Expectations vs. Reality: Nude beaches in Cabo de Gata, Spain

Cabo de Gata. Maybe you have heard of it, but it’s probably not the first beach that comes to mind when people mention the south of Spain. It’s a strange volcanic beach complete with a dormant volcano,windmill, and other-worldly shrubbery.

The beach is a bit of a hilly hike from the middle of town and most hotels. The water is not potable, but that wasn’t an issue. Cabo de Gata is a more natural beach area not brimming with tourists. In a way it makes you feel like a local, so you do what locals do and lay on the beach naked and swim in the Mediterranean Sea.

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A dormant volcano I climbed and nearly fell off of.

Expectation: The whole view on the nude beach will be a great one.

Reality: A nude beach is not filled with a bunch of model-esque people. People with all different body sizes and shapes are on the beach. There are grandmas and grandpas and little naked children running around.

Expectation: Going to a nude beach will be so freeing.

Reality: Americans can be uptight about certain things. Europeans are more comfortable with their bodies and being naked in “public”. Nude beaches are not as prevalent in the US as they are in Europe, so it’s a learning curve. Even if you approach the beach expecting to derobe, there might be some hesitation.

Expectation: Everyone will be looking at me and judging my body.

Reality: No one cares. They may be looking it, but it will be a passing glance. Everyone just wants to be comfortable and have a relaxing time at the beach.

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Expectation: I can tan without getting tan lines!

Reality: You can also get a sunburn in a place that you never want to be burned.

Expectation: I would feel uncomfortable being naked in front of so many people. What if something happens to me?

Reality: Generally speaking, my nude beach experience was safe. No one made comments about another’s body and no one approached anyone in our group. People keep to themselves. Just because a beach is a nude one doesn’t mean people are looking to have sex. It’s more about being natural and comfortable in your skin.

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Expectation: Everyone is nude so I have to be nude too.

Reality: On these beaches, clothing is optional. That means you can strip down if you want to, or if you feel uncomfortable stay fully clothed (and everything in between). There is no social pressure to be naked.

Expectation: I have to diet and workout before I go to the beach.

Reality: As mentioned before, people with all different body types are on the beach naked. Embrace your body with confidence and see if it’s something you want to try. Be free or be guarded. The choice is yours.

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