A Guide to Central America's Best Nude Beaches

Manuel Antonio beach in The Manuel Antonio National Park
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Interested in nude beaches in Central America? If you're merely curious and just want to take full advantage of the sunshine, or you're a serious naturist, you'll be happy to find that there are a number of Central America nude beaches spread throughout the region.

Before you go to a nude beach, make sure to lather up in sunscreen — especially in those areas that may not get much sun. Or, better yet, save your birthday suit for specific resorts, beaches, or festivities that are specifically for naturists.

Costa Rica

There are no designated nude beaches in Costa Rica, though nudity, or at least topless sunbathing, seems to be tolerated on certain unofficial sets of sand. The north end of Playa Grande, 30 minutes north of Montezuma, is a favorite clothing-optional destination. Playa Grande is also known to be a favorite surf spot, so you can catch a wave without a wetsuit if you want. Just make sure to go between December and April, during dry (and high) season, otherwise, you'll get rained out. In Manuel Antonio, a beach called Playa Playita attracts nudists in general, and gay nudists in particular.

Some say Costa Rica nude beaches are any place you find an isolated cove. But if there are clothed (and only clothed) people around or children, it's probably best to keep that bikini on.​

Panama

Those seeking nude beaches in Panama should head to Isla Contadora in the Pearl Islands. This archipelago of around 200 islands can be found in the Pacific Ocean, just 30 miles off the coast of Panama. Isla Contadora is home to Playa de las Suecas (Beach of the Swedish Women), which is considered Panama's only official nude beach. However, many of the island's other beaches are of the relaxed sort, meaning partial or full nudity is not uncommon. Just ask around—or better, look around—before you strip off your speedo.

Honduras

Like every other Central America country, Honduras is quite conservative, and nude beaches are hard to come by. So it comes as no surprise that Paya Bay Resort on Roatan Island is getting a lot of attention for its naturist-friendly policy. Though the resort's Naturist Weeks favor the "textile-averse," certain areas of the property, like beaches and snorkel coves, are always clothing-optional.

Belize

Because Belize is a relatively conservative country, you won't find any nude beaches here. A few people may go topless, but even showing that much skin is rare—and frowned upon, especially at family-friendly swimming holes. Although, the Journey's End Resort on Ambergris Caye has hosted Nude Week festivities in the past.

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua

At the time of writing, no public nude beaches are known in these countries. However, if you find a secluded beach and have the sand to yourself, you can feel free to strip down. Just make sure to double check that nobody else (read: kids, police) is around first.