Checking in: Papaya Playa Project in Tulum

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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.”

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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.

Papaya Playa Project
Papaya Playa Project

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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.

Papaya Playa Project

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 😉

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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.

Papaya Playa Project

( taken after I had unleashed the chaos that is my luggage, clearly )

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 🙂

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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.

Papaya Playa Project

We had our own private rooftop pool and a view across miles & miles of jungle treetops.

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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.

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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 …

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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.

Papaya Playa Project

Have you stayed at Papaya Playa Project and enjoyed a similarly fantastic experience? Stayed at a similar hotel?


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( Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary room upgrade by Papaya Playa Project, but as always, all opinions are my own. )

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Experience "barefoot luxury" at Papaya Playa Project in Tulum!


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  1. Skye Sherman says:

    Um, wow! This place looks like a tropical dream destination! I’ll have to add it to my list…gorgeous!

  2. Nick says:

    No way!!! That rooftop pool is like HEAVEN <33

  3. Eliane says:

    WOW! this is the only thing that comes to my mind after reading this and viewing the pictures, I will definitely add it to my list of places I want to visit. Thank you! 🙂

    • Christina says:

      I’m so glad you are just as in awe of this place as I was! You definitely need to add Tulum & Papaya Playa Project to your list 🙂 Thanks for reading, Eliane!

  4. Karyl says:

    I absolutely LOVE Playa and Tulum! My friends are actually in Tulum as we speak, and I am super jealous. We had a private rooftop in Playa last time…no private pool, but no less stunning. I love how rustic, but still spacious, the accommodations were. Glad you had such a wonderful time!

  5. Wow this place looks awesome! Adding this to my list of places to visit 🙂

  6. Andrea says:

    This looks amazing. I’ve always wanted to go to Mexico and this is definitely giving me “I need to be there” type of vibes

  7. Anisa says:

    That looks like such a cute place. I went to Tulum on a cruise so I know the beaches there are so beautiful. This would be a great place to stay and explore the area more.

  8. Bianca says:

    These photos are giving me MAJOR wanderlust…but a big move across the country in 2 months means that I will have to live vicariously through you!

  9. Liana says:

    This place and this resort looks like a dream tropical destination, and one thing I’m pretty sure of is I want to visit Tulum and enjoy such an experience as soon as possible! I’ve never though something as good and peaceful as this place existed! I know where to go now!

  10. Christine says:

    Love your photos!!! I can’t wait to visit but wish I was staying here!! I may end up going here for a NYE party though.

    • Christina says:

      Ahh Christine you need to! The Full Moon Party was SO much fun and I’m sure NYE will be no different 🙂 Can’t wait to see all of your photos!

  11. Nicki says:

    What a neat looking hotel! There’s a lot of wood type items and the room felt
    Like a cave I once stayed in while visiting Turkey! Loved the beach views – so blue

  12. Mark and Mim says:

    This place looks like our kinda jam – those rooms look incredible and their ethos is brilliant!

    Seriously need to check this out if we visit Tulum!

  13. Cathy Ries says:

    Finally had the time to thoroughly read your post and it sounds like you had a great time! I honestly thought Papaya Playa Project was a humanitarian non profit or something when I first read the name lol. The pics are inspiring me to visit! 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Thank you for reading, Cathy!! I know – the name threw me off at first too hahaha. Turned out to be an incredible place to stay in Tulum 🙂

  14. Laurat says:

    Damn this place looks like true paradise!! Putting it on our bucketlist!!

  15. Shachar says:

    Looks amazing!!
    How long do you recommend to stay in Tulum?

  16. Reagan says:

    Staying here next week. You got me all excited!

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