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Guide to the Naturist Beach

The naturist beach (Playa el Playazo) was established by a decree of the Almerian Provincial Government in April 1979. It is about 2.5 kms in length.

Looking north from about the midpoint of the official naturist beach at Vera PlayaIt is not an exaggeration to say that the Playa el Playazo is just about as good as beaches get. It is in a way a fairly wild beach even now when there is development running its full length and there are fine views of the surrounding mountains (and especially of Mojacar pueblo and the Sierra Cabrera) from the beach. The beach is constantly changing - sometimes dead calm, sometimes almost as rough as an Atlantic beach. The sea is frequently near to flat calm in the early mornings but typically gets choppy during the day as strong sea breezes develop. North end of Vera Playa's official naturist beach (between hotel and ruin)Although the sea is often as calm as you'd expect the Mediterranean to be, not infreqently there can be a long swell on the sea which produces quite large breakers on the beach - sometimes of a size which makes swimming definitely inadvisable or positively dangerous - 3 metre high breaking waves are not unknown even in the summer season and storms with heavy seas are, not surprisingly, more frequent in the autumn and winter months.

Generally the beach is very clean and tidy and in the summer season the Council place litter bins at frequent intervals down the beach and the beach is raked and larger items of litter are mechanically removed every morning. There are a number of lifeguards stationed down the beach (approx. 6 in the length of the naturist beach) throughout the summer season (July till mid September). They use a system of flags to indicate the safety of swimming (green = OK, yellow = caution, red= danger - no swimming). In the summer months buoys are placed to exclude boats from the first 250m or so from the shore for the safety of bathers and swimmers. Sea temperatures in summer are up in the mid to high 20s and even in winter are in the higher teens, so it is possible to swim in the sea all year round providing you are reasonably hardy. Anyone who swims in the sea in the UK in summer will have no problems with the winter sea temperature at Vera Playa and, of course, high summer temperatures are just bliss!

The north end of the official naturist beach at Vera PlayaThe naturist beach runs from a point slightly north of the Vera Playa Club Hotel southwards to a place called the "Camino de los Tres Olivos" (The way of the three olive trees). The beach is a beautiful sandy beach which for the most part is between 60 - 100 metres in depth (though it becomes much narrower at its northern end in the vicinity of the Hotel Vera Playa Club). There is some small shingle in places along the beach, but the extent of this varies greatly depending on tides etc.

The northern end is not difficult to find as the beach comes to a natural end just beyond it where there is an old breakwater and beach cafe building (but note that the official end of the naturist beach is around 40m south of that point, roughly halfway across the little beach between the hotel and the old breakwater).

The southern end is more difficult to identify as the 3 olive trees and the way or lane are now long gone and new textile developments well and truly cover them.

As you go south from the Hotel Vera Playa Club you pass the urbanizacions (residential developments) in the Naturist Zone. The main ones on the beachfront are (going south) - Natura World (not yet open or finished), NATSUN (various phases), Marina Natura (small development), then a road down to the beach with parking area, then the Sol y Luna beach bar and restaurant, then Vera Natura, then another road down to the beach and parking area.
Playa de Baria 1
Playa de Baria 1 - Vera Natura to right
The next development is Playa de Baria 1 (built as naturist, changed to textile whilst being sold!). There is now from this point a block paved promenade which is excellent for walking, running or cycling and which extends down to the end of the naturist beach (and beyond).

After Playa de Baria 1 there is a small lagoon with reeds etc and then you come to the large new textile development Nuevo Vera after which you pass (in the season) Antonio's beach bar and reach Playa de Baria 2.
Promenade at Vera Playa
Promenade at Vera Playa looking south - foreground: lagoon, behind: Nuevo Vera
Please note as you pass these developments that the beach and promenade are still well within the limits of the naturist beach. Many naturists walk along the sea shore as far as here, but naturists tend to be in the minority in terms of people sitting and laying on the beach here. Even naturists walking down as far as here often seem to feel that they may have strayed beyond the official boundary and turn back. Well they haven't and they don't need to - keep going!Playa de Baria 2

After Playa de Baria 2 (large feature sign on wall "Baria 2") there is a restaurant (B2) and a Chiringuito (beach bar) "Barbaria" and after sweeping round these the promenade continues south past the large Vera Garden hotel and apartments complex (hotel not yet finished) - this development has a Moorish style with feature domes (none of the other developments have domes so you can't mistake it - and there are name signs on the gates from the promenade so you can be doubly sure). A cautious judgement of the location of the "Camino de los tres olivos" is that it is about halfway along the apartments section of the Vera Garden complex - so about 2/3rds the way along the stretch of promendade outside the development. Less cautious naturists might well continue their naked walk, run, cycle ride or stay on the beach even as far as the Valle d'Este Beach Club or even further relying on their right, under the Spanish Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights, to be naked in any public place.

Some visitors to Vera Playa seem to expect the naturist beach to be fenced off so no-one except naturists can use it. Well, it's not like that! The reality is that on the beach which is fronted by the naturist urbanizacions, the users are overwhelmingly naturists. But there will be some clothed/swimsuited people - after all there are numerous textile developments in the area, some in the naturist zone itself! And quite a lot of textiles walk north and along the "main" length of naturist beach. There's not much evidence that they are voyeurs - but some might be!

Equally, the further south you go on the naturist beach, the less the percentage of naturists on the beach, but probably more walking (i.e. the complementary activity to that just described). As explained below, some, perhaps many, textiles may think that this southern section of the beacxh is textile and that the naturists on it either don't know this, don't care or are exhibitionists or some sort of naked militants (some could be!). This is certainly not helped by the illegal Council sign at Playa de Baria 2 describing the beach there as "zona textil". But in fact it is "zona naturista" - and there should be signs to say so! But see below for more on this. There's not much evidence that textiles on this southern length of beach (with the possible exception of Brits who generally speaking can't take nudity in the flesh, only in the media) get disturbed, excited, or even notice the naturists amongst them on the beach or those who walk through, though there are undoubtedly some who think that the naturists are transgressing beyond their proper area, because they don't realise that this area is naturist too.

Vera Garden - white wall at south end of development = south end of naturist beach

So why are there no signs? Good question - there was at one time, though fairly scrappy things (which mysteriously disappeared when the textile developments started construction). Then Vera Council thought it would unilaterally redefine the naturist beach as just one kilometre long and erected signs near Playa de Baria 1 (long since destroyed by militant naturists as these signs were illegal - see Beach Protest. Then (in Spring 2005) Vera's Mayor had the bright idea of fining naturists who wandered outside the naturist zone up to 3000€ - but he was forced to drop this crazy idea (a) because it would have been illegal and (b) because there was a mass protest against it. And then he claimed he'd never intended to do it anyway (typical politician). So just now there is sweetness and light and tolerance and no signs. Arguably, of course, there is really no need for signs as, under Spanish and European law, you can be naked either side of the boundary. What does need watching, however, is the antics of Vera's Mayor and his Council which is widely believed to be in bed with the

Council "zona naturista" sign on beach
at Vera Natura/Playa de Baria 1
developers of the massive numbers of apartments built, under construction or planned at or close to Vera Playa and the naturist community at Vera Playa would be wise to keep its eyes peeled for signs of any other ideas which could corral naturists into a smaller area, which is what Vera's Mayor and Council seem to want to do (if they can't get rid of them entirely!).
Observation suggests that a healthy number of the owners and renters of the new textile apartments do use the beach as naturist (and some of the developers do feature the beach in their brochures as a selling point). But of course many textiles don't and it is very important that naturists do use the whole of the official naturist beach and not just the bit close to the naturist hotel and apartment complexes. So try walking, running or cycling and use both the beach and the promenade so everyone knows and can see it is very much a live naturist beach. Lots of people do so, but the more the better - none of us wants to be squeezed off the naturist beach by a weight of textile users (which could conceivably happen in the future when the 30,000 or so apartments which are projected are built and the area's population grows to the estimated figure of 400,000 (Mojacar/Garrucha/Almanzora Valley sub-region) by 2020. So far this hasn't happened (except perhaps in the most southerly 0.5 kms south of Playa de Baria 2, where it is rare now to see naturists).

2 good reasons to have some signs: This website believes there should be signs at the ends of the beach and, just as important, at regular intervals along the beach (There is a Council sign on the beach edge between Vera Natura and Playa de Baria 1 which clearly says "Zona naturista" - there is another one on the beach by Playa de Baria 2 which says "Zona textil" which is incorrect and illegal and leads lots of naturists and textiles to believe this stretch of beach is not naturist).

1. It is evident from the reaction of some textiles on the beach (mainly Brits who are the nationality most obviously and most frequently discomforted by the sight of naked bodies) and, very occasionally, older Spaniards, that they don't realise that the official naturist beach stretches as far as it does. Hardly surprising, given that the Council sign says it isn't naturist and that all the beachfront developments from Playa de Baria 1 southwards to Vera Garden are 100% textile.

2. Many naturists can be seen to turn back on their walks down the naturist beach well before they need to - some as soon as they see anyone clothed, others when they feel they are nearly in a minority of one. Our guess would be that the majority of naturists would feel reassured by the presence of signs which said clearly that the beach is naturist, or at the very minimum that it is a beach where textiles must expect to see naturists.

As the Council clearly won't do anything about erecting correct signs (as well as having erected signs deliberately describing naturist beach as textile, it persists in describing the naturist beach in its tourism literature etc as "1 km"), we believe the Naturist Association for Vera Playa should do so and they should read something like this (in Spanish, English, German & French): "This beach is an official naturist beach established by Decree in 1979. You may expect to see naked people on this beach. It may also be used by people who are not naturists"

What do you think? Let us know - see our homepage for contact details - 22 September 2005.

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