Affiliate note: Please note that some of the schools may pay TripOutside an affiliate commission if ..Read more
Affiliate note: Please note that some of the schools may pay TripOutside an affiliate commission if you book through the platform. This helps us do our comparison work and help our users.
La Ventana, B.C.S, is right by the Sea of Cortez, and is an awesome place for outdoor activities and especially wind sports like kiteboarding and wing foiling. It’s in Baja California Sur and is known for being one of the best spots for these wind sports. With its steady winds and big beaches, it’s perfect for everyone, whether you’re just starting or already know how to catch some serious air. If you’re new to kiting or winging, here are kiteboarding terms that you may find helpful.
What Makes La Ventana an awesome spot for wind sports
Steady Winds: In La Ventana, the wind is your friend. It’s strong and steady, especially when it’s the main season for kiteboarding. This means you can go out there and practice a lot, which is great whether you’re learning or showing off your skills.
Big, Safer Beaches: The beaches here are big and clear, with no rocks or trees to get in your way. This makes it super safe and fun, especially if you’re just learning how to control your kite.
Chill Town Vibes: La Ventana isn’t just about the beaches. The town itself is super chill and friendly. It’s a great place to relax after a day in the water and just enjoy the laid-back beach life.
Lots of kiteboarding and wing schools to choose from. The selection of schools and experience is vast here and you can always find a school that matches your price point, skill level, or vibe.
Kiting Spots: La Ventana and El Sargento
There are kite schools, hotels, and places to learn all along the beach near La Ventana, most of them are concentrated around the following towns:
La Ventana Beaches: This is where all the central action is. There are lots of kite schools right on the beach, so it’s easy to find a place to learn or rent gear. It’s perfect if you like being where things are happening.
El Sargento: A little bit up north and not as busy, El Sargento is super cool for beginners. The water is less crowded, so you’ve got more space to practice and get help from your instructors.
Our Process of Comparing Kiteboarding and Wing Schools in La Ventana
To ensure a comprehensive and fair comparison of kiteboarding and wing schools in La Ventana, our methodology incorporates a variety of critical factors. We conducted in-person interviews with each of the schools mentioned in this article. We chose the highest-rated schools that provide human-powered kiteboarding and wing lessons in La Ventana. We ranked the factors designed to assess the overall quality, accessibility, and value of the services provided. The most important factor was their care for customer experience.
- Services Offered: We evaluated the range of services provided by each school, including lessons for wing and kiteboarding, rentals, retail, wetsuits, radios, and repair services.
- Location: Schools were assessed based on their location, particularly the ease of access to the prime beachfront in La Ventana and El Sargento. Ideal locations provide excellent wind conditions and open water, crucial for an optimal learning experience.
- Equipment: The quality and condition of equipment available for students were reviewed. Top-of-the-line, well-maintained gear is essential for safety and performance.
- Instructors: The qualifications, experience, and diversity of the instructional team, including the presence of female instructors, were key considerations.
- Languages Spoken: We considered the language capabilities of the school’s staff. Multilingual instructors make the school more accessible to a broader range of students.
- Locally Owned: Preference was given to locally-owned schools, supporting the local community and economy.
- Price of Courses: The cost of courses was assessed to determine the value for money. This included comparing prices across different schools for similar offerings.
- Reviews and Ratings: Customer feedback, reviews, and ratings were analyzed to gauge past students’ satisfaction and the school’s reputation. Schools had to have at least 4.5 stars on Google and TripAdvisor combined. We filtered through reviews of schools like Playa Central and separated out reviews/ratings for their restaurant vs. the school and lessons. (it was painful 😖)
- Number of Payment Options: The variety of payment options offered by the school was considered.
Best Kiteboarding and Wing Schools in La Ventana
Here is a list of our recommendations for the best kiteboarding schools in La Ventana in 2024.
Scored highest in every category, all schools below are rated 4.5 stars or higher on Google and TripAdvisor.
|Kite, wing, foil, wetsuits, SUPs. Most flexible on rentals
No extra fees for CC
|– Brand new gear every year, including wetsuits.
– Many female instructors.
– Clear pricing with taxes included.
– Gear storage
– $25 downwinder shuttle
|Kite, wing, foil.
Must certify before renting
|– IKO certified school
– Owner-operated and instructed.
|Nomad Kitesurf School
|Kite, wing, foils.
Must certify before renting
|– Great location in El Sargento
– Obsess over customer experience
– All instructors are IKO certified
|Kite, wing, foils.
|– Locally owned
– Small team of employees
– Flexible cancellation policy
|Kitemex La Ventana
|Kite, wing, foils.
|Cash, Zelle, CC coming soon
|– Small school with personalized attention
– Owner operated and instructed
Best Schools for the most female instructors
When we interviewed customers, many of them mentioned that having a female instructor was an important factor to them. Communication style, level of comfort understanding of their needs, and fear of sport were mentioned as the most important factors for why having female instructors was an important factor.
We found that most schools only have 1-2 female instructors but they are all trying to hire female instructors when asked about their ratio. Here are the schools that have dedicated female instructors:
- Playa Central
- Elevation Kiteboarding (jet ski assist only but worth mentioning)
- Nomad Kitesurf School
- Evolution Kiteboarding
Best Flexibility for Cancellations
These two schools are the most flexible when it comes to cancellations. Most of the other schools require a deposit, anything from 15% to 100% up-front and most of them only allow you to reschedule your lessons instead of refunding your money. Most schools were very flexible for making changes to the lessons but would rather move you to another time slot or reschedule you instead of refunding the amount. They mentioned that cancellations impact their business significantly as instructors plan their days around the lesson and there are only 1-2 opportunities per day to give lessons.
Both Baja Kite and Surf and Saladita offer a 24-hour cancellation policy. If you contact them within 24 hours of your lesson start time, you get a full refund of your deposit. We love this because this truly gives you the peace of mind to have your reservation but know that you’re allowed to change your plans if needed.
- Baja Kite and Surf
- Saladita La Ventana
IKO-certified kite schools in La Ventana
Below are the IKO-certified schools in La Ventana and El Sargento:
- Evolution Kiteboarding – not only is Evolution a kiteboarding school, they even run instructor courses for instructors to become IKO certified. They have invested a lot of time and money into IKO and are a big proponent of continued education for their staff and for the community. Verified here.
- Elevation Kiteboarding – They are another IKO center in La Ventana and run courses in La Ventana. Verified here
IKO-certified school vs. IKO-certified instructors:
IKO Certified School:
An IKO-certified school has been officially recognized by the International Kiteboarding Organization. The certification implies that the school as a whole meets IKO’s standards, which cover a range of aspects including safety procedures, equipment quality, teaching methods, and school facilities. Being an IKO-certified school often means that the school follows structured teaching methods as outlined by IKO, ensuring a consistent and high-quality learning experience. These schools are regularly monitored by IKO to ensure ongoing compliance with their standards. Students learning at IKO-certified schools are often eligible to receive official IKO certifications upon course completion, which are recognized internationally.
Kiteboarding School with IKO Certified Instructors:
Many schools will say ”Yes, we have IKO instructors”, but what you really should know if they are IKO-certified instructors and what level of instruction they have.
In most cases, the school itself is not certified by IKO, but it employs instructors who have individually achieved IKO certification.
IKO-certified instructors are trained to meet IKO’s teaching standards and safety guidelines. However, the school itself may not meet all the criteria set by IKO for full certification.
The quality of equipment, teaching methods, and other facilities may vary and are not necessarily up to the standards that an IKO-certified school would guarantee. While the instruction might be of high quality due to the certified instructors, the overall experience can differ from a fully certified IKO school.
In summary, while both scenarios involve IKO’s high standards of teaching, an IKO-certified school guarantees a comprehensive adherence to IKO’s regulations across all aspects of its operation, whereas a school with IKO-certified instructors ensures only that the instructors themselves meet IKO’s individual teaching standards. The choice between the two might depend on your specific priorities, such as the level of overall school certification versus the individual qualifications of instructors.
The following schools mentioned that most or all of their instructors are IKO certified, even though they are not an IKO certified school:
- Nomad Kitesurf School
- Playa Central
- Strong Kiteboarding (jet ski assist only but worth mentioning for IKO)
La Ventana kitesurfing resources:
- Kiteboarding facebook group
- Kite repair – Rico’s kite repair
- Kite storage – Playa Central
- Board repair: Playa Central, Saladita LaVentana
- Parts for winging – Playa Central
La Ventana Kiteboard and Wing Lesson FAQs
Why do kiteboarding lessons cost so much in La Ventana?
Kiteboarding and winging are unique sports and are very much dependent on the wind. That means that there is a short season for when schools can offer lessons and even within that season, not every day is a windy day.
So most schools don’t have the opportunity to work every single day that they want and there is a lot of inconsistency in the timing.
In addition to this, kite gear can be pretty expensive to acquire and doesn’t last too many seasons.
So when you see kite lessons being $100-$150/hour, there is a lot more than just the hourly rate. The company is not necessarily making $150/hour because of the time and costs that go into the preparation and post lessons, things like:
Time spent putting away gear, repairing gear, cleaning wetsuits, etc.
Maintenance and fuel costs of jet skis
What is a downwinder?
A downwinder is a downwind run where an instructor rides with you and gives you pointers along the way.
A “downwinder” in kiteboarding or wing foiling refers to a specific type of session or route where students and instructors start at one point and travel downwind to another location. Unlike typical kiteboarding or wing foiling lesson where you might stay in a relatively confined area, a downwinder involves moving along a predetermined path along the La Ventana coastline, leveraging the wind’s direction.
Key aspects of a downwinder include:
Wind Direction: The journey is aided by the wind blowing in the direction of travel, making it easier to glide along with less effort than going upwind or tacking back and forth.
Route: Downwinders can cover various distances, from short trips to long, adventurous journeys. The route is typically along a coast, but can also be across bays or along river paths. Typical downwinders in La Ventana are around 1.5 to 2 hours.
Skill Level: They are popular among more experienced riders because they require good control over the kite or wing, especially since the journey might involve different wind and water conditions.
Adventure and Exploration: Downwinders are favored for the sense of adventure they offer, allowing riders to explore new areas, enjoy different sceneries, and experience varied water conditions.
Logistics: Planning is important for downwinders. Riders need to arrange transportation back to the starting point or ensure that the endpoint has the necessary facilities and access.
Overall, think of downwinders as a day rafting, downhill skiing or mountain biking where you take a shuttle or a lift to the start and finish at the end, with logistics planning and a cardio workout involved.
Which schools offer wing foil lessons in La Ventana and El Sargento?
All schools listed in this article offer both kiteboarding and wing/wing foiling lessons in La Ventana.
What are the benefits of having an IKO-certified kiteboarding lesson instructor in La Ventana?
We asked our kite schools why they decided to pay the extra amount to become IKO certified and why it matters. I’ve also included my own opinion below based on my meetings.
It sets a safety standard: The schools that have decided to become an IKO certified school or have ensured that all of their instructors are IKO certified all mentioned that the consistency in training for safety of the clients and students is the number one priority that they have chosen to become IKO certified. They want all of their instructors to have the safety protocols in place and always teach in the safest manner possible. This is not only important for the customers and the students, but also for the schools reputation and long term success.
Instructors have a structure of the lesson: Having a structured lesson helps with the training plan for the school to ensure that all of their instructors are going to follow the same structured training plan that has been established by the organization.
How much time do I need to learn to wing or kiteboard in La Ventana?
The amount of time needed for kiteboarding lessons in La Ventana can vary based on several factors, including individual learning pace, wind conditions, and the specific goals of the learner. However, considering La Ventana’s wind patterns and the need for flexibility, here’s a general guideline that most schools shared with me:
Initial Learning Phase: For beginners, it’s often recommended to plan for at least 3 to 5 days of lessons. This allows enough time to cover the basics, such as kite control, safety procedures, and getting comfortable with the board. Keep in mind that these don’t have to be consecutive days.
Weather Considerations: La Ventana is known for its consistent winds, but like any outdoor activity, kiteboarding is subject to weather conditions. Some days might have suboptimal wind for beginners. It’s wise to allocate a couple of extra days in your itinerary as a buffer for days when the wind conditions aren’t ideal for learning.
Progression to Independence: If your goal is to reach a level of basic independence, where you can safely kiteboard under supervision, you might need around 7-10 days. This duration includes time for practicing skills learned during lessons and gaining confidence on the water.
Advanced Skills: For those who wish to learn more advanced skills or techniques, additional time will be necessary. This can vary widely depending on what specific skills you want to develop (like jumping or riding upwind) and how quickly you progress.
Frequency of Lessons: Intensive daily lessons can speed up the learning process but can also be physically demanding. Some learners prefer having lessons every other day to allow for rest and practice.
Personal Learning Pace: Everyone learns at a different pace. Some might pick up the basics quickly, while others may need more time to feel comfortable. Be prepared to adjust your schedule based on your personal progress.
Recommendation: For a well-rounded learning experience, considering potential non-windy days and allowing time for practice and rest, planning a stay of about 10-14 days in La Ventana would be ideal for a comprehensive learning experience.
In summary, while a minimum of 3-5 days can be sufficient for an introduction to kiteboarding, a stay of 10-14 days in La Ventana allows for a more relaxed, flexible, and thorough learning experience, accommodating both the unpredictability of wind conditions and the individual learning curve.
Here is another detailed list of FAQs on kiteboarding lessons.
Why we didn’t list jet ski-assisted lessons in La Ventana
Certainly, while jet ski-assisted lessons in kiteboarding offer numerous advantages, they also come with certain drawbacks. Here are some of the cons of jet ski-assisted lessons and feedback that I heard in La Ventana from instructors and the local kiteboarders.
- Noise Pollution and Environmental Impact: Jet skis can be quite loud, contributing to noise pollution on the beach. This can disrupt the serene beach experience for other beachgoers and residents seeking solitude in beach homes. Additionally, jet skis are not the most environmentally friendly due to their fuel consumption and potential impact on marine life.
- Reduced Practice of Essential Skills: With jet ski assistance, students might not spend as much time practicing crucial self-rescue skills like body dragging upwind to retrieve their board. This skill is fundamental for all kiteboarders, especially when they find themselves without assistance in the future.
- Observation of the instructor: In radio-assist ride-along lessons, where the instructor is in the water with the student, learners have the benefit of closely observing the instructor’s techniques and receiving real-time tips. This ride-along learning experience is less pronounced in jet ski-assisted lessons where the instructor is not kiteboarding or winging with you.
- Cost: Jet ski-assisted lessons can be more expensive due to the additional equipment and fuel costs involved. This could make learning to kiteboard less accessible for some individuals.
- Dependence on Mechanical Aid: There’s a risk of becoming overly reliant on the jet ski for positioning and rescue, potentially leading to a reduced understanding of wind and water dynamics, which are crucial for independent kiteboarding.
- Safety Concerns: While jet skis offer quick rescue capabilities, their presence in the water can pose risks if not operated carefully, especially in areas crowded with swimmers or other water users. I personally heard of kiteboarders crashing into jet skis and wrecking their boards and although I can’t vouch for the frequency of these events, it’s definitely worth a mention.
- Don’t get experience on land for launching and landing, which is a very important safety component to learn.
While jet ski-assisted kiteboarding lessons provide accelerated learning and enhanced safety, they also have downsides such as environmental impact, potential gaps in learning fundamental skills, and cost considerations. It’s important for learners to weigh these pros and cons to determine the best learning method for their needs and preferences.
Tips for kiteboarding and winging lessons in La Ventana
Take your time: If you are serious about getting into the sport, we recommend that you give yourself a 7-14 days in La Ventana and take as many lessons as you can afford and practice to get to a level where you can ride up wind and become and independent kiter. Spending just 1 or 2 days kiting and not getting a full hang of it left me feeling like I just wasted $600 and walked away not knowing a sport in 2023. Now, I’m back to make sure that I dedicate enough time to learn to be an independent kiter.
Watch and learn in advance: You can watch a lot of helpful content on YouTube in advance of your lessons to prepare for the terminology of kiting, the understanding of the wind window, wind directions and show up more prepared for your lesson.
Show up ready to go: When you show up for the lesson, be ready to jump into the lesson and maximize your learning. That is, have your sunscreen on, wetsuit on if you already have one or have rented one in advance, gave face smiling!
Support local businesses when possible: We really love supporting the locally-owned kite schools.
Our Commitment to Authenticity and Reliability
At TripOutside, we are dedicated to providing our users with reviews and recommendations they can trust. When it comes to our coverage of La Ventana Kiteboarding Lessons, our commitment to accuracy and impartiality is unwavering. We understand that choosing the right kite school is an important decision, and our goal is to ensure that our reviews reflect real, unbiased experiences.
Unbiased and Comprehensive Reviews:
Real Experiences: When possible, our reviews are grounded in actual experiences. We visit the schools, participate in the lessons, and meet with the owners for an in-depth interview. This direct involvement allows us to provide insights and evaluations based on real-life scenarios.
Objective Evaluations: We maintain an objective stance in all our reviews. Each school is assessed based on a standardized set of criteria, ensuring that our evaluations are fair and consistent across the board.
User Feedback: We value and incorporate feedback from the broader community of kiteboarding enthusiasts. User experiences provide invaluable insights and help us maintain the relevance and accuracy of our reviews.
Your Trust, Our Priority:
At TripOutside, we believe that trust is the foundation of our relationship with our users. Our commitment to delivering unbiased and comprehensive reviews is at the core of what we do. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kiteboarder, you can rely on us for honest, thorough, and up-to-date information about La Ventana Kite Schools. Your adventure and safety are our top priorities.
If you feel that I missed anything or represented a school inaccurately, please drop me a line. [email protected]