beaches of Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, natural and naturist?

Unfortunately, I have to start from bad news: just one month after I posted about eco-resort Papaya Playa and its clothing-optional beach, upon my second visit there I found out it was no longer clothing-optional. There was a warning on the beach that read: ‘Welcome to Papaya Playa. Clothing is mandatory!’ Unfortunately, Papaya Playa also bought neighbouring resort Copal that was known to be clothing-optional. So, now there is no nudist beach in Tulum’s eco-hotel zone to my knowledge. I’ve read about a couple of luxurious nudist hotels in the area – Hidden Beach Resort, Dolce Vita B& B, and Desire Resort, but they seem to be very expensive and do not offer day passes to the beach. However , if you don’t mind staying away from the hotels, you could go to biosphere reserver Sian-Ka’an or Xcacel-Xcacelito for some more secluded beaches where you can sunbathe and swim ‘as nature intended’.

I’d recommend renting a bicycle to move around Tulum, but make sure to find a good one – most of the rented bikes are in terrible, really terrible conditions (you feel like something is about to fall off as soon as you take off). iBike seemed to be the only bike rental that offered mountain bikes. We rented cruiser bikes from them because they were much cheaper and the road seemed to be pretty smooth, but now my advice is to go for their mountain bikes, because they seemed to be in much better state, and not so much because you’ll need suspension, although that helps too, once you leave the asphalted road and enter Sian-Ka’an. The closest open access beach in Sian-Ka’an is about 15-20 min by bike from the hotel zone (about 35min from the town). After you enter Sian-Ka’an through ‘the arch’, continue further and look for mark “3” on the right side. There is a  trail opposite of it,

naturist 0011 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

and it leads to this idyllic beach.

naturist 0002 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Shortly after our arrival, we saw the rain was approaching, but as the sun was still shining, the colour of the sea got only more intense juxtaposed with dark clouds.

naturist  0001 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

When the rain started, we followed advice of the pelicans not to be bothered

pelicans in the rain  0002 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

and ran into the sea.

naturist 0001 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Soon the rain stopped, and we were rewarded with a rainbow.

naturist 0004 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I felt like doing some stretching and a coconut palm tree seemed perfect for practicing ‘bridges’.

naturist 0003 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

That’s when I noticed two ripe coconuts hanging at the top. Maybe it was the influence of videos of Indian pole gymnastics, that I had impressed me so much shortly before the trip, but I decided to climb the coconut tree.

naturist 0006 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

My first attempt, though, appeared more appropriate for the tree-hugging day 😀

naturist 0005 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I tried to remember techniques for that but mostly had to improvise. Unfortunately, I hadn’t seen this video of free climbing a 100ft coconut palm tree, so my way up wasn’t as efficient, but I did manage to reach the coconuts (granted my tree was much shorter, but on the other hand, I didn’t have any equipment at all, so my climb was truly ‘free’).

naturist 0007 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I hope my fascination of coconut palm trees can be forgiven, given that they represent an ultimate tropical beach icon and I came there after some chilly New York spring days… But sometimes they also form some interesting structures… this one was somewhat ‘alienesque’…

naturist  0000 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Next time we came to the same place with my local friend, and we were up for a treat. We made ceviche from freshly caught bought fish. It would be cool to catch our own fish for lunch, but fishing is understandably forbidden in Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve.

naturist ceviche 0000 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

So, we chopped half an onion and squeezed about 10 limes onto the fish filet of about a kilo and left it to marinate for 20min.

naturist ceviche 0002 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Then we diced a tomato,

naturist ceviche 0003 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

and added some cilantro too.

naturist ceviche 0005 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Our ceviche turned out just perfect (at lest for our hungry stomachs).

naturist ceviche 0006 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Maybe it’s time to start a new section on this website, something like ‘cooking with active naturists’?

naturist 0013 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Later in the afternoon we continued cycling further south; we were aiming to reach the point that I saw on the satellite view map where coral reef came closer to the beach. Surprisingly, most of the shore was actually privately owned or on sale – not sure how that works on the territory that is a biosphere reserve – so we had no choice but go until we’d find free access beach. We almost gave up, and Will’s bike got a flat tire, but then there was a sign for a public beach, playa publica. We decided to deal with the tire next day, and settled down on that beautiful beach.

naturist 0009 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

There was just one other group of 3 guys on the beach and someone jogging, so we felt the place was pretty much ours. We found a nice spot under coconut palm trees (of course!) to set up our tent, and there were some pretty bushes with orange flowers.

naturist 0012 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

It’s hard to imagine a better place for beach camping!

When we walked around, we noticed that one of the guys in the other group was skinny-dipping too. We were a good influence 🙂 At night, we went for a walk by the water again in hope to see bioluminescent plankton. There was almost none in the water, but surprisingly we noticed that we had many of those sparkling dots in our hair! Probably the previous beach had more of bioluminescent plankton and it got stuck in our hair. Then we saw two men wearing some kind of military outfit approaching. We just behaved as if our outfit was as natural as theirs (and in fact it was, but you know what I mean), but they didn’t seem to be bemused at all; they just asked where we stayed and where we were from…

naturist 0008 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

As the sun was rising, it was a good time to get out of the tent

naturist 0010 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

and take photos of the shorebirds.

frigatebird 0011 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico.jpg

Frigatebirds and pelicans were the most numerous.

pelican 0002 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

We saw some successful catches,

pelican 0000 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

but they also seemed to enjoy the dives.

pelican 0001 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Synchronised diving of pelicans was particularly impressive. Too bad I didn’t manage to get a photo of three of them plunging simultaneously.

pelican 0003 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

By the way, where you see the waves breaking in the sea in the background goes the barrier reef. It’s not very close to the beach, but we decided to swim towards it. It was a nice long swim (it took us about half an hour one way), but we didn’t see anything particularly interesting at the reef like I did previously at Akumal beach (turtles) or in front of Tulum ruins (squids).

naturist snorkel 0000 Sian Kaan beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

After that, we had a fruit snack, pumped the tube at the nearest ‘rancho’ (looked more like some kind of small boat maintenance place) and headed back to Tulum.

Another beach in vicinity of Tulum is Xcacel-Xcacelito. It’s really pretty and not crowded at all. We figured that at the far left side we could be naked as there was hardly anyone, and we saw some topless women too. That is also where the reef comes close to the beach, but again it wasn’t particularly vivid, as you’d expect from the most prolific type of marine ecosystem.

naturist 0000 Xcacel-Xcacelito beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

World Naked Bike Ride NYC 2012 – [modest] success!

So, two weeks ago it happened after all! I was really worried about how the NYC edition of the World Naked Bike Ride would go, as last year, more-than-necessary police presence scared the participants, so no one even dared to get naked. This year was quite an improvement in this respect, even though only several tens of people of showed up. For whatever reason, there was no intervention whatsoever, and the ride went totally smooth.

It started with some speeches from the organizers with the iconic Manhattan skyline on the background.

I couldn’t believe it, but right after we took off, one guy disrobed totally. Obviously, I couldn’t help doing the same. He turned out to be from Portland, where WNBR attracts thousands and most of participants are naked, so he rightfully pointed out that was actually why it was called ‘naked bike ride’.

Well, yeah, maybe in Portland and most of the Western world, but I had to explain that NYC was somewhat difficult. But there I was, riding naked through the streets of New York.

Soon, the leader joined the naked team,

and even more people followed.

After Williamsburg, we headed to East Village,

Chinatown,

and Lower East Side. We weren’t as many as we’d like to, but we still filled the road for about half of the block. And we definitely attracted a lot of attention from the crowd!

When we stopped at the crossings,

or even while riding, we were asked by pedestrians and drivers alike what it was all about. I tried to explain in two words, but hopefully many did their search online afterwards so that awareness about cycling in the city would spread.

One of the important points was stopping by BP gas station, still symbolic as one of the major pollutants after the spill in Mexican Gulf.

Unfortunately, we didn’t go through main sights of New York City, like most of the naked rides do in other cities, but we did encounter some sightseeing buses, and I bet it the highlight of their tour.

Well, I hope next year we’ll cover more areas of Manhattan – to get more people involved, interested, alerted – but also for the fun of it. Isn’t it just awesome to have a group bike tour through NYC, and on tope of it in the buff?

Before heading out to the after party, we had one last naked stop in the park. I wish we could have a party in the park like it was in Madrid, but I feel that would be too risky in NYC.

PS thanks to the reporter from Village Voice for nice coverage (and yes, he was fully covered). I’ve used some of his photos.

World Naked Bike Ride is next Saturday. We need it in NYC!

Finally, the New York City part of the World Naked Bike Ride is set up for running riding, and even in two parts!

It will take place on the 9th of June, next Saturday, together with most of the Northern Hemisphere cities participating in WNBR. As I wrote earlier, we do need this event in New York, there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of body freedom and biking, and with claims of being the capital of the world, this city should set an example in these issues.

Please take part if you can, and spread the word! Refer to the official WNBR NYC wiki page and WNBR NYC press release for details.

World Naked Bike Ride is in one month. We need it in NYC!

World Naked Bike Ride is a worldwide demonstration promoting cycling as an urban mode of transportation, as well as body acceptance. Riding naked is symbolic and effective way to draw attention to vulnerability of people against the traffic and pollution, and it also shows that being nude is not lewd. That is why we need WNBR so much in New York City, as well as probably any other big city, perhaps with the exception of Berlin, where you can ride your bike wherever you like, and you can be naked even in Tiergarten, Berlin’s equivalent of Central Park. There has a been a stunning improvement in making New York a bike-friendly city, but still, there is no cross-town bike lane in the entire Midtown Manhattan from the 20th to the 90th street, for example. Also, even though it is legal for women to be top-free in public in New York, Felicity from Young Naturists America was arrested for walking topless during an art performance on Wall Street!

This video that went viral a while ago, pretty much summarizes just some of the daily troubles of cyclists in New York City.

WNBR in New York was a big success in 2010.

It gained more momentum as a protest against oil-dependence – it was a year of bp oil spill – and the naked demonstrators did not miss a chance to stop by a bp gas station.

But last year, we did have some issues. First, we had unusually cold and foggy weather on the day of the ride, even though during the week the weather was fine. So the ride was postponed and we only had a after-party-turned-promoparty, which was actually fun.

Then when we had the second date set, there was too much police presence and no one dared to go totally naked for most of the ride.

I opted for a minimalistic jockstrap, as well as many others, and some body paint (it said ‘Green light to bikes’ on my back). I also had a tree fixed in my bike bag, as a symbol of Green.

That cherry bike painted on the back of one of my ride mates was my creation inspired by the logo of Pacha, my favorite dance club in New York. Actually, when I go out there, I do come on my bike 😉

We rode through most of Downtown and Midtown Manhattan,

and made a brief stop at Union Square for some dancing.

Only in the end, when police stopped following us, some finally disrobed totally on Williamsburg Bridge

and arrived to the after-party in Williamsburg just like that 😎

The after-party was at a bike shop, a perfect setting! I was spinning some upbeat electronica in the backyard.

I hope this year we’ll manage to cooperate with police more thoroughly, just like it was at the WNBR in Madrid when I was there in 2009, or as it happens regularly in London, which traditionally gathers the biggest number of naked riders. By the way, I wonder how WNBR will go in London this time, in the summer of the Olympics. But in any case, we need to organize the naked ride in New York, what kind of World Naked Bike Ride will it be without New York City partaking? And so far there is no certain information about WNBR NYC even regarding the date :-/

PS Photos #3 and #5 courtesy of Sheryl.

World Naked Bike Ride – Madrid 2009

español
If you ever have a chance to participate in the World Naked Bike Ride, do it!
Because:

  • it promotes healthy and environment-friendly urban transportation – biking 🙂 
  • it prmotes body acceptance: you will be surprised that people are actually not shocked or offended by nudity at all.
  • Tourists are happy to take pictures and sellers in local shops are happy to sell water and ice-cream without even raising their eyebrows 😎 
  • it is a great place to get to know other people who are interested in sports and environment 🙂 
  • if you are a tourist, it is the best way to have a free sightseeing bike tour! 

And don’t worry, there will be breaks to catch your breath… or dance?

  • For whatever reason everyone seemed happy, having pure fun just like children.

Usually there is also an after-party. We were lucky to have one in one of the central parks of Madrid, amazing! People shared their food and joy =)

 

That human pyramid was epic!