thermal pool ‘El Tambo’ in Papallacta, Ecuador


By coincidence, as I was preparing yesterday this blogpost about an outing with the group of Nudismo Ecuador a year ago, they went to the same place; so I am starting with a few photos from their recent trip

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… and continue with the story of my visit: A few years ago I got an idea to travel to either Ecuador or Peru and of course looked up options for naturism; Ecuador seemed to have a much more vibrant naturist community with a few active groups. I had to cancel and postpone my trip a couple of times, but a year ago I finally went there and indeed found a good bunch of local naturists. There is a couple of groups in Quito, with weekly gatherings at a pool with sauna and less frequent outings to thermal pools outside the city. Even though Ecuador is situated (you’ve guessed it!) at the equator, the capital and a few other major cities have pretty cool or even chilly climate being high up in the mountains (Quito is the second highest capital city in the world), so hot springs is a natural choice if you want to hang out naked. I had been in touch with one of the local naturist groups – Nudismo Ecuador – for a while, so when my plans solidified, I made sure to coordinate to meet up with them. So a dozen of us went to the thermal pools of Papallacta east of Quito.

There are no officially designated clothing-optional pools, but some admit naturist groups with prior arrangements. This one is called ‘El Tambo’. If you want to enjoy it sans clothes, coordinate with Nudismo Ecuador by e-mail. After parking, there is a short pebble walkway (quite slippery from the mist),

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on which we stripped off right away, as from then on only sheep could see us. They seemed a bit a amused,

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as at this altitude of 3.5km asl, even some plants prefer to have a wooly cover.

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So, yes, it was quite chilly, especially in the mountain mist, so we quickly proceeded to the pool,

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although some preferred to gain some body heat from running around the pool first.

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But once we were in, it was pure relaxation… until more group member arrived and we decided to play a ball game. The invented it on their own, so I was curious to try!

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While water volleyball is common at naturist resorts,

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this one is more reminiscent of rugby: you score by touching the “gate” area of the opponent team.

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Due to having to run in water, passes are more common in this game,

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and less chance of injuries from tackling.

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We did take it seriously, so the victory was well celebrated =)

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After the game, we were certainly warm enough to venture out for a brief hike, even though it was drizzling.

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Some of the mountain peaks around are covered in snow – it would have been even more amazing to see them while hiking naked or enjoying the pool, but there was a thick cloud blocking the view (typical for the area).

view 0003 balneario Tambo, Papallacta, Ecuador

We went down to a small river,

view 0001 balneario Tambo, Papallacta, Ecuador

and on its bank there was a natural thermal spring

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with contrasting, almost neon, colors.

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All that moist results in dense vegetation.

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Some plants were blooming,

plants 0001 balneario Tambo, Papallacta, Ecuador

and tree trunks were covered in ferns, moss and lichens.

plants 0002 balneario Tambo, Papallacta, Ecuador

After the hike, it was already time to go back to Quito, but that hot shower felt amazing!

naturist 0002 balneario Tambo, Papallacta, Ecuador

So even though there is not much official recognition of naturism in Ecuador, local naturists are certainly very active, and my further travel proved that there is plenty of opportunities for naturism!

some memories from Florida Young Naturists’s Spring Bash and nature trail at Sunny Sands Resort

I thought I’d skip a report on this event entirely due to lack of photography, but when I mentioned it in the previous post, I realized I had to share with the world at least some of my good memories – so here are a few words about the Florida Young Naturists‘ Spring Bash and its venue, Sunny Sands Resort. It’s a spacious resort, mostly oriented to permanent or part-time residents; FYN certainly changes its pace! There are some basic amenities typical to a naturist resort, such as a pool, a hot tub, volleyball court; the restaurant seems to be open only during such events. The Spring Bash itself was very well organized, with numerous fun activities, seminars and workshops hosted by the participants: e.g., capoeira and acro-yoga (by yours truly), salsa, juggling, fire-spinning, discussions on polyamory… There were professional masseurs too, and needless to say they were very much in demand – one had to sign up for a session. I got probably the best deep tissue massage I had ever had (and to add a cherry on the cake, the masseur was my namesake!) All these activities were free, and there was a good sense of community and active participation. In the evening there was live music, and the band got naked too. When we gathered around the fire pit at night, one guy started singing a Swahili song, and then taught us all the chorus (which alternated between male and female voices) – it was a beautiful experience! Thus, it was a very busy event, but you could always leave for a walk on the nature trail if you wanted some quiet time.

As it often happens, naturist events and venues have prohibitive or very restrictive photo policies, so I cannot provide a full report from FYN Spring Bash in the same sense, as I do from Burning Man, for example. But here are some photos from Sunny Sands’ nature trail, which is worth a mention too (even with a risk of confusing naturists and naturalists 😀 )

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Woodpeckers seemed to be particularly active at the time.

woodpecker 0001 Sunny Sands Resort, Florida, USA

This one literally stuffed his beak with larvae (probably saving them for the chicks).

woodpecker 0002 Sunny Sands Resort, Florida, USA

But I’m not sure they’d touch this hairy caterpillar.

caterpillar 0000 Sunny Sands Resort, Florida, USA

There used to be a pond of a decent size, but most of the water has vanished now.

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But what’s left still provides home for water lilies, frogs

crane 0001 Sunny Sands Resort, Florida, USA

and a family of cranes!

crane 0002 Sunny Sands Resort, Florida, USA

I’ve never seen wild cranes so close, though these ones are clearly used to human presence.

crane 0003 Sunny Sands Resort, Florida, USA

(And perhaps it makes them feel safer that the humans around them are naturally naked :-))

tennis in the buff (in breaks between volleyball)

In my previous blogpost, I wrote about naturist volleyball tournaments throughout the US which I visit a couple of times a year, and last weekend it was the SunnyBowl at Sunny Rest Resort. Though it is the smallest one of its kind that I’ve been to, I could see many familiar faces from the naturist volleyball community. There were hardly enough people to make two teams in the novice division, where I’ve been playing so far, but then two of us joined the more advanced B-level teams. Let’s see where we’ll end up at the major naked volleyball Super Bowl in September! And when we were not playing volleyball or chilling by the pool, we played tennis. Well, or at least tried to – it was my first time actually! I love it when I try a new activity, and right away in the buff… as long as I don’t get fined for that, as was the case with acro-yoga! Well, this certainly wouldn’t happen at Sunny Rest, being a naturist resort. Their tennis courts are in great condition with rackets and balls provided for free. Enjoy these photos from our tennis match!

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Sorry for not having any imagery from the volleyball tournament itself, but you can (re)watch the videos in my previous blogpost, though they were shot at another resort. It seems like SunnyBowl is good at providing photo and video materials other than volleyball, as I shot a hypnotizing session of fire-spinning last year. By the way, I’m surprised that there is no big naturist tennis movement, although most naturist resorts are equipped with tennis courts. Maybe Sunny Rest should change that, and add ‘Sunny Open’ to its curriculum!

hiking and bouldering in Painted Canyon (California)

naturist 0015 Mecca Hills, California, USA

Painted Canyon in California is yet another place for a nice hike in the buff; it’s not an official naturist territory, but it has a history of naturist excursions and feels quite secluded.

view 0015 Mecca Hills, California, USA

This place is also known as Mecca Hills, but Painted Canyon makes better justice as its name – the rocks are quite colorful there!

view 0008 Mecca Hills, California, USA

Shortly after then entrance (parking), you’ll have to get up the ladders on another level of the dry riverbed,

naturist 0001 Mecca Hills, California, USA

but otherwise it’s pretty flat. Except for the vertical rock walls around! It’s difficult to imagine how this place is transformed when the river gets full here, but you can get a rough idea when you see the traces of its work, such as the base of this rock wall being washed off…

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I posed both as a Titan supporting the whole thing and being succumbed to some kind of gravitational force pulling me deep in the Mother Earth…

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We continued the hike,

view 0011 Mecca Hills, California, USA

and after a brief clothed break as we let some school group pass by, we got naked again.

Here is just a brief overview of the variety of rocks that you may see there.

I have no idea of their composition and geological names, so I can only offer to enjoy the esthetic aspect of their colorful variety:

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view 0014 Mecca Hills, California, USA

and striped,

view 0013 Mecca Hills, California, USA


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and pink-red!

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As we continued, there were a few bifurcations – dried estuaries of the dried river – and we were taking the left ones, but I imagine they all look similar.

view 0012 Mecca Hills, California, USA

I climbed up one of the hills to get a view from above, and it was quite spectacular with all those rocks zigzaggedly eroded by rivers.

naturist 0002 Mecca Hills, California, USA

After that we headed back, but then I saw something I’d been trying to photograph for years –

naturist 0016 Mecca Hills, California, USA

a hummingbird!

Anna's hummingbird 0002 Mecca Hills, California, USA

I knew that they could be around as soon as I saw elongated red flowers that this pollinating bird loved.

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I managed to take a few pictures, as you can see, even while it was hovering,

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but the light was quite low already, so given the speed with which hummingbird flaps its wings, they become invisible on the photo 😀

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There was also a plant with red stems, but I’m not sure if that is to attract any kind of animal.

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Once I started paying attention to plants, it was quite fascinating to see such a variety,

desert plants 0002 Mecca Hills, California, USA

and many of them blooming, in such arid conditions.

desert plants 0001 Mecca Hills, California, USA

Some cacti though looked somewhat squashed, as if they used up almost all their water cache.

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This one seemed to be very well protected.

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Close to the exit, Don knew of another trail that was rather special. As all passages here, it was a dried riverbed, but the river that carved this canyon must have been nothing more than a narrow creek. It looked very surreal.

view 0004 Mecca Hills, California, USA

I’ve only seen such kind of terrain in the movie ‘127 Hours’. It was like a winding labyrinth,  sometimes very narrow,

view 0018 Mecca Hills, California, USA

where you never knew what you’d see at the next turn –

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perhaps a naked man? 😀

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Mostly the walls looked too steep to try to climb up, but in one place I was tempted to do so, as the cliff wasn’t entirely vertical and had a lot of dents and bumps.

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It was quite easy to climb up,

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but I didn’t dare to go all the way up that tower-like rock.

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I still felt like king of the hill (or king of the castle?)

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But as it often happens, it was much scarier to go down than to climb up, and the ground seemed suddenly shaky…

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I made it down without problems though and even went back up half-way to take a picture of the slot canyon from above.

view 0006 Mecca Hills, California, USA

It was a lot of fun to walk through that labyrinth,

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and it didn’t just turn all the time, we had to go up and down a few times too.

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It was good though that there was a clear main path, as you wouldn’t want to get lost there.

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After we reached a relatively wide part, we decided to turn back.

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The sun was just about to set, but it was getting dark in the slot canyon already. We headed back fast, as we still needed to set up the camp,

view 0016 Mecca Hills, California, USA

but we still got the last sun rays.

view 0017 Mecca Hills, California, USA

I guess we were so inspired by the views of the Painted Canyon, that despite being quite sleepy we spent a couple of hours painting each other… with light! I actually posted the results of our light-painting frenzy a while ago.

Next day, we visited Morongo Valley,

naturist 0022 Mecca Hills, California, USA

where we could refresh in the remains of the river that was still flowing (and was very cold too).

naturist 0023 Mecca Hills, California, USA

The following night and morning we spent in luxury at Vista Grande Resort in Palm Springs; nudity combined well with luxury too, as it turned out 🙂

Orr Hot Springs and Montgomery Woods

While winter’s attempt to reinstall its reign over New York City on Monday night failed totally, with the morning rain washing down almost all snow and the afternoon sun dealing with the rest, my friends in Europe are still suffering from yet another particularly long and snowy winter. So, here is probably my last blogpost of the winter season. Well, this one is from Californian ‘winter’, so don’t expect anything like jumping in the ice hole in the Moscow River, or frolicking in the snow by the naked gym in Paris… but rather soaking in hot springs! California has lots of those, so Niko and I spent some time choosing which ones to visit on the way from Eureka to San Francisco. Orr hot springs called our attention by having a reputation of providing exquisite tranquility; it is a cute rustic resort with small cozy cabins, excellent self-service kitchen, and of course saunas and baths filled with natural thermal water.

naturist 0000 Orr springs, CA, USA

Orr hot springs are quite easy to reach from Bay Area, but seclusion is one of their key words. There is no cell phone service, no wi-fi, and actually, not even an official webpage! I don’t think there is a lack of visitors though, thanks to the word of mouth and reviews in Yelp… and websites like this one 😉 Therefore, to make sure there is a spot for you, reservations by phone are required +1 (707) 462-6277.

We arrived quite late in the evening and had the main bath for ourselves for a while.

naturist 0001 Orr springs, CA, USA

It was gorgeous full moon night, and mist gathering above the hot springs made the whole place look mysterious.

naturist 0002 Orr springs, CA, USA

In the morning, the mist highlighted sun rays peeking through bamboo.

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… and the mist that condensed on the grass around hot springs, provided another pretty display – hoar frost – and a proof that it did get down to freezing temperatures during the night.

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Not a problem though, if you are surrounded by hot springs and saunas.

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After absorbing the heat of thermal waters, it feels just great to walk around butt-naked despite the cold.

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By the way, the whole resort is clothing optional except for registration desk.

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We explored the territory of Orr for a bit,

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and after the check out time in the cabin (noon), we decided to go for a hike.

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Unfortunately, there are no trails starting at the resort, but there are some in its vicinity, in the Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve.  The afternoon was getting quite warm, and as we turned away from the main trail, I felt comfortable to get unclad.

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This trail mostly featured young redwoods, as the area was probably still recovering after logging. One of the huge redwood stumps looked like a stage.

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We didn’t see much wildlife except for a few birds and a couple of these ancient-looking creatures, red-bellied newts.

red-bellied newt 0016 Orr springs, CA, USAred-bellied newt 0017 Orr springs, CA, USA

It was the first time when I saw an adult newt, as previously I only saw juvenile forms (efts) of a related species in Harriman State Park, NY. Adult forms aren’t that bright, except for the belly in this species. By the way, only preparing for this blogpost did I find out that their red belly “serves as a warning to potential predators, as [they] have enough of a neurotoxin … in their skin to easily kill an adult human”.

Speaking of warnings, soon we reached a fence with a sign saying that there was private property further up the trail and no trespassing was allowed. Why wasn’t there any warning in the beginning of the trail? We turned back and went down to the main trail, which went through old growth redwoods, including some of the tallest trees around!

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We didn’t have enough time to explore the whole trail, but even the trees near the beginning were impressive.

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In this forest of giants, we looked somewhat Lilliputian, but it made us appreciate only more the splendour of nature.

naturist 0015 Orr springs, CA, USA

Fire Island

Finally I am adding info on this famous getaway destination. New Yorkers, especially from LGBT community, flock to Fire Island, and for a good reason, or rather many reasons. On the one hand, it provides a totally tranquil and rustic environment, with its wooden houses and deer walking on the roads instead of cars. On the other hand, there is a number of bustling bars and a pretty big dance club, as well as special performances and private parties. Many rental houses are clothing-optional too, especially by the pool.

And of course, this narrow stretch of land between the bay and Atlantic Ocean is a lot about the beach. The part of the beach between Pines and Cherry Grove is commonly known as clothing-optional.

The beach turned out to be a good place to make friends. That’s where I got to know David, who showed me a backflip and thus inspired me to take a gymnastics class. Also I got to know two sweet dudes with a dozen of kites. Their parrot seemed to like me, or at least I was able to tame him, although at first he appeared somewhat crazy. It was so nice to get it as a present in the end! But I preferred to keep my distance from the shark, however.

Naked Spring Bash with Florida Young Naturists

This post was actually about to be published in my old blog, but right when I clicked the ‘publish’ button, Google suddenly deleted my blog… irrevocably. Well, enough complaining, now the blog is back, and several months after the first attempt this post is finally out! It is actually a good time, because Florida Young Naturists group has just announced (through their Facebook page, their website is not updated) the next Naked Spring Bash in April this year. So here is the original text, I leave it unchanged:

One of the reasons why I haven’t posted last weeks was because Joe visited me, and we went to South Florida for few days and had a lot of naked fun in the sun. We actually spent most of our time there naked: the CouchSurfing hosts we stayed with were also nudists, we went to the famous Haulover Beach (that is where the World Record Skinny-Dip took place) and got a chance to swim in the buff in a couple of other places, but most strikingly we visited a nudist colony Sunsport Gardens for the Naked Spring Bash organized by Florida Young Naturists. I came across their website a couple of years ago and thought it would be fantastic to join the group of naked peers that organized numerous fun events. I was reminded about FYN once again at the Nude Year’s Eve, as two of its members were there as well. The program for the Naked Spring Bash sounded really cool and after the long and cold winter we were craving for the sun and warmth, so it was amazing that Joe and I could go there together.

Too bad we didn’t get in this video, but they’re right, you can do all kind of fun things there!

The event included all kinds of activities.

I loved the drum circle around the fire on the first night. There was a dozen of drummers and other people were dancing around the fire. I got a frame drum of pandeiro type, the same as we use in capoeira, which I practice, so I could play and dance at the same time. And of course there was body art.

Joe got Sun and Moon from me,

but he took an easy path and “painted” handprints on me 🙂

Spring Bash participant were given a free spot for camping by the pond, and when we woke up, we got a chance to meet a couple of its friendly dwellers.

Then we went for a walk around the gardens with beautiful tropical and subtropical plants.

The tiny island in the pond was quite picturesque. Then there was some pool time and lunch, naked lunch of course. I was disappointed though, that they mostly provided fast-food and served it on single-use ware. I’d expect a naturist venue to be at the frontier of health- and eco-consciousness.

In the afternoon, there was a short excursion through the bit of tropical forest that belonged to Sunsport Gardens. We were very pleased to find this forest with many native plants of South Florida, and we went there on our own a couple of times again.

In a couple of places there were tables and benches, so you could have a quiet lunch in the forest as well.

The plants were diverse, there were some bamboos, but most of the forest was pine and palm trees,

some of which we tried to climb.

As to the Spring Bash itself, there were also volleyball matches, sauna, disco… but we were too busy enjoying it to take pictures 😉

On the last day of the Spring Bash, most of the people went to Haulover Beach.

But besides having nice company at the beach, when we went for a swim we were accompanied by a school of small fish… Either they mistook us for their parents or thought we’d simply provide them shelter from sharks 🙂

In any case, they followed us for half an hour!

I was quite surprised to find out that Haulover Beach was just one of two official clothing-optional beaches in South Florida.

But when we were driving around we found a couple of secluded spots in mangrove forests, where we went skinny-dipping too.

on a coral reef beach at the Red Sea (Egypt)


Coral Beach Resort in Hurghada, Egypt, is an ideal place where naturists can enjoy one of the richest marine ecosystems – coral reefs of the Red Sea – without having to wear swimsuits. It is the right place to feel unity with the nature: fishes there are not only immensely diverse but are also quite tame! And since life in the coral reef is concentrated in 2-5 upper meters of the sea, it is easy to observe it without much of equipment: snorkeling is perfect.  Just dip into the water, and you will see a world utterly different from the surrounding desert, and quite like nowhere else!

naturist 0003 Rotana Resort Coral Beach, Hurghada, Egypt

I wish I had my underwater camera that time…

It is also a unique place in the entire North Africa and Near East region, besides Israel, where nudists are officially tolerated, including the Egyptian staff of the hotel. However, the web site of the hotel does not include information about the beach, probably to avoid problems with authorities who might not like it. The nudist part of the beach is about several hundreds meters long,

naturist 0000 Rotana Resort Coral Beach, Hurghada, Egypt

but only the first 50 or so are equipped (this area is exactly shown on the map).naturist 0001 Rotana Resort Coral Beach, Hurghada, Egypt

There are wind- and sun-protecting shields and huts at your disposal.

view 0001 Rotana Resort, Hurghada, Egypt

You could of course hang out naked in your bungalow too, but it’s not why you would go there, right?

The best thing about this resort, is that you can swim as you like all along the vast coral reefs.

naturist 0004 Rotana Resort Coral Beach, Hurghada, Egypt

I think we are pretty clear on this website that swimsuits are a nuisance 😉 Given the warmth of the Red Sea waters, you won’t need a wetsuit for snorkeling either!

naturist 0005 Rotana Resort Coral Beach, Hurghada, Egypt

Besides hours of swimming (the water is so warm that you can really stay for a few hours in the sea), other water activities are available at the resort as well.

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I saw several ospreys there; it was quite a show when they went on fishing spree!

But even without all this, just looking at those crystal clear waters can be mesmarizing. naturist 0002 Rotana Resort Coral Beach, Hurghada, Egypt

You can also observe the sunrise over the sea

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and sunset over the desert.

view 0002 Rotana Resort, Hurghada, Egypt

There won’t be a shortage of sun in Hurghada, you needn’t worry about the weather to get your all-over tan!)

naturist 0006 Rotana Resort Coral Beach, Hurghada, Egypt