Five places where you can safely bare, if you dare
We come to the Caribbean for sun and uninhibited fun. But on most islands, there are cultural limits that should be respected -not to mention legal statues against getting totally naked in public. But for those who enjoy sunbathing in the buff, there are a few select locations throughout the region where it’s perfectly acceptable to work on that all-over tan.
Orient Beach, St. Martin
On an island that’s half Dutch and half French, you’d expect a somewhat relaxed attitude towards beach attire. Skimpy suits and topless tolerance are prevalent, but the only place where full nudity is standard practice is at Orient Beach. Located on the northeast corner of the island—the French side—the stretch of sand where one can bear is clearly marked by a large billboard-style sign, and occupies the waterfront south of Club Orient, which is the island’s only clothing optional resort. This is a popular beach, so don’t expect privacy or solitude if you plan to shed your inhibitions.
Grand Saline Beach, St. Barts
Topless sunbathing is universally accepted on the beaches of St. Barts, but full nudity is not officially sanctioned. That said, it’s quite common for the beautiful people who frequent this gem of an island to bare all at two of the island’s more remote beaches. On the south coast, Anse de Grand Saline sits at the end of the road, tucked between two headlands, with nary a hotel or beach bar in sight. Just to the west, also cloistered between bookend cliffs, is Gouverneur Beach, which offers a greater chance of privacy and a similarly lax attitude towards nudity.
Point Tarare, Guadeloupe
You can disrobe legally on the island of Guadeloupe, but only if you can get directions to the somewhat obscure beach at Point Tarare. From a car park on the roadway leading to the island’s easternmost tip at Pointe des Chateaux, a path follows a deserted headland to a relatively small beach that, despite its remote location, can draw a respectable crowd of sun worshipers. There are no facilities, but local vendors sometimes hawk drinks and snacks, and there is a restaurant near the car park. A second option for buff sunbathing is along the beach in front of the Club Med near Sainte Anne.
Sapphire Island, Jamaica
While it’s both inappropriate and illegal to bare all on the public beaches of Jamaica, there are a number of private resorts that cater to the clothing optional crowd. One of the most comfortable places to work on your all- over tan is at the Couples Tower Isle resort in Ocho Rios. Here, a ferry shuttles guests to Sapphire Island, a modest outcropping of rock just offshore of the resort that is just large enough to hold the property’s signature watchtower and a collection of sun decks and cabanas. There’s no beach to speak of, but sunbathers are treated to a range of amenities that include bathrooms, lounges, a plunge pool and a swim-up bar.
Hawksbill Bay, Antigua
Unless you can talk a local with a four-wheel drive vehicle into ferrying you down a remote dirt road, you’ll need to do a bit of walking to reach Antiqua’s officially sanctioned nude beach. Fortunately, the hike is easy and scenic. You’ll start at the parking lot of the Hawksbill resort, and simply follow the beach south. After traversing Landing Bay Beach and crossing on to Hawksbill Beach, a path leads across a scrub-covered headland to arrive at a third stretch of sand that extends toward the southern point of an uninhabited peninsula. This is Pinching Beach. It’s remote, quiet and an ideal place to get some all-over sun time in a near private setting.