Mention La Ventana to any kiteboarder and windsurfer in California and their eyes will lit up right away. This kiteboarding spot in Baja California is indeed a top winter destination with constant winds and warm water. Not Caribbean hot, but enough for nice January shorty sessions! What’s not to like?
What started as a small fishing village for years has grown into a premier destination for wind and water activities, with kiteboarding and windsurfing the most popular in the Bay.
With strong side-onshore winds (15-25 kts) blowing consistently between November to April, medium swells on turquoise-blue warm water, a soft sand beach and a large bay to land over, La Ventana is a fantastic and safe kiteboarding and windsurfing spot.
We went twice to La Ventana, the first time when kiteboarding was still a new sport. The bay is a great spot on the Sea of Cortez, which has recently been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first time we spent the week at Baja Joe over New Year. I was still learning how to windsurf and Bruno stood as one of the few kitesurfers on the spot. The second time, we did a day trip from La Paz. In both occasions, we rented the equipment from Baja Joe – the first time the windsurf gear and kitesurfing the second.
La Ventana, Kiteboarding Paradise
From a learner perspective, this is a great and safe spot. The side-onshore winds are sure to bring you back to shore no matter what, and the large sandy beach means I knew I would always get back to land. The sandy aspect is reassuring too, as I did not have to fear a rocky landing like at Third Avenue or Coyote Point, or even Sherman levees, our traditional sports in the San Francisco Bay Area. In strong winds, though, the swells can be a challenge for beginners or young intermediates. That said, there is always someone on the look out and ATVs are here for the rescue (and forbidden on the dunes for preservation!).
As a kitesurfer, Bruno enjoyed the nice swells, strong and constant winds. The rental kite and board took some getting used to and the staff at Baja Joe were very helpful in ensuring Bruno was set with the right gear size. He was even able to borrow a shorty. He could have borrowed a helmet too, which would have been better and prevent him from losing his sunglasses at the first jump and waves.
When I learned windsurfing and first rented the equipment, different sizes of sails were available at all time. With the entrance of the shop right by the water, it was easy to change sails at any time, especially these big sails I used for learning how to waterstart.
Kayak or dive in the Sea of Cortez which Jacques-Yves Cousteau used to call an aquarium. Horseback ride or hike through the desert of cacti. Take Mexican cooking classes. Go on a day trip to La Paz or Todos Santos. Hike to the Sierra Lagunas. Or simply sleep in to recover from the other non-stop windy days.
When to Go
November to April is the windy season with consistent side-onshore winds, thanks to local thermal winds generated by the nearby desert and northerly winds called El Norte.
Where to Stay
We stayed at Baja Joe and were very pleased with it. The kiteboarding place offers simple budget rooms with shared bathrooms as well as full-featured rooms facing the ocean. There is a big common outside kitchen which allowed us to cooked our breakfasts and dinners. Shops are not far away to refill the fridge and pantry.
La Ventana has boomed over the years and offers plenty other lodging options for all tastes and budget, from camping to luxury accommodations. Despite the growth, the coastline remains free of tall building and seemed to have preserved its low-key charm.
How to Get There
Most people fly to either La Paz 40 minutes to one-hour away or Los Cabos about three-hour away. Driving is fairly safe in that area of Baja California – do check travel warning ahead of time. Try to drive during daylight to avoid roaming cows crossing the small curvy roads. The seasonal RV-owners or local expatriates move from California for the winter and drive the 1,520 kms (944 miles) over 18 hours.