When I e-mailed a friend who had recently visited Desire Pearl, asking her what I should bring to the resort, she said, “Come with a very open mind.” This wasn’t exactly the advice I was looking for, but in hindsight, it was spot on.
A visit to a clothing-optional resort demands you lose your inhibitions, as well as your swimsuit. Oddly enough, however, after a couple of days, I found the sight of so many nude bodies only slightly more erotic than the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues I used to hide under my bed in high school. The imagination is a potent erotic stimulator, and at Desire Pearl, there is nothing left to imagine.
Some other observations: Despite the fact that the booze was free, it seemed like people drank less here than at conventional Caribbean resorts. Especially the men (for, perhaps, obvious reasons). And there was a much more congenial atmosphere; within 48 hours, I felt I could pretty much greet everyone by their first name. Guests invited me to have a drink in the pool or go for a swim in the ocean, and if they caught me eating alone at dinner, they’d insist I join them. That never happens to me at typical tropical resorts.
In short, everyone seemed really normal — in a good way. So are these people on to something? I don’t know. But I’m open to finding out.
DO: Groom extensively. Head to toe.
DON’T: Come with a “duck.” A duck is a decoy meant to lure other ducks to come in for a landing. People here know the difference between a significant other and a duck.
DO: Check out the theme nights in advance so you’ll know whether to bring your ’70s disco outfit or something from The Arabian Nights — or both.
DON’T: Assume everyone is into the swapping life (they’re called lifers). Lots of couples just like to vacation where they can be naked (they’re called naturists).
DO: Spend the day at the original Desire, in Cancun. Free shuttles run between the two resorts, and there’s no additional cost for food, drinks or scheduled activities at the other Desire.
DON’T: Bring the kids.
DO: Bring a wad of dollar bills for tips. Tipping isn’t necessary, but if you slip a dollar to the pool girl handing out towels, you’ll likely find your special chaise lounge miraculously reserved for you every morning and your favorite cocktails arriving before you even ask for them.
DON’T: Be a Vinny by being overly aggressive. Be a Sam: polite, fun and entertaining.