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
- 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
The PPP is way over priced for what you get.
The good: helpful staff, lovely gardens.
The bad: the room was average at best. Not worth $350/night. One ceiling light bulb in the bed area. Weird steps inside, trip hazard. No chair, no place to put two suit cases. Our room flooded 1/2” when the rain blew in under the door. The food was average at best. My cocktail was bad, so was the morning energy drink.
PPP isn’t worth the money, maybe $100/night but only because of the location. Any other place it won’t be $70 tops. We will never stay there again.
Paid the day beach rate (which was credited towards food and beverage bill) and had a great day lounging on the beach beds and being served by friendly and attentive wait staff. The appetizers were absolutely delicious - get the octopus, and great drinks. Completely worth the cost of the pass.
From the moment you enter the front gate you are transported to a luxury tropical world. The staff is amazing and so helpful and accommodating! We arrived a little early, and they let us secure our luggage and enjoy the private beach and restaurant while we waited. I have never eaten a meal with such a beautiful view! The restaurant is set almost stadium seating overlooking the ocean. Not a bad seat to be found. We didn't think things could get better until we checked into our room. Same views from our private hammock and private pool! Our room had a rooftop eagles nest to give an even more expensive view. The pool deck was super private and we kept our floor to ceiling glass doors open almost the entire visit. Talk about an amazing nights sleep on a huge comfortable bed with the sound of the ocean waves crashing throughout the night. I honestly don't know if it gets any better than this place. Papaya Playa is a few blocks down the road from many of the bars and restaurants, however, that adds to the serenity of the stay. If you are unsure about this place, book it and don't look back!