|Playa Naturista Benalnatura,
Benalmádena, Spain Report
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Playa Naturista Benalnatura, Benalmádena, Spain
May 27, 2001
My wife and I just returned from a great 15-day trip to Spain's Costa del Sol where we stayed in a beachfront hotel in the Playa Bajondillo section of Torremolinos. Torremolinos (literally, windmills tower) is located 12 km from Malaga and has great beaches, restaurants, and shopping; and is also quite overrun with tourists from all over the world. While I did all the tourist things my wife wanted us to do, I still managed to visit two nearby nudist beaches twice each, and alone.
The first nudist beach I visited was Benalnatura in Benalmádena Costa and I was very impressed. When I arrived at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, there were only two nude guys who were standing and talking at the water's edge and a caretaker (an Italian expatriate who is quite a character; more on him later) who was busily getting things ready for visitors. I approached the two nudes and asked whether there was a guest fee. The reply was that all the beaches in Spain were free including the one we were standing on. (I knew that, of course, but I was referring to the property above the beach that I had entered from.) One of the men spoke only Spanish, the other spoke Spanish and a proficient English, and I spoke a somewhat less than proficient Spanish and my native English. Nevertheless, we spent the next half-hour engaged in a lively and far-ranging conversation including a good description of their Naturalist Association of Benalnatura. There we were, three nude guys standing at the water's edge, talking as old friends do, for it seemed that we were indeed old friends from the start.
By 11 a.m., there were about 75 people on the beach, and by noon there were over 100. The ratio of males to females was about 60:40. There were several family groups with toddlers and preteens, singles of both sexes, and numerous couples; but, not a single teenager. There were several obviously gay couples but the only overt sexual activity I noticed was exhibited by a good looking young couple reclining on an inflated air mattress. He must have felt right at home because he insisted on doing things normally better done at home. She eventually led him to the chilly water to cool him off and I led myself to the water for the same reason. I was fast becoming a voyeur. As I usually tend to do, I walked around the beach and talked to various people, both to Spaniards and visitors from the U.K. and U.S. Everyone was very friendly and eager to talk to me. One English couple and I struck such a rapport that I spent the length of two Heinekens talking with them at a little table near the bar. Another semi-English couple (she was an Israeli) told me about another nude beach within walking distance of my hotel. I will describe my experiences at that beach in a subsequent report.
The couple who run the beach bar (chiringuito), and I assumed they also manage the association, were very friendly as well. The bar has a wide range of wine, beer, and mixed drinks but a limited selection of food. I was content with a large ham sandwich and a beer for a quit reasonable cost of 450 pesetas (pts) or about $2.50. The beach has various other facilities in addition to the bar. The barbecues and adjacent tables are for members (socios) only, as is the small storage shed (almacen). The very clean restrooms (WC) are free to everyone. The showers are free to members and available to visitors who deposit a coin to help defray expenses. A large shady picnic table near the WC would seem to be free to anyone.
The association has nearly 1000 members. During my two visits I talked with people from the U.K. and the U.S. who visit only once a year or less but are still members because they want to help out with the expenses of maintaining the beach and facilities. The annual membership cost is only 2000 pts (about $11) per person or 4000 pts per family. They also send out a newsletter at no additional charge.
There are several signs such as "No Bańadores" (no bathing suits), and large letters on the bar saying ONLY NUDES in Spanish and in English. The ban on clothing really can't be enforced on the beach itself since it is free and one must also be clothed entering and leaving the premises. However, I saw only four people wearing clothing on the beach: two women in bikini bottoms and two infants in diapers. The dress code is enforced unequivocally at the bar, however. No one will be served at the bar while wearing any type of clothing, regardless of sex or age. Actually, I saw that rule broken by several obviously long-time members. Also, this rule did not seem to apply to my Tilley hat which I always wear to protect my bald spot and very sensitive nose.
The beach itself is crescent shaped with a large rock cliff at either point of the crescent. The beach lies about halfway between the ancient Torrequebrada (literally, broken tower, one of many such towers built by the Moors for security purposes) to the west, and the modern Torrequebrada Hotel/Casino (which took its name from the tower) to the east. If you stand on the rocks extending out from the beach you can easily see either landmark. The rock cliff on the east provides shade in the morning and the rock cliff on the west provides afternoon shade. You can place beach towels on the sand right next to the west cliff but not so easily along the east cliff. Most of the members bring their own beach umbrellas.
I hope to be able to visit this beach again because I fell in love with it. It is a cozy, almost idyllic, family oriented naturist location; but, alas, one with a somewhat cloudy future. If you visit their website (www.arrakis.es/~benalnat/) you will see pictures of the cozy little beach I have described. Note the large area for parking above the beach. They even had an attendant (vigilante) who would watch your car for a fee. This website was last updated in 1998. That was then, and this is now, and things have really changed. That large area above the beach is now a cluster of ugly yellow apartment buildings completely spanning the cliffside above the beach. They are ugly to me because they have blighted what was a really a great location. The apartment complex is called "Residental Costa Quebrada." The first phase on the west has been completed and is partially occupied; the remaining buildings to the east are in various stages of construction. The original entrance to the beach is all but hidden between two buildings. There is a promenade (paseo) along the entire cliffside from east to west which, while it also now serves as additional access to the beach below, will allow the apartment dwellers (cliff dwellers?) to stroll along and view the blue Mediterranean in front of them and the brown (tanned) nudists directly below. How long can the cliff dwellers and the nudists coexist peacefully? The beach is officially sanctioned as a nudist beach and the association has a 5-year lease on the adjacent property. The managers told me that they are very optimistic about the future and that the developers have promised such changes as tree plantings where necessary to block the view of the beach. They would have to be very tall trees.
On my second visit, nine days later, the original entrance was blocked off as they were making new concrete steps down to the nude beach (great!) but I had to walk to the far west end of the paseo to gain access. There were far fewer visitors that day but a larger percentage of couples and families. All along the paseo there were construction workers gawking at the nudes below. Later, there were six or more workers clustered directly above a beautiful young lady with a spectacular figure who was lying on a small patch of grass near the bar, reading and enhancing her seamless mahogany tan under a very hot sun. She is as close to being a perfect "10" now as Bo Derek ever was (IMHO). She is also obviously a member, or a very special guest, judging by how affectionately she was treated by the management and regulars around the bar. The workers above her would eventually go back to work but return frequently to get yet another look. Throughout the day, no one (except for me) paid any attention to the workers gawking from above. I reluctantly left about 5 p.m. when the clouds moved in and the wind turned cold; exactly the same circumstances ending my first visit.
Benalnatura is located exactly 8 km from Torremolinos. It is either a 1700 pts ($9.50) taxi ride or a 135 pts ($0.75) bus ride. I did both. I took a cab first because I wasn't completely sure of the location but took the bus all other times to and from Torremolinos. The bus to take from Torremolinos (or points east or west) is the #10 and specify your destination as "Torrequebrada." The #1 bus also goes to Benalmádena Costa but terminates two bus stops before the nude beach (leaving at least a 1 1/2-km walk). Any walk along N-340, whether from the #1 or # 10 bus, is a dangerous walk because there are no sidewalks. By car, take the Nueva Torrequebrada exit off N-340 and park on the side road alongside the cluster of ugly yellow apartment buildings, if possible. The side road is currently blocked on the east end by construction equipment and materials. I have no idea if parking will be permitted there in the future or if residents will object to the numerous nudists parking in front of their homes.
Now back to the Italian expatriate caretaker. After ordering a Heineken, I removed my Tilley hat to take some money out of the secret pocket. The lady who runs the bar (a Danish lady) doubled over with laughter and tried to tell me something first in Spanish and then in English. I agreed in both languages that, yes, I do keep my money in my hat. In frustration she turned to the Italian, who translated: "You gotta mooney ina you head." "Yes," I replied, "I keep my money in my hat." No, No, ona you head." Sure enough, I had a 100 pts coin stuck to my forehead.
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