As you know I’m the type of girl that loves to try different adventure/water/ extreme sports and learn something new. It doesn’t always go well for me, in fact it usually doesn’t, but I love to try anyway. You may remember that last month I spent a week in Lagos surfing and I LOVED it. So when the opportunity came along to try kitesurfing in Lagos Portugal with Bering Travel, I was all over it.
Who Are Bering Travel?
Bering Travel is a Danish company specialising in package adventure holidays in locations around the world. Their trips range from diving courses to yoga camps, including kitesurfing, of course. I personally love their sustainable attitude and incredibly reasonable prices (this girl is all about the environment and saving money). Most tours are suitable for all variety of travellers. My trip had people of all ages, from teenager to 50s.
The face/voice of Bering Travel on this trip was Daniel. He contacted everybody whilst on the trip to see if we had any recommendations or issues and just to generally check how we were doing. It really felt like the company valued the opinion of their customer and were open to methods of improvement. They have recently translated their website into English, so go have a look aver at Bering Travel and see if anything catches your eye. If you do happen to speak Danish (I definitely don’t) then you can check out the Danish website here.
How Do I Get To Lagos?
Getting to Lagos from Faro airport is extremely easy. It’s around 1 hour in a taxi. Bering Travel can organise a transfer for you which is significantly cheaper than arranging your own taxi. The other, cheaper, option is to get a train from Faro to Lagos. With the train you need to get a taxi to Faro train station (around 11 euro) then hop on the train. Tickets are 7.30 euro. The train station in Lagos is around a 15 minute walk from the kitesurfing accommodation.
I can also highly recommend Resorthoppa. This is a company that provides transfers from Faro to the main resorts in the area. It costs around 17 euro to Lagos. It drops you at the main taxi rank which is about a 5 minute walk to the kitesurfing accommodation. I’ve tried all three of these options. The Resorthoppa is definitely what I would recommend, unless you have a lot of baggage, in which case a transfer is worth the extra bit of money. Then you’re on your way to kitesurfing in Lagos Portugal.
What Is Kitesurfing?
Ok, so it’s an extreme sport where you attach a giant kite to your waist with a harness. Sounds terrifying? It can be. You then attempt to control this kite, harnessing the power of the wind to propel yourself through the water (body-dragging) or over the water on a board (actual kitesurfing). It’s wild and fast and maybe a bit terrifying but also incredibly fun. Once you’ve learnt how to control the kite it feels like a great victory and a lot less scary. I must admit that there is quite a steep learning curve though. However, if you have previously done a lot of board sports such as snowboarding, skating or surfing, you should take to it quite quickly.
What Are The Lessons Like?
Ok, so there is a very loose structure to the lessons. Obviously it depends on the wind so it’s hard to have a definite plan. However, this was the itinerary of kitesurfing in Lagos Portugal as I experienced it. Essentially, breakfast is served 8.30-9.30am. Lunch is dropped off in a cooler around this time also. Remember to bring this with you when leaving to catch the pick up.
**One thing I must explain is that Portuguese people have a very relaxed attitude to time keeping (no offence guys but it’s true), this is often referred to as “Portuguese Time”. If your instructor tells you something is happening at 1pm, you’re pretty much guaranteed that it won’t be happening until 1.20pm. Once you learn to accept this, things run a lot smoother. Kind of like “Island time”, but in Portugal.**
That aside the instructor usually arrives around 9.30am (Portugeuse time) to brief you on what the winds are like. This is when it will be decided at what time you will be picked up to head out kitesurfing.
There are usually 2 pick-up options;
1) Go with instructor in the morning to the beach. There you can relax in the sun or do some SUPing (included) until lunch. Perfection.
2) Use the morning to get some work done (if you’re like me) , explore beautiful Lagos or just recover from your hang over (also, definitely me). Then get picked up around 12pm and meet the rest of the group for lunch.
After everyone has had lunch and grabbed their equipment you all pile into the boat and jet off to the sand bar. This place is essentially a kite surfers paradise. Pretty much constant strong wind and shallow water. You can kite till quite late in the evening. On our last night the group didn’t get back till 8.30pm.
Out on the sandbar it’s usually one instructor to four people and one kite between two people, unless you brought your own equipment. This does, however, vary depending on the day and size of the group. The first couple of lessons for beginners will all be on the sand to ensure that you learn everything you need to know about the lines and the kite as well as how to control the kite. There is a lot of theory to learn before you can move into the water.
Then it’s back to the apartment after a quick shower at the kitesurfing school. Most night’s we were back around 6.30-7pm and absolutely starving. Thankfully there are plenty of suggestions on the social calender of where to eat so we never had to think about it too hard. Some nights we all ate together, other nights we split up and it worked out fine. There’s no obligation, so if couple’s want to have a night to themselves, or if someone is an awkward vegetarian (like me) then they can easily go off and do their own thing.
This trip is such good value for money. All of your kitesurfing equipment, lessons and transfers to and from the beach are included. Your accommodation in the beautiful surf mansions is included for the week. It also includes breakfast and lunch every day and two INCREDIBLE dinners at the surf house with PLENTY of Sangria too. In my case it was a paella on Sunday and a BBQ on Thursday. Both nights were probably my favourite meals of the trip. One of the most amazing aspects of this trip is that kayaking and SUPing is also included. You can do that every morning before kitesurfing if you really want. I HIGHLY recommend kayaking around the caves. You won’t be disappointed.
What Did I Think?
The moment of truth! Right, I must admit that after the first day of this trip I wasn’t exactly thrilled. However, I did have to keep in mind that this trip had only been running for 3 weeks so there were still a lot of changes being made and things to work out. AND the first day of trying a new sport is always the worst, so I wasn’t really being fair. I mean, the accommodation, the food and the setting for this camp is exceptional. It was the instruction that I had my concerns about. However, thanks to Daniel being a wonderful liaison, a lot of my concerns had been fixed before the end of the camp. For example the number of instructors was increased.
To be honest, if you’re not a beginner, this won’t really be an issue for you, you’ll get in the water and have the time of your life. What I would recommend for a beginner is that they watch some of the kitesurfing videos for beginners that are available on Youtube, or read the IKO guidelines before they have their first lesson. This way everything won’t seem so overwhelming. I also recommend that you request having Tiago as your instructor if you are a beginner as he has a very good way with teaching.
Towards the end of the week, when we had all gotten into the swing of things, I actually had a really good time trying kitesurfing. Sure I was still eating sand or water every once in a while, but I wasn’t terrified any more. I understood where to put the kite and how to release the safety before anything scary could happen. That is typical me though, I always have a rough first day and complain and then after a week I decide I actually quite like it, no matter what I’m trying! So I’m glad I got there in the end.
To be honest, for me, the camp was as much about the social aspect as it was about the kitesurfing. And the social side of things was amazing. We stayed up late having drinks on the terrace, listening to each others terrible jokes and we even had a dance off on an empty dance floor. By the end of the week I was body dragging, I’d made some wonderful friends and had an amazing experience kitesurfing in Lagos Portugal with a great group of people. I don’t know if kitesurfing is really for me but some of the people on my course were already looking at booking it again next year, so that’s a pretty good sign!
** Bering Travel provided me with a complimentary kitesurfing trip. However, the opinion expressed in this post is, as always, my own.