Open-minded travelers considering their first naked vacation and seasoned nudists alike rave about the Au Naturel Island at Couples Tower Isle (CTI) in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The officially named Sapphire Island, also referred to as Tower Isle, the “Nude Island”, the “Au Naturel Island ” or simply “the Island”, is only a one-minute boat ride from the pier on CTI’s main beach. The resort operates a shuttle that runs most of the day so it is easy to hop back and forth between the island and the main resort grounds to grab something from your room or get some lunch.
First-timers visiting CTI often have a lot of questions about the island, so we here at Naked Caribbean made this guide to the Au Naturel island for all the newbies. Repeaters (the term used for repeat guests at Couples Resorts), please let us know if we missed anything.
First, here are the basic facts about the island at CTI:
- The resort gets its name from this small island which is only about 400 ft from the mainland pier and features a small stone tower that was built as an attraction in/around 1947.
- The island is officially nude/Au Naturel from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM. It is open for guests to explore with their clothes on from 8:30 until 9:00 AM. In the evenings, guests can reserve a limited number of private dinners on the island, where clothing is required. The Au Naturel hours will end early at 4:00 PM instead of 5:00 PM if a wedding is scheduled on the island that day.
- Red Flag Days: If the water in the sea is too rough, the resort will close the island. Look for the flag at the end of the pier. If it’s red, the island is closed until conditions change.
- The island has a relatively small wading pool with a fully stocked swim-up bar that opens at 10 am each day. There are barstools at the swim-up bar, benches around the interior of the pool, and four cocktail tables in the pool to enjoy conversation and your beverage of choice while staying cool.
- Concrete walkways and wooden decks span the length of the island which includes five small pavilions to offer shaded lounging options. Guests can choose from the many lounge chairs surrounding the pool, under one of the pavilions, or they can select chairs on one of the sundecks toward the far end of the island that offer a little more seclusion. Chairs and pavilions are all first-come-first-serve.
- Guests can climb the stairs in the tower for an amazing view of the resort on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. More adventurous couples may even enjoy a little, ahem, tower time — though this is not something all guests or the resort would approve of (confused? Ask a repeater).
- The island does have a small beach area on either side of the dock, but it is quite small and most people stay up on the sun decks and in the pool.
- There are stairs on one side of the island that lead to a small ladder entering the Caribbean waters. The water in the area around the ladder is shallow enough for most people to walk around but water shoes are recommended. Guests will also snorkel around the island.
Does Au Naturel mean that Clothing is optional on the island?
No. Au Naturel, in this case, means that clothes are not allowed. Between the hours of 9 am-5 pm, if you are on the island, you have to be naked. This is to prevent gawkers from coming to the island and helps promote a comfortable atmosphere.
Can I be topless and keep my bathing suit bottoms on or do I have to drop those too?
Both tops and bottoms must come off when on the island. Topless sunbathing is allowed at the end of the pier by the main beach.
What is the atmosphere really like? Is everyone just awkwardly gawking at each other?
Expect an incredibly relaxed, judgment-free, kind, and welcoming group of people. It may be surprising that this can be predicted since the couples and groups of guests at any given time are always changing, but somehow this is the atmosphere that prevails. If you and your partner prefer to keep to yourselves you can do that. If you prefer to socialize, the pool is where it’s at. The bartender will usually play music and another staff member may come by to lead people in the pool to a game of trivia.
First-timers are often surprised at how quickly they feel comfortable being naked around other people. It feels normal to most people after just a couple of minutes. People interact like they would at any other resort pool but there is often an added feeling of friendship and camaraderie that comes with letting your guard down on the island.
What is the exact “getting naked” protocol?
First-timers, especially those a little anxious about trying out the island, are often unsure about when to actually shed their clothes — do you get naked on the shuttle on the way over? No. Do you get naked on the dock as soon as you get off the shuttle? No. Do you get naked before finding a spot and choosing chairs? No. Before getting a drink? Usually.
The main takeaway regarding when to get naked is that nobody is timing you. Frankly, nobody will be paying much attention to you. This is a fairly relaxed process. Take your time getting off the shuttle, choosing a couple of chairs, and arranging your towels and belongings. Then get naked.
However, if a considerable amount of time goes by and it is obvious that you are hanging out with no intention of shedding your clothes, a resort employee may kindly remind you of the rules. But otherwise, be comfortable knowing that the process is reasonable and relaxed, so take your time to find a spot and don’t feel rushed to take off your clothes.
Is there anywhere private on the island that I can “warm up” to being naked around other people?
This will depend on how busy the resort is and what time of day you go to the island, but if you go early enough on a day when there aren’t a lot of people on the island, you can exit the shuttle boat, walk up the dock to the sun decks and then take a right to go past the tower instead of left to go toward the pool. You’ll find a couple of more secluded spots with lounge chairs this way — to the right, past the tower — where you can get comfortable in your birthday suit before going to the bar or the pool.
Can I visit the island alone, if my partner isn’t interested?
Couples website says that the Au Naturel Island is “for couples only, ie. not to be used by individual guests whose partner is unwilling or unable to participate.” However, in our experience, this rule is somewhat flexible. For example, I stayed on the island while my partner left to get us some lunch.
Is everyone who visits the island physically fit? What kind of bodies will I see naked on the island?
People with bodies of all shapes and sizes enjoy the island.
Is the au natural island private or will people who are not on the island be able to see me naked?
The island is quite private. It is more than 400 feet from the mainland resort and most of the sunbathing decks are on the outer side of the island facing the open sea rather than the resort. The occasional ski boat, glass-bottom tour boat, or snorkeler may pass by but this is rarely if ever intrusive.
Are the resort staff naked on the island?
No, the bartender, shuttle driver, and any stuff coming and going will be fully clothed at all times.
My partner wants to go to the island, but I’m not sure. Should I try it?
Only you can decide for yourself, but most people that try the island LOVE the island. Many people who wait until the final day of their trip to venture over wish they had tried it sooner.
I want to go to the island but my partner is not sure; how can I convince them?
First, share this article with them so that any questions they have but may be afraid to ask can be answered. If there are still unanswered questions, join one of the many Couples Resorts Facebook groups and ask your questions there. Discuss their concerns with them. However, nobody should be pressured into it. Respect your partner’s decision whether to visit the island or not. If they decide not to try it this time, you still have the rest of the beautiful resort to enjoy.
Is photography allowed on the island?
Technically no, but it has become customary for visiting couples to have a photo taken of them holding up a pool float covering their private parts or various other creative poses that obstruct the camera’s view. Just be respectful of other guests and make sure they are not accidentally in the photo.
Do they serve food on the island?
Yes, the resort typically serves lunch on the island.
What are some other tips?
It should go without saying but… bring plenty of sunscreen and use it everywhere!
If you’re interested in more tips for your first time at a nude beach or pool, check out our article, What to Expect Your First Time On A Nude Beach.