Cayo Santa Maria is a small island of 26 sq. km. (10 sq. mi) located off the northern coast of the main island of Cuba, and is part of a small group of islets called "Los Cayos de Villa Clara" located at the western end of "Jardines del Rey" (King's Gardens) archipelago. This region of Cuba is a UNESCO recognized Biosphere Reserve. CSM is connected to the main island of Cuba by a 48-km (30-mi) long causeway (called pedraplen in Spanish). Its beaches are located along the northern coast of the island, while the south of the island consists mainly of mangroves and swamps.
The beach sections all-together total approximately 11 km (7 mi) of fine white sand. The majority of hotels are located in the central area on the main beach "Playa Santa Maria", the longest of the island (about 6 km / 3.7 mi.). This stretch of beach includes a virgin area (at least for now) on the west side, between the hotels Sol Cayo Santa Maria 4* and Melia Buenavista 5*. Before 2013 the east end of the island was completely virgin too, but some hotels have recently been built in the Playa Perla Blanca area.
The history of naturism in Cayo Santa Maria is closely related to another Cuban cayo, Cayo Largo, where naturist beaches can be found since a long time. In early November 2001 a very strong grade-4 hurricane called Michelle hits Cayo Largo, causing the destination to be closed for several months. Several Cayo Largo lovers find themselves going at the Sol Cayo Santa Maria. As several of them are naturists, they saw a unique opportunity to maybe create an alternative to Cayo Largo! After discussion with the hotel management, a nudist area was designated at the western end of the hotel (to the left when facing sea), starting from the last footbridge.
The naturist beach area of Cayo Santa Maria extends about 1.5 km (0.9 mi), from hotel Sol Cayo Santa Maria up to hotel Melia Buenavista. The second longest naturist beach in Cuba after Cayo Largo.
The accommodation options for a greater proximity to the naturist beach are the following hotels:
Sol Cayo Santa Maria : This is the first hotel of the destination, it opened its doors in late-December 2001. This is a 4-star hotel managed by the hotel chain Melia Hotels International. There are several palapas, shelters and chairs in the clothing optional area of the beach. Since 2014, there are two signs to indicate more clearly the limits of the naturist area; one at the entrance of the footbridge (near the shower) leading to the naturist section of beach, and the other one on the first palapa where the naturist zone begins (western part of the beach).
Melia Buenavista : Open since 2010, it’s a luxury adult-only 5-star hotel which is also administered by the hotel chain Melia Hotels International. Currently, there are only 2-3 palapas at the eastern end of its beach which are reserved for naturist guests. Since 2014, there is a sign to clearly identify this small clothing optional area. From there naturists also have access to a long stretch of virgin beaches until reaching the naturist beach section of hotel Sol Cayo Santa Maria, about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) further East.
If you prefer to experience naturism in private somewhere on the virgin beach (within the 1.5 km stretch between the two hotels), then plan to bring a sun umbrella (or any other type of shelter) because there’s no natural shade in Cayo Santa Maria, and you won’t have access to any services (like chairs, bars or restaurants).
The hotel's Clothing Optional areas are frequented predominantly by naturists, but also by topless women, mixed couples (nudist and textile), but also by a few people wearing bathing suits. Although the coexistence between naturists and non-naturists is usually peaceful and respectful, it’s more courteous to leave the area to naturists given the limited number of palapas and loungers, and the very limited space reserved for naturism on the entire island of Cayo Santa Maria.
It’s also important to note that nudity is not mandatory, non-naturists who want to walk along the clothing optional beach do not have to remove their clothes! It is normal to be intrigued by the presence of a nudist beach, the curious (perhaps future naturists!) are welcome, but voyeurs are not, and those taking pictures even less! Please be respectful.
If you are staying in other hotels of Cayo Santa Maria and want to know how to get to the clothing optional beach, click HERE to see an aerial view image with a distance scale. BUT, don’t forget that guests from other hotels cannot use the services (loungers, palapas, bars, restaurant, etc.) of hotels Sol Cayo Santa Maria and Melia Buenavista, but the beach itself is public (as all beaches in Cuba are).
Please read: The Naturism Etiquette in Cuba.
Don't hesitate to contact us about the latest developements on naturism in Cayo Santa Maria. We'll be pleased to update this website with the most recent information.
And to learn more about the hotels, beaches, excursions, sights and activities, visit our general website dedicated to Cayo Santa Maria, online since 2002 : http://www.cayosantamaria.info/
Normand & Lily
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