After visiting the famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro, where the skimpiest amount of cloth passes for a tanga (thong bathing suit) or the even minuter version called fio dental or dental floss, and beachgoers revel in exposing almost their entire bodies, it isn't surprising that Brazil is one of the few South American countries that has legalized nude or naturist beaches and resorts.
This is not without a struggle, though. The traditional and conservative attitudes toward nudity prevail in most countries of South America and have enforced set limits, even in Rio de Janeiro (though not successfully there).
Nude Beaches in Brazil
Brazil's nude beaches include Praia do Abricó, the only official nude beach in Rio de Janeiro. The beach is protected by the lush Grumari Area of Environmental Preservation, in the west of Rio de Janeiro, past Barra da Tijuca and Recreio dos Bandeirantes. Olho de Boi (Bull's Eye Beach) is one of the beaches in Búzios and the most popular official nude beach in Brazil for gays.
Brazilian naturism has its following and is rising in popularity with international nudists and naturalists. Several resorts, including Praia do Pinho in Balneário Camboriú, Santa Catarina state and Colina do Sol cater to nudist and naturist tourists specifically.
Nude Beach on an Island in Panama
Panama is a small, conservative country, but does have a lovely nude beach. Contadora Island lies off of Panama's Pacific coast. You can go nude at Playa de las Suecas, a white sand beach in a protected cove. The island is reached by plane on a 15-minute flight from Panama City.
Nude in Argentina
Playa Escondida is the only official naturist beach in Argentina. It's a rustic Atlantic beach with dunes and cliffs surrounded by woods and meadows.
Arica, Chile's northernmost city, has Playa Corazones which has been known to nudists for a long time.
Women can go topless only in Brazil on designated beaches. Elsewhere, in all countries, it is not allowed, so you'll be going topless at your own risk. When you get to a beach in Brazil, look around. It will be clear if it is a beach where you can take off your top or not.
No matter where you find a nude or clothing optional beach, there are certain courtesies to extend when visiting a nude beach, some of which are common sense.
- Gawking or staring is not OK.
- Do not photograph anyone without their permission and don't catch the unaware nudist in the background of your photograph.
- Don't pressure clothed people to strip.
- Being nude is not permission to be sexual. Treat your love life as you would in any public place.
- Bring a towel to sit on or for a cover-up.
- And, don't forget the sunscreen.
And there is more to remember, but common courtesy goes a long way, even when nude.