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Naturist Beaches in the French West Indies

All the beaches in the French West Indies are top- optional and several are clothing- optional as well. There is no pressure from anyone to go topless or nude; the choice is entirely personal, and no one cares either way. A very European attitude. The following paragraphs give brief overviews of the beaches where nudity is allowed. For more general information about the islands, follow the links. Please note: all photographs were taken with permission.

The friendly couple shown on the graphical version of this page is taking in the sun on Anse de Grand Saline, St-Barthelemy, while on vacation from France. Grand Saline is one of two beaches on St. Barth where people sunbathe and swim nude. (The other beach is Anse du Gouverneur.)

For beginners in the topless or bottomless lifestyle, St. Barth is a good place to start. Both Saline and Gouverneur are long sandy beaches where you can have some sense of privacy by being away from other people. (You can get a sense of this in the accompanying photo.) There are no facilities for food, drink, or restrooms at either beach. Saline has mildly interesting snorkeling at the south end (to your left as you walk onto the beach). Gouverneur has a mild undertow and some wave action if you like playing in the surf.

If you want a beach where you can go topless and have access to food, drink, and restrooms, we recommend the beach at Baie de St. Jean. The Baie de St. Jean is divided in the middle by Eden Rock. Stay on the south side of Eden Rock (the end of the beach farthest from the runway) to avoid the crowds from cruise ships who stroll the north end of the beach in their street clothes, shoes and all.

Some years ago, St. Barth was the home away from home for the very rich. The islanders made a great deal of money by catering to the whims of their visitors, and (even though the very rich now often go elsewhere) the people of St. Barth still maintain their amicable view of visitors as people to please. St. Barth is much like we think small town America used to be like.

St. Barth is the friendly isle with 22 beaches.

Just a little further down the Caribbean is the butterfly-shaped island of Guadeloupe. This island is much larger than St. Barth, and its economy is based on agriculture rather than tourism. Very few Americans vacation on Guadeloupe, and few people speak English. It is likely that you will meet only two or three other native English speakers during a week's stay in Guadeloupe. Like St. Barth, all the beaches are topless, and a couple are clothing optional.

The picture on the graphical version of this page was taken on Pointe Tarare, one of two clothing optional beaches on Guadeloupe. Pointe Tarare is not easy to find, so watch your map closely. It is on the way to Pointe des Chateaux, which is a recommended visit for the wild surf crashing into the end of Guadeloupe. Pointe Tarare is a small beach, and it's often crowded in the afternoon. If you want some privacy, you came to the wrong island. (The picture at the end of this page was also taken at Pointe Tarare.) Tarare has good snorkeling since it's surrounded by reefs. I've seen octopuses, barracudas, cuttlefish, and all sorts of interesting fauna and flora. There are no facilities at Pointe Tarare, though there is a restaurant at the beginning of the path leading down to the beach, and in February of 1996, there was a vendor with a little umbrella stand and softdrinks and snacks for sale on the beach.
Note that the beach suffered some erosion from Hurrican Luis, and it is now considerably narrower than in years past. People have begun to care for the beach, and there are containers for cigarette butts; please do not litter this much smaller beach. Take out with you all that you bring in.

A NOTE ABOUT POINTE TARARE: There is a band of thieves that comes to this beach on a regular basis. They give the appearance of being spear fishers, and they bring a huge assortment of fins, masks, and spear guns and spread equipment around, all the while talking and laughing, and then they leave, never going in the water. And they take with them everything that was within their grasp when they spread their gear around. Do not leave your belongings unattended at any time.

[NEW!]In addition to Pointe Tarare, the beach near Club Med is also clothing optional. This beach is near Ste. Anne. If you are driving from Le Gosier toward Ste. Anne, pass the sign indicating the entrance to Club Med and go about 50 meters. In February of 1996, the road to this beach had a sign for Hotel Rotabas. It is the next right after the Club Med entrance. You will be on a very bad dirt road leading west toward the beach. It continues on for some time, and you will see a fenced in parking area on the right. Park on the road and walk on past many shacks where vendors sell souvenirs, T- shirts, swimsuits, and food, to the beach. Turn right. There will be a turnstile to go through; walk along the beach until you pass the equipment for board sailing and the beach angles to the right. Continue on until you see naked people laying on the beach. Past the naturist portion of the beach is Club Med where nudity is not allowed. You will be in an area frequented by vendors selling soft drinks, siwmsuits, pastries, and more than you want to be bothered with. The water here is sheltered, and you will see small children playing gleefully in the shallow water, but the snorkeling is boring. The area behind the beach is in fairly heavy use by hotel patrons, so you'll have golfers practicing sand traps, archers trying to hit the targets, and other clothed persons tramping around in significant numbers. Since clothing (or not) is an option, none of this bothers anybody.

Guadeloupe has Pointe-a-Pitre as a substantial town of some 80,000 people. There is much to see, do, buy, and eat there. Since Guadeloupe does not make its living from tourists, the island has the hustle and bustle of commerce with much more to do at night than St. Barth.

Just off the coast of Basse Terre is the tiny island of Les Saintes[NEW!]. Terre- de- Haut has a naturist beach at Anse de Crawen. It can be reached by a 45 minute walk from Le Bourg (where the ferry docks), or by scooter or mountain bike rented in the village. Unfortunately, Hurrican Luis was less than kind to Crawen, and virtually all the sand was stripped from the beach leaving behind rather large rocks which nude sunbathers lie among. The ocean at Crawen is protected and swimmable. There are no facilities at the beach, but Hotel Bois Joli is a five minute walk up the hill where there is a snack bar and very nice restaurant (and restrooms for the patrons).

Guadeloupe is the island for Civilized Explorers who want lots to do.

The swimmer shown in the graphical version of this page is in the waters off the island of Martinique, the home of the cosmopolitan city of Fort de France. It rains every day on Martinique (but briefly), and the vegetation is lush and gorgeous. Martinique is also home to an active volcano, Montagne Pelee, which erupted early this century. None of the beaches on Martinique is clothing- optional, but all are optionally topless.

Many tourists go to the beach at Pointe du Bout. It is surrounded by restaurants, hotels, apartments, pay phones, and restrooms. The beach is usually crowded, but not unpleasant. Since Pointe du Bout is home to at least one yacht club, is a provisioning point for yachters from around the world, and shares the same bay as Fort de France which is a commercial harbor, the water is not the clearest and cleanest in the Caribbean. Most of the swimmable beaches are on the Caribbean side, but there are some interesting places at Trinité, Vauclin, and Tartane on the Atlantic side. The picture above was taken at the beach at Ste. Anne. Snorkeling is not too interesting at Martinique because there are few reefs and the island comes abruptly out of the sea.

Martinique is the cosmopolitan island.

For more information and pictures, visit the French West Indies page. We also have tons of information about other Caribbean islands. If you're interested in other naturist locations, drop by the Naturist Reference Pages. The Naturist Society and American Association for Nude Recreation have Web presences, as well. For a list of nude beaches in northern California (with directions, descriptions, and ratings), check in at the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
See the Civilized Explorer Naturist Photo Page for JPGs of the pictures included in the French West Indies pages. These JPGs are scanned in at millions of colors and are larger than the pictures in these pages. As you might expect, the photos show naturists au naturel. If you find nudity objectionable, you will not be interested in seeing these photos.

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