Bahia Salinas, Costa Rica Dec/Jan 2017

Want to plan a kiting trip? Just got back from one? Post you experiences, questions and information here.
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Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:20 am

Bahia Salinas, Costa Rica Dec/Jan 2017

Post by edented » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:53 am

This was my first kite trip.
I had read that this location would have strong wind every day, though it would be gusty. Sign me up!

Southwest flies to Liberia from LAX. I had no issues with bags, though when asked... snowboard gear or golf.

Research - there are only a couple of places to stay, so decided to meet up with a friend to share a room at Kiteboarding Costa Rica ( They have a few options for accommodation, and definitely book early for peak weeks. Their website has the info on getting there, so I won’t repeat. They arranged for a taxi to meet me at Liberia airport ($95 ~ 1.25 hrs).
Their Cabina rooms have a small kitchenette, bathroom, thin mattress beds, and a hammock on the porch overlooking the bay. We generally left our kite gear out on the porch and it was safe.

There is no town/general store in the immediate vicinity, so I would recommend bringing some essentials for a day or two until you can get to the nearest town for groceries - La Cruz, which is about 20-30 minutes down the bumpy dirt road. If you don’t have a car or hitch a ride with other guests, taxi is $20 each way. The tap water is drinkable, which is a relief from having to carry lots of water. They do have a restaurant, so you won’t starve. Prices are about $10-15 for a meal. Drinks are about $3. They don’t open early for breakfast. I’m not a huge fan of the italian coffee expresso maker thing, so would bring an aeropress next time, and an inflatable pillow as their bedding is…

There is a decent pizza place about a mile away. Wait times can be excruciating if they have a large party. $10 for a small pizza that will easily feed 2 people. I hear the blue dream restaurant is good, but never made it that far.

There is basically nothing for non kiters to do. There is a nice pool, but it’s generally windy and not particularly warm. It's perfect splash around in after a day in saltwater. There is a shower to rinse yourself and your gear. Internet is through cellular mobile hotspot and often maxed out. It’s not really good enough to do any serious work - better than nothing …when it's better than nothing. 6am seemed most reliable, or standing by the restaurant or down at the kite house. If you need it and you can bring your own, do! I was on vacation so great excuse to not check email.

From the cabinas, it’s a short 5 minute downhill walk to the launch spot (1 minute if you’re in the kite bunkhouse), and nice to be able to go back to your room if you forgot something, or to take an extended lunch break. The other kite hotels have to shuttle their guests to the beach. The beach has a lot of small rocks that can be rough on the feet, but there are plenty of areas of sand. Dodge the washed up blowfish! I hear there are rays, so shuffling your feet is recommended in the sandy areas, but I didn’t hear of anyone getting stung during my stay. 'Poisonous snake season' wasn't on, and supposedly their mouths are too small to bite you anyway. Never saw any.

The wind. (Finally!)
There isn’t a wind sensor for the beach, so everything is estimated. Windguru generally shows the speed at about 18 with gusts up to 25 on the weak days, and 30 to 44 on the high wind days. windy (app) shows similar. I’m not sure where those numbers come from as it didn’t really line up.

Apparently it’s been a very strange wind pattern this 2017 winter/spring. YMMV. Normally it’s the dry season with brown landscape is brown and blue skies, however it had been cloudy and raining off and on for the entire month, and the wind was more of a tease. There were a few disappointed people who had been stranded waiting days for the wind to deliver. I hear there are also days that are simply too windy, and the school has rentals all the way down to 4m.

I got lucky and was able to ride at least a little 8 of 8 days (one day was only a 30 minute session, and a group of us took one day off to explore adventure park for some other activities - recommended). If I had known better, I would have brought a full quiver 7, 9, 11or12. I’m not interested in going out with smaller than 7m (I’m 175lbs with 2011 Naish Park that spills a lot of wind). There were plenty of times I was sitting on the beach waiting for the wind to come back up enough to use the 9m. 11 or 12m would have made for more fun during the lighter hours, and there were a few 14m kite sessions that some people had.

One nice thing is you can leave your kites pumped up on the beach and walk or ride away for a few hours, or stop back to switch kites. It never got very crowded with kites on the beach or on the water. High tide makes the beach a little short, but it's a long beach. The other kite hotels/schools are further up the beach. There is an island about a mile out, where the wind is a bit stronger and steadier, with more consistent roller chop. The chop on the inside is pretty chaotic, but there is a reef upwind that offers a pretty good area of relative flat (not butter flat)

Example days:
Wind is stronger and gustier in the morning - head out at 9:30am Wind is medium strong for 9m, with gusts and lulls. I would be mowing/cruising on the 9m, then powered up (occasionally accessing depower), and then hit with a sudden drop of wind to 11mph having to work the kite. It seems to even out around 10:30, and then fade off around 12:30. You end up trying to time the gusts to jump. There were a few solid/steady sessions, as well as a couple of mornings of extremely punchy gusty winds coupled with near die offs, and moments of sheer terror as the wind would pump up to sketch levels (sit down, kite to 3 o’clock and plow for a few seconds until it mellowed out).
The wind usually came back in the afternoon for a more steady though light wind session. If nothing else, I learned to work the extreme limits of my kite.

Sun is stronger towards the equator. I usually wear a full suit, but picked up a cheap shorty and a 1 mil top for the trip. The water isn’t particularly warm, so I was glad for the warmth and sun protection. Some people were out with just boardshorts. I discovered after the fact that sunscreen on your legs can get blasted off by spray. I earned spray shaped sunburns on my shins. The waxy zinc sunscreen i added to my legs seemed to help after the fact, and i got over any vanity issues of having a glowing white nose. (hey- i don’t have to look at me). Bring aloe!

The best part of the whole experience was meeting some great people who made it a fantastic trip regardless of my expectations/hopes for the wind. The world gets a little smaller!

Bahia Salinas Costa Rica launch area panorama
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Bahia Salinas Costa Rica beach panorama
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Bahia Salinas Costa Rica island
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Bahia Salinas Costa Rica launch area high tide
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Bahia Salinas Costa Rica KCR Cabina Porch panorama
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Bahia Salinas Costa Rica Rainbow
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KCR Cabina pool from above
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KCR Cabina to restaurant
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Re: Bahia Salinas, Costa Rica Dec/Jan 2017

Post by Kyle » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:28 am

awesome report, thanks for sharing! glad you had a fun trip, see you at Coyote sometime!

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