Kitesurf at Punta Chame

Real wilderness near Panama City

  • Overview
  • Good to know
  • Getting there

Overview

The small peninsula of Punta Chame is a host to a handful of kite spots, schools, camps and is growing in popularity as more kitesurfers discover the conditions it has to offer. On the north side of the peninsula, the bay is popular with windsurfers and kitesurfers from December to April, during the trade-wind season. The spot offers a vast beach with a lot of space for beginner and advanced kitesurfers to practice and progress, making Punta Chame an excellent place for kitesurfing. In general, the kitespot is more popular in the evenings and weekends, as local kitesurfers from Panama City arrive for the weekend. This isn’t an issue as the spot is quite large with room for plenty of kiters. Punta Came is a quiet fishing village and is relatively quiet on an evening; apart from the local parties organised around the carnival and other Panamanian Holidays. For more evening action you may need to find friends in the kite camps dotted around the peninsula. If you have a no wind day or morning, there are plenty of ways to pass the time. Panama offers excellent wave surfing possibilities for all levels. The surf spot 20 minutes away from Punta Chame gets reasonably consistent surf from December to April. If the surf isn’t on, then there’s canyon swimming and jumping to be done a short drive away from the kite spot. Alternatively, if you fancy staying dry, it is possible to take a boat trip to the famous John Wayne's abandoned island. You’ll be able to wander around the abandoned town, discovering remains of the wild west and spot monkeys and other wildlife.

Good to know

VISAS: Some countries are exempt from the Visa charge. Check your nationalities entry requirements before planning your travels. CURRENCY: USD or Panamanian Balboa (PAB official currency) PRICES: Beer: $3 (€2.70) Food: Lunch $10-20 (€8.80 -17.55) Accommodation: $25-60 per person (€21-52) Kite Lessons: $50 per hour private Kite Gear rental: $99 per day LANGUAGE: Spanish INTERNET: Recommended to get Local SIM card. TRAVEL ADVICE: Car rental is recommended if you want to visit the surrounding area. TEMPERATURE: Air temperature ranges between 22˚C – 34˚C with February to April being the hottest months. Water temperature: 27˚C – 29˚C, you won't need a wetsuit, but do remember your sunscreen.

Getting there

NEAREST TOWN: Chame NEAREST CITY: Panama City NEAREST AIRPORT: Panama City [PTY] 60km away The airport is about 2h away, therefore ask your accommodation provider to organise the reputable transfer, but it can be costly ($60-$120). For the easier way to get from the airport and for the option to easily move around when you are there we recommend getting a rental car.

  • Beach
  • Wind
  • Rules/Hazards

Beach

The central kite spot La Punta is located almost at the tip of the peninsula. This beach is excellent for beginners as there is plenty of space to practice and the low tide reveals up to 150 meters of sandy beach which provides a safe area away from any hazards. The kite beach is extensive at the low tide; however, at high tide, it disappears entirely at certain places. You can find a place to land and launch the kite at the high tide at the western end of Punta Chame. In addition, the kite schools offer a lawn on which the kites can be launched. Water conditions vary from a very flat on the low tide, getting choppier and producing small wavelets as the tide rises and the wind gets stronger in the afternoon. For advanced riders that are after some space and butter flat water to practice freestyle, 'The Sandbar' is a great option. But you will have to spend 20minutes riding upwind first. The sandbar shelters the water entirely and creates glassy flat water that is worth the upwind ride. The sandbar only shows itself on low tides during a spring phase (full and new moons) so if the opportunity is there, take it while you can. The lagoons There are two lagoons that can be reached by riding downwind from the main kite beach. The ‘small’ lagoon can be reached first by a short 5-minute downwinder to the spot. As it is the easier of the two lagoons to reach, it often gets busy and best kited at in the morning when fewer people are around. Due to its small size, it gets crowded quite quickly. The ‘big’ lagoon is further away and takes approximately a 20minute downwinder to reach. For this spot, the best practice is to treat it as a downwinder and request a pick up from the spot due to its distance from the kite schools. The big lagoon is recommended for advanced riders only due to downwind hazards and the need to maintain space. For each of the lagoons, they have the best conditions when ridden around the mid-tide. At low tide, they dry out or become too shallow, and at the high tide, they become choppy. 
Many of the schools offer a downwinder safari which starts in the north near Panama City and ends in Punta Chame. AMENITIES: Kite School, Gear Rental, Beach Assistance, Gear Storage, Kite Shop, Cafe/Bar, Parking, Toilets, Showers, Accommodation.

Wind

During the dry season (December-April/May) the wind is most consistent, producing steady 15 to 25knot trade winds from coming from N-NE. Usually, there is wind all day; local thermal effects typically result in winds that blow stronger in the morning, decrease at noon and pick up again in the afternoon and blow all night long, continuing in this pattern. The N-NE winds are often accelerated by venturi effect as the wind passes between the peninsula and the main bay of Bahia de Chame. WIND DIRECTIONS: NW, N, NE WINDIEST MONTHS: High Season - January, February, March. Mid season: November, December, April, May.

Rules/Hazards

The beach is hard sand, no rocks. Tidal effects have a significant impact upon the bay reducing the ample beach space on low tides to a narrow strip on high tides. At the low tide, the beach is approx. 100-150m wide and at high tide sometimes less than 10m wide. There is no space downwind to land a kite if you go beyond the grassy launch areas of the kite schools. For this reason, only advanced riders would kite on the high tide. On the low tides, the water is very flat and gets more choppy as the tide rises. During low tide, in the shallow water, there are stingrays, and it happens that kiters are stung. Consider wearing water shoes and slide your feet slowly through the sand when moving in shallow water. *If you need kite related services like kite repairs, lessons or beach assistance please contact the local kite centres or camps. ** We always recommend seeking additional knowledge about the spot from local Kite School or qualified instructors.

Info

Rider Level:
beginner, intermediate, advanced
Discipline:
freeride, foiling
Spot Type:
Flat to Choppy water; Lagoon, Small waves <1m
Launch area:
SAND
Tidal:
yes
Windiest Months:
Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Dec

How it measures up

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