Contributor Review – Marta Baptista
Local Expert. Visited 2023
Tambaba Beach offers its visitors a true naturist experience — not only this is a beach where nudism is mandatory, but being a secluded place, it also allows a deep communion with the surrounding environment, creating an experience that goes back to human roots, beyond than just being clothes-free. There are several nude beaches in Brazil, but Tambaba is one of the best and totally world class in every way.
The beach is divided into two distinct areas. Upon arrival, you’ll access the regular beach, where people need to wear swimming attire. This part of the beach has two bars, and being quite small, can be easily crowded. A short walk along the beach will take you to a flight of wooden stairs, with some signs indicating that that is the path that leads to the nudist area of the beach. The two parts are divided by a hill in the middle, which makes a sort of corner into the sea, and the back of both beach areas is covered with dense vegetation, which greatly contributes to the sense of taking a step into an ancient world and carefree world.
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When visiting Tambaba, my group and I were accompanied by a local tour guide, who gave us precious tips on how to best enjoy this beach, and what rules should we follow so everything could go smoothly.
The first, and perhaps most important rule of Tambaba is that groups of men are not allowed to enter — according to our guide, after a few cases of harassment that made some of the visitors uncomfortable, the rule was put in place. There is always one person supervising the entrance to the beach. So, who can visit? Groups of women, independent of their number; male or female couples; pairs of men, who may be requested to provide some signs of intimacy upon arrival (there was a couple of men entering the same time as I did, and they were simply holding hands, though we were told that men couples may be asked to kiss in front of the supervisor).
It is important to stress that coming from a regular beach, you must be wearing your swimming attire when arriving at the naturist side. The supervisor will welcome you and point the place where you can take off your clothes. Normally, they also ask for a small donation for beach maintenance, but this is not mandatory, and you have no problems entering even if you don’t pay.
The second rule that will be explained to you by the supervisor is that you shouldn’t take photos of the beach, to protect the privacy of all the attendants — this probably explains why you won’t find many pictures of the naturist area of Tambaba on the web. You can take selfies or close-up group photos, always making sure that none of the other beachgoers appear in the background.
Because of the aforementioned rules, you’ll notice that there are mostly pairs of men and women enjoying the sun and the sea, as well as the bar (we’ll get there in a minute, with some must-tries!). Tambaba can be considered a small beach, but it’s not crowded at all! On the day we visited, there were no people sitting near us, though we could perfectly see (but not hear!) other beachgoers, some of them enjoying the sun, some walking along the shore and some at the sea. Being a beach that can have waves on a regular basis, there were also lots of surfers who had to be naked, following the rules of the place.
The sand is soft, the water is warm, averaging 28ºC, and you can see some wild birds through the nearby bushes and trees. Take some minutes to truly appreciate one of the few beaches that still feels untouched by mankind and get inspired by nature in all its forms around you.
The beach bar is pretty well integrated with the environment, and don’t let the sort of shabby look mistake you. It’s an all-nudist bar, they accept credit card, and you can’t go away without trying the freshly delicious coconut water! There are also other types of beverages available, like still and sparkling water, juices and beer. If you opt the eat there, you’ll find many of the Brazilian north-east specialties, mainly seafood-based. Ask for the crab soup and try not to come back for more!
Another important note, related to service, is that the vast majority of people in Brazil don’t speak English, so don’t be surprised if the beach supervisor or bar servers talk only in Portuguese — what they may lack in English-speaking abilities, is overcompensated by their friendliness, so with some gestures, pointing (and Google Translate) you’ll be able to make your self understood.
Nearby is located Pousada Villamor, the only naturist accommodation in the area. We didn’t stay there, but our guide told us that all hostel areas are for nudists, with the exception of the restaurant.
If you’re a fan of naturism in its true core, you’ll definitely be a fan of Tambaba. What could at first be perceived as some of its weaknesses, like the lack of infrastructures or the overall untamed look of the beach, are in the end its biggest strengths, offering visitors the unique opportunity the be one with nature and, even if it’s just for a few hours, forget about society and the hectic world outside.
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The closest airport to Tambaba Beach is in João Pessoa (JPA), though this airport only has domestic flights. The airport is located about 40 km from the beach, and the easiest ways to access it are either through Uber, taxi service (which is normally much more expensive), or by renting a car. There are bus options, but they don’t get you to the beach, just to the nearest village.
All the options listed above can also be used from the other 2 closest airports, namely Recife (REC) and Natal (NAT), but the journeys are much longer — 130 km and 230 km respectively.