Whether visiting a nude beach is a spontaneous whim or a long-planned rite of passage, that thrill of disrobing can be every bit as addictive as the feeling of the wind, sun, and water on your unclothed body. Fortunately for thrill-seekers, there are clothing-optional or fully nude beaches all around the world, many of which are surprisingly near where your ship has anchored.
But what do you need to know before committing? For starters, you should know whether the nude beach is legal or official; as Philip Carr-Gomm warns in his 2010 book, A Brief History of Nakedness, “If you take off your clothes in the wrong place at the wrong time, you can be fined, deported, or thrown into jail.”
Nude Beaches Around the World
Depending on the country you are visiting, you may see signs or words that could be unfamiliar. FKK (from the German, Freikörperkultur, meaning “free body culture”) denotes a nude beach or area of the beach. “Clothing optional” is self-explanatory, and the word naturist or naturism is often used outside the United States to refer to a nudist and nudism. In the U.K., you’ll hear of nude and “textile” beaches, where swimsuits are worn.
Carr-Gomm’s book delves into the wide range of activities one can enjoy today now that nude events and participation are more accepted as liberating and fun, including such extreme ones as nude skydiving and nude bungee jumping. If that level of thrill seems a bit much, perhaps a more relaxed day at one of these beaches might be of interest:
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
A long-established resort, Hawksbill by rex resorts is five miles from the cruise ship terminal in St. John’s. One of its beaches, Eden, is naturist. Take a taxi to the main building and ask for walking directions. There are few amenities; do bring your own towels as well as drinks and food. (The front desk staff at the hotel may offer an all-day meal plan, although the beach is at least a 10-minute jaunt from the main hotel buildings.)
SAINT BARTHÉLEMY (AKA ST. BART’S)
From the port of Gustavia, both Gouveneur and Saline beaches are for nude use. Inquire at the dock from a local; taxis can be expensive and there are few amenities (if any) at either beach. Ensure you have a pick-up time from the same taxi driver.
ST MARTIN/SINT MAARTEN
This dually owned Caribbean nation was badly damaged in the hurricanes of 2017, and its most well-known naturist resort, Club Orient, was decimated. However, a large portion of Orient Beach remains very popular with land nudists and day-trippers from the cruise ships that dock on the Dutch side in Philipsburg. Umbrellas, chaises longue, washrooms, and food and drink are available.
If you are spending time in either Acapulco or Huatulco before or after your cruise, the little town of Zipolite in Oaxaca boasts the country’s only legal nude beach. It is approximately 36 miles from the cruise port in Huatulco, and is…
By Bruce Bishop
Photo: AGF Srl/Alamy Stock Photo