Olivier and Sigo are back from a kite trip in Colombia, very enthusiastic.
Here’s the report of this trip in Santa Veronica at Casa Aguavela, a guest house run by Philippe Roche. Philippe a long-standing buddy, thrown me on kitesurfing in the 90’s…Epic time ! I met his partner Jean Jacques windsurfing at Shacks, Puerto Rico. These two dudes are always in the good plans before the crowds.
Sigo and I were excited to do this trip even more because last year we had to cancel because of my injury in snowkiting, and we needed to leave, our last trip was in Mauritius, 2012 August! I actually read an article by Bastien Bollard about Santa Veronica, then it is by chance on a forum that I met Philippe, a French who bought a house with his partner there, few years ago, and recently rent 4-5 rooms, serving breakfast (25 euros / person). I take this opportunity to thank him and Jean-Jacques for all their guidance, kindness, and it is indeed a pleasure to see the feed Casa Agua Vela facebook page with pictures.
After our trip to Vietnam with Richard, we were looking for a similar destination, on a friendly and unfrequented spot (max. we were ten to sail, a luxury), with insured wind and waves without the disadvantages of those that break on the rocks, corals, sea urchins etc…
To be safe, in case of gear destruction, we went with a double quiver (two 6m and 9m ² + twintip and surf ). I had renewed our kites just before departure, without selling the old ones. I brought some repair equipement.
To reach this piece of Caribbean (Prefer Cartagena airport, otherwise Barranquilla), we must admit that it is a little obstacle course, impossible to do less than 2 connecting flight, we usually pass through Madrid, Miami, Bogota … the ticket is around 800-1000 euros, no visa required. The transfer from the airport to Santa Veronica needs 1h. It was our black dot, especially to come back at the end of the trip… we had to apply the emergency B plan (bus and taxi), we worked up quite a sweat, adding customs where they took their time to search our hand luggage in every corner.
During the two weeks, the wind was a metronome, starting to blow from 10-11am to 5-6pm, more regular around 4pm. We used small kites in 95% of sessions. About the waves, we enjoyed a smaller wave time, perfect to rest a bit before the 3 m swell at the end of the journey.
The Casa has a perfect point view on the bay of Santa Veronica (long 3 to 5 km), walking in the bay you will choose your peak. The best one is the Olas Inn, glassy and smooth at 1h walking or 10 min in a downwind.
As I had imagined, Sigo could train safe, strapless (I will have to think about taking a second surf because now, she’s addicted) in water around 27 ° C. The last day, beacause of a dammaged leading edge valve, I had to tow her kite between two big series…lucky.
The climate is quite dry and hot, the temperature is around 30 ° C, in short it is when you bathe. La nuit la chaleur reste quand même, on apprécie la brise marine, et la moustiquaire est recommandée car il traîne comme de petits moustiques très voraces et quasi inaudibles. At night the heat remains the same, the sea breeze is much appreciated, and the net is recommended because of small and inaudible voracious mosquitoes.
The morning was about to idleness, no need to rush, just waiting for sailing conditions pm. Relaxation, gym, bath, photos… Before the wind the srong wind, we could see flying pelicans in ras-mound a few inches of water, or birds of prey soaring above the beautiful cliff behind the casa. It was our hyperactive pause, we were pleased that the internet connection is low flow, to really make a break and enjoy our holiday, get into the rythm, lulled by the local music as the vallenato and cumbia .
At noon, we could use the kitchen to cook something, a nearby tienda allowed to refuel. In the morning we use to eat a solid breakfast, usually some fruits and bread brioche… kind enough for us. In the evening it is better to book a restaurant, the menu is chicken (el pollo!) or fish (from the top Martha on the playa) and few cooked vegetables. Not a gastronomy land… it is often fried food, around 4-8 euros for a meal, beer under 1 euro.
Once a week Edith organize a dinner at the Casa, it’s a real treat !
About security, since 2004 it’s better. Avoid the borders with Venezuela and Panama.
During our short breaks, we got off the beaten track, come face to face with the military, who explained that we need a permission to go on, we have simply bypassed their camp to reach our point of view. Another detail surprised me, at the entrance of a shopping center, a logo to forbid the acces with a gun. Apply basic rules : no valuables objects …
We recommend the city of Cartagena (1 day is enough), with its colorful facades, the photographer is having a field day. If you stay longer, go for a ride in Tayrona Park or make a stop in Bogota, where it is cooler. The weekend is pretty festive, Colombians bring out huge sound systems in the streets, full swing until the night, dancing or playing pool, even in the villages.
No need to search other spots around, it’s flat and not worth it.
Other pics of the spots around Santa Veronica.
Better than words, here’s a little video of Olivier and Sigo’s trip.
If you want to book a room at Casa Agua Vela, Santa Veronica, drop a mail to Philippe : firstname.lastname@example.org
This article in French :
An other point of view from Arnone Project :