15 feb. 2014

Cuba, where nudism is (not?) allowed

You may think "Nude sunbathing in Cuba? That's impossible! It is forbidden?" And you'd be right. But things are actually not so strict. Cubans are excellent finding ways to contour laws and regulations, making life much more enjoyable.

This relaxed application of law is even more clear in the case of tourists. Assuming that tourism is very important for the national economy, they try by all means to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. This, of course, taking into account that authorities try to separate tourists from nationals. They don't like very much the foreign influence that could make people question the lack of liberty and force to accelerate the sluggish travel towards democracy and free market economy.

But if you are interested in the real Cuba, there are ways to partially break the barriers. Forget the international hotel chains and packaged holidays and stay at "casas particulares", rooms for rent in private houses. Rent a car and travel to places out of the typical tourist routes. Buy food from street-vendors or eat in "paladares", small restaurants to get a great home-cooked meal. Follow the locals and learn from them how to enjoy life without spending lots of money. It may be difficult if you don't speak Spanish, but the effort is well worthwhile.

Anyway, like it or not, some of the jewels of Cuba are reserved to mass tourism. I am talking about the keys, these small sandy islands just a few miles off the main one. Access is restricted to the guests in the all-inclusive resorts along vast sandy beaches. Not my kind of holidays, but this is the toll you have to pay to enjoy these postcard places.

And these are also the only places in Cuba where nudism is allowed. Of course, there must be in the long deserted beaches or secluded coves in the main island some places where Cubans practice nudism, but since it is not very popular between local people, it will be almost impossible for you to get the location of those secret spots. And if you try by yourself and find the wrong place, you may get into problems.

So, you'd better restrict your au-naturel holidays to the non-officially allowed nude beaches. There are a few spots in the keys well known for its tolerance. Canadians and Europeans are the most usual guests.

Map of nude beaches in Cuba

The mecca for naturists is Cayo Largo, in the south coast. It is a 20km-long island with just a few resorts grouped in the western end of the beach. Nudists have travelled to Cayo Largo for years, using the wild section to the east of the last hotel, or a few designated areas near certain hotels that even have some basic facilities.

Beach in Cayo Largo (Cuba)
Photo by: Vgenecr from nl

Your second option is Cayo Santa Maria. In the north coast, many naturists moved here when Cayo Largo was hitted by a hurricane in 2001. Nudism is allowed in a designated area in the beach of one of the hotels, and tolerated in the virgin section of the beach in the adjacent Cayo Ensenachos.

Beach in Cayo Santa Maria (Cuba)
Photo by: Michele Testini

The last possibility is Cayo Guillermo. It is part of a group of keys in the north coast that are connected to the main island by a road over the shallow water. Apart from thousands of pink flamingos, the main attraction are the white sandy beaches. The unspoilt western end of Playa Pilar is far enough from the hotels to allow nude sunbathing, yet easily accessible by car.

Playa Pilar beach at Cayo Guillermo (Cuba)

Not many options, it is true, but so beautiful that you should not discard Cuba for your next nudist Caribbean getaway. The US blockade or the lack of freedom does not help, but beyond politics, the Cuban people and the lush nature well deserve the visit.

About the Author

Nat Biss

Author & Editor

I have dedicated most of my free time in the last years to discover the world, and beaches offer some of the most stunning landscapes on Earth. The next step was to enjoy them as naturally as possible, which obviously mean without clothes. Now I think it is time for me to share this liberating experience and try to help others to discover it.

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