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Kitesurfing in Tarifa Guide

Alex 36 days ago 10 min of reading
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Kitesurfing in Tarifa Guide - All you need to know

What types of wind will I get in Tarifa?

What is the best time of the year for kitesurfing in Tarifa?

How to interpret the forecast and where to go depending on the weather condition?

Which spot has waves or flat water? 

What to do when there is no wind? 

If you had at least one of the questions above then this guide will give you the answers you were looking for.

 

Overview

Best wind: April - October

Best waves: October - April

Average water temperature: 18c, 4/3 wetsuit during low season and shorty in summer

Wind speeds: Poniente 10-25 knots, Levante 20-50 knots

Average Airbnb price (low season): €120

Average Airbnb price (high season): €221

Pros:

  • Constant winds
  • A lot of kite spots to choose from
  • Quite easy to reach from any country
  • Super good vibes
  • Amazing nightlife, especially during the summer
  • Lots of things to do when there is no wind
  • One of the best places to spend the European winter

Cons:

  • Can get super crowded during the high season
  • Only 2 spots are available to kite during high season (Los Lances Norte & Valdevaqueros/Punta Paloma)
  • High accommodation prices during high season
  • Need a car to get around

Navigation
1. How to get to Tarifa
2. Wind in Tarifa
3. How to read Windguru for Tarifa
4. Kite season in Tarifa
5. Kite spots in Tarifa
5.1 Los Lances (La Jaima)
5.2 Balneario
5.3 Río Jara (Lagoon)
5.4 Los Lances Norte

5.5 Valdevaqueros and Punta Paloma
5.6 Río Jara (Wave spot)
5.7 Arte Vida y Hotel Dos Mares
6. Kite spots outside Tarifa
6.1 Getares
6.2 Palmones
6.3 Bolonia
6.4 Los Caños de Meca
6.5 Sotogrande
7. Where to stay in Tarifa
8. Restaurants & Cafes
9. Beach Bars
10. Night Clubs
11. No wind activities
12. FAQs
13. Summary

How to get to Tarifa?

The closest airport to Tarifa is Gibraltar, there are flights from London that go directly to Gibraltar. Hop over the border and rent a car in La Linea or grab a bus to Tarifa and in 50 minutes you’ll be here.

Another option is to fly to Malaga, Jerez, or Seville, it’s a bit further away around 2 hours from Tarifa, but there are a lot of flights available from Europe.

There is a Ridesharing Tarifa Facebook group that you can check out if people are driving in the direction you need or another good site is Blablacar where you can find cheap ride-sharing options.

 

Wind in Tarifa

Levante

The Levante is warm and dry because it passes through the land instead of coming directly from the sea.

This wind direction is normally stronger than the west and usually blows from 20 to 50 knots. Typically it blows all day and night.

And although this wind does not fail in consistency, the Levante’s quality is not as good as Poniente, because it is usually gustier, although that also depends on which spot you choose.

 

Poniente

This wind comes from the west over the ocean from the Atlantic.

It is a cooler and more humid wind, and even in summer, it can lower the temperature in Tarifa.

Normally the wind will be around 10 and 25 knots, and it is constant, less gusty than Levante.

This wind normally rises in the afternoon, leaving the mornings very calm.

In summer you can expect some thermal winds in Valdevaqueros with Poniente.

 

How to read Windguru's forecast?

Check Windguru forecast for Tarifa

With Levante it is simple, you will get approximately what the modified wind says in the forecast of Windguru (3rd row), due to the venturi effect as the wind is channeled through the Strait of Gibraltar.

 

How to read levante wind in Tarifa

 

For Poniente, check the 3km or 9km WRF tables for a more precise forecast, but of course, it would be best to ask anyone at the kite spot or simply check the conditions through the webcams.

If it shows more than 10 knots, there is a high probability that the wind will be around 15-18 knots.

In summer, if the forecast is less than 10 knots, there is a very high possibility of thermal wind in Valdevaqueros.

 

 

How to read poniente wind in Tarifa

 

Kite seasons in Tarifa

Low season

Nov-Feb

There is still wind in Tarifa, it is usually around 4 wind days per week.

The temperature is between 10-18C and there is more chance of rain.

The swell is more consistent from the Atlantic, so you can surf in or around Tarifa.

Many shops and bars are closed until March, there are fewer people than usual and the prices are lower.

A lot of kitesurfers from Europe come to Tarifa during this season to spend the winter.

 

Midseason

March-May / Sept-Oct

In March all the bars and kitesurf shops open and start preparing for the season.

The temperature is warmer around 16-20C and there is an average of 5 wind days per week.

The good thing about the middle season is that the town and kite spots are not so crowded, you can go kitesurfing wherever you want.

This is our favorite season, and we recommend you to come at this time to enjoy Tarifa to the fullest.

 

High season

June-August

You can only kite at Los Lances Norte, Valdevaqueros and Punta Paloma.

In Los Lances there are divided kite zones for schools and kitesurfers.

In Valdevaqueros there are areas for kitesurfers and beachgoers.

From June 1 to September 30 there is a rescue boat service available for Levante conditions, you can buy a rescue card that you can use in case of an emergency. 

We suggest you buy it in advance, otherwise, the rescue will cost much more.

If you want to reach the kite spots, you will need a car. They can get quite crowded, so it’s always good to get to the beach early to find a parking spot.

Tarifa High Season

Photo Credits @tumbaotarifa

Top 7 Kite spots in Tarifa

Here we give you an overview of the best beaches for kiting in Tarifa and their main characteristics and any other information regarding the kite spot.


1. Los Lances (La Jaima)

Wind: Poniente

Parking and accessibility: parking is next to the football stadium and if you are living in the city you can easily reach it on foot.

Hazards and restrictions: It is forbidden to kite during the summer season. There are some rocks when getting closer to Balneario.

Level: All levels

Perfect for: Freeride and wave.

Other notes: There are some good waves during the winter season and you can have flat sections between the waves. It is the main spot for kitesurfing during the low season and midseason when Poniente is blowing.

2. Balneario

Wind: Levante and Poniente

Parking and accessibility: There is limited free parking just in front of the place, there is a bigger parking lot next to the castle. If you live in the old part of the city you can reach the place on foot in 5-10 minutes.

Level: Expert

Hazards and restrictions: Prohibited to kite in the summer season. When Levante is blowing it is completely offshore and there is a small area of wind. There are stones in the place. Strong current.

Perfect for: Freestyle and big air during Levante. Freeride and wave during Poniente.

Check out Balneario webcam

 

3. Río Jara (Lagoon)

Wind: Poniente

Parking and accessibility: Most people park at the football stadium and kite or walk to Rio Jara.

Hazards and restrictions: It is extremely dangerous to kite at the mouth of the river, as it has a very strong current. It is illegal to kite in the lagoon, so we recommend that you don't go there, sometimes the police come and give fines to the kiters. There are wooden poles that can damage your kite and can be very dangerous if hit.

Level: Intermediate - Expert

Perfect for: Freestyle 

Other notes: When the tide is at its maximum then the lagoon fills, during the low tide the lagoon is very small and almost impossible to kite.

Check out Rio Jara webcam

 

4. Los Lances Norte

Wind: Levante and Poniente

Parking and accessibility: There is a large parking lot next to the Chiringuito Agua and the Chiringuito Waves.

Level: All levels

Hazards and restrictions: Respect the zones, especially the school zone. Can get very crowded during the high season.

Perfect for: Freeride

Other notes: During the summer season there are two divided zones, one for schools and the other for all kitesurfers. 

During the Levante there are rescue boats that operate in the area, we suggest you buy your rescue tokens otherwise it will cost much more if you need to be rescued.

5. Valdevaqueros and Punta Paloma

Wind: Levante and Poniente

Parking and accessibility: There are 4 main parking spaces: Valdevaqueros, Chiringuito Tangana, Casa Porros (Bibo), and Punta Paloma. In summer there is a charge of €5 for parking.

Level: All levels.

Hazards and restrictions: During the summer season, the kite area is small and very crowded. During low tide, there are rocks (To the left of the kite area), many beachgoers.

Perfect for: freeride, freestyle, and wave.

Other notes: This is the place where you get thermal wind during the summer, so it works most days, even when the forecast is really light.

Check out Valdevaqueros webcam 1 & webcam 2

6. Río Jara (Wave spot)

Wind: Levante

Parking and accessibility: Park next to the football stadium and walk to the point.

Level: Expert 

Hazards and restrictions: It is forbidden to kite during the summer season. Offshore wind and no rescue available.

Perfect for: Waves

Other notes: Only works when there is Levante and swell from the Atlantic.

 

7. Arte Vida & Hotel Dos Mares

Wind: Poniente

Parking and accessibility: Parking next to the Hotel Arte Vida.

Level: All levels

Hazards and restrictions: It is forbidden to kite during the summer season.

Perfect for: Waves and freeride

Other notes: When there is a good swell it is a very good place for waves during the middle and low seasons.

Check out Arte Vida webcam

 

5 Kite spots outside Tarifa

1. Getares

Wind: Levante

Parking and accessibility: Large parking lot next to the beach.

Level: Intermediate-Expert

Perfect for: Freeride and waves

Hazards and restrictions: Kiting is prohibited in the summer season. Strong current. Strong shore break.

Other notes: It only works when there is a strong Levante in Tarifa. The wind is lighter than in Tarifa.

 

2. Palmones

Wind: Levante

Parking and accessibility: There is limited parking next to the place, but many places to park a little further down.

Level: All levels

Hazards and restrictions: Kiting is prohibited in the summer season. It is illegal to kitesurf in the river and in the swamps.

Perfect for: Freeride

Other notes: It only works when there is a strong Levante in Tarifa. The wind is lighter than in Tarifa.

 

3. Bolonia

Wind: Levante and Poniente

Parking and accessibility: Lots of parking space in front of chiringuito Sirocco.

Level: All levels.

Hazards and restrictions: Kiting is prohibited in the summer season.

Perfect for: Freeride / Wave in winter, and windsurfing.

Other notes: Normally it is a place for windsurfing. In the winter you can get good waves.

Check out Bolonia webcam

 

4. Los Caños de Meca

Wind: Strong Levante, is usually lighter by a few knots than Tarifa, but not as light as Palmones and Getares.

Parking and accessibility: There is a car park next to bar Las Dunas that costs €2.

Level: Intermediate-Expert

Hazards and restrictions: It is forbidden to kite in the summer season, but normally there is no problem. There are rocks on the right side of the spot close to the lighthouse.

Perfect for: Freeride and waves.

Check out Los Caños de Meca webcam

 

5. Sotogrande

Wind: Levante

Parking and accessibility: There is parking just in front of the beach, next to the harbor entrance.

Level: Intermediate-Expert

Perfect for: Freeride and waves

Hazards and restrictions: It is forbidden to kite in the summer. The waves can get quite big with the stormy Levante.

Other notes: It only works when there is a strong Levante in Tarifa. A good spot for surfing when there is a strong Levante.

 

Where to stay in Tarifa?

Short term stay

Airbnb - a lot of options to choose from that suits your budget and other needs. Try to book as early as possible, especially during the high season as the prices rise significantly.

Hotel Lances - Definitely one of the nicest hotels in Tarifa, very close to the Los Lances beach (Football stadium spot).

Hotel La Residencia - Beautiful hotel right next to the port. It has an infinity pool on the roof overlooking Morocco, also a spa, a restaurant, and all that good stuff.

A lot of locals post in Tarifa Room Mate facebook group their houses during the high season, so you can find some options there.

 

Long term stay

To find a place for the whole year is quite a challenge as many of the places are renting only between September-June and then renting short-term for the summer.

Tip: the earlier you start searching the bigger chance to get something decent.

A good place to start your search is local Facebook groups, where there are a lot of listings for long term rental, these groups are:

Another option is to go to real estate agents as they might have some good deals as well, it can be a little bit more expensive as they’re an intermediary and have extra charges. https://www.facebook.com/TarifaDirect/ 

 

Restaurants & Cafes

Numero C 

Currently the hippest place in Tarifa, they have super amazing specialty coffee, and no jokes it’s the best in Tarifa. Also a great breakfast menu with many vegan options. A good place for digital nomads to work as well.

Instagram 

Numero C Tarifa

Photo Credits @numero__c

Power House

Power house is located next to the wet shop, a short drive out of the city. Loads of healthy brunch and vegan options.

Instagram 

 

Pachamama

This place never disappoints with their tasty pizzas & burgers, and they are always super fast. It’s on the way to Valdevaqueros, so you will need a car or taxi to get there.

Instagram 

 

No. 6 Cocina Sencilla

Classic Mediterranean food, you can find anything from tapas, vegan options to steaks and braised octopus. Located in the old town next to the marketplace.

Instagram 

 

Surla

Very nice breakfast place, lots of smoothies, eggs, pancakes, acai bowls, and all the other good stuff. They also have a nice lunch menu with burgers, buddha bowls, and wraps.

Instagram 

 

Beach Bars in Tarifa

Tumbao

Probably the best and most popular chiringuito in Tarifa. Super crowded in the summertime, but a very nice place to spend your afternoon next to Valdevaqueros beach with an amazing view and DJ playing all day long.

Instagram 

 

Waves

Located on Los Lances Norte beach. A popular place to spend time after your kite session. In the summer they are working till late and the party ends up in the parking lot after the working hours.

Instagram 

 

Balneario

The beach bar is just next to the Balneario spot. You can watch kiters and surfers while having nice food and drinks. 

Instagram 

 

Afrikana

Located next to hotel Arte Vida, another popular place to have drinks and listen to live music. 

Facebook 

 

Nightclubs in Tarifa

Cafe Del Mar

Tarifa's famed tourist destination for nightlife, Cafe Del Mar is the perfect place to grab a cocktail and relax with the world. On a typical night, the music selection is leaning more towards electronic music like house and techno but depends on the event and DJ. It’s located on the outskirts of Tarifa in the industrial zone, so you might need to get a taxi to get there.

Check all the latest info here Facebook 

 

Mombassa

The nightclub in the heart of Tarifa, it’s probably the most popular one. If you’re into reggaeton then this club is for you. 

Facebook 

 

La Diosa

A kinda posh club that you’ll need to dress up to get in as they have a face control policy. Also mainly playing reggeaton.

Facebook 

 

No wind activities

Traveling around Tarifa

  • Gibraltar - Visit the famous rock of Gibraltar, get some fish and chips and take the cable car to the top of the rock to see the famous monkeys, although be careful with them.
  • Vejer de la Frontera - A beautiful white town on top of the hill with many amazing restaurants and places to see.
  • El Palmar - The place to go for surfing around Tarifa. There are many surf shops and bars right on the beach.
  • Jerez de la Frontera - The city is best known for its production of Jerez sherry wine, flamenco, and beautiful churches and architecture.
  • Sevilla - The capital and largest city of Andalusia. A beautiful city that you would need a whole day or even two to fully explore. There are a lot of museums, landmarks, parks, gardens, and other kinds of tourist spots around the city that you can check out. Not recommended to go in the summertime as it’s extremely hot down there.
  • Malaga - Another amazing city on the Costa del Sol, loads of sightseeing points of interest, nice restaurants

 

Surfing

Surfing in Balneario Tarifa

Photo credits @samuucardenas

During the winter swells, Tarifa lights up like a Christmas tree and delivers some solid waves. 

It can be surfed both from the Atlantic Ocean (Groundswell) and Mediterranean sea (Wind swell)

There are few good spots in and around Tarifa, such as:

  • Balneario - Slab, if the swell direction is not right it might closeout. You could possibly catch some barrels down here.
  • Arte Vida - Nice and easy beach break even if there are big waves elsewhere, sandy bottom.
  • Hurricane Hotel - Good beach break waves, but the bottom is rocks.
  • Punta Paloma - Right-hand point break, usually smaller than other locations.
  • Yerbabuena - Located next to Barbate port. Park the car at the port and walk to the spot. Amazing right-hand point break.
  • El Palmar - Super consistent beach break. Usually where everybody goes surfing if there is a good swell.
  • Sotogrande - Only works when there is a strong Levante and it brings a wind swell. The spot is located next to the port of Sotogrande.

Surf schools:

 

Yoga

Alizee Studio https://www.instagram.com/alizee_studio/

Mandalablue https://www.mandalablueyoga.es/

Om Shala https://www.instagram.com/omshalatarifa/ 

 

Capoeira & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Want to try something new like martial arts in Tarifa? Giuseppe will teach you the fundamentals of each sport and show you what it has to offer.

https://goo.gl/maps/qAEeBgEjXAqtmk6t9

https://www.instagram.com/rga.tarifa/

https://www.instagram.com/gentlesavagelife/

https://www.instagram.com/tribocapoeira/ 

 

Mountain Biking

There are few shops around Tarifa that rent normal and electric mountain bikes. They will also give you more information about the routes that you can explore.

Ebike Spain https://www.ebike-spain.com/

Repack Tarifa https://www.facebook.com/RepackTarifa/

Destem Bike https://www.destembike.es/ 

 

Climbing

The main spot for climbing around Tarifa is Betis (San Bartolo), there are over 200 high-quality sandstone routes with grades ranging from 3c to 8a. Both bouldering and sports climbing.

There is a restriction to enter from March 1st to August 31st, because of the nesting period.

You can find some routes here: https://www.thecrag.com/en/climbing/spain/san-bartolo 

 

Hiking

Hiking around Tarifa is another way to spend a nice day without the wind. 

There are many routes around Tarifa and endless options to explore the surroundings. 

One of the most famous routes is the “Buddha”, it's quite an easy route where you climb the hill and on the top, there is a rock with a buddha statue inside. 

From there you can see the whole of Tarifa and Morocco.

You can find few routes here: https://www.komoot.com/guide/1540271/hiking-around-tarifa 

 

Dolphin & Whale Watching

Another great way to spend an afternoon when there is no wind. You can expect to see dolphins, whales, and orcas, so it’s highly recommended to go on a trip.

Check out:

Turmares 

Firmm 

 

FAQs

- Is Tarifa a good place to learn to kitesurf?

Yes, it's not the easiest place to start, but if you learn here you can basically kite in any spot around the world.

 

- What are the best conditions for kitesurfing in Tarifa?

Really depends on what you are looking for.

For learning the best conditions are light Levante as the water is flat and it’s not very gusty and also not very strong.

If you want to go big, then, of course, 40+ knots Levante and also Balneario spot is your choice.

For wave riding the best conditions are when there is swell from the Atlantic in the off-season and Levante blowing. It’s offshore conditions, but the waves are super consistent and you could even go into a barrel or two. Otherwise, Poniente is also a great option, but the waves are not that clean.

For freestyle, most of the pros go when there is Poniente and the lagoon fills up. Although the police can give you a fine if you ride there.

 

- Where are some of the best places to learn how to kiteboard in Tarifa?

Los Lances Norte and Valdevaqueros. Both spots work well when there is a light Levante, then the water is flat and easier to learn.

 

- Do I need a car for my stay in Tarifa if I plan on doing lots of kitesurfing during my visit? 

The short answer is yes, it will be much easier for you to catch the best wind in and around Tarifa.

 

- Where can I purchase kite equipment in Tarifa?

If you need anything you can always come to our kite shop and we will find the best solution for you. You can find new and second-hand kite equipment, wetsuits, harnesses, accessories, and apparel. Also, we have all the repair parts for Airush gear.

 

- What equipment do you recommend bringing?

If possible bring your whole quiver, as sometimes the wind can be lighter on Poniente days and very strong during Levante days and you’ll need to bring out your 5-6m kites.

Otherwise, you can always rent the gear from us if the conditions are not right for your gear.

 

- How can I avoid the crowds at the main/best kite spots in Tarifa, Spain?

In summer many riders go upwind significantly to avoid school traffic, as most of the students are located near the beach.

Another option is to go to a “secret” spot during Levante, which is called “km 90”, so when you go on the road to Tarifa from Algeciras, on the 90th kilometer there is the road where you can go down to the rocky beach and kite yourself. Ask the locals and they could tell you more about it.

 

- Do I need a license or any kind of certification to kitesurf in Tarifa?

Just to kite no, in case you want to rent kite gear, some kite shops will ask you for an IKO or other license to show your skill level.

During Levante in Los Lances Norte, you will need to buy a boat rescue card https://www.tarifarescue.com/ in case you need to be rescued, if you don’t have this card you will have to pay way more like €100-€150 for the rescue, so in short buy the card to avoid any surprises.

 

- Are there good restaurants near the beach for dinner after a long day on the water when the wind is blowing?

There are loads of beach bars where you can eat after your kite session. In Los Lances Norte there is Chiringuito Agua & Chiringuito Waves. In Valdevaqueros you can eat at Tangana, Bibo, Zero Nueve and others.

 

Summary

If you want to have a good kite session, taste amazing Mediterranean food, and have an overall good time, then we highly recommend you to come to Tarifa and experience the best it can offer.

So what are you waiting for? 

Book your flights, book your kite lessons, take your gear and go!

If you need any more information about Tarifa don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll help you.