Papaya Playa Project
What We Love
- Close to downtown Tulum, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the seafront ruins
- Live DJ sets at the Beach Club and the monthly full-moon parties
- Locally-sourced Mayan and Mexican food at Papaya Restaurant
- READ MORE: 72 Hours in Tulum
What To Know
- Free WiFi is available at the front desk and at the restaurant, though it’s spotty at best
- You’re practically in the jungle in a beachfront cabana, so expect to get friendly with the local flora and fauna
- This is an eco-resort, so electricity and water are scarce. Bring the provided flashlight for walking through the grounds at night
- Eco friendly
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Papaya Playa offers new turf for going native in Tulum. Two hours south of the sprawling mega resorts in Cancún, low-key Tulum is the antithesis of its all-inclusive-loving cousin; it has become a haven for eco-conscious travelers and behind-the-scenes fashionistas with a taste for fresh ceviche, a heart for permaculture and a body for Downward Facing Dog. Papaya Playa is about 30 steps to Tulum’s gleaming 3,000-foot-long white sand beach, and serves as a jumping-off point for Tulum’s best sights, either by bike or car.
Bed and Bath
Papaya Playa encompasses 13 acres of jungle warmed by the Caribbean sun and cooled by the ocean breeze. The resort’s 80 cabanas are sprawled along the property’s 800-meter beach, all on the sea. A natural rocky ledge raises the oceanfront cabanas from the sand, offering in dramatic views of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. The beachfront faces directly east allowing incredible views of sunrise each morning and gentle breezes of an evening. Like most of the region’s eco-resorts, Papaya Playa has no-frills accommodation with limited resources, but you won’t miss the modern comforts here, especially when natural breezes substitute for air conditioning, torchlight complements the pathway nightlights, and a local wildlife choir relieves even the faithful iPod from duty.
In the breezy, multipurpose Papaya Club de Playa Beach Club and Restaurant, guests and locals mingle over international fare paired with cold beers and resident DJs. Once every full moon, house DJs and improv artists settle in for an all-night party.
In the Area
Some of the best undeveloped beaches in the region stretch south from Papaya Playa for about 30 miles into the pristine Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Rent a kayak or boat to explore the most remote corners of the coastline. Or head to the area’s mystical cenotes (underground limestone caverns), today used as unique swimming holes. The cliffside Mayan ruins just north of Tulum are gorgeous, but it’s also worth a daytrip inland to other famous ruins, including Chichén Itzá and Cobá. And no trip to Tulum is complete without ceviche at sunset: Follow the sandy roads three miles in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve for fresh ceviche, ziklipak (roasted pumpkin seeds) and sundowners from the kitchen at CESiaK, where the views of the Caribbean to the east and the sunset over the lagoon in the west steal the show.
How to Get There
We spent 7 nights at PPP and were pretty disappointed in the overall service and friendliness of the staff.
Upon check in we were greeted warmly but from then on we were mostly left to our own devices.
The restaurant is very expensive and the food less tasty and less quality than places a quarter of the price just down the road.
Our accommodation (and oceanfront cabana) was pretty much what we expected, although really dark. A shame really if you just wanted some quiet time in your room. Nowhere to put our bags but on the floor and nowhere to sit except for the bed. Otherwise it was quite comfortable I guess.
Got woken up at 8.30am one morning by a housekeeper bashing on the door to get in to clean as the ‘stop/go’ thing on the door had blown over in the wind. Not overly impressed!
The beach is unfortunately covered in seaweed at the moment which is a shame for the guests and wildlife, but that’s hardly the fault of the hotel.
They have some great shelters all along the beach although try being a guest and getting one for the day....they are pretty much reserved from sun up to sun down. I can’t be sure but I suspect these are reserved for people who go to the beach club for the day and pay to rent them. Not overly good for people who have already paid to stay.
The beach service is pretty much non-existent if you’re not in one of these sheltered beach cabanas. Had to get our own drinks on more than one occasion and then the server STILL expected a tip. Pretty rude if you ask me.
Overall the grounds are well maintained, the cabana accommodation was clean and tidy, but due to the prices for food and alcohol and the poor service, I’d strongly suggest travellers find somewhere else to stay.
This place was absolutely amazing, kind people, great service and amazing food. Ardres the waiter was amazing, sweet, understanding f and roght on top of things. Love the place....can’t wait to bro g my girls here!!!! Thanks papaya playa for the great time. See you soon!!!!
We just returned from our first and last visit to the Papaya Play Project. For starters, the PPP beach is covered with seaweed, which in places is nearly a foot deep and extends 25 - 30 feet from shore, making swimming virtually impossible. The decaying seaweed made for an unpleasant smell that was always present in our beachfront casita despite efforts to mask it with the constant burning of copal. We were also charged $50 for more than the price quoted us when the reservation was made though SPG for the first 3 nights and then charged an additional $220 a night that was not explained until checkout when we sought to change rooms. There are some places in the world that are worth $600 a night, which is what we ended up paying for the last 3 nights here. The PPP in Tulum is not one of those places.
About the only redeeming feature of the PPP is the staff in the restaurant and bar, who were uniformly friendly and attentive.
We were in Tulum during one of the busiest periods - NYE. We didnt make a reservation for breakfast or beach club so we were grateful that they were able to accommodate us. Breakfast was delicious, super healthy and fresh. Service was so so but the quality of the food and the ambiance/views made up for it.
Beach club: Again we were happy and grateful that we were able to get beds at the last minute. We had delicious ceviche and drinks. Service was a little slow but we were on vacation and no rush so it didnt matter. We spent a relaxing day lounging and eating, there was music but wasnt too loud just perfect. Will def go back!
Best bartenders in Tulum Hugo & Alan made sure to get us feeling good! Music would’ve been better if they would’ve let @iamdjsouljah play a set..... we’ll be back next trip for sure for another round.