Playa del Carmen Kiteboarding
In January, I had the pleasure of traveling to Playa del Carmen, Mexico to visit friends and go kiteboarding. The trip was relatively short (only 5 days), but it made me fall in love with the spot.
Getting to Playa del Carmen was relatively straight forward. We flew into the Cancun airport as it is only about 60 minutes away from Playa. Once out of the airport, we went directly to the highway that led straight into Playa del Carmen.
The first time navigating a series of narrow, one way roads after a day of traveling turned out to be less than enjoyable. We soon figured out our way after several trips through town and more than one attempt at asking for directions (note to self, when you ask someone to speak slowly, chances are that they will only speak louder!). We were staying with our friends Carine and Stephan in Playacar and arriving was a welcome relief!
The wind there was amazing! It was there from the time we woke up until we went decided we didn’t want anymore! We rode in the Playacar (hotel) district in front of The Reef hotel and
Playakite school. The spot was really nice. It is a deep water area. Once you get into the water, it gets deep immediately, so you will need to be comfortable in deep water. There are plenty of people close to shore and in swim areas, but once you are 50-100 feet out, the ocean is all yours! The water clarity while we were there was not great, but only because it had been windy for several days. Still, the water was a beautiful shade of blue and it was amazing to kite there.
Since we didn’t bring our gear, we rode the F-1 Bandit kites and the Nobile boards that they had at the school. It was my first time riding the F-1 kites and I really liked them. The kites
had a lot of power and took the lulls and gusts very well. Jumping on this kite was a lot of fun as they give you a lot of hang time and your landings are super soft. I didn’t unhook on the kites as I was lit the entire time on the 10! My only critique of the kites would have been the bar. It had an above the bar trim system, but it was a pressure cleat instead of a strap. The Nobile boards I rode were very comparable to Shinn (Big surprise since Mark Shinn designed for them for so long). The boards had a lot of flex without sacrificing the
pop and the pads/straps were comfortable (which was great as I think I am spoiled by the memory foam padded Shinn straps).
Bruno (Playakite Kiteboarding School) and his staff at the school were amazing. The school also has a dive shop and school and seems perfectly suited for the area! If you head to the spot and the wind skunks you, take a dive with them! They are great people!
Off of the beach, Playa del Carmen was amazing. Despite being a tourist town, it still had a laid back, relaxed feel. We alternated between eating in the more expensive restaurants and traveling off the beaten path to a few local hot spots. I can proudly say I didn’t get sick until the last day (and it was my own fault!).
On one of the days, we traveled down to Tulum to see the ruins. It was a beautiful place and the ruins overlook the ocean. There are stairs where you can travel down to the small beach and it is something you might imagine in a movie! Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the small town until after dark (and really only just to drive through). It had a much different vibe than Playa del Carmen. Small
hotels and bed and breakfasts, spas and even some back packer spots gave it the “hippy”, “green” feeling that you would expect out of a
beach town. It will definitely be a spot that I will spend more time in next time I am in Mexico.
If Central America or Mexico are in your plans, I would definitely make a stop here. With Isla Blanca (a flat water spot near Cancun), Tulum and the ruins, the reef and the Cenotes closeby for no wind days, it seemed like an idyllic place to visit (or live!).