Machete Kites 15 years in Punta Chame
In recent years, the Bay of Chame has ranked as a top destination for kiteboarding, by publications including Kiteboarding magazine’s travel guide. Punta Chame draws more visitors each year as the sport gains popularity worldwide. This has created the opportunity for local business in Punta Chame to grow, while new businesses open their doors.Itzick Lalo, owner of Machete kites, has been kiteboarding in the Bay of Chame for almost two decades. Machete Kites has been growing the sport in Panama, offering lessons on the point for over 15 years. Itzick has watched both the sport, and the area develop. Itzick explained that kiteboarding is a relatively young sport. When he started, there was little literature, and definitely no videos or tutorials. The sport has developed quickly, becoming both safer and easier. There are higher quality products available and techniques for riding and teaching have improved a lot.
While it was his early interest in kiteboarding that drew him to the area, I believe it is a combination of Punta Chame’s natural beauty, consistent winds, and good people that have kept him there.
Punta Chame offers insight into Panama’s diversity. The 30-minute drive to the point winds through rolling hills and mangroves, alongside miles of secluded beaches.
Every year, kite season (December to early April) brings Itzick, along with a roster of highly educated kite instructors from around the world, back to Punta Chame. The crew of avid kiteboarders is not hard to find - just head down the sandy path behind Punta Chame Villas towards the beach. If you are coming along the beach, look for the green machete kite flags.
The school fits perfectly amidst the dunes. Two thatch bohios, a small gear shop constructed of recycled materials, a tent for shade, and a grassy area blend into the natural landscape.
Maintaining a grassroots feel is at the heart of Itzick's vision for Machete kites and Punta Chame as a whole. His future plans are to take the Machete Kite School completely off the grid. The rest of the machete team, though ever-changing, seems to share a similar outlook.
This season there are 9 instructors from the U.S., Europe, and Panama in the Machete kites family. Both male and female instructors, teach lessons 7 days a week, in Spanish and English.
These lessons are tailored to fit the students’ skill level and goals. Whether you are new to the sport, or have taken lessons before, these guys can help. All of the instructors are friendly, knowledgeable, and can show you Punta Chame from a whole new perspective.
Getting To Machete Kites
The school sits on the tip of the peninsula, about 30 minutes from the Pan American highway. The exit for Punta Chame is just east of Bejuco - you will see a large green sign for Punta Chame and a small white sales office. Follow this road through a few small towns, and past a police station that sits in the middle of the road, until the end (approx. 24kms). When the road ends just past Punta Chame Villas, make the last left towards the beach at the green Machete kites flag. From here, the road will quickly regress to soft sand (2WD vehicles beware). The beach is less than 100-meters from the main road, and easily accessible by foot.