Sneaking into Tambaba
How to sneak into Praia de Tambaba, Brazil's only officially sanctioned nude beach.
I've got this thing about forbidden/restricted/exclusive areas that I'm not allowed in to—I want to see what's inside—taste the forbidden fruit. I pass a velvet rope and it whispers to me: psss—Craig… find out what's behind me. My curiosity often gets the best of me, and I'll attempt to both covertly and overtly gain entry (sneaking in, bribes, social engineering, strong-arming, etc).
I am not a conformist. I do not roll over when told no. Sometimes this attitude gets me in trouble. Sometimes it finds me on the wrong side of the law. It always generates a good story, though.
There are laws, stigmas, or absurdities in this world that need to be challenged—personal victories made—small battles won in a larger war. It's always a success when you try, even if you fail. Praia de Tambaba is an excellent example such things.
You are not allowed to enter the nude beach of Praia de Tambaba unless you are a woman, or accompanied by the presence of woman. No exceptions.
For being such a typical chauvinistic, male, machismo-orientated Latin country, it baffles me that there would be a policy put in place that restricts the male gender in any way. And yet here there is one, impacting me directly.
I travel alone. I want to tan naked. I am not a Brazilian land-shark trying to prey on women, but my being male assumes as much in this country (regardless of my 90-day visa).
My options are to either go elsewhere, hunt for a girl to escort me in, or find a way to circumvent the security. Having done both of the first two, I decided it was finally time to win one for the good guys.
This section of the coast is full of little alcoves with beaches; some are larger than others. Praia de Tambaba is actually two alcoves under the same name. The larger (and southerly) of the two is designated the nudist section.
The cliffs and ridges that actually form the natural walls of the alcoves can be high—some upwards of at least a 100 meters. Some are vertical drops, whereas the majority has some type of aggressive, but gradual, climb to them.
Rusting fences of barbed wire can be seen along the ridges and through the brush in some places, giving the impression that a solid perimeter is in place to keep people out—this is not the case. Paths through the brush exist and the fence has been cut in many places, but you won't need to go though any of that effort to get onto the beach in question (although I explored these options and got plenty of scratches for it).
How To Sneak In
This one actually turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. No stealth or commando type stuff required, just a little bit of extra walking.
I had accompanied a pair of girls onto the beach the day before, taking the opportunity to note possible entry points and potential threats (staff, security, etc). The truth is that aside from some rusted wire and a mellow person "guarding" the wooden stairs into the nudist section, there's nothing stopping you from enjoying the beach along with everyone else.
There's a steep, paved/cobbled road that leads down from the ridge and to coast, terminating in the parking lot for Praia de Tambaba. It is in this visual area that there are the barriers against entry.
So if you can't get in from the north (because of the guard and wire), can't get from the east (ocean) or west (cliff), you go for the beach to the south.
About a hundred meters before the road descends to the parking lot there is a dirt turnoff for another beach: Praia Barra do Graú. This isn't hard to miss, as its big enough to accommodate a car and is accompanied by a sign.
Walk the dirt/grass/weed path, making sure to mind the millipedes on the ground (bites can be very bad, depending on the species). You're walking south, behind and above to the objective below.
Take the 2nd turnoff to the left, another vehicle path. You will descend half way down from the ridge on this trail.
You're still half way up when you're going to run out of road—a precipice that looks out to the vast, empty stretches of beach to the south. Look down. See all that dirt and sand pushed up against the cliff you're on? You've got to jump down (a tiny hop) and descend until you hit the beach.
This is an old trail; many people have made this decent. Look for the curving path that has been trampled into the dune.
You're on the beach, now just a hundred meters south of Praia de Tambaba—strip. It's important that you dump your clothes and sandals in your bag to blend in as you approach.
You've got two or three private little alcoves with sand and rock that you must traverse (easy stuff, if the tide is low) before you reach your objective—you're naked, right?
The nudists get bored on the beach, and there is a worn path over/through the little alcoves. If you're naked, you're just another nudist returning from a quick walk to see the empty beaches to the south. If you want to be naked but don't want to be around people, these little alcoves and the entire beach to the south make for a good alternative that is sure to get a minimal amount of traffic.
That's it. Walk in, setup your gear, and enjoy the nudity. When you're done just leave through the main entrance (no one will care).
Keep in mind though, groups draw attention. There are no guards inside the nudist zone (or anywhere but the main entrance for that matter), but I'd say more than a pair starts to get noticeable.