Dangerously Naked- Nude Beaches of Mexico

dangerously naked- mexico

Part I of Spanking FIT‘s International Nude Beach Evaluation is focused on the nude beaches of the western North American Continent.  In Part I-A, we evaluated those nude beaches  of western North America which are specifically located in the “sunshine state” of California. Next, in Part I-B, we moved to the Pacific Northwest and evaluated nude beaches located in the U.S. state of Oregon, and the Canadian province of British Columbia, including world famous Wreck Beach. Unlike California beaches, I-B beaches are legally sanctioned for nude usage.

In this current segment, Part I-C, Spanking FIT evaluates the beaches of Mexico  where the national attitude towards public nudity sharply contrasts with that of Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Mexican federal law actually prohibits nudity even on federal lands, and classifies it as “lewd and immoral” behavior. For some, this forbidden quality contributes to its attraction; but, keep in mind that federal law in Mexico is even enforced by local authorities making it difficult to escape the grasp of the law. The alleged reason for this Mexican negative attitude toward the naked human body has been widely conjectured by travel media: it is frequently stated that Mexico is a “conservative Catholic country” where many women prefer to swim in T-shirts and shorts in lieu of bathing suites. Why the same isn’t true in other so-called “Catholic countries” like Portugal and Spain is a mystery. As in previous segments, Spanking FIT evaluated each beach in categories of health, safety, and enjoy-ability. (For readers not yet familiar with potential health benefits of nude sunbathing, refer to “Nude Sunbathing- It Does a Body Good!”, Spanking FIT, August 2015. Potential benefits include prevention of osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer, and increased male T-levels.) In the health category,  our evaluation includes beach cleanliness, water cleanliness, and the absence of parasites including mosquitoes and flies. Safety includes primarily the risks of becoming a crime victim, or of being arrested for public nudity. Enjoy-ability factors include weather, scenery, and the sociability of beach participants.

Riviera Maya Beaches: Playa del Carmen & Tulum


Our evaluation begins along Riviera Maya situated on the Yucatan Peninsula in eastern Mexico. Riviera Maya is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Mexico, famous for its beautiful sandy white beaches and clear turquoise-colored Caribbean waters.  But, just how well does Riviera Maya rank in the naturist category?  To answer that question, Spanking FIT visited the towns of Playa del Carmen and its more southerly neighbor Tulum. Both have the more “tolerant” reputations for nudity.

Health (B-)

According to the Mexican Ministries of the Environment, Health, and Tourism (mexonline.com), some of Mexico’s dirtiest beaches are located in Riviera Maya’s home state of Quintana Roo. (Quality of ocean water is alleged to be monitored by them in accordance with World Health Organization (W.H.O.) standards.) However, neither Playa del Carmen nor Tulum were among those they listed as “dirtiest”.  We observed large quantities of seaweed present on both beaches. The seaweed itself is probably not harmful to human health, but resulting fly infestations may be. Mosquitoes were also problematic at both locations.

We occasionally noticed plastic bottles and other litter on the beach. We were told by regulars that this refuse floated downstream from heavily populated Cancun. Public restrooms, although available, were not of the greatest hygiene.

The temperatures are exceptionally high throughout most of the year, so bring plenty of bottled water with you to prevent dehydration. Hats are also a must to prevent sunstroke.

Safety (B-)

Both Playa del Carmen and Tulum are rapidly growing resort areas making them relatively safer than less developed parts of Quintana Roo. The U.S. Department of State warns citizens of travel risks to Mexican destinations at travel.state.gov. The risks include homicide, kidnapping, robbery, etc.  However, no U.S. State department advisory is currently in effect for Riviera Maya. The public beaches here are now currently patrolled  by the local police. Ironically, this has also increased the risk of arrest for being naked. While we did observe a few ladies sunbathing topless,  instances of complete nudity were rare.

Also, don’t try catching any wild iguana for pets! They have been known to send tourists to the hospital with painful bites. The jellyfish and stingrays, which also add to the natural beauty, can be equally hazardous to your health.

Enjoy-ability (B)

Unless you are resigned to being naked at a so-called “adult resort”, there is little opportunity now on Riviera Maya to be “freely” naked on the beach without good possibility of attracting the attention of law enforcement. One tourist even joked that in the event you are being robbed, the fastest way to get the police there is by removing your bathing suite. Strangely, some tourist web sites such as playazone.wordpress.com regularly report instances of nudity, including observing “an entire British soccer team running naked from the parking lot to the beach at Tulum”. Whether or not the police came and arrested them was not stated.

Naturism aside, a trip to Tulum is well worth it. First of all, it’s the site of spectacular well-preserved Mayan ruins that line the coast. The large underground caverns and tunnels at Atkun Chen are also well worth exploring. The warm and welcoming locals compensate for the banditos, and the food is fabulous as long as you take the necessary precautions against food poisoning.

Destiladeras Beach, Nayarit

destil 1

Destiladeras which means “distillery” in Spanish, was once-upon-a- time home to spectacular now-defunct waterfalls. It is located on Riviera Nayarit approximately twenty miles northwest of world famous Puerta Villarta. From the latter, be sure to take that branch of highway no. 200 going to Punta de Mita. Otherwise you’ll miss it. The beach itself is located near a development called Nahui. Here’s Spanking FIT‘s evaluation:

Health (B-)

Several of the beaches in the state of Nayarit make the “most polluted” list according to Mexican government sources. Destiladeras is presently not among them. The water is considered safe according to Mexican standards. The beach itself was relatively clean and free of litter when we visited.

Safety (B-)

U.S. State Department advises against night travel only in the State of Nayarit. Nudity is illegal here as it is throughout Mexico; however, the local authorities seem a bit more tolerant than at other places.

Enjoy-ability (B+)

Expect to find a beautiful wide white sandy beach adorned with colorful porous rocks that’s over two miles long. The waves are spectacular, and there’s surfing on the south end of the beach. The radiant sunshine is exhilarating , but remember to take precautions against dehydration and sunstroke. Seafood restaurants are housed in traditional thatched roof huts. Regarding nude sunbathing, it is better to come on weekdays, since the beach is very popular with Mexican families on weekends.

Zipolite Beach, Oaxaca


The meaning of the name Zipolite Beach is disputed, with some authorities claiming that it means “beach of the dead” in the indigenous native language. (The main beach is currently called Playa de los Muertos by the locals.) Nevertheless, as you can see from the above photo, there’s nothing dead about it! Located in the far southern state of Oaxaca, Zipolite has a well- deserved reputation for lively social nudity. It’s popular with so-called “counter-culturals”,  international back-packers, as well as more adventurous members of the Mexican “middle class”. To get to it from outside Mexico either fly into Huatulco or Puerto Escondido as we did, and then travel along the coastal highway. Here’s Spanking FIT’s evaluation of Zipolite:

Health (C)

According to the Mexican government , many of the beaches on Riviera Oaxaqueno rank among Mexico’s most polluted, . However, Zipolite does not appear on their watch list. Mosquitoes do present a risk for dengue fever, and more recently for Zika virus. There are also the standard third world clean drinking water problems  at Zipolite. (Sewage tanks are, unfortunately, often juxtaposed with wells). Some visitors have even occasionally contracted infections from just showering with unsanitary water.

Safety (C)

Swimming is not recommended on account of the strong undertow and violent riptides. However, that doesn’t stop  many beach goers from diving off the cliffs into the warm turquoise waters. The recent addition of volunteer lifeguards has cut down on the number of reported annual drownings.

U.S. Department of State warns against travel in Oaxaca City claiming  that  stick-ups at knife point “routinely” occur there. However, there have been no warnings regarding Zipolite, where the recently added beach police patrols have improved safety. Nevertheless, there have been occasional reports of tourist attacks  along the coastal trails where robbers appear to target the  back-packers. Hey, what can I say? It’s a dangerous and beautiful world we live in!

Enjoy-ability (A)

The beach at Zipolite is wide (over 100 ft.) and over a mile long. The burning sand is golden colored and the clear turquoise waters are occasionally punctuated by surfers. The rich flora include cactus plants, and the fauna include brilliantly colored parrots. Nudity tends to be practiced at the far eastern and western sides of the beach. When visiting, we encountered more naked foreigners than Mexican nationals. The nudists were primarily French, German, Italian, and American. Their fair complexions did not dissuade them from exposing themselves to the intense tropical sun.

Zipolite is lined with with palm trees, rustic cabins, hammocks and hotels. We even encountered a great Italian restaurant owned by expatriates. There’s a substantial Yoga “community” that hangs out on the beach’s west end near the New Age Shambala retreat. If you’re able to prevent the problems we explained under Health and Safety, you should find Zipolite to be an exceptionally social and enjoyable experience.


cropped nude

As you can see, nude sunbathing in Mexico offers a combination of danger, adventure, and sensual thrill.  From purely a health perspective, persons of Fitzpatrick Skin Types I-II are probably better off visiting Nude Beaches of the Pacific Northwest as  evaluated in Part I-B . For Type III skin, we recommend Nude Beaches of California evaluated in Part I-A. Nevertheless, the psychological benefits of an “exotic” vacation in Mexico may outweigh the risks for fair-skinned individuals. Persons of Type III or higher may find the nude beaches of Mexico just the right places to make up for deficits in both serum and cutaneous vitamin D3 levels that can result from living in less sunny environments than one’s ancestors were adapted to. As usual, I am looking forward to your feedback. Dr. Garrett