The massive upscale naturist resort known as Caliente got its start by the current owner of the RiverBoat Nudist Resort, Richard LaRiviere, or Hyker as he is commonly known.
Hyker bought about 111 acres off U.S. 41 in Land O' Lakes between 1985 and 1987. On April 26, 1987, the naturist club Joie de Vivre, or "Joy of Life" Club, was born. More than 250 guests were there to open the Blackberry Lakes property, which offered the use of three lakes.
Joie de Vivre Club included all the property of a future Caliente. Developing the property proved to be very expensive. Many methods were tried to raise the capital for building the resort, including making the budding naturist business the first to be traded publically.
A master plan was drawn up on Aug. 5, 1987, which showed the location of the roads and the sections of land use for the entire 111 acre property. In 1989, Robert Pinson purchased the property. The entrance road location was moved from U.S. 41 to Caliente Boulevard. The Casita Clubhouse was completed and RVs began to move in.
At about this time, Paradise Lakes Resort manager Chuck Foster broke away from Paradise and began planning the Caliente facility. There have been 12 general managers and among them are Tom Landers, Steve Dorsey and Hal Hawley. Ernie Duboise showed everyone around for years and Deb Bowen became Caliente's marketing director.
Foster and Pinson and others struggled for years to rustle up financing, finally finding a savior in Lutz health products millionaire Carl Anderson.
All through the 1990s, construction was under way in starts and stops, but by early 2002 work had begun on the 33,000-square-foot clubhouse. The massive two-story clubhouse includes a nightclub, a fine dining restaurant, a piano bar and a sports bar. Grand staircases lead to the balcony, which overlooks an 8,400 square foot lagoon pool, complete with a waterfall and islands. The first floor of the clubhouse contains a spa, exercise areas, boutique stores and an exit to the main pool area.
The resort opened in 1996 for the Casita area and had the grand opening of the Caliente Clubhouse in 2004. Caliente has many amenities which include: a 40-room hotel, three swimming pools, 50-acre lake, two whirlpool/spas, two water volleyball pools, an exercise center, tennis pavilion with six tennis courts, volleyball, shuffleboard, horseshoes, pétanque, fishing , table tennis, nature trails, recreation hall, canoes, paddle boats, laundromat and picnic tables.
Caliente also has large single family homes and various-sized condos with a large population.
If you would like to know more about Pasco County naturist activities, visit www.NaturistCapitalUSA.org.