The island of San Andres due to its small size and geographic location is definitely one of the lesser known kiting destinations and you might have only come across its name since its wind statistics in December to March are insane; let me tell you, staying during this time and you will be guaranteed to return home with a great smile after your trip.
The island itself is fairly isolated and from a geographical point of view much closer to Costa Rica and Nicaragua as to Colombia. Being isolated, it is spared all the usual problems of the region and as a Colombian promotion says: “the only risk is wanting to stay”; hitch-hiking by one of the vast number of golf carts on this island will be part of your habit to access the various kitespots available on this island. So it can be said the island is very safe, the people are very friendly, the Colombian and Argentinian tourists happily fancy a chat and compared to most other Caribbean islands you will find this place quite inexpensive, even for longer stays.
Despite its small size, the city in the north, el Centro, holds more than 60 thousand people, so if you were worried coming to a small island without any shops and parties you will be surprised by the vast things the island has to offer. So you are guaranteed, even in the odd one day when there is no wind you won't get bored neither during the day nor in the night. You should definitely try the kiting here before everyone finds out about this place!
The best time to be on this island is during the European winter, especially the time between December and mid March will never leave you disappointed (a 80kg rider with 9m and 12m kite can kite >80% of the days). If you are a regular user of windguru it can be said that it works very reliably for this island (the same accounts for the wind statistics), but as the wind in warmer regions is less dense you have to subtract around 2-3 knots from the windguru prediction to obtain the windspeeds you might be used to in colder regions, but no worries the wind is still enough.
The strongest breeze usually comes in the morning, reliably starting around 9am, so if you are here purely for the kiting, skip the party night out and make your way early to the beach. The late risers don't need to be worried, the wind usually blows until the sun goes down, but usually takes a bit of a blip during midday and picks up again in the later afternoon (around 2-3pm).
The best kite sizes to bring for heavy riders 80-90kg are 8-10m for the stronger days and 10-14m for the weaker days, lightweight girls can easily subtract 2m of the above.
80kg rider with 12m kite:
Kitespot Chamey's Nautica
On the east side, you'll find Chamey's Nautica, one of the most popular spots to kitesurf. It is man made, but a paradise: A huge playground with flat to choppy water, and waves further out. At low tide, the water is standing-depth until almost 100m from shore, so a great place for beginners. The kite launch takes a little getting used to (as the beach is only 25m long with palm trees close to the shore), but the locals will happily advise you; and after a couple of days you'll be laughing. The wind here is usually side-onshore and is stronger further out since the beach sits in a slightly protected corner.
If you are a beginner kite lessons are offered for around $120.000 COP (approx 60 USD). The place also holds beach chairs, lounge chairs, a little shop to buy a sandwich and a soda and offers as well rental for kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and many more. A compressor for inflating the kite is also provided, so no pumping required, but be aware if you spend most of your day there (which you most likely will) the owner will charge $10.000 COP (approx 5 USD) for using the chairs, compressor and the remaining facilities.
Kitespot Playa Central (Downtown Beach)
Another very popular kitespot is the main beach in the north, which is usually quite packed with tourists sun bathing, so starting and landing here will sometimes be a bit interesting too, but at least the beach has more depth than Chamey's place. Locals from Lago Calima started offering also kite lessons here during peak season for around $100.000 COP (approx 50 USD).
Despite its popularity (possibly for showing off the tricks to the crowd of tourists and its location) you should be prepared for a mix of boats, jet skis and tourists in the water, it can get crowed from time to time. The water here is fairly choppy and I personally do not recommend this spot for beginners. Nevertheless it is the perfect spot for starting one of the beautiful downwind sessions and it has also a flat water spot close to the hotels.
If you are more into wave riding you have to either ride all the way out to the reef (2-3km) or stick around more in the south of the island, as the outer reef does not protect this region and allows for the swell to come to the shore. The first waves you will usually encounter around Rocky Cay and can pick your preferred spot along the remaining south-east coast. The next larger sandy beach will be in San Luis, further south there is also a shop that offers windsurfing lessons, so I wouldn't be surprised if it is a decent place for wave riding as well. If you feel like a change for once you can also book a boat to Cayo Bolivar (two uninhabited small islands 20km east of San Andres), the boat operator will also happily take your kite equipment.
If you are experienced and confident enough to go 2-3km offshore this is a must do. The normal tourist usually pays for this stunning journey, but it cannot be explained how beautiful it is take this journey with your kite. Starting from the main beach allows you to visit the popular Jonny Cay first, afterwards you can take your kite downwind along the reef over the luminescent turquoise water until an old ship wreck which hit the reef a couple years ago.
The view of the island from this distance is a view most tourists won't get as part of their trip. In addition, you can go further downwind to visit el Acuario and stop afterwards in the mangroves next to the harbour which is in short distance to Chamey's nautica. If you want to stop here you won't be charged the $10.000 COP fee just for landing, but I recommend to continue to go further south past Rocky Cay, after which unprotected of the outer reef you will be able to ride in the waves.
I personally used to stop around San Luis (but you can easily go further south), self-land the kite, pack up, and hitch a free ride with one of the golf carts back to el Centro.
3 Days Wind forecast on Wind Guru
In August 2016 the Blue Almond Hostel adquired a weather station that measures wind speeds in the vicinity of the hostel among other useful data for planning your kitesurfing day.
Unfortunately there's no good way to embed the data from the weather station into a native form in this website, so all the info can be seen on this Website in readable form.
The author of this article initially discovered San Andres in December 2012 with the intention of improving his Spanish and fine tuning his latest kitesurf tricks during the European winter. After having experienced the beauty of this island first hand he happily returned a year later; he spend in total three months over the course of two years in San Andres, of which he stayed for the majority of his time at the Blue Almond Hostel.
He claims that he particularly enjoyed the more homey atmosphere of the hostel, comparable to a shared flat with house mates, which especially made longer stays very pleasant. He is happy to see that the Blue Almond Hostel has started promoting kitesurfing in 2013 as he started donating his well earned money to windguru's advertisement platform, renting out Go Pro Cameras for making stunning videos from your kite and pushing his hot girlfriend Jenniffer to kite surf courses instead of going to a boring gym.
Blue Almond Hostel
Our hostel, the Blue Almond was the 1st hostel open in the Island (OCT 2010), we started with 4 matresses on the floor and currently have 24 bed between privates and dorms; from the begining we knew that wanted to focus on providing budget services for divers, surfers and kitesurfers. 8 years later of fun, great stories, sweat, blood and tears have paid off and our hostel has stayed one of the top raking accomodation in the island. Also we are happy to say that more than 70% of our guest are people that fit our original vision!.
Endless Summer Hostel & Camping
Eyeing an increased interest on kitesurfing In NOV 2017, we decided to rent a property 2 minutes walk away from one of the best places to Kitesurf known as "Chamey Beach", this is a extremely small house with a HUGE frontyard. In this house we will only offer an 8 bed dorm in the main house and we plan to have a couple of tents for the hardcore budget kitesurfers!