By Bob Curley
The Caribbean’s rum-soaked reputation to the contrary, it’s not always “anything goes” in the region. But when it comes to nude beaches, you can find what you’re looking for across the wider Caribbean, from the French Caribbean to the coast of Mexico. If you consider going nude the ultimate freedom when you travel, here are the best nude beaches you can find, period.
Grande Saline, St Barth Looking for a destination where you can go topless and nude without as much as raising an eyebrow? Head for the exclusive French Caribbean enclave of St Barth, where you can go au natural on any beach and the local residents are much too chic and chill to care and the day trippers are far too busy trying to spot celebrities to notice you. On an island known for attracting the rich, young, and beautiful, this may be the one destination that routinely defies the local Caribbean saying about going nude — “Those who should, don’t, and those who do, shouldn’t.” Grand Saline is the most popular St Barth beach for going nude.
Orient Beach, St Martin Both the French and Dutch have a “live and let live” attitude, so no surprise that the top nude beach in the Caribbean is on the shared island of St. Martin/Maarten. Orient Beach is on the French side of the island and offers the option to sunbathe nude (it’s actually more the rule than the exception here). On the Dutch side of the island, Cupecoy Beach is a nude beach with natural caves where you can retreat when you need a break from the sun.
Hawksbill Beach, AntiguaThe beach in front of Rex Resorts’ Hawksbill resort on the beach of the same name is Antigua’s only designated nudist strand. The 37-room resort itself is all-inclusive, but not clothing-optional, and also has three other beaches where you’ll need to keep your clothes on.
Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica The bohemian spirit of Negril is alive and well on the west coast town’s resort-lined Seven Mile Beach, several of which have beaches where you can sunbathe nude and, in some cases, do a lot more.
The hint about the Hedonism II resort is right in the name: for hedonistic pleasure in the Caribbean, there’s no other resort that comes close to the legendary libertine’s hideout on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach. The recently renovated resort has “prude” and “nude” sides with corresponding pools and beaches, so your visit here can tip the naughtiness scale from mild to wild. The clothing-optional beach tends to be for nudist newbies, while the nude beach and pool can be “anything goes” zones, especially at night.
Hedo isn’t a swinger’s resort, per se, but it’s definitely a place to test your sexual and relationship boundaries if you so desire. At a minimum, you’ll see some things happening in public that take place firmly behind closed doors in most other places; if that’s a little TMI for you, there are plenty of tamer options out there.
The Grand Lido Resort is the best alternative for nude sunbathing in Negril without the overt sexuality of Hedo. This 21-plus “au natural” resort (meaning you can be nude anywhere but the restaurants) has butler-serviced suites and offers access to two (fully clothed) sister properties, the Royalton Negril and adults-only Hideaway at Royalton Negril. Couples Negril also allows you to get nude on its stretch of Seven Mile Beach.
Anse Tarare, Guadeloupe Guadeloupe is another French Caribbean department, so of course it also has nude beaches. Located at Pointe Tarare on the east end of Grand Terre, Anse Tarare is a small, secluded (but shadeless) “plage naturiste” frequented by locals and visitors alike. The vast majority of visitors to Guadeloupe are Europeans (and largely French), but Americans will at least recognize the brand of the Club Med La Caravelle resort on Anse Accul, another beach with a section set aside for nude sunbathing (although it’s prohibited at the resort itself).
Cancun, Mexico Temptation Resort, a self-described “playground for adults,” welcomes singles and couples ages 21 and up for shedding some clothes and inhibitions. The all-inclusive resort has topless-optional pools and a beach, a nightclub, sexy theme nights and entertainment, and an “aphrodisiac restaurant.” The overall feel is edgy but not over the top: full nudity is a faux pas, but you can only go topless in certain areas.
Puerto Morelos, Mexico The Desire Pearl and Desire Riviera Maya are sister resorts to Temptation that allow guests to push their limits a little (or a lot) further. Both are all-inclusive, all-suites resorts in Puerto Morelos, are clothing-optional on the beach, in the pool, and in most other areas, and advertise as “sensual” resorts that welcome swingers but also guests who simply want to go naked in public.
Puerto Morelos’ Hidden Beach Resort offers the option to go nude in the Riviera Maya in a more elegant and relaxed atmosphere; this “au natural” resort by Karisma boasts five-star dining and accommodations and a secluded beach where you can sunbathe naked and away from (most) prying eyes.
The Natural, Curacao The Natural gets an honorable mention even though it has no beach because it’s probably the best bargain among nude destinations in the Caribbean. The resort has a pool, is located on a breezy inland hilltop, and offers rates starting as low as $40 per person per night in low season. and accommodations include safari tents along with standard rooms, villas, bungalows, and apartments. It’s simple: nudity is mandatory.
Montego Bay, Jamaica You have to keep your clothes (or swimsuit) on in most parts of the all-inclusive Sandals Royal Caribbean resort, but Sandals Royal Caribbean has a private island with a strip of sandy beach reserved for nude sunbathing. Conveniently, the resort’s plushest accommodations, a string of overwater villas, are connected via boardwalk to the island, which also has a Jamaican jerk shack and a Thai restaurant.
The Sunscape Splash Montego Bay is perfect for parents who want to take a walk on the wild side during their Caribbean family vacation: there is a separate nude beach tastefully separated past the end of the main hotel facilities.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica Like the Sandals in MoBay, the Couples Tower Isle resort has a private beach where you can tan or swim in the nude. Actually, if you come out to the island (which is actually the Tower Isle that gives the resort its name), you have to get naked, since the island isn’t clothing-optional but rather nude-mandatory. The island also has a pool with a swim-up bar. The upscale Couples San Souci resort also permits nude sunbathing on its beaches.