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Travelogue Intermission: Tower Island

Posted on August 4, 2007 by under Travel.    

This intermission from the daily recaps was prompted by Tin’s inquiry about Tower Island. What is Tower Island exactly? Tower Island is a private au naturel beach at Couples Ocho Rios. Vacationers who want the au naturel experience are ferried by boat from the resort pier to the private island. Here is a picture of Tower Island taken from just outside the lobby..

Tower Island

The nice thing about the private island is that it is completely separate from the main beach so people who are bothered by that sort of thing don’t really have to deal with it. Unlike other resorts areas where there are several resorts on the same beach next to one another. You don’t run into the situation of an au naturel or clothing optional beach next to regular ones or worse, family resorts. In some cases I’ve read the only thing that separates the au naturel or clothing optional section from the regular beach is a sign. That can be really awkward. At Tower Island you only run into similar individuals so there is no awkwardness of running into children or non-nudists.

Au naturel or clothing optional: what’s the difference and which is better? Tower Island is au naturel. What this means is that everything comes off. You can’t keep your bottoms on. You can only do that at the pier which the resort has designated as the topless area. Generally, after hanging out for a few minutes if you’ve found a spot and still haven’t disrobed the bar tender will politely ask you to disrobe or leave. Brian said he saw this happen while we were there. I was too busy sleeping to pay attention. He said it took about 20 minutes before someone said something.

Clothing optional is exactly that. You can keep all or some of your clothes on or you can fully disrobe. Not having been to a clothing optional resort, I can base my opinion the experiences of others. General consensus is that au naturel is better because everyone is on equal footing. There isn’t the awkwardness of I’m clothed and you’re not, and vice versa. Bob and Mary, a couple we met at TI on our first day there, shared an experience they had at a clothing optional beach in St. Martin where clothed people and nudists intermingle. Basically, you can’t really be completely comfortable in a nude state because there are clothed people around you. Besides that, the people who were completely nude were made spectacles of and gawked at by the clothed people. The resort can’t really do much about its patrons’ behavior. People will be immature and childish. That’s just the way some people are. However, they can adopt an au naturel policy to keep the clothed gawkers away.

Why bother with the au naturel thing? Well, if you’ve ever been in any kind of tropical climate, you know that it is hot and humid. You just sweat, sweat, sweat. Clothes are restrictive. It is very liberating to sunbathe al fresco. The breeze from the ocean and the mist of the waves are very refreshing on your skin when you are au naturel.. And no tan lines! People probably won’t understand until they’ve actually experienced it for themselves. It is a wonderful feeling.

Besides, this we’ve read in several places that the Tower Island folks are lot friendlier than the folks on the main beach. Brian and I can vouch for this. We really didn’t think there would be much difference in people’s attitudes, but from our experience it is true. The Tower Island folks were more friendly and more mature than the other folks we met. Well, everyone was pretty friendly and cordial but the Tower Islanders were more so and seemed to be a closed knit group. We had dinners together and did activities together and acted more like friends rather than just strangers bumping into one another at different parts of the resort.

Eric and Amy, another couple we met, commented that maybe the difference in attitudes is because the islanders have no hang ups (or maybe fewer hang ups) than the folks on the main beach. That could be so. You have to have the maturity level to deal with being around other nudists. Immature people can’t deal with that.

Brian and I got our share of ribbing from people because of this misconception about about au naturel and swingers. There are swingers that go au naturel but not all au naturel folks are swingers. There are specific resorts for that, like Hedonism (just by the name, it pretty much indicates to you what their demographic target is) et al. Couples and Tower Island isn’t anything like that. Eric calls the people who frequent these other resorts for other purposes “lifestylers” and the atmosphere at Tower Island isn’t like that at all. While there might have been some (I didn’t exactly do a survey on how many people were swingers and how many weren’t), you couldn’t really tell because if they were they just kept it to themselves. It’s not overt like the Hedonism-type resorts.

If you wanted privacy, people just left you alone. No one forced anyone to talk to them. If you wanted to be social you could hop into the pool and chat and drink with other folks. If you wanted to be by yourself, there’s a more private section. You didn’t really have to be around other people unless you chose to be. While I appreciated all the wonderful people we met and we did our share of conversing, for the most part I just read my book or slept in my chair.

There was actually one afternoon that Brian and I fell asleep in the swing at the private side of the island. Everyone else was at the pool. We didn’t really realize we were all alone until Bob and Mary came back to get some stuff or maybe reapply some sunblock. We had a couple of towels hanging on the side of the swing to keep it from getting blown into the ocean but I guess it concealed us from view because when we awoke to Bob and Mary conversing next to the swing, we actually startled them. I guess everyone just forgot all about us and didn’t even realize we were there.

If you ask Brian, he will probably say that Tower Island was the highlight of our trip. On my list it would be the canopy tour first and then Tower Island a close second. I want to visit the other resorts in the Couples family but it will be really hard to pry Brian away from COR because really enjoyed his island time. He actually begged me for a full day on the island after the first afternoon we spent there.

Here are some of our favorite Tower Island slogans (not in any particular order):
* Tower Island – Where there are no real blondes!
* Tower Island – No Cares, No Worries, No Clothes
* Happiness is no tan lines!
* Butt in the sand, drink in the hand!
* It’s hard to be rude when you’re nude!
* Tower Island – Where the cool people hang out!
* No Shirt, No Shoes, No Pants, No Problems
* Tower Island – When you’re there, you’re bare!
* What goes on in Vegas, comes off on Tower Island!
* Nudists – The Other Red Meat
* Free Willy!

Most of these came from the Tower Island Slogans message board thread on the Couples web site. Brian and I found these amusing and funny so I thought I would share.

P.S. This is unrelated but I thought I would share that the zip-line canopy tour videos are available online. These aren’t actually my footage but these are the videos that the tour people included with our photo CD. Here’s a sample:

Another postscript… I know some of you have already browsed through our vacation photos on Flickr but I have been so impressed with the vacation photos of other guests that I have come across on the Couples message board so I thought I would share them. Enjoy!

Marc and Seija – We met them at Couples Ocho Rios (COR). They did a Couples Swept Away and Couples Ocho Rios (CSA/COR) split so they have many wonderful photos from both resorts.

Kent and Dawn – We met them during our stay at COR also. We left before they did, though. It looks like they got some private time on the island because they were able to take some really fun photos. Generally, taking photos/videos is not permitted for the comfort and privacy of the other guests but when you are there by yourselves and/or the other guests don’t mind then the staff really doesn’t care either. I wish Brian and I could have taken more photos on the island. Maybe next time!

Shari and James – They’ve got a very comprehensive collection of photos from visits to Couples Negril (CN), CSA, and COR.

Michael and Vicky – We met Michael and Vicky during our stay. We actually left the resort on the same day. Theirs was an earlier Delta flight but it was delayed so we ran into them at Sangster International Airport (MBJ) also. They are repeaters and this was their second visit to COR.

Randy – Randy has two sets Couples resort photos on Flickr: this one and this one.

Jim – Jim made a beautiful slideshow of their 2006 trip to CSA in his Kodak Gallery.

Cathy and Larry – They have some great photos from their Jamaica trip also.

Jon and Tara – They got married at CSA. You can check out their photos on their Multiply page.

Lando – An amateur photographer who took some great pictures in Jamaica. You can find him on MySpace also.

Terri and Ty – They got married in Jamaica. Beautiful wedding pictures!

Beth – COR wedding photos. She’s a Photoshop whiz so you’ll see some amazing effects and treatments on the pictures.

Jackie – More wedding photos.

Jackie – This is a different Jackie. A consumate resort traveler, there are photos here from all four Couples resorts, Breezes Bahamas, several resorts in Cancun, Secrets Excellences, Grand Lido Braco, Grand Lido Negril, Grand Lido Sans Souci, Sandals Grande St. Lucia, etc.

Jodi – Vow renewal pictures. I hope one day Brian and I can do this. Jodi said the cost is pretty reasonable and the resort takes care of pretty much everything.

Stacia and Jeremy – They were married in CSA. These photos are so beautiful it makes me want to go there.

Mzambo – I’m not sure what their real name is; they go by Tedzam on Webshots. Great collection of photos from two years of vacationing in Jamaica.

RowdyHarv – Great wedding photos from CSA. Additional photos here and here. Their sunset and beach photos are particularly stunning.

Roselynn – Roselynn has a whole web site devoted to Couples resorts and Jamaica in general. It is a wealth of information and an invaluable resource if you plan on taking a trip. Still want more photos? Roselynn also has an extensive list of links to other people’s vacation photos here. Be sure to check them out!

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