A Guide to Getting Romantic in the Caribbean

Couple walking on sandy beach
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The Caribbean is known as one of the most romantic vacation destinations on Earth, but island getaways are not only about long walks on the beach and spooning in hammocks. Hooking up is also a big part of the appeal for newlyweds spending their first extended time together as husband and wife, parents escaping the kids for a few precious days, or singles looking to connect for a vacation fling.

Sexy Resorts

Nearly every Caribbean resort has the kind of amenities that can make for a romantic vacation, including sun-drenched beaches, hot tubs, nightclubs, and couples-friendly activities like horseback riding or catamaran cruises. If your goal is to stoke the fires of passion with that special someone, you can make it happen at almost any decent hotel or destination.

Some resorts, however, stress the erotic over the romantic, such as the Hedonism II resort in Jamaica -- where activities can include nude limbo contests, body painting, and fetish dance parties -- and the Desires resort in Cancun, which unabashedly promotes itself as a destination for couples looking to explore "alternative lifestyles" -- such as swapping partners in a special "playroom" conveniently located next to the resort's disco.

The Caribbean is also home to a number of other clothing-optional resorts, as well as resorts that have special areas set aside for nude sunbathing and swimming. However, in most cases nude does not necessarily translate into "naughty": a few clothing-optional resorts do cater to swingers, for example, but more appeal to nudists and naturists who don't view nudity in a relentlessly sexual context, and in fact ban overt sexual behavior.

At resorts like Club Orient in St. Martin, nudity is seen as an expression of freedom or simply an opportunity to work on a perfect tan, not as an invitation for intimacy.

Nude Beaches

Topless and nude sunbathing is also popular on many Caribbean islands, especially those with Dutch and French heritage, and many couples from more straight-laced destinations may find the idea of getting naked together in public the perfect vacation aphrodisiac.

As with the aforementioned nudist resorts, however, nude beaches are not about sex. Sure, it's not unpleasant to see a curvaceous island beauty or a "cut" male hottie casually strolling by your blanket "au naturel," but most people on nude beaches (which can include children and families) are more interested in swimming or tanning than checking out your naked body, or having you check out theirs. You'll only embarrass yourself by gawking, taking pictures, or even making suggestive small-talk that's more appropriate for the bar or nightclub.

Sensual Celebrations

The Caribbean is a fun-loving destination that, at its best, combines the laid-back atmosphere of island life with the sizzling passion of Latin culture. From Aruba to Puerto Rico to Cancun, you'll find nightclubs pumping out hot dance music like salsa and soca till the sun comes up, and even smaller islands have weekly beach parties where locals and tourists can drink and dance all night (to learn more -- including which parties are safe for visitors -- ask your hotel concierge).

Of course, the hottest Caribbean party of all is Carnival, the biggest social event of the year and an opportunity for island residents and visitors to let loose before the solemn Easter season begins. Carnival is legendary for its skimpy and sexy costumes, rum-fueled parades, and parties, and, yes, casual hookups (there's a reason Carnival bands include condoms in their "survival kits" for marchers, after all).

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