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
Great food, great setup, live DJ, affordable prices (compared to other places in the hotel zone of Tulum). Service is good, although didn't really see a smile on our waiter's face at the beach.
Would recommend 100% if in Tulum!!
Ricardo works at the front desk and made my stay unbelievable. We were there for a bachlorette party, and he was able to give us everything and MORE. Without his professionalism and hospitality I don't think we could have had the most memorable experience that we did. HE MADE THE HOTEL. He single-handedly serviced all our wants and made our dreams come true. I will come back again because of Ricardo. He is the KING!
we were there for three nights a room was given to us almost on the beach facing the ocean with a good reasonable terrace.
room was small but very clean and had tulle net covered over the bed avoids insects disturbs us.
we had our lunch on the beach and has evening drinks on the terrace bar .
unfortunately sea was so waved not calm maybe because of the season.One night we were at a Les Brains cabaret show had dinner
while watching, one night we were at Azulik
very next to our resort it was really good enjoyed on the terrace drinking our margarita cocktails and has some snacks it has to be seen if you are at Tulum
This is a tricky review to write because in my opinion, PPP has aspects to it that are amazing, and aspects that are poor. Understanding how it all hangs together is the key to having a good time there, but the staff don’t understand that themselves, so there’s no way you will as a new guest. A couple of years ago, we were staying elsewhere, but spent the day at PPP (on a tip from a friend that lives locally). We agreed to spend a minimum on food and drink in exchange for using one of their beach cabanas for the day. We enjoyed that experience a lot, and I recommend it. So this year, we decided to stay there for 3 days. We didn't really enjoy our stay. We checked in on a Saturday, having got up at 4am to catch our flight. When we checked in, we were told there was "a party" onsite that night, to which we responded "oh great, we love parties" and that was the extent of the discussion. We could see lights being strung up etc. and so invited our two friends to come over from another location for dinner and to enjoy "the party". They joined us for dinner at PPP. The meal was very underwhelming for the price, and the staff seemed less than bothered (hindsight: this was because they were getting ready for the party). I ordered a vegan Pad Thai, which was laughably poor and mean-sized for a $16 entree. We spent about $100 a head, and were embarrassed that we had invited our friends over for that quality of meal at that price. Learning: lunch/snacks at PPP are good, dinner not so much. So we tried to make the most of it, and sat down on one of the outside tables to enjoy our drinks. While we were drinking them (and bear in mind we did have our guest wristbands on), a guy walked over and slapped a large "reserved" sign on the table. No explanation, he just dumped it on the table and walked off. "OK" we thought, maybe we just get another drink and find somewhere else. So we go to the bar and the barman says "I can't serve you anymore, we have a private party here tonight". We explained that we were guests... no dice, he won't serve us. So we sent our friends home (we felt awful about that) and head to bed. Fair enough we think... we're tired, tomorrow's another day and we can get some rest after our long day. We get to bed, and the music starts. To say it was loud is an understatement. Not only was the main beach area crowded with (non-guest) revelers (hundreds of people) but there was a separate open air nightclub event going on right behind our room. Even wearing good earplugs (which we did), there's no way you could sleep through that. So I go to the front desk and explain what's going on, and I'm told this is a "pop up cabaret", that it will be gone in a couple of weeks (irrelevant in the circumstances), and that there's no other room they can offer us, so we'll have to put up with it. I go back at midnight, same deal and eventually the music stops at 1am. The front desk implied that the "pop up" was out of their control, but I later learned that this is also a PPP event and that the "parties" go on on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Learning: if you want to enjoy the chill vibe, don't go on these days. Or at least, don't check in on these days after a long day of traveling. Also, there is a “private area” at the party for guests (allegedly) but no-one ever explained this to us. The next day we get up, and go to sit on a sun lounger. The staff tell us that if we are guests, we should sign up the day before and they will reserve us an area for the next day. But for now, the beach areas are all booked. Wouldn’t you think they would tell you that on check in? We had to haggle to get an area (which to be fair, they did) and spent all day trying to get our room moved further from the event. We offered to just check out, no harm no foul, and were told that we couldn't, and that "the last people that did that didn't get a refund for their whole stay". So clearly this was a well known issue, as borne out by other reviews. The managerial staff were charming, but openly told us they did not have the autonomy to do anything with a cost impact without checking in with their superiors, who were not onsite. After a day spent miserably going back and forth with the desk staff, who were going back and forth with their managers over the phone, we eventually were relocated away from the party at about 5pm. By that point, half our time at PPP was gone, and it was hard to get back in the groove. Overall pluses: amazing location, great lunch, snacks and drinks. Negatives: lack of clarity over how the place works and jarring/confusing mismatch between the chill jungle vibe and the weekend parties. Guests happiness is not the priority at the weekend, the parties and the revenue from outside party goers are. If you want to leave PPP, it’s a couple of miles into town and not a pleasant walk, so if you just want a morning coffee you have to pay restaurant prices for it, and run the gamut of the main restaurant area. We rated this an "A" for concept and a "D" for execution.
Me and my husband spent a few days in Papaya. The food wasn't the best and still quite expensive although we were well taken care off by the hostess, Guadalupe who also gave us excellent suggestions of what to do and see in the area.
Tulum was one of the highlights of or trip, thank you! We love you Guada!