The city of Cartagena is quite large, but in actuality it is composed of a few different neighborhoods.
There is the outskirts of the city where typically only locals live. This is where you would find many neighborhoods that wouldn't be suited for a visitor to walk around at night.
In the middle of the city and located beach side is the old city, El Centro, which is walled in, a remnant of Spanish occupation. It is beautiful and fully safe any time of the day. I will post more about this not-to-miss location in a later post.
Then there is La Boquilla, which is an up and coming location and home to most of the kite schools in Cartagena. Typically the water is choppy, and I found the wind to be lighter and somewhat holey at times. On the bright side, the beach is gigantic with a long take out for beginning kiteboarders.
The last location is Boca Grande and it tends to be a place devoted to tourists and the wealthier elite of the city. It is extremely safe, even in the middle of the night, so walking around is not an issue. Of course, most things cost a bit more here, but there are local spots that are hidden gems and will be less expensive than the average of the area. We especially loved eating at Riquisimo. Get their filet mignon for roughly $10 usd.
Boca Grande has a lake in one portion of it known as El Laguito, and an entire end of Boca Grande is referred to as Laguito because of it. This is where we stayed, and it is central to what I believe is the best kiteboarding location in Cartagena. We stayed for two months in Edificio Laura, which was $1200 usd for a 2 bed room apartment, so with a roommate rent was $600 per room. This is where all the beautiful pictures of sunsets, as well as the following pictures of the kite spots were taken from. Right from the balcony of our apartment.
Laguito has two basic spots for kiteboarding. A flat water spot and a wave spot. Also, you can choose to ride way, way out into the ocean if you prefer.
The first spot is the flat water location, due to a long rock pier that runs into the ocean and blocks the waves. It's fairly shallow as well making it great for wakestyle practice and progression. Its downside is that there is no take out downwind...the next stop is Tierra Bomba, an island about 5 miles away. No worries though, if in trouble a jetski or fishing boat will rescue the kiter and gear for aproximately $10 usd.
Here are some pictures that Becky took of me riding. She was standing on our balcony at the time. I am a little downwind of the flat water spot so that her and my little girl Avy could easily watch me.
And here is a picture of my little princess watching daddy kite from our balcony. The rock peer is directly behind the middle of the white building, so you can't see it or the best of the flat water.
To the other side of the rock pier that creates the flat water, the waves come in unobstructed, so on a daily basis there is a decent swell perfect for beginning wave riders. Many of the locals are really quite good on a surf board, and all of them are friendly and easy going. Don't be scared to join them, whether you are a strapless pro or a beginner..
The other great part of kiting El Laguito is that there is typically no more than 10-15 riders on the water at any given time. That being said, the flat water spot is fairly small and can feel crowded with 10 or more guys trying to take advantage of it. Throw in a few beginners mowing the lawn, and getting a decent setup for a trick can be frustrating.
One thing to note is that most of the locals don't like to get any darker, so if visiting, try to kite around 12pm or 1pm when the sun is high and hot. If you do, you will get a good 2 to 4 hours of kiting solo, as most of them wait for the sun to go down a little and then ride until sunset.
January through April are the best months to kite and get wind in Cartagena. It blows pretty much every day. We arrived on Feb 9th, and it was 7m-10m every day for 87 days straight.
Here is a video of Armando Sierra (one of Colombia's top kiters) ripping in El Laguito. Th video is quite old, but you can see the conditions of flat water that are available.