Chile’s nude beach opens its sands for the 2011-2012 summer

The naked beach is celebrating the lengthening days and warmer skies with guided tours of Playa Luna, considered a gem in its own right as a bird sanctuary.

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The naked beach is celebrating the lengthening days and warmer skies with guided tours of Playa Luna, considered a gem in its own right as a bird sanctuary.

November 7 marked the beginning of the season at Chile’s first and only nude beach, Playa Luna, tucked into the central coast north of Valparaíso.

The beach opened its shores for the 2011-2012 summer season with an educational talk about the benefits of nudism and a guided tour of the shoreline, which was declared a “biodiversity hotspot” for its wealth of seabirds.

Playa Luna waits at the end of a 90-minute drive from the capital city of Santiago through the Maipo Valley – one of central Chile’s most beautiful. Enclosed in a protected nook of the central coastline, the beach is reached from the cove of Horcón by a 20-minute walk along the shore through forests and boulders.

The beach opened in 2000 to a lukewarm reaction from its neighbors. Today, it enjoys wider popularity, and Agrupación Naturista – the nudist organization that manages the beach – expects a 20 percent increase in visitor numbers, up from the 12,000 nudists last year.

The quarter-mile beach is Chile’s only eco-nudist beach where nudism is practiced in “an organized, social and permitted way.”

Why get naked?

“Nudism is good for your mental health,” René Rojas, head of the Agrupación Naturista.

“It’s not just about taking your clothes off, but also taking off your prejudices, your shame, and opening your mind. Whoever decides to experience this has already figured out a few things.”

Things to keep in mind

The sun. It’s obvious, but you’d be surprised by how much skin gets exposed when sunbathing in the nude. Be prepared to slather on the sunscreen every two hours or so, or maybe bend the rules a little and wear a wide-brimmed hat.

The cold. The moody Chilean skies keep the wine valleys fertile and the hills green, but they also tend to ruin many a day at the beach. In your excitement to take it all off, don’t forget to plan for the afternoon seabreeze when you’ll be wanting to put it all back on again.

Also, consider packing a picnic. Playa Luna offers some shaded spots and a few amenities, but if you’re looking for a juicy sandwich or a cold beer to brighten your day at the beach, you won’t want to cover up again and make the trip back to Horcón – much better to bring your own in a cooler or a backpack.