Day 85, Mile 5973: Four days of Kiteboarding Paradise, Calima Colombia
7 March 2017
For the last four days all I’ve been doing is kiteboarding and camping and life couldn’t be any sweeter. Who would have known that I would find my kite paradise in the middle of Colombia in the mountains? Welcome to Calimita Colombia, where you kite among the clouds.
In very good spirits, I had a sporty drive out of Bogota, racing through the streets and with other motorcycles at the lights. Even with all my gear, my KLR held its own and I had a blast weaving through all the traffic. After going through a tunnel I was back in the backcountry with gorgeous views everywhere. It felt like the entire day I was driving uphill. I have to say that Colombia is one of the prettiest countries I’ve been through so far on this trip.
My first night I spent at an unusual truck stop on top of the surroundings hills looking down at the Calima reservoir. I was a little skeptical of the upcoming kiteboarding. First of all it was damn cold, and without a wetsuit that was going to be no bueno. Second, looking down at the reservoir, while it was very pretty, I didn’t see how there could be very good wind for kiteboarding. The water is way down in a valley so there just doesn’t seem to any way I was going to have decent wind. So I spent the rest of the night sad and disappointed. I even tried to lift my spirits by changing the oil in my bike but it really didn’t help. By nightfall I was already planning my next stop south in anticipation, but boy was I wrong.
As I wove down to Calimita Resesvior, I noticed two things. One, the temperature significantly increased, and two, it actually was very windy. I found out later that this lake has the most consistent wind in the country. After checking out a couple places to make my stay for the next couple days, I decided on a place called Velas Y Vientos. I picked this spot because it was one of the few places that actually looked open and allowed camping. I haven’t gotten to use my hammock tent nearly as much as I wanted to so I wanted the opportunity to change that. Also this place looked like the best position to kite and turned out to have a really nice launch area as well.
For the last three days I’ve endured very cold mornings, rain pours, broken gear, and expensive prices but it’s been all worth it. I discovered that I really did enjoy my Hennessy camping hammock. When it rain, it absolutely poured, and I was nice and dry inside. Also with the combination of my ThermaRest sleeping mat and sleeping bag, I was nice and warm while I slept.
Kiting here in Calimia has been like the rest of the trip, just gorgeous and amazing. The wind funnels through the steep valleys which produce nice, clean, dependable wind almost every day. To top this off, in the afternoon during the winter, fog usually starts to roll in which ends up feeling that you are kiteboarding through clouds. Pretty. Damn. Awesome.
I would have stayed longer but again with my time crunch of getting to Brazil while my dad was still there and the fact that my stay here in Velas Y Vientos was actually quite expensive, I decided to move on. On top of the camping fees, I was also charged a daily launch fee which included someone who helps launch and land your kite and put your gear away. I really didn’t need this service but it was required to use their area so I had to pay up. Also since there really weren’t many places to eat in the area, I ended up eating there as well which wasn’t the cheapest. Overall, I thought the price was worth it. Everyone I met was friendly and it really was the best spot on the lake.
Tomorrow I’m leaving nice are early and hoping to get to the border in one go. There are a couple mountain ranges between here and there though so we will have to see. It feels like I’ve been in Colombia forever but don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing. I have absolutely fallen in love with this country and could spend another couple months just exploring and taking it in.