Bahia Salinas / Playa Copal Kitesurfing in Guanacaste
|Bahia Salinas Resources|
Bahia Salinas, Playa Copal, and Bolaños Bay are all together our favorite kitesurfing spot in Costa Rica. The wind is side on shore and good from November to May, although strongest from December through March.
The bay has incredible sea life including dolphins, tuna, sea turtles, and the occasional whale – an incredible view for anyone on a kiteboard. Bahia Salinas is the northernmost bay on the Costa Rican Pacific Coast, in Guanacaste (see map on the left). The northern part of the bay is actually part of Nicaragua, but the southern part of the bay with on-shore winds at Playa Copal and Bolaños island is in Costa Rican territory and where you want to be.
Kiteboarding in Bahia Salinas
There are no buildings or structures actually on the beach here but two shaded areas are available for some rest, sharing, and hanging out with local riders and kitesurf instructors. Raw shade under the trees mostly, though there’s sometimes a bit more setup with some hammocks, canvas for shading, and more. You can launch up and down the crescent-shaped beach, though most beginners will want to launch at the top of the bay so the waves and wind carry you to the bottom of the bay in case the upwind isn’t quite working yet. It’s a great place to learn, just get ready to walk the beach for a while until you learn to get upwind. Remember, there’s no water or food on the beach, so be sure to bring your own or arrange for the hotel to bring some.
The beach is long, rocky (bring some sand shoes if you’re not always upwind), and beautiful. You’ll see different wildlife including sea turtles nesting, lizards, and wild kitesurfers. You’ll get some choppy waves in high wind near the beach and 4-6 foot waves without a break further out. There’s about 5 or 6 hundred feet of flat water at the reef perfect for wakestyle and some old school jumping, including a sand/rockbar visible in low tide which is great for experienced kiteboarders. Take a look at some of the jumping videos below to get an idea.
If you launch from Playa Copal it’ll take you about 5-8 minutes kiting to get to the island a mile away. You’ll need to plan ahead, but can rent a boat if non-kiters want to come along to the island. It’s definitely worth the trip. Turquoise flat water at the island for incredible scenery and photography. No fresh water though, so come prepared if you want to hang around. If you’re kiting you can easily make your way there and back throughout the day, provided the wind keeps up. It’s a trip worth doing and a recommended spot.
The table below is typically a good indication of how the wind will be on site. If you see wind indicated over 8 knots and it’s coming from North, Northeast, or East add 25% to the forecast since the thermals on the way down from La Cruz will really boost the wind.
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