The warm water, sandy beaches, and steady winds of Brazil have been attracting kiteboarders for years. With hundreds of miles of beach and so many kite spots to choose from, it's hard to know where to begin.
In this edition of Destinations, we're checking out a Brazilian kiteboarding hotspot that is the perfect place to start: Cumbuco.
This sleepy fishing village has evolved into a fun, Brazilian beachtown that wakes up when the wind blows. Whether you're kiting in the gentle ocean conditions right in front of your beachfront hotel or taking a beach buggy down to one of the famous flatwater lagoons, you'll be able to get a session in almost every day of the season in this spot.
Off the water, you'll find yourself in the heart of a kiteboarding community full of passionate and stoked kiters! This spot is a great place to make new friends, enjoy some laid back nightlife, and dip your toes into Brazil's beach culture.
We're going to tell you everything you need to know about kiteboarding in Cumbuco including when to go, what to bring, where to kite, and what to watch out for. Scroll down further to find out some travel tips for this Destination.
Kite School, Gear Rental & Hotel - http://www.windtown-brazil.com/
Tourist Information - Brazil - https://www.visitbrasil.com/
Tourist Information - Cumbuco - https://www.cumbuco-brazil.com/
Surfin Sem Fim Downwind Trips - https://surfinsemfim.com.br/
Cumbuco Car rental - http://www.cumbuco-car-rental.com/
WIND BY SEASON
Cumbuco is the place to go for steady wind that blows almost every day from June until February. The wind blows between 15 and 25 knots every day, with an average speed of about 19 knots. This spot is known for its blow-dryer steady winds and all level friendly kite conditions.
Kiting in the fishing village of Cumbuco means endlessy sandy beaches granting access to warm, Atlantic Ocean water. The ocean conditions here are small to large chop depending on the wind. This spot is not well known for waves with its fairly small beach break. However, there are great wave conditions along the coast which you can access through a downwinder or kitesurfing expedition.
The Cauipe lagoon is the most popular lagoon spot near Cumbuco, with butter flat water that creates perfect conditions for both beginner kiters and those working on trick progression. This lagoon can get very busy and crowded throughout the windy season, so watch out for other kiters on the spot!
The beachfront of Cumbuco and the flatwater lagoon of Cauipe are both excellent spots to learn to kite or to continue progression as a beginner rider. Connect up with a kite school like Windtown for lessons and coaching. Their beachfront facilities and skilled team of instructors will guide you through the learning experience. The sandy beach and warm water make for ideal learning conditions.
Cumbuco itself does not have a lot of choice when it comes to no-wind day activities. You can take a beach buggy tour, go horseback riding, explore the sand dunes nearby, go sunset sailing, and enjoy Brazilian and a little bit of nightlife in this small fishing village. However, you're only a short distance to the bustling city of Fortaleza where there is plenty to do.
Fly into Fortaleza airport and take a taxi or Uber to Cumbuco. A rental car isn't necessary here, especially if you're staying on the beachfront. Everything in the village is walking distance, and the lagoon is easily accessible by beach buggy or taxi. This spot can be as high or low on the adventure scale as you'd like, from a relaxed beachfront holiday to a dip into vibrant Brazilian culture and scenery.
Cumbuco is an amazing kitesurf location
Welcome to that unbelievably perfect, blow-dryer consistent wind that all kiteboarders dream of. Best of all? It's windy almost year round in Cumbuco! The best time to book a kiteboarding holiday is anytime between June and February, with the strongest and most consistent winds blowing from August to December.
The high season can be quite crowded on the beachfront and in the lagoons, so if you're looking for a quieter time in Cumbuco, avoid the peak season. You can get some windy days in the rainy season from March to May, but the chance of wind is lower in these months.
In the windy season of June to February, you can expect wind to start blowing in the morning and keep blowing all day long - anywhere from 15-25 knots. As always, it's a good idea to bring a variety of kite sizes just in case. Most riders visiting this spot should bring sizes between 7-12 metres, but the kite selection will depend on rider size and board type.
And the weather? Cumbuco is bikini and boardshot kiting, so leave your wetsuit at home! You may want to bring a thin layer and plenty of sunscreen to protect from the strong sun, but you'll be happy to know that it never really gets cold in Cumbuco. Bring your beach clothes and leave the warm layers at home!
The lagoons are crowded the beaches are not
Praia de Cumbuco is the spot for easy ocean riding. We started and finished our Brazil trip at Windtown, which is right on the beachfront on the downwind side of town. This was the perfect location for a low-key kite holiday, and far less crowded than the beach area by the town center. Windtown has sea view accommodations, kite storage by the beach, a nice place to pump and rig your gear, and tons of beachfront space.
Praia de Cumbuco has miles of beach to ride with side onshore conditions that are ideal for every style and skill level. Closer to the village, it gets a little busier with more action and obstacles on the beach. The water conditions are small to large chop depending on how strong the wind is, with a small beach break.
Cauipe Lagoon is the spot for flatwater. This is about 4 miles downwind of Cumbuco, and is accessible via downwinder, beach buggy, or taxi. Cauipe is easily the most popular lagoon in the Cumbuco area, which also means it can be crowded.
Cauipe is the place to go for those working on trick progression or looking for flatwater learning conditions. Beware... water level can affect the size of the lagoon and this spot can get too busy to ride. When it gets to be a bit too much, kick back at the beach bar on a hammock and have a cold one while you watch the pros shred!
There are almost infinite kite spots along Brazil's extensive coastline. You could spend weeks downwinding along these beautiful, virgin beaches. We went on an adventure with the Surfin Sem Fim crew last year that we still can't stop talking about! Don't miss our Brazil Downwinder and Jericoacoara spot guides.
RIDING LEVEL & STYLE
Matchu Lopes ripping in the Lagoons of Brazil
Cumbuco is a spot suited to any and every kiteboarder. Whatever your style of riding, this is a spot that will welcome you. It's also the perfect place to bring friends or family that are interested in learning to kiteboard. How can you go wrong with warm, clear water and beautiful beaches?
The friendly ocean conditions and the wide beachfront make this an incredible spot to learn how to kite. Windtown has an experienced team of instructors that will take you or your friends and family through their beginner lessons all the way to becoming an independent kiteboarder!
For experienced riders, this is progression heaven. Whether it's ocean riding or flatwater, the constant, reliable wind means you can stack hours of practice on the water here. Foiling, wave, big air, and freestyle.. this spot can do it all.
A view of the beachfront from Windtown
Cumbuco is a haven for kiteboarders, and it shows when you're exploring the village. You'll find kite hotels, kite hostels, kite shops, kite repair, and anything else the traveling kiteboarder might want.
Cauipe Lagoon is limited on facilities with only a primitive beach bar. Come prepared if you're planning to spend the day at the lagoon.
The beachfront kite hotels are well equipped for kiters and many have gear storage and rentals available. Windtownis a full Duotone lesson center and shop, and their hotel has a lovely pool and a beach bar with a view.
If you're staying at one of these beachfront kite hotels, you won't even need a car. Just get set up in your hotel, pop your gear in a locker, and get yourself a caipirinha. You'll have everything you need for the perfect kite trip!
The main thing to watch out for in Cumbuco and in Cauipe Lagoon is the crowds. In the peak season, the lagoon can be too small and crowded to ride except for those riders confident in navigating through a high traffic area.
The size of the lagoon can also vary significantly - ask at your kite hotel to find out current conditions for the lagoon. When it's small, it can be almost impossible to ride. At Cumbuco's beachfront, even in the busiest months you'll be able to find your own piece of water. Just stay aware of what's happening around you just in case! The beach is smaller and has more obstacles on the beach closest to the village.
Safety is also a concern in the Cumbuco area with some visitors reporting theft of valuables and kite gear. Keep your valuables out of site and in a secure area and aim to stay in a reputable accommodation. While the beachfront villages in Brazil tend to be more secure than the big cities, this is a still a place where it's a good idea to always be aware of your surroundings.
TRAVEL & VISA REQUIREMENTS: If you’re traveling as an American or Canadian, you will need a valid passport and a visa to travel to Brazil. However, as of June 2019, US passport holder no longer need a visa. Visitors from some other countries like the UK do not need a visa. Please double check the current requirements when planning your trip. For more information, you can check out the USA and Canada government provided travel information.
There are travel advisories in place for some of Brazil’s major cities including Rio de Janeiro. While this is far away from the beautiful kite beaches, it is still important to be practice good travel habits. Be sure to stay in a reputable accommodation, avoid leaving your belongings and kite gear unsupervised, and be cautious when walking alone at night.
The official language in Brazil is Portuguese. A Portuguese phrasebook or an offline Google Translate language pack will come in handy for you on this trip. Many of the kite hotels and guest houses have staff that are fluent in English, and they also have kite instructors who speak English. Many of the locals in the village of Cumbuco including taxi drivers and shop and restaurant staff speak very limited English. To avoid difficulty communicating, come prepared.
FLIGHTS & TRANSPORTATION:The closest airport to Cumbuco is in the city of Fortaleza [FOR]. From Fortaleza, it's a 30 to 60 minute taxi ride or Uber. You can organize an Uber upon arrival (make sure you have a data roaming package on your cell phone), or pick up a taxi at the airport. If you are arriving late at night or early in the morning, you may want to organize a taxi in advance through your hotel or accommodation. Transportation in Brazil is super affordable, and a rental car or vehicle will not be needed. Once you’re on the beachfront in Cumbuco, you can walk to most spots or take a beach buggy or local taxi. Withdraw or exchange some cash after arrival so you have Brazilean Reals (the local currency) to pay for buggies and taxis.
In Brazil, hotels are also known as pousadas. Be sure to book your accommodation in advance, as peak season on Brazil’s kite beaches can get busy. Accommodation in Cumbuco is very affordable, and you can get a great hotel room on or near the beachfront for between $40 and $100 USD per night. It's hard to beat a hotel or pousada that is designed for kiteboarders, so be sure to check for kite facilities and gear storage when booking.
The village of Cumbuco does not have a huge selection of no-wind activities, other than what you'd expect on a typical beach holiday... relaxing on the beach, working on your tan, tropical drinks with friends, etc. If you're looking for something a bit more adventurous, you can take a beach buggy tour, go horseback riding, explore the sand dunes nearby, go sunset sailing, and enjoy a little bit of nightlife in this small fishing village. However, you're only a short distance to the bustling city of Fortaleza where there is plenty to do.
When the sun sets or the wind stops, you'll be surrounded by an international kite community full of energy. This is a spot to visit for those who love to kite, and be surrounded by others who love to kite. Plus it's a great place to bring your friends or family who are just getting into the sport. Kiteboarding in that clear, warm water was the highlight of my trip to Brazil.
We look forward to sharing the next Destination with you!
Duotone Kites USA team rider and a MACkite team rider. Originally from Canada, she now calls the entire world her home, playground, and her workplace. She goes where the wind blows - so if you see her at a kite beach somewhere in the world, say hello! Her primary goal is to share her love of kiteboarding and travel and all the lessons learned along the way with the world.
Facebook: Crystal Veness
Written and produced by Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic and Crystal Veness