It is perhaps ironic that the South American nation of Chile, whose name probably means “cold winter” in the indigenous native language, is often confused with the variety of hot pepper known as chili pepper. Nevertheless, as any world traveler who has visited this nation knows, the nude beaches of Chile are, in fact, red hot!
Welcome to Spanking FIT’s segment on “Red Hot Chilean Nude Beaches” in which we evaluate naturist sanctuaries in this fascinating Latin American nation. The nation of Chile, which borders the Pacific Ocean, has the highest ratio of coastal length to land area in the world. (It’s almost 3,000 miles long and on average only 109 miles wide.) Chileans, no matter where they reside, are never more than a few hours drive from the beach. Despite being in socially conservative Latin America, Chile possesses one of the world’s most beautiful legally sanctioned nude beaches called Playa Luna Nude Beach (P.L.N.B.). P.L.N.B. is located just a short drive from the Chilean capital of Santiago which served as the launch pad for our South American nude beach excursion. We begin with a brief rundown on Santiago and the many wonderful things it has to offer visitors.
Santiago, the modern-day name for the Chilean capital, is derived from Sanctu Iacobu or St. James of the Bible. It was founded by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia in the year 1541, and was also destroyed by the indigenous people later that year. Historical records tell us that Pedro left his mistress Ines behind to defend the fort he built. According to legend, Ines decapitated her indigenous captives and tossed their heads out to the native invaders successfully frightening them away. So much for gentler & kinder female leadership. It is a sad reality that so little of colonial Santiago remains today due to its location in an extremely active earthquake zone. Exceptions are the Convent of St. Francis and the La Moneda Palace. Both are “must-sees”.
Modern-day Santiago is often referred to as “San Francisco South” because, like its North American counterpart, it enjoys Mediterranean-like weather, and offers visitors a wide spectrum of activities to participate in. There are ski resorts to the east, and wineries to the south. (Same is true in San Francisco, except the wineries are located due north of the city.) Also, like San Francisco, Santiago has an abundance of parks, biking trails and an internationally acclaimed zoo. Visitors to the Barrio Bellavista (B.B.), a “hip” Santiago “hood”, will note further similarities with San Francisco. B.B. streets are jam-packed with restaurants, avant-garde art galleries, and swinging bars and night clubs. (The more discerning visitor will perhaps note a more “genuineness” here than is present in its northern counterpart. San Francisco is often legitimately criticized for possessing a “fake” run down appearance deliberately maintained by its “carefully casual” nouveau riche residents.) Visitors preferring a more subdued, cultivated atmosphere may wish to visit the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra which performs at Teatro Municipal. For the sports-minded, Santiago gives host to Chile’s world famous football clubs, including Colo-Colo.
Spanking FIT began its nude beach journey with a visit to Playa Luna. The latter is an approximately ninety-minute drive north west from the City. The highway there took us through the Marpa Valley with its breath-takingly beautiful scenery.
Playa Luna Nude Beach (P.L.N.B.)
Just north of the picturesque coastal town of Caleta Horcon and in Puchuncovi (northern Valparaiso Province) is one of the rare legally sanctioned nude beaches in Latin America. Its G.P.S. coordinates are 32.70 deg. S and 71.46 deg. W. As previously stated, getting here from Santiago requires a short scenic drive to the coast. P.L.N.B. is best accessed by hiking from Horcon Beach along a forested path lined with boulders. When you come to incredible rock formations with cave, you’ll know that you have arrived. Here’s how P.L.N.B. rates in the three main categories of health, safety, and enjoy-ability:
Finding info online related to the water quality specifically at P.L.N.B. is a difficult task. Nevertheless, Spanking FIT uncovered a research study which pertains to the quality of ocean water in Coquim, the region between Playa Luna and its neighbor to the north Antofagasta: “Quality of tourist beaches of northern Chile” by S. Gonzalez, et al. of the Univ. Catolica North, and published in Ocean & Coastal Management; 2017 (137), 154-64. Study authors claim that microbiological water quality of this region meets national Chilean standards of “no more than 1,000 fecal coliforms “N.M.P.” (or M.P.N.) per 100 mL of water”. It is noteworthy that Chilean water quality standards are less stringent than others. This is especially true when they are compared with California, U.S.A. The latter imposes an upper threshold of 400 M.P.N. on fecal coliforms. Moreover, that U.S. state also imposes upper limits on total coliforms, as well as on fecal streptococcus (enterococcus) count.
On the subject of beach cleanliness, Spanking FIT uncovered: “Anthropogenic debris in beaches in S.E. Pacific (Chile): _” by M. Bravo et al. of the same university, and published in Marine Pollution Bulletin; 2,009, (58), 1718-26. Authors claim to have estimated anthropogenic marine debris (A.M.D.) or human litter density at around one item per square meter for Valparaiso region beaches. While not so high by Chilean standards, it is higher than what most European and Australian experts claim at their beaches. Our personal observations agreed with the above claims. In addition, we observed dead animals, including whale and squid, washed upon the shore. Such organic debris tends to attract flies which were also present. Although we observed no mosquitoes on the day we visited, “no-see-ems” were occasionally problematic. Due to its dry climate, Santiago area seldom experiences a serious mosquito problem. Fleas, on the other hand, are another story. Watch out!
As stated previously, P.L.N.B. is officially legally sanctioned for nude use having achieved that distinction in the year 2,000. It is currently managed by the naturist organization Agrion Naturistaupac. They enhance both health and safety. Swim with caution, if you must. The Pacific is far from peaceful here, and dangerous riptides are common. Furthermore, this nude beach has no lifeguards.
Regarding the possibility of being a crime victim here, there have been no major crime incidents reported on internet. Nevertheless, according to U.S. State Dept. website at osac.gov, overall Chilean crime still is “moderate”, albeit comparatively lower than in other Latin American nations. The latter agency has issued warnings to visitors about robberies and assaults which occur in Valparaiso province, especially. Robberies, in which witnesses are afraid to intervene or even just call the police, have also been reported to have occurred in broad daylight. It’s probably a good idea to leave valuables, including passports, behind at the hotel before taking your beach excursion.
P.L.N.B. was named after the Playa Luna Club, a naturist organization instrumental in its founding. Today, there are guided nudist tours to the beach from Santiago. (Only the beach portion of the tour is nude.) P.L.N.B. is a short walk north of the picturesque fishing village of Horcon. While there, we enjoyed mouth-watering freshly caught fish at one of its restaurants. Vendors regularly walk the beach at Horcon selling necklaces and even beer. (Yes, alcohol is permitted here!) Horcon is considered a “hippie” hotspot where artisans make and sell their wares.
Tucked away between two cliffs, P.L.N.B. is located in a declared “biodiversity zone” which envelopes a wide range of enchanting flora and fauna, including many exotic bird species. You can observe them nestled on the rocky cliffs behind the dunes. An unusual feature of P.L.N.B., compared to other nudist beaches, was the high percentage of young good-looking chicas. Most, however, were accompanied by their rather macho-looking boyfriends. P.L.N.B. also attracts its share of older stout gentlemen. This beach is not a place for homo-phobes, either. There are lots of so called “gays” present. Just look the other way, if offended. Seldom are they aggressive. As a final note, it is just as important to bring a sweater to the beach as it is to bring sunblock. P.L.N.B. can often turn cold suddenly especially in late afternoon as the sea breezes come in off the Pacific.
Playa Escondida Nude Beach (P.E.N.B.), Antofagasta
The Chilean port city of Antofagasta (G.P.S. coordinates 23.65 S, 70.40 W) is located on the outskirts of the “world’s driest desert”, the Atacoma Desert. P.E.N.B. is only 7 km. (approx. 4 mi.) south of the city along the coastal highway. Our brief stay in Antofagasta was memorable. It’s a university town with a lot to offer in the way of Chilean culture and ancient relics. Of particular note was Plaza Colon with its palms, gushing fountains, and impressive bougainvilleas of varying brilliant colors. The assortment of Peruvian and Chilean restaurants which serve mouth-watering freshly caught fish is also impressive. Here is Spanking FIT’s evaluation of P.E.N.B.:
The same previously cited Chilean University water quality study covers P.E.N.B. Based on it, quality seems to meet Chilean health standards regarding bacterial pollution. Keep in mind, Antofagasta is an industrial port city so that toxic waste contamination is also of concern at the beach here. During our visit, we noticed that the density of litter on the beach appeared higher than at P.L.N.B. Again, due to the extreme dryness, mosquitoes were absent. There were also a number of flies due to presence of organic debris, mainly in the form of dead fish and squid.
Unlike P.L.N.B., Playa Escondida is not legally sanctioned for nude use. Since Chilean jails are not noted for their hospitality, exercise discretion when going au naturel. Similar U.S. State Department cautionary advisories regarding crime hold at P.E.N.B.; i.e. robbery and assault can happen.
Swim cautiously, if you must. The Pacific is rough with riptides and there are no lifeguards here either. Visitors should also be aware of significant rock fall hazard from the adjoining cliffs.
To reach P.E.N.B. one must travel along a dirt road which passes by world famous caves once serving as primitive shelters for the coastal inhabitants thousands of years ago. The limestone cliffs were magnificent, the white sand on the beach was soft, and the turquoise-blue ocean waters surprisingly calm the day we visited. The beautiful buxom beach crabs crawling along the surf were surprisingly oblivious to our presence. Equally oblivious to us were the local chicos surf boarding in the waves.
Playa Corazones Nude Beach (P.C.N.B.), Arica
P.C.N.B. is about eight km. (five mi.) south of the port city of Arica. As previously explained, the latter has the distinction of being known as “the driest inhabited place on Earth”. Mean annual Arica rainfall is 1.5 mm. (0.06 in.). Surprisingly, mean daily highs, even in the summer time, rarely top 28 deg. C. (78 deg. F.) The coast may be cooler still. Arica is Chile’s northern-most city and is very close to its border with both Peru and Bolivia. It has a rich colonial history having been the leading port of the Spanish empire in sixteenth century for the exportation of Bolivian silver and other commodities. Arica was raided for its treasures by the illustrious Sir Francis Drake and his gang of pirates (correction- I meant buccaneers). Here’s how P.C.N.B. ranks in Spanking FIT’s three major categories:
Precious little online info is available regarding the ocean water quality at P.C.N.B.. As was previously noted, Chilean standards were uncovered by us to be less strict than in other places where nudity is common such as North America and Europe (maximum allowable fecal coliforms of 1,000 NMP per 100 mL. at Chilean beaches). Keep in mind that P.C.N.B. is located in a mining region so that toxic chemical pollution is also a possibility. According to our previously cited University beach debris study, litter density is around the national average at P.C.N.B. In addition to the presence of litter on the beach, we also detected the odor of urine, despite the fact that beach does have restroom facilities. Note, restrooms do not provide potable water so that it is necessary to carry your own. Mosquitoes not a problem, but flies could be at times. Lastly, also keep in mind that the adjoining cliffs were not too long ago used for extracting the fertilizer called guano which is a mixture of bat and bird excrement.
Unlike other South American countries, there are no online reports of arrests for mere nudity at P.C.N.B., even though it is illegal to be naked here. There have been a number of past unsuccessful attempts to legally sanction nudity, the most recent being in 1990. All attempts, including this one, were allegedly thwarted by the Catholic Church, which remains quite influential in today’s Chile.
According to InSightCrime.org, a website which claims to be dedicated to exposing organized crime in Latin America, the city of Arica is a major drug smuggling center. However, an alternative source, geocurrents.info ranks Arica as among Chile’s “safest” cities in the category of absence of violent crime. It should be noted that Arica is infamous for non-violent vehicle theft whereby stolen vehicles are driven into neighboring Peru and Bolivia where they are sold. For some reason, Arica’s automobile robbers are unwilling to cross the line into violent crime?
Thinking about taking a swim? Think again. Swimming is highly inadvisable due to rocky sea terrain.
Playa Corazona which means “beach for lovers” in Spanish, plays up to its name. Both straight and same-sex couples may be seen walking unabashedly nude along the sands. The beach itself is a bit short on sand, but big on rocks. In fact, P.C.N.B. is home to one of the most astonishing rock formations on the Pacific coast, the Anzota Caves. The caves once served as dwellings for the Chinchorro people who inhabited this area from 7,000-1,500 B.C.E. When visiting Arica, we recommend that you do as we did and visit their mummies on display in San Miguel de Azapa Museum. They are believed by some experts to be the oldest mummies on earth, predating those of Egypt by over two thousand years! Another advantage of the rocks is that they afford privacy for both naturists and lovers especially on busy holiday weekends.
P.C.N.B. is also noted for its spectacular flora and fauna, the latter including lizards, sea turtles, and sea lions. We enjoyed watching the sea birds dive for fish into the deep turquoise waters. The sunset is spectacular, but keep in mind that exiting this beach, even during daylight, can be extremely hazardous.
Despite its geographical location in socially conservative, Catholic Latin America, Chile offers lots of opportunity to enjoy the health benefits of sunbathing in the nude. For readers interested in reading more about these benefits, see “Nude Sunbathing- It Does A Body Good!”, Spanking FIT, August 2015. In fact, Chileans are so health- conscious that their nation hosts one of the continents few legally sanctioned naturist gems- Playa Luna Nude Beach. The scenery is breathtaking and the culture is rare. Chile is a place where visitors are often reluctant to leave owing partly to the warm hospitality of its residents.
I hope sincerely that you enjoyed this latest International Nude Beach Evaluation segment by Spanking FIT. While you are at it, you may wish to check out the many other evaluations including:
- Naked New Zealand
- Naked Nova Scotia (the Canadian Maritime Provinces incl. N.S.)
- Nude Beach in Toronto
- Nude Beach Tempest Mid-Atlantic (N.Y.& N.J.,U.S.A. nude beaches)
- Naked Carolina (nude beaches of N. & S. Carolina, U.S.A.)
- Nude Beach Secrets of S.E. Florida (U.S. State of Florida)
- Legally Bare- Haulover Park (Miami, Florida, U.S.A.)
- Fellow Travelers -Communist Cuba
- Skinny Dipping Southern U.S.A. (States of Texas & Mississippi)
- Dangerously Naked- Mexico
- International Nude Beach Evaluation, Part I-B (U.S. Pacific Northwest & British Columbia, Canada)
- International Nude Beach Evaluation, Part I-A (U.S. States of Oregon & California)
Thanks again and remember that I rely on your valuable feedback to enhance the work. Sincerely, Dr. Garrett