ARE YOU READY FOR A VACATION IN COLOMBIA?
Below are loads of details that you'll want to know in order to help make for a smooth vacation experience main topics include:
It's always nice to pack light, but there are a few things we don't want you to forget. Due to the possibility of lost luggage we recommend that you carry-on important items whenever possible.
- Current Passport REQUIRED for all guests from the US and Canada (guests from other countries should check with their airline or consulate)
- A printout of your email invoice confirming full payment and this Tips & Facts webpage.
- Harness, lycra, vest.
- Sunglasses and chums, a visor or hat.
- High SPF (30+) waterproof sunscreen lotion
- PFD and/or helmet (if desired)
- Slacks for dining out in restaurants (No shorts in some restaurants)
- Extra spending money (see "Currency/credit cards" below)
- Ball-point pen, helpful for any airport forms, customs declarations, etc.
- Ear Plugs, a good idea if you are a light sleeper
- Aspirin or Ibuprofen for muscle aches
- Medical tape for tired hands.
What We Have:
Great deals on Neil Pryde sails and JP boards, plus a surf shop with rashguards, gloves, harnesses in case you've forgotten something at home!
Vela Colombia at Mokaná Club is located right on the beachfront in the tourist district known as El Laguito, conveniently located within short walking distance to many hotels, restaurants, shops, and markets.
Cartagena has a warm weather all year long. The best months to visit are from early December to early April; no rains, great winds and sunny days. Rainy months are June, September and October, although it never rains for more than a couple of hours. Ocean temp is nice and warm all year long: no wetsuit needed. A long sleeved rashguard is perfect to have protection from the sun.
Spanish is the local language. Center manager speaks fluent English, we also have available fluent English speaking instructors with previous booking. Most staff speak only basic English. Depending where your adventures lead you most locals also have some level of English.
Currency / Credit Cards:
Colombian Pesos (COP) is the official currency. US Dollars are accepted in some places but at a lower rate. Exchange booths, banks, and ATMs are easy to find in the tourist areas. Credit cards are accepted with additional service fees: if you can pay in local pesos you'll get the best deal. The Center accepts credit cards but prefers cash for any additional services such as lessons, rentals, or tours that you may want to purchase once you arrive.
110 volt, same type of outlets as used in the US and Canada.
Email / Phone Service:
All hotels have telephones in the rooms and Mokaná Center offers free WiFi access for Vela guests. If bringing your cell phone make sure to pick up a global SIM card when you arrive.
Tap water is not safe to drink, best to avoid and drink bottled water. Water and other drinks are available for sale at the center. When ordering cocktails from the bar make sure they are using filtered water for the ice!
Cartagena was recently considered one of the world's Top 10 foodie destinations, so be ready to enjoy delicious Caribbean and fusion cuisines. Check with the staff at your hotel and the Vela center to find out which spots to try, and which to avoid.
Other Activities available:
Cartagena has lots of activities and places to go. At the center you'll find kayaks, SUP, jet ski rentals, flyboard, surfing, snorkeling, diving and more.. We can also help you arrange:
- City Tours: Cartagena’s Old Town was declared World Heritage on 1984 for its houses, walls and forts. Amazing balconies with flowers, huge plazas with massive churches and great restaurants, colors, charm, history, all in one place. Enjoy group tours or private tours.
- Foodie Tours: Be guided by a local foodie and cook to try the best food on the city, planned according to your preferences.
- Barú and Rosario Island trips: Enjoy crystal clear water, white sand, turquoise colors just 20 minutes away from Cartagena, in Barú or go a little further to Rosario Island. We can help you set up your trip on a private boat, catamaran or sailboats or with a group tour.
Ask our guest service team for information
A 10% service charge will most likely be added to your restaurant bill, and extra for the waiter is also much appreciated, since the 10% does not go directly to the waiter. Gratuities of are appreciated for good service by all other service-industry employees, including the team at Vela Colombia / Mokaná Club.
Should an emergency necessitate an early return home, we will do all we can to get refunds for you. Standard hotel cancellation fees usually exceed any unused balance, but hotels are quite often understanding of emergencies. To assist us in this you must .
You should be flying to Aeropuerto Rafael Nuñez de Cartagena de Indias, otherwise known as Cartagena International (CTG). When you arrive at the airport you will go through immigration and pick up any checked luggage in baggage claim area. The airport is small and lines are usually very short.
Taxis / Transfers:
Airport associated taxis are available as soon as you exit. Prices range from COP $12.000 to $18.000 (USD $7 - $10). We can also arrange pre-paid transfers in advance upon request..
Transportation During Your Vacation:
Taxis are certainly the best way to explore the city. Public buses are available too but generally not recommended. Rental cars are not necessary as everything is within a short walk or quick taxi ride..
The normal check-in time is at 3:00PM for all properties, although we can request early check-in if available. Vouchers are not required for check-in. Simply arrive at the front desk and give the agent the last name of the person who made the reservation. If there are any questions, please show them the email invoice that you should print and take with you. NOTE: If you are arriving after 9:00 PM, you must call us with your arrival information immediately and no later than one week prior to arrival at 800-223-5443 / 541-387-0431 (unless you have already given us this information). The hotel's front desk may be closed after 9:00 pm unless Vela is able to notify them of your late arrival.
Check out time is 12 noon for all properties. Make certain to go over your final bill carefully. Personal charges such as bar tabs, laundry, telephone calls, and such are your responsibility. DO NOT let the hotel charge you any tax or service fees on accommodations prepaid by Vela. We always prepay tax and service charges for you. Should an emergency necessitate an early return home, we will do all we can to get refunds for you. Standard hotel cancellation fees usually exceed any unused balance, but hotels are quite often understanding of emergencies. To assist us in this you must get written verification of check-out date from your hotel front desk and also from the windsurf staff. Important note: If you have an early flight, make arrangements for a taxi to the airport the day before your departure and leave plenty of time to get to the airport. If you are leaving on a late flight, sometimes there is a courtesy room available for storing luggage and taking a shower.
Getting To Vela:
Vela Colombia at Mokaná Club is located in the neighborhood of El Laguito, on the beach with the same nameEl Laguito, right next to Restaurante El Muelle. If you take a taxi, ask for Hotel Dann and from there go straight ahead to the beach (100mts) and on the beach take a left: you're there!.
Checking In To Get Started:
Our staff will be anticipating your arrival and will plan to greet you on our reception desk. You can find our staff members at the equipment area wearing T-shirts that say "Vela" or "Staff". Give any team member your name and they will set you up with an orientation.
Vela Colombia is equipped with the high performance gear featuring sails from from NeilPryde and variety of boards from JP-Australia. For beginners we feature a few popular popular shapes as well as the latest "Windsurf SUP" models. Please help us maintain the high quality of our fleet by handling with care
Getting On The Water:
Equipment is available for check out beginning at 9:00 am and must be returned by 5:30 pm. Every day you sail you must sign out yourself and the equipment that you are using. This enables us to keep track of our equipment and know that our guests have returned safely. All procedures and safety concerns will be explained during the orientation. Please note that equipment fee is per person and not transferable.
Getting Your Gear:
You will be given an orientation session before checking out your equipment. All guests must use the equipment sign-out / sign-in sheet located at the equipment area to check out equipment. If you want to change your board or sail during the day, simply return gear to the racks and use the sign in on the sheet, then sign out again, indicating your new kite or board on the sign-out sheet. All this will be covered in your "Center Orientation" on your first day of sailing.
Sailing Conditions and Safety:
Best winds are November through April, and the best waves December and January. Lighter winds from the south in the morning are followed by stronger winds from the north in the afternoon, making for side-off winds most afternoons. A shallow and sandy beginner area is protected from swell, providing a safe launch for anyone. Get past the jetty to reach stronger winds and waves on the outside.
Each of the different types of sails available for check out have been rigged in a manner best suited for that particularsail. If you would like to make adjustments to the rig, we ask that you first get a short orientation to that particular sail from one of our staff. You will be responsible for any incorrect handling of the rig that damages the sail.
Damage to equipment:
Once you sign out gear it is your responsibility to return it in the same condition. To minimize the possibility of damage, please choose equipment that suits your ability level and conditions, and handle equipment carefully when launching and coming in to shore. Items that need replacing such as fins, kites, lines, and safety equipment will be charged at cost plus 15% for parts and labor. For items that can be repaired, standard charges will apply. This must be paid IN CASH directly to the center in full upon return of the damaged equipment.
Vela Wind Warranty:
In the event that there are 4 or more days of no sailable wind using any of our equipment, you may request a NO-WIND CLAIM FORM that will allow you credit towards a future trip to any Vela destination. Note that you may receive higher credits if you return to the same center. You must get this form before you leave the center. The center also propose replacement activities in case of no wind: stand up paddle, surfing, sea kayak, etc. Please, check with the school manager to change your windsurf or kite rental for a multi-activity package.
On-Site / Walk-Up Equipment Rental:
If you have not paid for equipment as part of your vacation, note that rentals will only be available after the staff is satisfied that all pre-paid guests have had their first choice. Complete board and rig rentals only. We cannot guarantee equipment availability unless you pre-book with Vela with advance reservations.
If you are thinking of bringing your own gear, know that there is plenty of room for storage at the center with a small fee of only $30 per week. However, keep in mind that the cost and hassle of bringing oversized luggage on the airlines not worthwhile in the long run. Try brining just your harness instead and leave the rest to us!
Make sure to say goodbye to our staff before you go. Check to see if you have left anything at the center or if you have taken care of your final tab for additional services you may have purchased. If you have had some bad luck in the wind department, make sure to get you No Wind Claim Form before you go, and we hope that you have still had a great vacation overall in spite of Mother Nature!
READY TO GO? ARE YOU SURE? PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU DEPART. HAVE A GREAT TRIP AND DON'T FORGET TO WRITE!