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 The Americas
Australia / NZ
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European Saunas
Elsewhere
Canada
United States
 Mexico, Central America, Caribbean
South America
Supplemental Information
  Introduction 
Mexico & Central America
The Caribbean
Mexico, Central America & The Caribbean

Map of Mexico, Central America & The Caribbean
Getting Acquainted with Mexico, Central America & The Caribbean
Naturism in Mexico, Central America & The Caribbean
Nudity and the Law
Supplemental Information
Websites


Map of Mexico, Central America & The Caribbean


Getting Acquainted with Mexico, Central America & The Caribbean
Mexico and the seven small countries of Central America comprise roughly one tenth of the land area of North America. The multitude of islands to the east of Mexico that span from Florida to South America are all generally considered part of North America as well, even though many of them are much closer to the South American mainland. The areas considered in this section are shaded in purple in the map above, and three bodies of water define this region. On the western coast of Mexico and Central America lies the vast Pacific Ocean. On the eastern side, most of the coast of Mexico is along the Gulf of Mexico. However, the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula and all the eastern Central American coastline is along the Caribbean Sea. The easternmost tip of the Yucatan and the westernmost tip of Cuba form the portal between the Gulf and the Caribbean, two subdivisions of the Atlantic Ocean.

All the islands in the purple shaded area are collectively known as the West Indies. The largest island is Cuba, which defines the boundaries between the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the main body of the Atlantic Ocean. There are no major islands within the Gulf of Mexico, unless the Florida Keys (on the periphery of the Gulf) are counted. To the north and east of Cuba (and to the south and east of Florida) lie two archipelagos—the Bahamas along with Turks and Caicos—that collectively contain over 30 islands and hundreds of keys. These archipelagos are in the Atlantic, and we lack any information about them to include in the guide. The rest of the islands are considered Caribbean islands, and they are divided into two major groups: the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles. The Greater Antilles are the four largest islands of the Caribbean: Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (which is the island divided between the Dominican Republic and Haiti) and Puerto Rico. Just east of Puerto Rico, there is a long chain of much smaller islands that arcs southward almost all the way to South America and then extends westward, just off the coast of Venezuela. All islands in this chain are located close to the path drawn by the red line. These are the Lesser Antilles. There are several dozen islands in the Lesser Antilles. Some are independent nations. Others are territories of France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States and Venezuela.

Mexico and Central America are Spanish-speaking regions (except Belize, whose official language is English) with populations that are mostly of mixed European and indigenous ancestry. The Caribbean is more linguistically and ethnically complex. In the Greater Antilles: Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are Spanish speaking countries that are ethnically mostly Hispanic; Jamaica and Haiti have populations that are mostly of African ancestry and are, respectively, English speaking and French speaking. The Lesser Antilles have populations that are mostly African in ancestry, and the most widely spoken languages are, in order, English, French, Spanish and Dutch. For the purposes of this guide, it is the French-speaking islands that are the most important of the Lesser Antilles.

Most of the area shaded in purple lies in the tropics, specifically south of the Tropic of Cancer, which is the line of latitude that runs between Florida and Cuba and through the center of Mexico. The Tropic of Cancer is drawn in green in the map above. All listings in this section of Naked Places are in the tropics, where temperatures vary little with the season. It tends to be warm (and often hot) all year.

Naturism in Mexico, Central America & The Caribbean
The part of North America that lies south of the U.S. border has some of the world's most gorgeous beaches along with a climate that makes it possible to enjoy those beaches all year long. However, this part of the world has precious few public nude beaches, which is a reflection of cultures that tend to be heavily Catholic and rather socially conservative. Naturism as a social movement has not emerged among native populations. Virtually all naturist entities south of the U.S. border exist primarily for the benefit of tourists from the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Of the nude beaches you can visit independently, a few are connected to resorts (some naturist, some not) but are available to the public. There are also a number of de facto private nude beaches connected to resorts. Most of these beaches are situated such that passing through the resort grounds is necessary to visit, which makes them off limits to the general public (more or less circumventing the issue of whether or not waterfront is technically private; in most places, all waterfront is public). You either have to be a guest of the resort or purchase a daily grounds pass, if available. Most (but not all) of the commercial establishments listed in this section that are coded with blue, green or red hotel icons have private nude beaches. Some are naturist resorts. Others are textile except for the designated beach.

The best islands for public nude beaches are the French territories of the Lesser Antilles. St. Martin, a small island that is split between France and the Netherlands, is probably the most naked friendly island of the Americas.

Nudity and the Law
Few if any beaches in Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean are officially designated for naturism. The public nude beaches that are best established as safe havens for nudists are mostly connected to resorts, and authorities are not likely to meddle in ways that run counter to the interests of those resorts. A few beaches that are not connected to resorts have also emerged as safe havens. We cannot write definitively about the laws that are applicable at all the various beaches in the various countries. However, the Supplemental Information page contains a section entitled Nude Beach Classifications that gives guidance on assessing the risks involved in being nude at various locations.

Supplemental Information
The Supplemental Information option on the blue bar near the top of this page contains more information about nude beaches in North America, including explanations of the numbers (1 - 4) that are assigned to each beach.

Websites
The International Naturist Federation (INF) does not list any naturist associations that represent Mexico or countries of Central America or the Caribbean. However, the following U.S.-based tour operators specialize in handling travel arrangements to many of the naturist and naturist-friendly resorts in tropical North America: Bare Necessities Tour and Travel in Austin, Texas; Castaways Travel in Spring, Texas; and Go Classy Tours in Palm Harbor, Florida.



To download the complete KMZ file for Mexico, Central America and The Caribbean (viewable in Google Earth), CLICK HERE.
See the DOWNLOADS page for a list of all available KMZ files.