Amid the turmoil of Venuezuela's political situation in Caracas and despite the huge warning of the US Government regarding traveling to Venuezuela, without experiencing any problems or flight delays, I arrived to El Yaque Beach in Margarita Island of Venuezuela in late afternoon of December 24, 2002.
During the winter months of the last four years, I tried to avoid the cold windless California weather and went on many expeditions in search of a warm windy tropical place with steady breeze. From Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, New Zealand, over to Belize, Barbados, and the far east Bali-Indonesia: I found many great places for scubadiving, paragliding, and surfing but really no great places for kiteboarding yet. This year, I finally found a tropical paradise for kiteboarding where the wind blows consistantly everyday: Isla de Coche off the coast of Margarita Island in Venuezuela for the winter months.
After a 10 minutes taxi from Porlamar airport of Margarita Island, I arrived at around 4 p.m. on December 24, 2002 at El Yaque Beach Hotel. Check-In business can wait for later, I told myself as I zipped out my 12M kite from my board bag. I managed to catch a great 2 hours kiteboarding session before the sunset. What a great way to refresh after those long boring flights. The next morning, Xmas day, the wind was already blowing around 7 a.m. when I peaked out my bedroom window. I pumped up my 16M and went out for an early morning session.
Later on that day, a bit after breakfast I met Luis, a local rider, who has invited me to join him and his crew for xmas day dowwind kite session to Isla de Coche. We agreed to leave El Yaque beach around noon and Luis left to El Yaque Paradise Hotel: to arrange for our return boat from Coche Island to El Yaque ($8000 Bolivars: about $5US). Everyone was on 12M kites. Coche Island is 12Km from El Yaque beach. Five of us cruised out and downwinded to Coche Island 40 minutes later.
Video Clips of Kinsley Wong kiting at Isla de Coche and Los Roques
(la Punta of Isla de Coche, simply the best flat water kiting in the world!)We arrived to La Punta (The Last Point beach of Coche Island about 3KM long with white sand) where the wind blows offshore (a normal direction) and the aquamarine water is always flat. I have never kited in such a beautiful place like at La Punta of Isla de Coche! We kited past sunset and hopped on the ferry and went back to El Yaque, all stoked for the day.
(Patrizia, Kinsley and Shawn)The next few days I kited at El Yaque and waited for my buddy Shawn Obrien to arrive from the US. El Yaque beach is a place where the wind blows sideshore on port tack. El Yaque beach is a great place for windsurfers but not for kitersurfers: The wind is gusty at El Yaque, plus you have to take boat rides up to kitebeach ($1 to $2US per ride). There is a very SMALL section of the beach (50M or less) where you can launch and land your kite but it is right behind a big cliff. Definitely, El Yaque Beach is not on my list for favorite kiteboarding place. It sorta reminded me of kiteboarding in Barbados.
(Kinsley ThomasWong sunset kiting at Punta Playa of Isla de Coche)While waiting for Shawn to arrive to El Yaque, I was lucky to got in touch with Victor Martin, the owner of Hotel Coche Speed Paradise/WindSurfing Paradise/El Yaque Paradise, whom I met last July in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Many Thanks to Victor, his family and the staff at Hotel Coche Paradise for taken great care of me.
(La Punta Playa of Isla de Coche and Victor Martin at Los Roques)Kiteboarding at Isla de Coche is unreal. Everyday, I start kiting with my 12M kite around 10 a.m. and rest for lunch then kite again until past sunset. With the super flat water, I was able to tune in my bigairs techniques as well as working on those blindside moves.
Then on January 6, 2003, 15 of us: Belgium, English, German, French, Venuezuela, American kiteboarders, we left Isla de Coche and went to visit Venuezuela's most beautiful Archipelago National Park Los Roques. Los Roques island has beautiful fine white coral sand and crystal clear water.
(Los Roques can be seen on the background Kiteport beach)We kited in superflat crystal clear aquamarine water and watched many big fish scattered all over the places right under our board.
On the morning of January 7, 2003, we went fishing early in the morning and caught a few wahoos. At noon, those fresh wahoos made great sashimi for our lunch with champagne. I went out snorkling around the reef and saw big brain corals steaming with many colorful fish. Then we kited all over with our boats following us downwind.
We were jumping over little coral sand bar in the middle of nowhere in the ocean and rode some shoulder high waves on the coral reef. It was so comical to see a few kiters got stuck and smashed on the sand bar as they tried to jump over it. My board took in some dents as I tried to save Luis's board. Luis and oher riders got pretty trashed on the reef from riding the waves too close on the inside. Later on that afternoon, we boarded the plane and flew back to El Yaque. It was a short trip but sure was great fun.
Some of my fondest memories of my trip to Venuezuela were:
*Chatting with all the staff at Hotel Coche as I tried to learn spanish.
*Kiting at sunset at Isla de Coche Punta Playa. Just pure fun cruising right on the beach in super flat water and watch the colorful sunset. Fiji and Coche definitely has some of the most vibrant and beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my life.
*ATV around Isla de Coche: the rock formation of the back side of Isla de Coche is very impressive.
*2003 New Year Celebration: so much fun.
*Los Roques Trip.
*EVERYONE I MET on the TRIP was so nice to me!
How to get to Isla de Coche:
American Airlines flies to Caracas. Then from Caracas, through www.Aeropostal.com, you flight the domestic flights with Aeropostal to PORLAMAR (About $120US for a roundtrip from Caracas to Porlamar). Once you arrived to Caracas International airport, you exchange money and get a roll cart for $2000 Bolivar and take your luggages to the domestic airport where Aeropostal will fly you to Porlamar. The Domestic Airport is a short walk on the left side as you walk outside of the International Airport.
Once you arrived to Porlamar, you take a 10 minutes taxi ride ($10US) to El Yaque beach and check into El Yaque Paradise Hotel.
At El Yaque Paradise Hotel, you can buy Ferry tickets ($8000 Bolivars) to Coche Island and Back.
How to get to Los Roques:
From either Caracas or Porlamar, you flight with Aeropostal to Los Roques.
Things you wants to do, once you get there:
El Yaque: Eat Empanadas, Drink Coco Locos.
Los Roques: Kiteboarding, Fishing, Surfing, Scubadiving, or Snorkeling, Eat fresh fish ceviche.
Isla De Coche: Kiteboarding at Punta Playa, Take an ATV ride tour of Coche mini canyon, Eat fresh Oysters/scallops (Felippe with the blue umbrella).
So if you want a kiteboarding vacation where the wind blows 18 to 25kts EVERYDAY from November to August, well look no further! Isla de Coche is really the place!
Hotel Coche Paradise is an all inclusive family resort:
Location: The Coche Speed Paradise Hotel is situated on Coche Island, opposite Margarita Island. It can be reached by motorboat from El Yaque in about 30 minutes. It is on La Punta beach, which stretches for 4 kilometers, and the capital, San Pedro, is about 2 km further along the beach.
Amenities and facilities: A beautiful bungalow-style complex. The main building contains a reception desk, rustic open-air restaurant and bar, souvenir shop and mini-market. The magnificent garden area boasts a pool with shady palms, paddling pool and deckchairs. There is also a mini-club (4 - 11 years) and children's playground.
Rooms: The rooms are all on the ground floor, spacious, with shower/WC, phone, air-conditioning, satellite TV, fridge and terrace. All-inclusive offer: buffet-style breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks, local alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, tennis, bikes, mini-golf, beach sailing boats, sea kayaks, beach volleyball and snorkeling. The spacious, bungalow-style complex invites you to relax - under the shady palms around the pool, on your own little terrace or over a drink at the open-air bar. Nobody can possibly go away hungry with the all-inclusive offer, with 3 buffet meals a day.