PUERTO RICO XtremeBigAir's Xpedition - December 17, 2003  - January 7, 2004
by Kinsley Wong http://XtremeBigAir.com     Upcoming and Other XtremeBigAir Xpeditions.


(Kinsley Wong at Isabella Beach, Punta Sandinaro, Puerto Rico - December 2003)

During the period of December 17, 2003 through January 7, 2004, we visited many well known beaches of Puerto Rico Island as well as some unknown one like Yauca, Tamarindo, Mayaguez, etc... Here you will find our reviews of Puerto Rico beaches for Kiteboarding.

When To Go:
The best time to visit Puerto Rico for waves riding is from December through April. For flat-water is April through August. The wave-sailing season starts off with the Christmas winds in December and tapers off in mid-April. Winds are somewhat inconsistent in the 10- to 25-knot range, blowing side-off to side-on, starboard-tack jumping. The North Atlantic high generates the trade winds that blow during late spring and summer at a steady 12 to 18 knots.

The busy tourist season is between December and April.  During these months Puerto Rico is swamped by visitors and prices are VERY HIGH and accommodations can be hard to find. The best time to avoid the crowds is during the month of May through November, but watch out for huricanes.

We were paying around $85 to $180 per night for 1 room during our Puerto Rico xpedition.   Most of our meals were between $15 to $30 including those at local's favorite restaurants.  Fresh Seafood is very expensive and hard to find here. My best meal was the fresh Conch Curry at Royal Sam restaurant in San Juan.  The island is crowded: more than 4 million people reside in PR.  Car traffic around the San Juan and Ponce area was unbearable!   We got a few days of nowind while we were at Shacks-the NorthWest area and 3 straight no wind days at La Paguera-the South shore while Shacks were blowing 10-20kts.  Needless to say, we ditched the South PR and went back to the NorthWest coast..


Recommended KiteBoarding Locations:

Near San Juan:

In San Juan, the beaches are wide and long with outside barrier reefs, no nasty beach breaks or rocks, lots of beautiful girls in hot bikinis. 
The air temperature is around 88F and water temp is 82F all year round.  The taxi ride from SJU is $16.00 with equipment.

(San Juan beach)
We kited at Ocean Park in San Juan during the first day and the last 4 days of our xpedition.  We stayed at Hosteria Del Mar ($180 per night) which is right on the beach and a block up from Pedro Rodriquez's kite shop: http://www.KiteBoardingPR.com
Contact Pedro if you are going to be kiteboarding in this area.  He can set you up and guide you to all the local accommodations as well as all hot kiting spots in the San Juan area.  As you can see from the picture above, the beach here in Ocean Park is sandy and has no sea urchins.  To get to waves, you have to kite out to the reef about a mile out.

Punta Las Marias:
The Punta Las Marias in the San Juan metro area is one of the best spot in San Juan. East Corner of Park Boulevard about 3 miles west of the airport offers beachfront street parking and easy access to several of Puntas' clean breaks.

Dominoes: has hollow and fast waves.

Puntas Puntas: is the easternmost reef and the most popular.

Caballos: the best big wave break in Puerto Rico, is located off the beach next to the San Juan Airport. Launch near the San Juan Plaza in Isla Verde.

About 2 hours driving to the west coast (more if you get stuck in the traffic) you will find:

Puerto Rico - Northwest Coast

On December 18, 2003 we left San Juan and traveled to the NorthWest coast of Puerto Rico.  Here we checked in to the Ocean Front hotel ($65 per night) at a small town Jobos with its famous Jobos surf beach.  Jobos beach is about 5 minutes by car east of Shacks.  We launched right on the beach in front of Ocean Front hotel and kited there on December 19 with our 12M/16M kite.  There were some places on this beach where we can get in and out without getting trashed by the sea urchins or rocky bottom.  The next day, we booked into the Pelican Reef Apartment with kitchen, etc.. which is next to Ocean Front hotel for $70 a night for the next 7 days.  I enjoyed tremendously the early morning surf sessions by myself at Jobos with headhigh to double overhead everyday.  I even tried my luck fishing of the beach here but did not catch anything big enough for dinner.  Xmas eve at "Happy Bellys", a local bar/restaurant in Jobos was unreal.  By mid night, the bar and street in front of Happy Bellys were jampacked with the locals.  Other than this event, the night life here is very quiet.


(Jobos beach)

IsaBella Beach - Punta Sandinaro:
Gnarly Beach Breaks!  Best sandy beach in the North West coast. 

(Shawn Obrien dropped down on a double overhead wave at Isabella beach)
On December 20, we ventured up the coast from Jobos.  We drove past by Secret Spot beach, Middle Beach, and ended up kiting at Isabella beach, Punta Sandinaro.  Here the beach is a big bay and sandy but it has some of the gnarliest beach breaks.  We were getting double to triple overhead waves and barely made it out alive.  Shawn ripped his kite after crashing on the outer break and I got a big bruise which lasted for weeks on the side of my head from playing too deep in the barrelling inside waves.


(Shacks' launch point)

We then kited at Shacks until December 26. This is really "the expert only kiting spot" when the big waves are pumping. The wave is hollow and pitches over a shallow and sharp coral reef. On a calm day, the reef offers good diving and snorkeling.   There are only a few places here on the beach at Shacks where you can get in and out  without getting trashed by the sea urchins as the beach is full of sea urchins and sharp rocks.  If you are planning to stay at Shacks, contact Anke Kirchner of http://www.soulboarder.de and she can set you up with one of the beach front apartments.  We came back from the South coast on December 28 and stayed at one of the beach front apartments which Anke got for us for only $85. 



Puerto Rico - South Coast

On December 26, we left the Northwest coast and headed south to meet up with our friend Karl Jacob who was there with Real Kiteboarding kite camp.  We were there for 3 days but did not get any wind while the Northwest coast was still blowing like crazy.  During the 3 windless days, we drove everywhere to explore other beaches such as Yauca, Punta Vento, Mayaguez, etc...  Most of these beaches are full of trashes and debris so we were not very keen of kiting there.


(Kinsley Wong at Tamarindo beach at Guanica - Best one for kiteboarding on the south coast)


(Arecibo Radio)

Below are pictures of Yauco beach, Punta Vento, etc.   Most of these beaches are polluted with trashed.  Thanks to our team member Shawn Obrien who fearlessly drove everywhere and test out the beaches...



Climate:  88F Air Temp and 82F Water Temp all year around.

Nightlife: depends on where you are going to be.  Out of San Juan area, night life is very non existent.
         

Accomodation:
Hosteria Del Mar in Ocean Park. 787-727-3302
Pedro Rodriguez in San Juan http://www.KiteBoardingPR.com
Anke Kirchner in the North Coast - Aguadilla email: info@soulboarder.de - website: www.SoulBoarder.de


(Old San Juan)


(Crash Boat Beach near Aguadilla - The best beach for its great visibility water for snorkeling and swimming)


Other important information:

Electricity:
Electricity follows the U.S. standard: 120/240 Volts/60 Cycles.

Entry and Departure Requirements:
Visas: US citizens do not require visas or passports. Canadians need only bring a photo ID.
Citizens of Western European countries, Australia, New Zealand and Japan can take advantage of a US reciprocal visa waiver program if they intend to stay less than 90 days.
Citizens of all other countries require a US visa.

DEPARTURE TAX: There's a US airport departure tax when leaving San Juan, usually prepaid with your airline ticket

Language: English and Spanish

Currency:
The US dollar is the official currency of Puerto Rico. Most hotels, restaurants and taxi services accept traveler’s cheques, which can be cashed at local banks. Most credit cards are accepted and banks offer ATM's as well as cash advances on credit cards. Tipping is normally paid to waiters, taxi drivers, maids and porters at 15%.

Once you leave the cities and touristed areas, it's best to carry cash. The US dollar is sometimes referred to as the peso. Restaurants usually include the service charge in the bill, but if they don't a 15% tip is expected. Some hotels add a 10% service charge, otherwise an equivalent tip is expected. There's a government tax of 7-10% on hotel rooms and some hotels charge an energy surcharge of around 3%.

Health risk: Sunburn, small risk of hepatitis and bilharzia.

Telephone: From North America, dial 1 + 787 + the seven-digit local number.
From elsewhere, dial your country's international direct dialing prefix + 1 + 787 + the seven-digit local number.
In Puerto Rico, just put $.50 in the pay phone and you dial 1 and the US phone number.
Verizonewireless, Cingular, and Tmobile is good here in Puerto Rico.

Internet cafe can be found easily aroun San Juan area.  Playa Bravo surf shop has DSL Internet cafe near Shacks area.

Time: Eastern Time (GMT/UTC minus four hours)

Transportation:

Renting a car is the best way to see the island. International car rental agencies are well represented on the island, and there are plenty of local operators. Your home driving license is valid.

Other Sport Activies:
Windsurfing, Sailing, Scuba Diving, and Fishing!


(Old San Juan)


Other important Web pages:

Anke and Oliver Kirchner - http://www.soulboarder.de/
Kitesurf Puerto Rico  - http://www.kitesurfpr.com
Kiteboarding Puerto Rico - http://www.kiteboardingpr.com
VelaUno - http://www.velauno.com


Shawn, Anke, Kinsley, and Julienne - Shacks Beach - January 2004