KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - PARACAS, PERU
A small seaside town on the edge of a large desert National Park, Paracas' main calling card for kiteboarders looking for good flat water is a large sheltered lagoon that is protected by a headland sticking out into the sea. Situated 250 kilometres south of Lima, the town offers many other great kite spots, including waves further south, there is a choice of accommodation and water sport facilities and the area is blessed with a thermal wind which allows for over 250 kiteable days each year (with wind speeds between 15 - 25 knots).
CAPTION | Find flat water and waves around here / PHOTO | Tom Court
Paracas is a super reliable wind destination, with just few days a year with no wind at all. There is almost always enough wind for kitesurfing. The shallow bay of Santo Domingo is perfect for learners, and there are loads of spots to satisfy even the most experienced kiter. Shallow, flat water close in and a little choppier out in the middle there is endless progression to be had here, whatever your level and you'll find a few spots between Paracas town and the peninsula.
If you're looking for waves then heading south of Paracas should be your plan. For the cleanest, longest waves Zarate is excellent and even produces the odd barrel opportunity! Biggest waves up to two metres are found at Supay and Playon. Keep heading south and things will mellow out a bit more. Just 30 minutes from Paracas is Mendieta, featuring a lagoon called Laguna Grande with lots more flat water.
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER
Peru has gained a reputation as a wind mecca since kiters have been exporing its coast and finding some classic conditions. Paracas backs up the reports with good winds year-round with southerly winds from the left, peaking mid-afternoon. June and July are the weakest links in the chain. October to December is best for waves and you'll probably need a 3/2 wetsuit most of the year (apart from mid-summer) as the water temperatures sit around 16 - 22°C / 61 - 72°F on average. The weather is warm and sunny though; 20+°C being the lowest temperature.
Most beginners will be happy riding on the lagoon which is walking distance from town. If you're a good rider and want to explore the area then hiring a 4x4 is a good idea as the terrain is quite rough and you'll have a great adventure.
Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) - £1 = 4.6PEN, €1 = 3.8PEN, $1 = 2.8PEN
There are a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets from villas to the four and five star hotels located in Paracas Bay, including The Doubletree By Hilton which is a lovely four star hotel situated directly on the kitespot at Paracas Bay. Offering beautiful rooms, the rates are usually very competitive. In addition, the hotel features a range of water sports, a gym, tennis courts, a spa and free WiFi. There are other resorts as well as a backpacker option, too.
Click HERE for shops and schools in Paracas or click on the tab above
FOOD AND DRINK
Paracas has a shop called 'The Mall', where you can find everything you'll need. Choose from a variety of restaurants serving local food to international selections at some of the larger hotel restaurants.
Combine a kitesurfing holiday with some incredible tours, hikes and sightseeing. One of the best known is the Inca Trail, which is Peru's best known hike and takes you up to the historical Machu Picchu. Along the way you'll see a stunning mix of Inca ruins, mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest and rich subtropical jungle. Over 250 species of orchid have been counted in the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, as well as numerous birds such as hummingbirds, waterfowl and the majestic Andean Condor. Peru is also very close to the Galapagos Islands, famous for the home of Charles Darwin, and as a world class dive site.
Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima is the closest airport with direct bus services to Paracas. There is also car hire available at the airport. Paracas is about 250 kilometres south of Lima, which takes about three hours to drive.