will find yes: real granola, peanut butter and Nutella!!!
For this you should go the the Mega plaza, a big shopping center, there they will have the most choice, but it will be a bit more expensive than the other shops in Pisco. .
For more local groceries and cheaper than in Paracas and cheaper than the mega plaza, go to the Precio Uno – Hiperbodega.
How to get there? Is taking a cap (with a star on the door – shared with locals) for 3 soles to Pisco. Tell the driver to drop you off at the Mercado. The will usually go to the taxi places but if you tell them to drop you off over there they will 99% drop you off in front of the local supermarket. From this supermarket you can also walk to the market , where you will find a looooot of fruits for a really nice price J . From here you can walk to the Mega Plaza (around 15 minutes). To get back to Paracas you have to go to the taxi stand – Colectivo Paracas (close by the market and the local super market). Walk there and ask the locals or take a tricycle which will drop you off at the corner of the street where the taxis wait for you (2 soles). If you use another taxi, you will get there anywhere, but maybe by a free tour through all the streets of Pisco and driving endless around in Paracas to get a full car. The differences in taxi are huge, the same rice …some are really crappy, falling apart and some…. Super nice , offering you the newspaper and letting you choose a cd.
*Tip: use google maps or maps.me offline and don’t walk like the biggest tourist ( as it might be a bit less save and less touristic than Paracas).
Concluding that my first two weeks in Peru are great, also in this part Staying in a nice place, cheap food, great people and nice walks every day. Knowing that there is much more to do than just kiting. Discover some unknown places, beaches and make your own tour through and around Paracas. I was not ready to leave yet.
Buy a local sim- card on the airport (need to do it with a passport) but also there is enough wifi. And good wifi aswell, search and you will find!
Speak Spanish or download it on google translate
Be prepared for cold water showers, even warm can be cold somedays
Be prepared for the beeping taxies: Some days I wish I had something to beep as well, just to let them hear its annoying. But that’s the way they do business. And girls it’s not that they want you and your attention.. by crossing the street its easy they will wait for you in case you need a taxi.. and you can easily cross the street without beeing hit on a busy road.
Be also prepared for some loud Spanish music through the streets and tvs everywhere. (lets say – part of the culture, because nobody would complain, everybody is listening)
My first month in Peru – Paracas, part I. 4 letters , one word:
First of all some GREAT kitesurfing here! My first month, weeks can be ultra-short summarized, into a repeating 4 letters, ONE WORD: kite – kite –kite & kite. Some days with 7m big air wind, some days with 9m (most of them), some 12 m freestyle days and some foiling days with the 11m or 8m (the 18m is not used in the necessary conditions, yet) :).
Second, some great company at the beach by PeruKite – Paracas from Casey & Scott (and off course Memo who is always there on the beach ready – to help launch , land your kite or anything else). They are THE REASON I discovered this spot and made the decision to go here. With a main purpose to kite (more specific: hydrofoiling) and that’s why this article will be more kite related, just in case you’re wondering why the word kite is named that much, a matter of personal priorities! So let`s walk you through kitesurfing in Peru – Paracas and start off with the most important….
Paracas – bay is situated in the end of the nature reserve in the corner (or beginning depends on which way you see it). You will see the flamingos chilling at the end of the spot, the starting point of the nature reserve. Today and at the moment of writing this article I actually saw, while kiting, a turtle popping up a few times :).
There is a wide sandy beach and a sandy/seaweed bottom, nothing to be afraid for, nice and soft. Every afternoon on different times, the wind will be present (at least 100 % in the month I have been here). Some days stronger and earlier, some days later and more weak. Everyday another surprise. The wind will blow from the sand dunes (nature reserve) and is cross shore/slightly offshore (sometimes a bit undecided which of the two directions). That’s no problem and also nothing to be afraid for, because it’s a big bay and if you screw up you will float to the beaches (small) in front of the big houses/hotels and you can always walk back or kite back upwind again. Besides that option the other option is to get rescued with the boat, depending on if you make any contact with the kiteschools or not. I recommend to do so , because they are all really nice, can watch you and will help you on and off the beach. Everybody is super friendly and can explain you the rules of the spot or better the places to be or not to be. The third option is to float more into the open sea, happens if you are really far out. So just don’t. The bay is flat water and shallow a few meters and gets deeper in the middle. It will be more choppy to the middle, but if you search well there are even some small kickers for the left footers. Perfect for beginners until professional. You can kite the whole bay, except for upwind the flamingo chill spot, respect their privacy a little. Kite downwind of the fence and don’t go in the shallow area with the birds.
That’s just one story about Paracas Bay, around the corner there is some more to discover for the adventures kiters. Paracas Bay has some secret nice hidden places. Go on adventure and find these yourself. Be aware of the rules and not kiting all the way upwind (in the nature reserve) and take note of riding with offshore winds. So on light wind days it might be better to stay a bit close to the shore, in case of swimming back.
On the hydrofoil it’s great because within seconds you’re everywhere and you can cross the whole bay without any stones or getting stuck in seaweeds. Just a few jellyfishes waving at you. Some seals, a lot of birds and maybe a lost windsurfer on your way but for the rest its perfect. Also because the wind is offshore the water is nice and flat, even in stronger winds. But the light wind days are magical on a hydrofoil –super flat, the water is more clear and no-one out there!!
Oow and for the ones who are wondering, you can kite in a shorty, or in boardshorts/bikini, if you just want to kite an hour or so. But if you want to kite longer or more close to sunset (or with stronger winds) I recommend a full wetsuit. The water on the edges of the bay can be nice and warm but further out the water is definitely more cold. And remember there can be some jellyfishes around in the deeper area, so a wetsuit or leggings can be more convenient. When there are clouds it`s also more colder than when the sun is out – season depending.
Before we head over to some other important things you should know when coming to Paracas for kiting, I really have to introduce you:PeruKite Paracas. This school is one of the schools at the beach of Paracas bay. Nearly 7 days in a row present on the kitespot. Owned by a true kite couple, two awesome people, Casey & Scott. Forming a team with Memo, born and raised in Paracas, he can tell you all the ins and outs of this place. And, is always ready on the beach launching your kite, landing and helping you out with everything else needed – always and always with a smile! That makes PeruKite a blended Peruvian /British kiteboarding school. So you don`t need to speak Spanish or learn kiteboarding trough Google translate. PeruKite did already exist since 2004 and is reopened a few months ago by Scott & Casey (season of 2018). It’s the white trailer on the beach in the far end corner, the last one of the 4/5 kiteboarding schools present on this spot. With the nicest sign of them all, I promise
Don’t hesitate to walk in and have a look in the tent or trailer, play volleyball or ask them about the kitesurfing, hydrofoiling or about other things than kiting, live in and around Paracas. With experience in teaching and kiteboarding all over the world and now located at the edge of the kitespot and on the edge of the Nature reserve in Paracas they have definitely something to tell. The reason that I name PeruKite is because, they are the reason I found this spot. Never thought I would be kiting on flat water in Peru. We had kind off a facebook – instagram – relationship, known the same people, did the same trips with the same people, but never actually met each other. Without that I believed them that this was a great kitespot, and it really is – no regrets .
The team of Perukite is always ready to help you out reaching your next goal in kitesurfing, if its learning from the very beginning, renting equipment or learning a raily. It doesn’t matter, get to know them and become part of the family. If you hurry up – I will still be here and ready to teach you some kitesurfing, if you’re lucky! Or check out the website for more information : www.perukite.com.
Kite- trips to the nature reserve? – A must DO!
Besides the Paracas Bay spot, there are also options for kite –trips into the Nature Reserve… Well yes kiting in the nature reserve. Sounds a bit strange if you are from Europe, but it’s actually really nice. A 45 minutes car ride into the reserve, to the big lagoon – Laguna Grande*. You don’t specifically need a 4 wheel drive to get their but as it is not along a nice road and kind of in the middle of the dessert it can be easy. The wind tends to be earlier and better on “no wind” or better known as late-light wind days in the Paracas bay. The scenery is super nice, all dunes around and a few fisherman. That’s also a point to think about as there is no cellphone connection if you already bought a local sim-card…otherwise there is no difference (you’re not reachable anyway). So might be a good idea not to go here on your complete own – if you don’t want to stay at the fisherman’s village.
The lake is sandy bottom with some sharp shells, stones around (mainly on the edges) and maybe some stingrays, just that you know. I haven`t touched (or have seen) one while doing a lot of freestyle, crashes and bottom touching the last three times I have been there. But you never know, walk carefully in and out the water or bring shoes. Depending on the tide it can be really flat and shallow on the sides and in the middle a bit more deep. The wind is cross-shore if you start from the sides and it’s a big lagoon so no drifting into open sea. On some parts of the lagoon the wind will be a bit stronger, that’s something to figure out yourself. Don’t forget to enjoy the amazing scenery and visit the fisherman upwind in the lagoon, they will be happy to wave at you.
Than you have another nice spot we discovered in the nature reserve, the closest spot. With some waves coming in on your left food (depending on the tide, swell forecast). Take note that the wind is slightly offshore. But perfect for boosting of the waves! This spots did remind me how I miss the waves if I just kite on flat water. The name of this spot is Playon Beach.
The good thing is there is many, many more to discover!! You will never get bored, wind or no wind, the scenery is amazing
*Perukite can help you organize this trip or they might go there with the kite school and possibly you can join.
*Read the blog from PeruKite about more interesting kite-spots around.
Might be the most important after all. 35 knots session while Windguru looks like this…
18 knots in the gusts.
a sandstorm instead of snowstorm it’s all possible here in Paracas.
Every morning the wind will be north, that’s onshore at the kitespot. But this wind is up and down, not reliable and can drop every second or not. Sometimes it’s a guarantee for a nice show of foilkites dropping and launching, people trying to.. or…. Better wait. In the afternoon the wind is turning to south, that’s the direction you need at this spot. Way more reliable and stable. From this moment the wind is building, one hour/ half an hour and then it will be a bit stable- (direction wise and wind strength wise), than you know which kite to pump (mostly). Usually it will be on his strongest at 15:00 / 16:00 in the afternoon, from 17:00 it will go down a bit, just a bit as I noticed. You can kite until sunset and later, most days. Depending on the “forecast” it can be starting at 11:00 but also at 13:00 or 16:00.. you can add 4 knots on windguru statistics – they say. If the wind is predicted light (or there are clouds in the morning) the wind will start a bit later – 16:00. But if the forecast is predicting 17/18 knots in de gusts, than go to the beach, a big change you can kite at 11or 12 o`clock already. There will be some strong days but also some lighter days, from 12m tube kite until 7m. A small note: always take a look at the sky, clouds mean usually later wind or lighter wind. As soon as the sun comes out the wind will turn and be there.
Use for the turning wind use this linkand for the forecast this link (in case youre desperate to look it up). That’s what I noticed this weeks, sure I haven`t figured out all the details yet. But hey in the first month, no day without wind, no day without kiting! J (and minimum waiting on the beach). Usually if it turns it will build up so you will have a warning sign to get yourself out there and ready for some action on the water!!
Getting there: Paracas – kitebeach
A taxi, a collectivo (mini-van with the locals), rent a bike (or something else you would like to ride), or just take the walk. Let`s start with: The walk back in the afternoon is really nice, you get to enjoy never ending sunsets, these are on the ride sight to see every day again and again and… again. The walk is easy, straight and just follow the water (or walk on the road, beach is nicer). You have to pass a hotel but it’s a matter of friendly greetings and just pass J the walk will take about 40 minutes the first time but once you figured out the shortest way its 30-35 minutes by flipflop. Running is around 12 minutes (it will be around 3 -4 km).
On the other hand a taxi will be 7 soles and a collectivo 1 sole……..they drop you at the Hilton Hotel just a few meters walk from the kitespot. Or even if you ask they bring you all the way to the kitespot. The way back you can find a “beeping” taxi everywhere, if not you’re doing something wrong or good…. (they even beep to the garbage people so…..) . The collectivos will ride until 17:30 (something like that). The staff at the Hilton Hotel will take them back to town after work so you can easily squeeze in. It can`t go wrong, they always turn around at the Hilton (kitebeach) and always go through Paracas town (stopping at the square, but also along the road) to Pisco (next town). Taking your kitegear is no problem at all. If you don’t want to take it ask for storage on the beach at one of the kite schools. Perukite rents also equipment if you didn’t bring your own or the wrong size.
Another option is: taking your longboard for a ride to the beach. The roads to the beach are new and really nice to ride. Leave just before the wind turns and ride back with the wind coming from behind :).
Concluding that Paracas is not letting me down, my first month in Peru is great With lots of kiting , hydrofoiling, big air, freestyle and other fun. Meeting new people, making new friends, seeing new surroundings and kiting in some huge sand dunes in the middle of the dessert – Not leaving this place yet! Maybe I will figure the wind out before I leave .
Choose the right season if you’re coming for kiting – Check the Paracas Page of Perukite.
Learn to fly a kite and if you don`t, you should – Check this link for more information about lessons in Paracas.
Bring small but also the big kites if you want to cover it all.
Start hydrofoiling and get to this awesome place – or learn it here.
Don’t believe Windguru – use it as a guideline.
It is not strange to get a number of a local – taxi driver
AND .. Stay tuned for part II of my first month in Paracas, Peru – more than kiting.
Hydrofoiling Paracas Bay :https://www.youtube.com/embed/Rh2E_cp3nus?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
Did you know? There is a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they are absolutely free! Don`t miss so many of them!! Especially when it’s a sunrise you can watch from the hydrofoil or a sunset you can enjoy riding around on your twintip …… although rigging a kite in the dark might be a little bit too excited, just maybe.
Why? Because, an early or late kite-session is better as no kite-session at all. At least that’s my way of thinking. A lot of times I hear people talking about my life, yes exactly, my life. Quoting them will look like this: “What a live”… And wondering why I am that much on the water and concluding, no job, sponsored –so everything is free and just kiting, kiting and kiting. Well, I truly wish it was like that…. So easy! but no, I also work, study, have family and a lot more sports to practice. Despite that I am also my own coach, trainer, travel -agent, manager, accountant and chef, I also decided to add board and kite repair to the list. And guess what, I am happy to be all in 1, not being dependent of other people and managing my own life. Behind this I am also a normal person who has to pay for living, gear, travels and competitions if I want to go there. Not complaining, I like it, everything I do, every step I take and every goal I reach.
“The fact that you aren`t where you want to be , should be enough motivation”
The fact is finding a way to combine you’re priorities, set your own goals and together with good time management , being effective and efficient will get you there. If you really, really want to. There is always a way and if not, you should create one. You can’t` count on two hands how many sunrises and sunsets I surfed in my life. And you will not know either how many times I surf, work, do exercises and follow classes, all on one day. And sometimes I even close the day with a soccer game or another training. And not a working day of 5 hours…no, just the normal 8 hours everybody does. With all in mind that goal I want to reach, that destination I will go to if your freezing off the water. And if it`s not working, I make it working, talk to people, be creative and most important do it for yourself.
“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going”
Who is that person that Is kiting while you’re sleeping, driving home or works when you’re eating dinner, pumping a kite in the dark or walking into university still barefooted, going for petrol in wetsuit (or shop groceries in …wetsuit) making exams with sand in the eyes, start working 4 o clock in the morning or finish late night.. Following classes in the airplane, learning on the airports (or while waiting for the wind in between heats on a competition) , making assignments in the car, writing a thesis in the train. Is working while your partying. Is skipping family dinners (but always makes up for it when there is no wind!), comes late to parties and still needs to wipe the sand of her feeds before entering. Taking a shower out of a bottle next to the car before heading to work… That person who is preparing meals for three days including lunch and breakfast, to save time and spend it to some more important things – kitesurfing…
“You have to be willing to sacrifice nights out, relationships, time and love, not because you want to, but because party is just another party , but this.. this is everything, this is life!”
BUT, it’s the same person who; is kiting a lot, is having a lot of fun, makes a lot of hours on the water & snow, has a job and is following education. Has a bachelor, a master, almost a post-master and can teach a lot of sports officially. And… is practicing different sports. Sleeps more than 8 hours, spends time with family and walks the dog. Has a lot of social contact all over the world, on the water or trough Skype and social media. Knows a lot about other cultures and appreciates the little things. Who`s that person finishing the kite session when you just start, having the whole place (and best wind) for herself? Is kiting in even no wind? Is traveling again and again? Is skipping winters or finding the best winters somewhere on the world. A person who is enjoying life, has a great family with a lot of support. Is following dreams and goals, a person who is making a foundation for success out of the struggles she went through and will never give that up. A person who is following her own pad, no matter what other people think. Is not accepting life but fighting for it. Because you always have a choice! A girl who never answers here phone or your message straight away, because she is on the water catching a sunset or sunrise.
Well That’s me , that’s my way and that’s my life – no matter the conditions! Just catching more sunsets and sunrises (or.. … do it just for the pictures ) So yes you can say “what a live”, but a live where has been worked for and always will be. Noting comes easy and noting is for free find your way around it and enjoy live!
What’s your way to achieve your goals? What is your mission? What are your goals? What do you want to reach in life? Do you create your own way through live? Where do you go next?
Thanks to Helena for the nice pictures and all the sunsets and sunrises we surfed together in the Philippines, while trying to reach our own goals in kitesurfing.
My road through the Philippines, adventure is the best way to learn! Never ending travels…. ….
The Philippines, my road through the Philippines from Pka to Pka, back to the Netherlands to the Phipinnes to the Snow in France. Something like never ending travels and a lot of fitness /Tetris exercises with a boardbag (or two or three or…). At the moment of writing this (at least starting to write this, probably at the moment you read this, I will be home in Holland again): I am waiting on my flight to Genève Switzerland for some wintersport in France (Val Thorens). The past three months I have been travelling in the Philippines and participating the Philippine kiteboarding tour. Therefore, I will end up with a lot of kites, kite gear, hydrofoil and summer clothes in the snow Who would have thought that! (*from November until the end of March I have been in the Philippines). Going to the Philippines for kitesurfing is guaranteed one big and never ending (travel) adventure! As a lot of you know, I followed the PKA tour and all four the stops this year (or at least three, the way my “planning” started): A little inspired by last year in in the Philippines. I never ever thought I would like it, travelling like this, alone, in a group, island to island but I already decided before heading home, last year: I should do it again. Because the country is great, the people are nice and you can find good kiting conditions (it will take some effort but it is worth it!). Last year in dutch, pka, tablas island :read it here.
The beginning of November 2017 I flew to Manilla, from there to Caticlan , where I had to stay for some days, because of a cancelled flight. I did not really got it, until I saw some people taking a shower on the road. And saw the point even more when I noticed the “airport” on Cuyo: some grass rocks and chickens.. what field? Perfect for the cows in Holland. Check-in story was kind of the same, no wonder I realized some time later, I was already for one hour sitting at the check in desk: a plastic “ garden chair” and table with a written paper: check- in. Walking through the check in line and security a couple of times, fitting more in my boardbag and the calculator will say the truth (everything is possible). Hand luggage is excluded from the calculator (all airlines should do this). Brought by a private bus to the plane, I realized how small it was (note: all the luggage was ending up on the same spot anyway..). However, the waiting was worth it and the flight as well: Check outthe video. And see why my boardbag is a big fan of this airline! https://www.youtube.com/embed/hyBfv0PGhf0?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent A nice flight to a nice Island, although it was my first time going there I wouldn`t regret it. Three weeks on Cuyo until I took a boat, (yes a boat with beds, no seats!) to leave for the first stop of the PKA:read about it here. On Cuyo I learned many of my old tricks again, because end of the season I have not been on the water that much in Holland. They were all a bit disappeared. I even got the change to foil in front of the island. After the competition I went home, back to the Netherlands: why? read it here. For one week of exams and one week of family: Celebrating Christmas. I also had to decide, going back or stay, I didn`t really decided beforehand. If I liked it, if it went well I… well if you read the blogs, I made my decision.
New Year’s Eve I stepped in the plane again and suddenly after some hours of travelling in 2018, I stepped out of the plane in Manilla. From there I was perfectly on time for the second stop, I was going to say read the blog, but well that one disappeared somewhere. I still owe you that one… … About: a rainy chicken night, something with the guards who saved our boardbags to a dry place (while not even staying in that place) and the most adventurous boat ride of our lives (so far) and the longest travel tip (36-hours) of our lives but we made it in one time, without getting stuck somewhere. That’s quit a skill in the Philippines, I think. Being land- sick instead of seasick! Not strange with 50 knots , huge waves and all … well… let’s keep it on moving bags, containers, sliding out of the bed, not able to walk…almost on the point of pumping a kite and leaving the boat conditions Nevertheless, we made it all the way and could start kiting straight away!
The next weeks where about: A lot of kiting, some sea-urchin meetings or some would say sea-urchin city, a bleu feet, some bruises, some scratches, a lot of fun, pancakes, low tide, high tide, a lot of wind, light wind, dinner all together, fiestas, strange food, playing with the kids, playing soccer with the locals! And remembered me how I miss the team sport and the running like a dog behind a ball. (Even though I always bring a soccer ball in my boardbag, just in case, you never know). Above all, three weeks with a lot of FUN, before heading back to Boracay for the third stop of the PKA.
Since I wasn`t planning to stay long on Boracay and didn’t had a plan after, I decided to leave some gear (like a foil) on Cuyo and just come back for a week and from there to the last stop of the pka. Meaning that I had to do the boat ride some more. But worth it? Yes! Luckily I did left some gear on Cuyo, travelling “light” just one boardbag to carry around trough boat, van, tricycle, boat and tricycle. We did stay a week on Boracay with not that much (good) wind. Some sessions I pumped my kite four times on one day, to manage to ride at least an hour.. Other days we did some sightseeing and some beach days! And many more adventures: A room without lock adventure, a room nobody could find, even the neighbors…, swimming above some sea urchins and the reef, finding beaches without people and ” enjoying” the Chinese city Boracay. Buying a Frisbee from the cousin from a cousin from a cousin but not for to less because the commission over the commission over the commission. The competition was about, some waiting days, a lot of rain a lot of different wind directions and strengths, meaning afterwards a day of kite drying in my hotel room… night packing, sorry guys for all the sand and water… With my offer the clean the sand: “ no problem ma’am”. At least I got my flip-flops back from last year, thanks for that! More about the third stop: here!
Time to go back to Cuyo, making it to the boat and meeting the market lady (who was already sleeping for two days at the boat) means a fruit party on the boat. And with 10 knots and flat water, a nice sunset and sunrise, a hammock, some bedtime stories with the kids… it’s not that worse at all!! At that moment, I was still thinking about leaving the Philippines the first of March, but that plan changed, a bit….. Yes, I also participated the fourth stop. So one more time back to Caticlan, one more time that boat trip and a loooooooong bumpy van ride which my food will also remember. And another long boat trip to another van ride, another small boat.. To the last Island. Cagbalete Island. There we were also not that lucky with the wind.. Nevertheless, we had a really nice time on the island, touring around and doing no wind activities! Never expected that it would be fun after last year…. Read the story behind.
After this stop I really had to leave the Philippines, some night- packing-kite-drying (AGAIN!), knowing that it all would be too heavy at the airport anyway. Knowing that I also changed from airline and had to… squeeze in some hand luggage (20kg.. ) and my hand luggage was still empty…NOT. Luckily, I had some hours to arrange that and the ladies of the airport were really nice helping me out. “ Ma`am take a seat, no problem we can arrange something” , “kitesurfing …aaah I see your my idol now” . Might be because I gave all my overweighed food away . But I made it… with almost 30 kg of hand luggage (7 allowed), some (really cheap) cargo and a boardbag who was not fitting in any range of exes luggage but being nice helps sometimes (and saying you’re travelling alone)…. They even fixed me an emergency seat (including the rest of the row)…. Ma’am you like to sit by the emergency? Yes of course…. And so a new adventure starts…..
Second part of the video:https://www.youtube.com/embed/InDGti69Eb4?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
1.You have to travel to get to the best kitespot and the best islands! Small boat, big boat, bigger boat, small plane, big plane, fisherman, waves, storm, more waves, walking, taxi, jeepney, tricycles, porter, locals… in addition always expect some delay or cancelations along the road. Nothing good ever comes easy.
2. Always bring everything, different spots different wind strength. Directions can be on and offshore. Take note off: Beaches, stones, threes, electricity lines, low tide high tide, extra low tide, extra high tide, lot of kiters, no kiters…
3. Locals are always happy to assist. Respect them on and off the water. In addition, the fisherman respect them even more, you might need them for a rescue (at an offshore spot). And if youre “ lucky” they offer you breakfast on the water… fresh sea- urchin.
4. Boat trips are usually waaaaay cheaper than flights, if you travel with kitegear. Tricycles are the best (jeepneys) they can take everything. And if you are really lazy.. for a couple of peso you can hire a porter to carry your gear off and on the boats etc. Don`t expect a European cruise ship.
5. As I said, it might be easy if you are a bit flexible and a good improviser when travelling the Philippines. If you’re not flexible, you will learn along the way. If you’re not creative, the Filipinos will teach you.
6. Internet is usually really cheap in the Philippines; buy a local simcard and some internet data/credits. You can use Facebook messenger, WhatsApp and all your apps without any extra effort. But be prepared, the internet will be slower depending your location. Some islands, you can forget about it or you need to be good enough to find the wifi spot (the location with the best data connection). Also take note of the promised wifi in hotels etc. It’s not Europe.
7. Hot water, is not really common, the well or cold water is! Just like the buckets next to the shower and the toilet. Say what, buckets? Yes. To shower or to flush the toilet. (my biggest learning point in the Philippines). And….. always bring your own toilet paper.
8. Asking the way is also not that easy, Filipino standard is to be friendly and to help even if they do not know the way. Be prepared to help yourself, download maps.me
9. Ants… they are everywhere, latterly everywhere! . The simplest solution is no food… I was supposed to say no open food, but they bite themselves through packages! And on some days there will be a highway of ants in the kitchen or your room.
Another solution is making use of your building skills, a plate with water (so far I know ants don’t swim), a cup in the middle and build your food on the cup.
Another one is the Tupperware, but don’t bring it just buy it… so you can leave it on the airport or make a local Filipino happy with it! Or simply, use deet, they don’t like it.
In addition, it’s a tip for you kite, ants like to go inside, the bladders and bite their way out…. So close your valves after deflating! And don’t leave your kite on the same spot forever, because its windy every day that will be an easy one.
10. When entering the water, kiting or putting your feet on the bottom be aware of: Sea-urchin and reef. Or more realistic in some places sea urgent- city!
Last but not least:
Never give up and enjoy! If it is about travelling with your entire luggage storage or about the kiting and the wind. It will not always be in your favor. Bargaining with a taxi or on the airport or … be creative or learn to be creative! It will help you, believe me
Take a look at part I of my adventures in the philipinnes:link.
At the moment of starting this story, I am enjoying a no internet 12-hour layover in China on my way to the Netherlands (after three flights and still one of 13hours to go….HELPP). Having a nice conversation with another traveler who came from the Philippines just like me. Sharing stories and thoughts, enough to write a book a about, I realize. Not only about the culture, what to do in the Philippines or tips and tricks travelling but more moments, moments to share and moments of thoughts.
A lot of times where I think: “What would I do?”
Every time I come back to the Philippines it feels like coming home. The friendly people and the way of doing. Although I have been two and a half month in The Philippines last year and now one month in the Philippines travelling around, I still have moments I watch with my mouth open and just watch…Not because they do something stupid or something wrong, just a moment of thought and realization, impressed how creative the people are and how happy they are with what they have, so simple and easy. Go with the flow and make something out of it, always with a friendly smile. Think a lot of people can learn from this moments.
An example of my travel conversation buddy at the moment: at the most airports in the Philippines are water stations, hot and cold. Next to it there are kind of cups -like the paper party heads we have. Just like the one on this airport. Perfect for filling your bottle you just made empty for passing the security. Or even to make your breakfast with hot water (Noodles in Philippine language). So: One time this cups were finished and guess what? Nobody was complaining except… expect for that one American guy. The People were making own cups by using the old newspaper even for the hot water it worked out. Making their coffee steering with the plastic, enjoying their coffee. Except for … that one who is not used to start with hat you have and use it`s creativity.
There we go…picked up at the hotel by the taxi driver, the reception takes “on time” pretty serious if it’s about flights and foreigners. 5 minutes before the agreed time the phone rings: Ma`am are you ready? I send someone for the bags… eeuh oke, send someone?!. Before I know I’m outside only carrying my phone. The staff and taxi driver running to get my bags… I didn’t say I was in a rush is it? The taxi driver is really creative and taking his job as a taxi driver serious as well. No-way that I carry the bags (even though I am taller) and no-way it’s going on the roof or on the backseats (than I have to sit next to him, nooo Ma`am than I am not a real taxi driver he smiles). A little creative, he is putting the front seat down and my boardbag is entering the car by the left (yep, the left) front door, some maneuvering and finally lying on the right front seat, like … a king (my boardbag likes travelling trough the Philippines). The big bags are in the trunk, with some effort. But no ma`am take a seat I will do it and he smiles. So I just take a seat, behind him, the way it should be as a real taxi driver.
On the way to the airport, the taxi driver starts a little conversation with me (as everybody here); Where are you going Ma`am? Where are you from Ma `am? How long have you been here in the Philippines Ma`am? And off course what all this bags are about? What’s in the big back Ma `am? So many for a small girl? Really Ma `am? A kitesurfing I see Ma `am.
Yes only for me and yes, I was in the Philippines for one month, having a great time, kitesurfing and competing. And no, I don`t want to go home, it`s nice here. But study…
At the airport, I step out of the car and show him my no need of porter: “bob the builder” skills on the airport trolleys. A little impressed the taxi driver is watching me (thinking how to help me but not getting there). Walking all the way with me to the security gaurds which were off course also watching this show and guess what they will get another show.. 5 big bags trough the x-ray (also called a traffic jam). One of the guards is asking my passport and the other one watching my shoes.. skating ma`am? You are a skater, you have been skating here ma`am? Well I can skate but I was here for kitesurfing. Is there a skateboard in the big bag ma`am? No a kite board sir. A what? Oke I show you a picture. And he smiles, ahh I see ma`am kiteboard but I like your outfit and shoes. If you wear vans you are a skater, I learned. The security guard gives me a little tour through the skate places and downhill tracks in the Philippines. I promise him to bring my skateboard next time, so I can pass trough and the rest of the que as well. Just before the taxi driver leaves me alone (yes he was waiting the whole time to see me pass the security) he says: ‘don’t be a stranger and come back one day ma’am’. Now he impressed me… with this sentence in mind I will leave the Philippines for now (after all the airport and check in fun which I will tell you another time).
The last month has been great! Meeting- up with a lot of people again, meeting a lot of new people, all even friendly and polite. Kiting on great spots and competing together. It’s not too often that I return for such a long time to one place again and again. Every time I leave the Philippines, I start comparing, but in the Philippines they…the layovers, the people in the plane, everything, it’s just different.
…The plane is still moving on its way to the gate, the seatbelt sing is on and the purser just told us: stay seated while we are remaining to the gate”. Yes, people this doesn’t mean to click your seatbelt and jump out of your chair (like always). But congrats you’re the first one standing and ready to get your bags and standing as first one in front of a closed door of the aircraft. This means.. well I think the purser was clear. I always like the part , the taxing part of the airplane Your home but not really yet, a free tour around the airport. Meanwhile enjoying the show every time over again and again, people puzzling their selves closely together in the path, grabbing bags, jumping on each other’s toes. Seems almost they haven`t been sitting so close together the last 13 hours is it? However looks always funny. Finally after all the cuddling the crowd start moving, the only thing I can think of is see you at the baggage belt again, waiting.
Walking to the passport control, I get hit by different trolleys and people running around to get in front… seriously? You still have to wait at the baggage belt, take it easy… Not even a sorry, but just a face that looks like it’s your fault that it is taking so long…
At the baggage belt, we meet again. It is taking too long, where is my bag? Yes, back to reality. The only difference is, you are waiting and I am just grabbing my bags that almost go for a second round on the baggage belt. Maybe it`s called Karma, but I like it.
Next stop: special luggage. There is a few people waiting…. And I am just waiting for them to start complaining again. It`s 5 o clock in the morning, you’re a few minutes out of the plane, where do you need to go? …And once again my boardbag is the first arriving. No, I am not complaining, only thinking about the security guys checking out my Instagram, telling me about the skateboarding and the whole que watching with them, nobody complaining, no rush, no unfriendly faces…
Yihaaaaa…I am back, back in Holland. The world of deadlines, rush, rules and no patient. But also the world of nice food, snow, rain, sun, iceskating, cold, regulations, good organization and family & friends. Nothing wrong with being home, it`s just different. And no, I have nothing to complain … Just digging out my boardbag for some warm clothes before going outside… Let it snow!
“Don’t be a stranger and come back one day ma’am”… … That one day might be sooner than he thinks….