Mexico is known for a lot of things, but nudity isn’t really one of them. Mexican culture is traditional and conservative. Respectful travelers have long known to cover their shoulders and their knees when visiting cultural or religious sites.
On beaches in Mexico swimwear is assumed. Topless sunbathing is uncommon (unless you’re at a resort that specifically advertises it) and nudism is prohibited in Mexico’s federal zones, including beaches, although this is not always strictly enforced. What does this mean? It means that nudism is technically illegal outside private resorts or residences and if you choose to practice it openly, on public land, you do so at your own risk.
However, if you’re a “naturalist” and are looking for a place to let your hair… and other things… down then there are a few options, if you’re willing to hunt for them. Don’t, however, expect the “au naturel” beaches to be populated with playboy bunnies and swimsuit models. You’ll find people of all shapes and sizes who are there to relax and play, not to be gawked at or display their junk for your amusement. If you go, be cool, no need to make a spectacle of yourself or others.
>> Learn more about Mexico’s beaches in general, including what to expect from the different regional beaches in the country.
Zipolite: The Only “Official” Nude Beach
Zipolite is the only beach in Mexico where nudism is widely tolerated. There are “nudist resorts” sprinkled here and there in the tourist areas, but this beach on the Oaxacan Pacific Coast bathing in the raw is a long standing tradition, a hold over from the hippie days. Tolerated does not mean loved by the locals. You’ll find only foreigners and perhaps a few brave young Mexican me without their clothes, cover up when you leave the beach.
It is accessible for those arriving in Puerto Escondido and renting a car. There are beachfront palapas and restaurants available as well as a yoga center and dive shops. Wear swimwear, at least, in these establishments.
“Zipolite” is reported by some to mean “beach of the dead” in local Mayan dialect and refers to the serious rip currents that have claimed more than a few lives over the years. Swimmers be warned. It’s wise to hire a reputable guide if you want to snorkel in the area.
Petty crime and drugs are a problem in this area. Coastal Oaxaca has been home to a few episodes of banditry as well in recent years. Take care with your belongings and travel mindfully.
This is a small, “clothing optional” resort for couples and families is located about five hours from Cancun, near Xcalak, so it’s well off the beaten path and promises a quiet getaway without “crowds, vendors or gawkers.” They welcome all guests with “at least a second grade education” including children whose parents are practicing naturalists.
This resort specializes in an “off the grid” experience so there are no jet skis, or paragliding type activities. Instead there is a focus on nature: snorkeling, SCUBA diving, bird watching & beach combing. If you’re looking for an exciting array of activities, go elsewhere. If you’re looking to relax in a stress free environment, this could be a gem.
To get there, fly into Cancun and rent a car or hire a driver.
Desire: Los Cabos
Opening May 1, 2012 Desire Resort & Spa at San Jose Los Cabos is the newest in “clothing optional” resorts in Mexico. They cater to couples over 21 and specialize in a “sensual, no pressure, alternative lifestyle adventure.” This is not your average all ages “naturalist” beach experience.
Located on the very tip of the Baja peninsula, your best bet is to fly in to La Paz and arrange transportation for the approximately 100km trip by taxi.
You could be among the first to experience this exclusive, adults only, resort.
photo by Arcadius