Turning off Tulum Beach’s main road, I entered through a wood and stained glass archway and became acutely aware that I would be spending the next couple of nights surrounded by beautiful, lush jungle. I also quickly came to realize that, though Papaya Playa Project is housed amongst the trees and constructed almost entirely from distressed wood & straw, I would definitely not be roughing it.
In fact, I would be spending the next few nights enjoying what Papaya Playa Project describes as “barefoot luxury.”
Papaya Playa is casual and relaxed in its rustic simplicity, yet it is luxurious and chic in its opulent accommodations and thoughtful details.
All of Papaya Playa Project‘s casitas are sprawled throughout the jungle, connected by dirt pathways and small wooden bridges. The main bars and restaurants are contained in one single area and are perched on a small hilltop overlooking the beach.
And the beach area … Well, it’s beautiful.
The Caribbean Sea is highly regarded worldwide as one of the most gorgeous bodies of water. And it’s easy to see why – the turquoise sea matches the sky perfectly and the waters are crystal clear.
At Papaya Playa Project, it’s easy to spend the majority of your day relaxing on the white-sand beach, swimming out into the perfectly warm waters and enjoying delicious ceviche & margaritas under the shade of your own personal palapa. And luckily, you’re not obligated to do much else 😉
We had originally booked a Jungle Casita, but Papaya Playa Project surprised me with the most incredible room upgrade.
After checking in, we followed our botones ( bellhop ) to our Private Beach Casita, expecting a much smaller and less extravagent room than what our key unlocked for us.
The casita was beautiful – complete with high arched ceilings, a sprawling bathroom and ample closet space.
The bathroom was open with the rest of the room and designed with thoughtful details like a wooden towel ladder, woven light fixtures, a colorful wool rug and a recessed shelf for bath products.
And issues with privacy? None at all. I was traveling with a girl friend and, while one was showering, the other went out to our private porch facing the ocean to read a book. Not a bad life 🙂
Walking out of our room to the private patio outfitted with two comfortable lounge chairs, there was a stairway. Having not actually booked this specific room, neither one of us knew what to expect at the top.
We climbed the white stucco stairs, running our hands along the straw palapa roof and anxiously looking ahead. At the top, we stood in legitimate silence with eyes wide.
We had our own private rooftop pool and a view across miles & miles of jungle treetops.
When we weren’t out exploring Tulum and devouring the local cuisine, we enjoyed breakfast and lunch at Papaya Playa Project.
First things first, the physical menu itself is incredibly reflective of the “boho chic” vibe at Papaya Playa. The pages are attached simply onto a distressed piece of thin wood, but the menu items are vast and thoughtfully crafted. Better yet, all ingredients are sourced seasonally from the local organic market.
We enjoyed our breakfast in one of Papaya Playa’s open-air dining areas, overlooking the white-sand beach and beautiful Caribbean Sea. The fruit plate, scrambled eggs and fresh juice were the perfect way to start the day.
For lunch, I recommend ordering on the beach from one of Papaya’s waitstaff. Opt for the fresh mango juice and the deliciously spicy shrimp & halibut ceviche. Lay back and listen to the waves. Enter heaven …
As if there weren’t enough to explore in Tulum and in the Riviera Maya, Papaya Playa offers no shortage of day & night activities.
Every morning at Papaya Playa Project, enjoy complimentary yoga right on the beach.
During the day, you can choose to explore cenotes, the Coba ruins or Chichen Itza with Papaya’s tour center ( or a local Tulum one ). You can also enjoy water sports and kite boarding.
And at night, you are in the perfect place.
Papaya Playa Project has a double-decker bar and sprawling beach area that are host to weekend beach parties with music from local DJ’s. Book your stay over a Full Moon and attend Papaya’s famous Full Moon Party. I was lucky to go one of these during my stay and it was an awesome experience. People come from all over Tulum to drink and dance in the ( full ) moon light.
Have you stayed at Papaya Playa Project and enjoyed a similarly fantastic experience? Stayed at a similar hotel?
( Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary room upgrade by Papaya Playa Project, but as always, all opinions are my own. )
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