Kalpitiya, the best wind for kitesurfing in Sri Lanka
Kalpitiya is a destination for Kitesurfers that’s growing at a really fast pace, and it’s just that this place gets everyone’s attention. Although more and more people come to do some kitsurfing every day, mass tourism has not yet arrived and the area is still to be developed in terms of tourism, making it a unique place and a special beauty.
Kalpitiya is a peninsula of about 40 km long, going from Puttalam to the same town with the same name, Kalpitiya, at the end of the peninsula, where the main kitesurfing schools are located.
The main attraction of Kalpitiya in regards to kitesurfing, is the flat and shallow water of the lagoons in the surrounding areas. Traditionally, fishing families have lived in this place for generations and use their small boats to catch fish, shrimps and crabs every day. They always have a smile for us, the lunatics who glide through the water with a board and a sail like the one they use for their fishing boat. However, despite the hospitality of the local people, the coexistence between traditional fishing and this emerging sport hasn’t been easy, especially in smaller ponds.
In the lagoon Kappaladi, for example, Kitesurfing is allowed until 5 pm. From this time, local fishermen who have the right to use and cast their nets in search of a good catch. This does not happen in the Kalpitiya lagoon, where fishermen are rewarded their lost hours of fishing with other revenue generated by the services they provide to kitesurfing schools. Lately, some practice kitesurf in the vast Puttalam lagoon, where there are no kitesurfing schools, but the constant wind, the subliminal landscape and the uniqueness of the place makes it worthwhile.
And it’s just that there are many places for kitesurfing in Kalpitiya. Besides the lagoons of Kalpitiya, Puttalam or Kappaladi, which are flat water, the best kite spots are on the islands north of Kalpitiya, Vella Island being the best. Vella Island is a tiny island that has sea on one side and flat water of the lagoon on the other. When there’s wind, the freestyle conditions in this place are perfect. However, Vella is not a good place for someone learning, especially in the season from May to October, when the wind is offshore in the lagoon. The island is about 50 minutes by boat from Kalpitiya and you can do a round trip in a single day. Another place worth mentioning is Donkey Point, a cape located about 10 km south of the town of Kalpitiya, place often chosen by people looking to navigate between waves.
The major seasons for Kitesurfing go from May to October, windy all day, with an average of about 18 to 25 knots, and from December to March, where good wind blows in the afternoon. In between season the wind direction changes completely. In the season from December to March the sea is calm and it’s the best time for diving, snorkeling, or seeing dolphins or whales, so if there is no wind you can still perform many other activities. There is also the option to schedule a safari at Wilpattu National Park or visit the sacred city of Anuradhapura, since they are fairly close to Kalpitiya.
There are still no direct flights from Spain to Sri Lanka, so doing scale is always needed. In summer season, from July to September, flights are a bit more expensive and if you find any round trip at around 700-800 €, then you can be happy. The rest of the year, round trips are usually about 600 €. A good option is to look flights separately at skyscanner.com from Barcelona to Dubai or Doha and from there to Colombo for either the same day or the next.
To transport the material, many European companies charge supplements but most airlines of Arabs countries don’t, so it is a good solution to fly with Qtar Airways or Emirates.
The most typical food of Sri Lanka and what most locals eat daily is rice with curry, which is delicious for anyone able to stand spicy food. Another typical food that can be found in Kalpitiya is fried rice and Kottu. For those who can’t stand spicy food or prefer an international menu, the best option is to eat in hotels or in the few restaurants for tourists
The village of Kalpitiya is situated about 140 km from the country’s main airport (Negombo)
If you come in a group and you bring all the material needed for kitesurfing, it’s best if you do it with a private vehicle, which will cost you about 60 euros per journey and it will take you about 3 hours.
If you come alone or with someone else and have little luggage, then you can get to Kalpitiya in the typical tuk tuk (3 wheel vehicle), which will cost around 30 euros and takes about 4 hours
The cheapest option is to do so from the airport getting on a local bus that goes from Negombo to Puttalam and then getting on another one in the village of Palavi, then another that goes to Kalpitiya. It can take you up to 6 hours and nothing assures that you will have a spot or luggage space in local buses, so this option is a little more risky, especially for those who arrive late.
To move around Kalpitiya you can take any tuk tuk (3 wheel vehicle) and negotiate a price to take you from one place to another but you always have the option to rent a scooter or even a tuk tuk on your own at a very reasonable price.