The Undercover Pilot
Story of a little trip to Estado Falcón, Venezuela
It is not easy these days to make the decision to adventure to the “interior” of the country, as we call the countryside in Venezuela. There is gossip about armed robberies on the road, insecurity in the villages, and lately there is the issue of gasoline shortages (Yes, in Venezuela, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world).
Regardless of the situation, the six of us organized everything and got away to our road trip in two SUVs. I recommend to make the trip in at least two cars, in case there are any inconveniences while on the road. We had to carry huge cans of oil to fill our own tanks, and travelled mentally prepared to endure hours of queuing at a gas station, if necessary.
Since ‘believing without seeing’ is not easy, we had to witness for ourselves the ultra long lines before we believed the gravity of the gasoline problem. The line formed on the right lane of the highway during the entire journey between the States of Aragua and Carabobo was just incredible. Miles long. We even saw people pushing their cars manually with already empty tanks. But once we reached Estado Falcón by the town of Tucacas, the queues stopped and we were able to refuel with minimal waiting. We had come prepared with some sandwiches for the route, and we stocked up on soft drinks and water and made a short stop to the toilet and continued on our way.
I had been to the city of Coro once before, so I thought we were close...big mistake. We had about two more hours of a precarious road ahead of us. Long, desolate, badly paved, with curves and holes. Needless to say, it wasn't a pleasant drive. Besides, we had no cell phone signal, something that strongly affects the smartphone addicts (me), and by the way, it prevented us from seeing the distance that separated us from the destination because we didn't set the destination in GoogleMaps.
When boredom peaks, signs start appearing. Cumarebo Port, La Vela…finally! We were getting there!!
WHERE TO EAT IN CORO
We drove a little longer until we arrived in Coro. Starving, we started looking for some places recommended on the Internet. All of them, as well as the three fast food restaurants in the capital city of Falcon, were closed. So we ended calling an acquaintance who suggested that we ate at a Mexican restaurant:
AGAVE Coro 4101 Tel. +584121252425
It was a great choice; we had a delicious mexican lunch. Dishes were huge, so be careful when ordering. The best is sharing, that way you can taste everything in the menu. We had Jimador tequila shots. Great! The place is super well set up.
Price. Something very picturesque happened to us: the menus did not show prices. We ordered at the risk of ruin. We paid in dollars (the new unofficial national currency) as well as everything from here on, It was about $12 per person.
WHAT TO DO IN CORO
With a full stomach and happy heart, we went to visit the colonial center. It's worth walking by the cobblestone streets past the houses of the first city of Venezuela, founded by Juan de Ampíes in 1527.
Start at the San Francisco Church, then you see the Plaza where the San Clemente Cross is located. On the next corner, you will find the Casa de los Arcaya with the first balcony in the country, then the house with the ‘Iron Windows’, because before they were all made of wood, so at that time this was seen as the most modern; and so you go past houses each with its own family story.
This place has been named Cultural Heritage of Humanity but I feel it’s screaming for maintenance. Anyway, it’s still a very special place.
PENINSULA DE PARAGUANA
Time to cross the isthmus. It's almost sunset. A few miles away the warnings are already beginning: Watch out for dunes on the road, and there they were, blocking our road.
We park the car on a side and get off the car determined to climb the yellow mountain in front of us which, to our surprise, opened a door to that immense desert that takes more than 90 square kilometers of the peninsula.
We had a blast there. We took pictures in all poses imaginable, we rolled down the sand mountains. And finally we decided to rest and contemplate the sunset, and a rainbow, sitting over the cool sand.
We still had half an hour to go until we reached our final destination: the beaches of Adicora. A kitesurfing paradise because of its constant wind all year round.
WHERE TO STAY IN ADICORA
Marilu and Jorge are waiting for us at their beach lodge: Posada Icaro. I had checked their website before our trip and did not expect much, but no, you can go with confidence, it is very well cared for and above the owners are very friendly and take care of every detail during your whole stay. The two are absolutely charming, and concerned that we were comfortable at all times.
The rooms (there are only 8), have good air conditioning and hot water. The pool area and the restaurant are impeccable. Good music. They also have rooftop bar. The perfect meeting place with your friends after a day kitesurfing.
Breakfast is included. They offer you three different types: Criollo, American, or an omelette.
Price is calculated in US dollars and it's not cheap, nor are the meals, but it's not exorbitant either. It is a reality that Venezuelan people are living in the country and if you can afford it, go for it.
The next day we were all ready for our first kite class at Daniel Badell's school, the one he had recommended, but not the only one. Next door is Chicho's school which I thought was for a younger audience perhaps. I know they are both very good in any case.
Daniel, the owner of the school, was a National Champion in Windsurfing, but now he runs this school along with one of his brothers; and you could say that the school is "enlivened" by their father, who has endless stories and tales.
Learning to kite is not as easy as everyone suggest. It takes time, and above all perseverance and determination, but the perfect weather all year round, the warm sea, and the wind, that in Adicora blows towards the beach, are great help for any beginner. In any case, it takes more than a weekend to achieve full success. Our weekend was one of constant falls and rises.
WHERE TO EAT IN ADICORA
At noon when the hunger arrived, the fish burgers that Ziggy Graterol prepares arrive directly to the School too. Ours made of freshly caught Picua (barracuda). They were so fresh, and the bread so delicious that you think you can't resist a second one. Luckily they are ordered in bulk.
They also had chocolate fondant, so no diet for us that day! Besides, as if that lunch wasn't enough, night fell and we couldn't refuse some drinks and the eat a delicious meal at the ‘posada’, or else accept the invitation (paid $12) to eat meat and lobster barbecue at the Badells' own house. An incredible family atmosphere.
I think you "Barbecue evening” is not to be missed.
People retired to the lodge early to be ready to welcome the wind the next morning. The wind promised to blow at a constant of 20 knots.
I need to insist, kitesurfing is not an easy sport like the fame it has acquired. It is an extreme sport, which requires, above all, full responsibility from the kiter. Learning it takes time. A weekend is not enough, so if that is your goal, be prepared to come back several weekends in a row, or stay for a full vacation. I would dare say that you need on average of one week to feel that after succeeding with the theory of the sport, the familiarization with the movement of the kite, first over the sand and then on water, and finally practicing body dragging until you swallow enough water, to then be able to get on your board and start sailing.
The issue of equipment is something to consider as well.
At the Badell School you can get it. They will get you the board you’ll need according to your size and the wind of the day. They also inflate it and prepare it for you. In other words, they pamper you from start to finish. But once you become a kitesurfer, you will want to consider buying your own equipment. There are people who feel that the best of kites are: Cabrinha. This is a stable kite, of good duration, that pulls well and is good sailing; but the elite in this area is represented by Core and North. Core that I know more about, is made in Germany, it is very stable and very durable. It also has very good resale value (which is something to consider). The important thing is to be clear about what you want to own because the bars are not compatible among different brands. Not even Core's inflation pump is suitable for other brands.
If you decide to kite surf you’ll have to invest in time and money, but then the pleasure of sailing is priceless.
WHAT ELSE TO DO IN ADICORA
Finally, there are certain things worth doing at Adicora besides kite surfing.
Taking a walk or a bike ride through the town, stopping at the church, passing by the lighthouse and even bathing in the calm waters of the North beach are things that should not be missed. And if you still have courage, venture to Pueblo Nuevo, about 10 minutes by car and once inside look for the church and border it from behind until you arrive to the house of the Hermanas Osorio. They sell the best goat's dulce de leche that you’ll ever taste. The best in the world!
If you drive a little further north, along the coast, you will reach the Salinas de Cumaragua. It is totally worth the visit and in the afternoon, you can admire the pink color in the waters surrounding the place. Spectacular!
On the way back, make a stopover at the Central Market in Coro and pass by the cheese factory and buy goat cheese to take home.
If you get hungry stop at the cachapas of Prolarsa on the Morón-Coro road just after passing Morrocoy.