WNBR – Mexico City 2017

naturist 0033 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

It’s been a month since the devastating earthquake in Mexico City, and let’s hope it will recover well, to be better than before. I saw quite a bit of this city in June during one of the most fun events imaginable: the World Naked Bike Ride! Already in my first ever WNBR – in Madrid 2009 – it was clear that such rides provide an amazing way to see the city, and in the company of hundreds naked (or so) people. Can you think of a better city tour? And it’s all for a great cause to promote cycling to be the major mode of urban transportation in response to ever increasing pollution and overpopulation. Nudity here helps to get the message across: cyclists use the pure power of human body (so, show that body!) – and yet we are the ones who are most prone to the truly indecent exposure to the traffic and vehicle pollution.

naturist 0001 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

And it doesn’t hurt to get some more specific messages written on those naked bodies, so in the beginning of the event, many people spend time with body-painting and decorating themselves in other funny and creative ways. I had ‘energía pura’ written on my thigh,

naturist 0000 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

and this guy – ‘fragile’,

naturist 0007 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

another reminded to keep the distance of 1.5 m away from cars (‘distancia de autos 1.5 m’),

naturist 0005 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

others just acknowledged their love to cycling,

naturist 0010 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

etc etc.

naturist 0008 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

And this couple conveyed a message about society’s ridiculous approach toward body acceptance without words but by wearing a bathing suit – one between the two of them =)

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WNBR brings all kinds of people together,

naturist 0019 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

and naked, we feel even more united.

naturist 0024 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

Even the President north of the border joined WNBR in Mexico City!

naturist 0028 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

Haha! Oh well, that would have been quite revolutionary, but with his views on climate change and lack of respect to (at least female) bodies, this must have been just a sarcasm. By the way, one of the chants at the WNBR in Mexico City was ‘si Zapata viviera, en bici anduviera’ (if Zapata lived, he would go by bike). But he is not around anymore, and other prominent politicians are notably absent from the WNBR. So, can we only hope for superheroes?

naturist 0020 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

Well, actually events like WNBR show that we all can be a solution, especially if we act together.

naturist 0035 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

As always at such mass naked events, it was interesting to observe reaction of the public, and while the majority seemed to be quite intrigued by the parade, some were not as amused.

naturist 0016 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

Certainly it’ll be helpful if not only general public but some businesses recognize the value of such events (though maybe that ‘Uber eats’ guy  just joined us on the way from work).

naturist 0018 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

Well, bike rental services would be the most obvious interested party, and actually there were some offering special deals for WNBR in Mexico!

naturist 0025 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

It is always nice to see other body-powered modes of transportation at these rides, such as skateboards and roller blades, as well as various forms of bicycles – tandem,

naturist 0009 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

tall,

naturist 0023 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

recumbent…

naturist 0034 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

And this sculpture was seemingly participating too, though it attracted a bit less attention.

naturist 0037 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

We had a brief stop at Auditorio Nacional on the avenue of Paseo de la Reforma,

naturist 0036 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

but quite a few people also stopped to take pictures with the sculpture of Alas de México (Wings of Mexico). This is apparently one of the most photographed places in Mexico City (well, as it is obviously set up perfectly for a portrait), but I guess there are not many possibilities to take a nude photo there, even though its sculptor, Jorge Marín, would surely approve that, as most of his creations are nude or almost nude.

naturist 0038 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

After that, we were back to the streets,

naturist 0039 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

in the true spirit of the World Naked Bike Ride.

naturist 0041 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

Unlike in New York City, but similar to other major cities that host WNBR, this manifestation here was sanctioned and supported by police. The route has to be coordinated in advance and changes every year. Sometimes it goes through more parts of the city, sometimes fewer; this year it covered a decent section of the center, but apparently there’ve been longer rides in its history. We ended at the same spot where we started, which was nice to take some photos with another landmark – Monumento a la Revolución.

naturist 0045 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

With so many participants, in the end there were still some that I hadn’t seen during the ride with interesting body paint (Día de los muertos style),

naturist 0046 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

… or no body paint at all.

naturist 0048 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

There also was a street vendor with ice-cream, which was perfect after the ride.

naturist 0044 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

And I enjoyed a few minutes of just being naked on the street, as if it was just another day in the city… but without clothes.

naturist 0047 WNBR World Naked Bike Ride, Mexico

One can dream! But World Naked Bike Ride certainly helps with body acceptance and thus may make that dream come true!

Here is a bonus – a 15-minute video excursion through the center of Mexico City with a bunch of naked people.

 

playa Zipolite, México

English

La playa de Zipolite en la Costa del Pacifico de México es probablemente el primer lugar naturista que escuche de México. Es una larga playa de arena,

naturist 0000 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

pero lo que la hace especial es su historia hippie.

naturist 0001 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

La cultura hippie se ha estado reduciendo aquí desde los 60s y 70s y ahora esta siendo más y más comercializada.

naturist 0002 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

pero todavía existe una atmosfera de relajacion y libramiento en esta playa. La libertad de estar desnudo es definitivamente una parte de ello. Este lugar es perfecto para recargarse en la energía del sol durante el día y es un hermoso espectaculo de colores tan pronto se acerca la noche.

naturist 0003 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Algo peculiarmente adicional al terreno de Zipolite es el arco natural al noroeste de la playa.

naturist 0006 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Zipolite es conocida por sus fuertes corrientes y locas olas, y nada lo ilustra mejor que las enormes cantidades de agua que se forman en las olas con inmenso poder y ruido.

naturist 0007 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

La leyenda de Zipolite dice que su nombre significa ‘playa de la muerte’ en la lengua antigua, pero leí que no es el caso probablemente. Hay definitivamente algo de verdad, ya que sus aguas lucen turbulentas… Pero los pelicanos no parecen darle impotancia a esto y llegan en numeros a obtener pescados.

pelicans 0008 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

También hay bastante pescadores humanos, pero encontré mas fascinante como ver los pelicanos que se clavan a máxima velocidad.

naturist 0005 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexiconaturist 0009 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

De hecho habian muchas aves, incluyendo pollos! No eran salvajes por supuesto, pero andaban libres por los jardines.

chicken 0004 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Me quedé en una pequeña casa de hospedaje llamada Posada Lua. Una familia de pescadores cerca de ahí mantenía los pollos así libres.

chicken 0010 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

El concepto de ‘Pollo feliz’ se esta convirtiendo definitivamente más popular con el advenimiento de una cultura ecologicamente consciente y ética en las granjas del oeste, pero creo que sea difícil encontrar una gallina más feliz que esta.

chicken 0012 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Zipolite no es bueno para snorkel, pero hay grupos organizados de pequeños botes con la promesa de ver ballenas, deflfines, tortugas marinas… en mi tour no vimos nada de esto, pero sí vimos los corales. Nuevamente decidí tomar la oportunidad y pregunté a mis guías y a la compañía si no les importaba que yo nadara desnudo. Los guías estaban de acuerdo, pero era un poco complicado preguntar los turistas: era un grupo de tipos sordos. Traté de explicar pero no estaba seguro si me entendieron sino hasta que me quité el short… después de que un par de ellos me mostraron dedos de aprobación.

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De regreso a la playa jugué voleibol un par de veces, pero a pesar de que es un deporte esencialmente naturista y habían muchas personas desnudas tomando el sol, nadie jugaba voleibol desnudo.

volleyball 0016 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Había una cosa más que estaba desesperado por hacer en Zipolite – surfear – y no quería perder la oportunidad de hacerlo desnudo! Como todavía era inexperto en surfear, le pedí a los surfistas locales –Águila y Cali – que me asistieran.

naturist surfer 0013 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Ellos fueron muy atentos, así que pregunta por ellos si necesitas ayuda, pero hay una cosa: la gente en Zipolite no usan relojes de mano… y no les gusta cargar celulares. Rentar una tabla de surfear de ellos es probablemente mejor que agendar una cita.

naturist surfer 0014 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Desafortunadamente, tomé fotos surfeando solo del último día.

naturist surfer 0015 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Y fue el peor de todos los 4 días que me quedé ahí.

naturist surfer 0017 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Habían muchas olas dobles rompiendo inesperadamente, y las corrientes estaban todas locas, entre mareas altas y bajas. Así que apenas y dificilmente pude subir la tabla. Supongo que tendré que regresar por mejores fotos 😉

naturist surfer 0018 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Estuve triste cuando dejé el lugar, pero en el camino a la parada de autobus, buscando chapulines tostados, este anuncio puso una sonrisa en mi cara:

tienda naturista 0011 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

‘Tienda naturista’, no era lo que esperaba, pero me gustó el nombre de cualquier forma.

new cenotes in Yucatan

This will be the final post of the ‘Mexican series’ for now, and I feel that another review of recently discovered cenotes is an appropriate finale. After I found out how beautiful and unique cenotes were – they are a special kind of sinkholes typical to Yucatan peninsula – I wanted to explore more of them. The problem with cenotes, in my opinion, is that being a tourist attraction, many appear overdeveloped to the point when they don’t even look natural anymore (with convenient stairs, decorations, souvenir shops around). So, we set up a goal to find some of the least explored cenotes.

We found a description of Chaak-Tun in a travelog that made us believe it was a kind of untouched natural wonder. But when we arrived there, it became clear it was ready for mass tourism, just waiting for the road built next to it to get asphalted. The price was already quite steep, at 200 pesos (for foreigners, 60 for Mexican citizens). Nevertheless, we enjoyed the visit, and it was not crowded. There were two caves, both with stalactites and stalagmites.

naturist 0000 Chaak Tun cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexicocaves

The second one did not have any natural light, so the mild artificial lighting was justified.

naturist 0001 Chaak Tun cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

While there was no one around, I took a chance for skinny-dipping 🙂

naturist 0002 Chaak Tun cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Another cenote that we visited in Tulum area  was ¿Cementerio de Mascota? (Pet Cemetery). It was discovered recently and has not been fully developed for visitors (yet). I put question marks around the name, because we are actually not sure if what we saw was cenote Cementerio de Mascota or an unnamed cenote in the same area. Tomas only knew that it was supposed to be further down the road that goes to the famous cenote Dos Ojos, and we got directions entering the park, but we never saw any indications to it, so we couldn’t be certain.

naturist 0004 Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Once we passed the much-visited cenote Dos Ojos, we decided to continue the walk naked. The forest was green as the rain season was starting, and some trees were blooming.

blooming tree 0000 on the way to Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexicoblooming tree 0001 on the way to Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

And some were even fruiting, like this wild papayo (papaya plant).

papaya 0001 on the way to Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexicopapaya 0000 on the way to Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I liked those ‘tree-hugging’ epiphyte cactuses too (they reminded me of myself on the coconut palm tree).

epiphyte cactus 0000 on the way to Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

As the air was cooling down (it was late afternoon), more and more birds started singing, but we didn’t see the possessors of this hanging nest.

hanging nest 0000 on the way to Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Eventually, the road had a steep turn to the left, and there was a sign to cenote Sac-Actun (one of the longest underwater cave systems). We decided not to turn and continued in the same direction, passing through the wooden gates; but almost immediately after that, the road turned right. We were not sure whether it would bring us to Cementerio de Mascota, and decided to follow the road for not more than half an hour. We soon reached a spot with a layer of sand that seemed to have been washed out of somewhere… then we saw the pipe that was probably used for that and followed along it.

naturist 0003 Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The trail was going downwards, and the trees were getting bigger and greener – a good sign of proximity of water.

banyan 0000 on the way to Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

There it was!

cenote0000 Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

However, there was something weird about it. It almost looked like a crime scene! Or like people were rushed out, leaving their diving equipment, food, and half-full (or half-empty? :D) glasses of wine!

cenote0001 Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Well, what I guess in reality happened was that there were some ‘cleaning’ works on the site, which will eventually transform this cenote into another tourist attraction. To us, it would have actually been more attractive in its virgin state, but at least we could explore it a bit before it was going to be discovered by mass tourism.

naturist 0000 Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

We snorkelled, and given the atmosphere of the place (and its name too!), we were happy to have seen nothing but fish in water.

naturist snorkel 0001 Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

After we got out of water, we heard some noise in the woods, then we saw the trees shaking! Almost as if someone was trying to fell them with brute force. Soon we figured out what it was: monkeys were jumping from one tree to another. They were actually coming in our direction, so I quickly installed a telephoto lens on my camera. The monkeys got quiet for a moment… and then they reappeared right above us! But they moved so fast in the canopy that we didn’t manage to get any decent shots.

On the way back, we stopped by another small cenote just a bit off the road to/from Dos Ojos.

naturist 0000 on the way to Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

It made a perfect refreshing skinny-dipping experience before we would get back to the main road to catch ‘camioneta’ (minibus) to Tulum.

naturist 0005 Pet Cemetery cenote, Quintana Roo, Mexico

A couple of days later we were joined by Miguel, who showed me some less known cenotes previously. This time we wanted to see recently open cenotes in a place that was called, very promisingly, Cenotillo.  Apparently, Cenotillo boasts more than a hundred of cenotes! We had a map that listed just a few of them.

Cenote Usil (Ucil) seemed to be the closest to this little town.

cenote 0003 cenote Usil, Yucatan, Mexico

Probably for this reason, there was some rubbish around but surprisingly there was nobody there.

cenote 0002 cenote Usil, Yucatan, Mexico

It was the perfect time of day to see solar reflections on the roof of the cenote.

naturist dive 0010 cenote Usil, Yucatan, Mexico

The water was quite cold, and it seemed bottomless! Perfect for a skinny dip-dive 🙂

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We were up to visit more cenotes, so we left pretty soon.

naturist 0000 cenote Usil, Yucatan, Mexico

By the way, cotton trees seemed to dominate the forest around Usil, but I preferred them to keep the cotton for themselves. I don’t mean that just because we didn’t need clothes in that weather, but also because quite a lot of that fibre was accumulated on the water surface of cenote.

cotton tree 0001 cenote Usil, Yucatan, Mexicocotton tree 0000 cenote Usil, Yucatan, Mexico

After that, we went back to the village in hope to ask for directions for other cenotes. Local police happened to be the best at giving advice, and we were even escorted by a policeman to a guide-vigilante Dani who curated some of the cenotes just recently open to public.

The first one we went was cenote Xoch. Luckily, Dani was absolutely cool with the idea of naturism and didn’t even blink when I got naked while walking through the forest on the way to cenote.

naturist 0003 cenote Xoch, Yucatan, Mexico

We were truly amazed when we reached the cenote. It was almost as big as the Sacred Cenote at Chichen-Itza. Unfortunately, to my view at least, they’ve already made some basic constructions next to it, but hopefully there won’t be much more than that.

naturist 0000 cenote Xoch, Yucatan, Mexico

Another disappointment came from the strictly enforced rule of wearing life vests, because “the bottom of cenotes hasn’t been explored yet”.naturist 0001 cenote Xoch, Yucatan, Mexico

For someone who can swim well, it seems to be an absurd requirement for swimming in absolutely tranquil waters of cenote, but at least Dani didn’t make me wear swim trunks 😀

naturist 0002 cenote Xoch, Yucatan, Mexico

Then we went to cenote Kaipech.

cows 0001 cenote Kaipech, Yucatan, Mexico

It was next to a cattle farm, but nobody was around; the cows seemed to be intrigued by our appearance.

cows 0000 cenote Kaipech, Yucatan, Mexico

Despite being next to the farm, Kaipech was probably the least developed cenote of this scale that I’ve seen!

cenote 0002 cenote Kaipech, Yucatan, Mexico

There was no ladder, so we had to go down by the rocks (luckily trees and their roots were of great help with that), but this is what made this cenote my favourite one perhaps.

naturist 0001 cenote Kaipech, Yucatan, Mexico

This cenote still felt untouched, although we definitely weren’t the first ones to visit it: a couple of plastic bottles were floating in water. Dani said this cenote was next in their plans for development to bring tourism in the area. But in my opinion, they should not change anything about it, it is just as perfect in its virgin state as it gets. They should only keep it clean…

We cleared the entry point of floating rubbish and went for a swim.

naturist 0000 cenote Kaipech, Yucatan, Mexico

This place seem to be teeming with wildlife. Judging by the constant buzz in the distance, there was a beehive around, so one has to be careful not to come too close to it. I also saw a basilisk, aka Jesus Lizard because of its ability to run on water, but this time it was just sunbathing on a branch above water. The seeds on the photo below are “snakes’ food” according to Dani, but it is hard to believe that, as all snakes are exclusive carnivores, as far as I know. I wouldn’t mind sitting there for a while and observe if any snakes come to eat those berries.

snake berries 0000 cenote Kaipech, Yucatan, Mexico

There was also a nest with one egg that could be easily seen, but I guess the trick was that it was on a palm tree leaf right above water, so any crawling intruders were likely to fall down.

nest 0000 cenote Kaipech, Yucatan, Mexico

As usually near cenotes, there were some blue-crowned motmots, locally known as ‘pajaro toh’. These birds are brightly coloured and have various distinct calls. I can still hear them calling to visit those picturesque and yet mysterious cenotes!

toh bird 0000 cenote Kaipech, Yucatan, Mexico

kayaking in mangroves in Yucatan

Traveling with some new friends in Yucatan, I wanted to arrange another sailing trip at Progreso, a port town near Merida. Luckily the owner of the boat, Samuel, had free time when we were there and the forecast was pretty good… until the last moment. When the wind started getting stronger and the waves, higher. When we left the haven, it looked too dangerous to go in the open sea and we retreated…

Thanks to having a local with us, we quickly figured out an alternative to naked sailing in the open sea – kayaking in mangroves! Luckily, La Ria, eco-touristic centre in Progreso, was right nearby, and and there was also a bus line that could easily bring us back to Merida. We rented single kayaks, as those were easier to manoeuvre judging by my previous experiences in Long Island Sound, which was even more important for passing through channels in mangroves.

naturist 0003 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

Those narrow ‘trails’ were actually quite tricky to paddle through, as the oars were just too long to move between the mangrove trees. We discovered that the best way to move forward was to simply push branches above us with hands; that is probably the closest we can to the state of a monkey leaping from one tree to another.

naturist 0000 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

It was nice that the first part of the trail went in the middle of dense mangroves, so that we stayed in their shade while the sun was high. There were different species of mangrove trees that had various adaptations for living in saline tidal waters. Red mangroves (on the left of the photo below) use stilt roots to keep the rest of the plant above the high tide margin, while black mangroves (on the right) us pneumatophores (specialised root-like structures which stick up out of the soil like straws) to deliver oxygen to the root system.

naturist 0011 red and white mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

 

naturist 0007 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

Many trees were full of fruit and blossom, though the latter is not very noticeable.

red mangrove flower 0009 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

It is actually quite amazing that the seeds of many mangrove species germinate while still being on the parent tree – it is probably the best plant equivalent of pregnancy!

red mangrove fruit 0008 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

When the seedling is mature enough to travel, it falls into water and floats until it finds suitable conditions to lodge in the mud and root.

mangrove fruit 0010 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

After ‘crawling’ through the mangroves, it was relieving to emerge into open water!

naturist 0001 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

Our next goal was to find an islet with shorebird colony. The guide from La Ria told us about it, but unfortunately they didn’t provide any maps to take with us, because “they would get wet”. After a bit of wandering, we finally saw it!

shorebird colony 0000 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

It looked like any other island around but was chosen by dozens and dozens of various shorebirds for nesting.

heron 0000 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

We saw herons, cormorants,

frigatebird 0000 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

frigatebirds

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and pelicans, of course.

pelican 0001 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

After that, we checked out a couple of other channels in mangroves.

naturist 0002 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

One of the trails seemed particularly promising but it didn’t lead anywhere.

naturist 0004 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

When we came back to the opening, we saw a boat leaving from La Ria, but it went back immediately. We figured that they were probably worried about us already and were relieved to see us. I doubt they could see that we were naked though, but would that matter to them? This is how we do 🙂

naturist 0006 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

Upon return to ecolodge, we chilled in the shade and had a delicious seafood lunch. So the day didn’t go quite like we had planned, but obviously we had no regrets! Kayaking in mangroves is so much fun!

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).

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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…

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

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and take photos of the shorebirds.

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Frigatebirds and pelicans were the most numerous.

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We saw some successful catches,

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but they also seemed to enjoy the dives.

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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

Zipolite beach

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The beach of Zipolite on the Pacific coast of Mexico was probably the first naturist place in Mexico that I heard of. It is a beautiful long sandy beach,

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but what makes it special is its hippie history.

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Hippie culture has been diminishing since 1960-’70s and now it’s being more and more commercialised,

naturist 0002 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

but there is still a very laid-back liberating atmosphere. Freedom of being naked is definitely a big part of it. This place is perfect for soaking in the sun’s energy during day and adoring its colourful spectacle as evening approaches.

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A peculiar addition to Zipolite’s landscape, is a natural arch at the north-western side of the beach.

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Zipolite is known for its strong currents and crazy waves, and nothing illustrates it better than massive amounts of water pouring through that arch with immense power and noise!

naturist 0007 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

The legend goes that Zipolite means ‘beach of the dead’ in an ancient language, but I read that it is probably not the case. There is definitely something to it, as its waters look quite turbulent indeed. Pelicans don’t seem to mind it and come in flocks to catch fish.

pelicans 0008 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

There are many fishermen too, but I found it more fascinating to see how pelicans dove with full speed.

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There were a lot of birds, actually… including chicken! They were not wild, of course, but they were roaming free in the greens.

chicken 0004 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

I stayed at a small guest house of Posada Lua, and a fisherman family next to us held those chickens just like that, free out there.

chicken 0010 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

The concept of a ‘happy chicken’ is definitely becoming more and more popular with advent of eco-conscious and ethical farming in the West, but could there be a happier chicken than this one?

chicken 0012 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Zipolite itself is not suitable for snorkelling, but there are organised small boat tours that promise you whales, dolphins, sea turtles… On my tour, we didn’t see any of those, but we did get to coral reefs. Again, I decided to give it a try and ask our tour guides and the company whether they didn’t mind me skinny-dipping. The guides were fine, but there was a tricky part with other tourists. It was a group of deaf guys. I tried to explain them but was not sure they got it until I took off my shorts. Regardless, a couple of them showed thumbs up 😉

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Back on the beach, I played volleyball a couple of times, but although it is a quintessential naturist sport and there was a decent amount of naked sunbathers, nobody played volleyball naked :-/

volleyball 0016 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

There was one more thing that I was desperate to do at the Zipolite beach – surfing – and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to do this one naked! As I was still inexperienced in surfing, I asked local surfer teachers – Aguila and Cali – to assist me.

naturist surfer 0013 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

They were very helpful, so ask for them if you’re around and need some guiding, but there is one thing you need to take into account: people of Zipolite do not wear wristwatches… and they don’t like carrying mobile phones either. Renting a board from them, might be a better idea than setting exact times for classes…

naturist surfer 0014 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Unfortunately, I took photos of me surfing only on the last day…

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and it was the worst time for surfing out of 4 days that I stayed there :-/

naturist surfer 0017 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

There were a lot of double waves breaking unexpectedly, and the currents were all messed up as it was between low and high tides, so I could hardly get on the board at all. I guess I’ll have to come back to take some better photos 😉

naturist surfer 0018 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

I was sad leaving that place, but on the way to the bus stop, while looking for dried grasshoppers, this shop put a smile on my face:

tienda naturista 0011 Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

‘Tienda naturista’, ‘naturist shop’ was not what I thought it would be, but I liked the name nevertheless.

skinny-dipping in cenotes (sinkholes) and hiking in a “naked” forest in Yucatan

Frankly, before going to Mexico, I had never heard the term ‘cenote‘, which refers to a deep natural sinkhole, typical to Yucatan peninsula, but as soon as I heard the description and searched for images, I had no doubt I had to see those! They’re very different in appearance, size, history, accessibility. I’ve seen several cenotes, including the Sacred Cenote of Chichen Itza, but I was impressed most with two smaller but more secluded ones, that I was able to visit thanks to Miguel (who I got to know thanks to Couchsurfing again – have I mentioned how much I value that site?).

So, imagine yourself in a dry forest, and then you see a hole in the ground like this one.

naturist 0001 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

It’s just slightly bigger then the rabbit’s hole that brought Alice to Wonderland, and it feels like something magic is waiting for you there. It has a simple ladder that invites you to go down.

naturist 0002 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

It looks like it’s got a small exit to a magic garden all the way down in the end of the cave…

naturist 0003 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

But in fact, it’s just a reflection of the entrance, because the water is so clear, you can barely see it from above!

naturist 0004 Dzom-Bacal cenote near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

When we arrived to this cenote, we were lucky to have no one else around, so surely enough I got naked. Skinny-dipping in cenotes, definitely something to remember!

naturist 0010 Dzom-Bacal cenote near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

After a while we heard some people approaching to the cave, but it was the time to go further anyways. This truly marvellous cenote is called Dzom-Bacal and is located in the end of a dirt road in the midst of a deciduous tropical forest south of Merida. Since the road was barely used, we felt comfortable to bare it all and enjoyed our walk in the buff! It felt so right in that warm and dry weather.

naturist 0013 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

As it was just the beginning of spring, which in this part of the world is linked not so much to the warmer weather but to the arrival of rains after dry ‘winter’, most of the trees didn’t have leaves were naked too.

naturist 0005 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Ironically, the most naked tree of all was a cotton tree, easily distinguishable by its fruits with cotton fibres.

cotton tree 0006 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Boneto tree was also full of fruit, but they were not ripe.
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But besides trees, the forest was full of shrubs, cacti and agaves, so it was practically impenetrable,

naturist 0017 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

except for the parts where barren limestone didn’t let plants to grow over.

naturist 0011 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

So, we didn’t go away from the road much,

naturist 0014 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

just to look at some flowers once in a while.

naturist 0012 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

I used to have a similar species of cactus at home, it was nice to see its wild counterpart in natural habitat in a blooming state.

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Some trees started blooming too, I bet this forest was going to turn into a beautiful garden as soon as rains would become more frequent.

blooming tree 0007 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

It was so nice to walk there just like that, surrounded by beautiful nature and caressed by the rays of the setting sun.

naturist 0015 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

We found a trail that didn’t seem to be used by cars at all, but unfortunately we didn’t have much time to explore it.

naturist 0016 cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

We wanted to see one more cenote in the area, X-batún. This one looked a little more developed and touristy, but probably because we came so late, last visitors were leaving just as we arrived. So, guess what, we were lucky to be able to go skinny dipping in X-batún too!

naturist 0020 X-batun cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

This cenote was more open, so banyan trees hung their long roots graciously from the edge of the upper level all the way down to the water. We let it all hang out too, and enjoyed a bit of splashy splash time on the warm evening.

naturist 0019 X-batun cenotes near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

sailing au naturel

Sailing, let along sailing nude, had been in my wish list for a long time, and I could finally realise this dream last spring in Mexico. As I mentioned, Luis couldn’t join me on the trip due to last minute issues, but he still put me in touch with his friend Samuel who had a sailing boat in the port town of Progreso, Yucatan. And there I was, naked on the boat in the open sea! We were also joined by Alex, who contacted me via Couchsurfing, and it was his first naked adventure.

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Well, before we could disrobe, we had to navigate out of the port full of yachts and colourful fisher boats.

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Then, Alex and I got a brief intro course on seamanship. Steering a sailing boat didn’t sound difficult at all, at least in the good weather; the most difficult part would be navigation in the open sea.

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We didn’t plan to go too far, as it was just a day trip, so we kept just one sail out.

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Pretty soon, we would only see just a couple of faraway ships besides the endless sky and sea.

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There was my other first experience, swimming in the open sea, without seeing a seashore on the horizon.

naturist 0003 sailing near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Sunning on the deck was an expected follow-up to that.  SONY DSC

Unfortunately, it was meant to be a short trip, but I definitely got a flavour of what a great feeling of freedom it is to be out there in the sea and just use the power of wind. Nakedness enhanced that feeling even more. I can’t wait to have a another, hopefully longer, sailing trip!

Papaya Playa and other places in and around Tulum

Ever since my pen pal Luis wrote about beautiful clothing-optional beaches in Tulum, Mexico, I had been aiming to go there. We planned a trip with Luis exactly one year ago, but unfortunately he had to cancel literally last minute. I still went on my own, and I wasn’t disappointed to say the least. Out of two resorts recommended by Luis, I picked Papaya Playa.

naturist 0013 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

It is a quiet place with cabins, open-air showers, restaurant all built in rustic tropical style, that blends harmoniously with local environment. There were many people but it never felt crowded. In the mornings, I often had the beach to myself.

naturist 0009 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I didn’t just stay at the resort, of course. I made friends with Tomas from Papaya Playa reception, and he organised a couple of trips in its vicinity and also joined me when he didn’t have to work. The obvious choice was Mayan ruins of Tulum, which is not a clothes-free place, of course…

naturist 0021 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

… with the exception of iguanas, that guard the ancient site.

iguana 0022 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

However, we went for a snorkelling tour on the coral reef right in front of the ruins, and I asked the boatmen if I could swim naked. They said they had no issues with that, as long as the only woman in our group of about 6 tourists wouldn’t mind. (Apparently, it was obvious to them that men wouldn’t.) She and her husband were totally cool with the idea, although they said they had never been to a nudist beach. I was really happy that both local and visiting Mexicans seemed to be much more open-minded re nudity, than they were portrayed by some of my Mexican friends, who believed their country was too conservative….

naturist 0012 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

So, there I was snorkelling naked in the warm Caribbean Sea!

naturist 0000 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

By the way, that reef is a part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest barrier reef in the world!

corals 0023 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Although I knew that it wasn’t very rich in terms of biodiversity (for a coral reef! which means that it would still be probably the most diverse marine ecosystem around), I was disappointed that visually it wasn’t nearly as bright as the coral reefs of the Red Sea that I saw in Israel and Egypt.

corals 0024 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

But then I saw three squids, and two of them were facing each other. I had just watched a documentary about cuttlefish before going to Mexico, so I immediately recognised that those were two males in a competitive dance that involved display of change in colours. Unfortunately, one of them retreated when I came closer to take a video.

squid 0025 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

We also went to the beach of Akumal, which is famous for sea turtles. It’s not a clothing-optional beach, but I felt it’d be a waste to swim clothed in such a nice warm water, so I took off my swimming trunks as soon as I was in water. Not long after, I saw some huge sea turtles grazing on sea grass! They looked so majestic and didn’t seem to be bothered by my presence.

sea turtle 0026 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

We also went to the beaches of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, south of Tulum. Those are really beautiful, and I would like to say truly pristine, but unfortunately there was quite a lot of trash! It wasn’t garbage left by visitors of Sian Ka’an, but all the stuff that people through away from numerous boats into what they think is unlimited vastness of the Caribbean. It probably doesn’t occur in their head that if those things don’t sink down to the bottom of the sea, they will float until washed away ashore… and with time they accumulate in noticeable and disturbing amounts! The only reason why we don’t see this garbage on beaches at the resorts is because of constant cleaning. I think it would be good to leave small sections of urban beaches unattended, so that everyone is reminded about the amount of trash that floats in the sea…

naturist 0001 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Despite that, it was probably the most stunning beach in the area!

naturist 0002 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The water was beautiful,

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and we discovered some ruins too, doubtfully though as ancient as to be tracked to Mayan civilisation.

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Palm trees grow all along the beach,

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and of course we were tempted to go for a walk in the forest too.

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It was probably the first time I saw a forest comprised entirely of palm trees.

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In the evening, I read short history of Mexico under coconut trees of Papaya Playa. 🙂

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And with the full moon rising,

naturist 0008 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

it was a perfect time to take some night shots with that kind of iconic tropical background.

naturist full moon 0019 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Oh well, I couldn’t decide if that place looked more beautiful during moonrise or sunrise! 🙂

naturist sunrise 0020 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Then, I had some delicious mangos for breakfast at the beach, and those attracted some new friends.

iguana 0017 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I didn’t realise iguanas were such mango-lovers, they seemed to have lost all their shyness and typical careless look.

iguana 0014 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Pelicans were passing by and just checked out if there was anything for them, but I usually don’t eat fish for breakfast.

pelicans 0016 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

However, I did make quite a few iguanas happy with mango skins.

naturist 0015 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

At some point, they were all satisfied and retreated to sunbathe…

naturist 0011 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

So did I, and I would definitely like to come back to Papaya Playa to see my friends again. Maybe next time, I should give them some papaya 😉