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Papaya Playa 2.5

Tulum, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo

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Review Summary

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  • On-site spa and yoga studio offer treatments and classes
  • Beachfront property with a lively scene
  • Tour center offers organized day trips
  • On-site kite surfing school and water sports
  • Rooms are airy with sockets for charging mobile devices
  • Many rooms have porches and ocean views
  • Restaurant and Beach Club bar serves meals and drinks
  • Bike rentals available


  • Resort has unattractive abandoned buildings and rugged surroundings
  • Resort hosts late-night parties that can be noisy
  • Open design of accommodations can let in creatures; don't leave food open
  • Air-conditioning is only available in oceanfront suites
  • Some might dislike the shared bathroom set up

Bottom Line

When it comes to eco-resorts, Papaya Playa is rugged to say the least. Some buildings on the property sit abandoned, and plumbing is questionable. The resort hosts loud parties at night, which could be great for some tourists seeking a social scene, but this has earned Papaya Playa a not-so-great reputation among the surrounding hotels. With its on-site yoga classes and kite surfing school, this resort offers many features that are likely to appeal to younger couples seeking adventure, or individuals traveling alone. It is not a fitting suitable for families with children, or those who prefer perfectly pristine accommodations.

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Plumbing situation here is not for the finicky traveler.

Like most of the eco-resorts in Tulum, Papaya Playa strives to stay true to the earth-friendly orientation of the area. While electricity is available 24 hours a day via generators, its use is limited due to certain environmental or sustainability concerns. Guests are advised to keep a flashlight on them when going out late into the evening. Lights at nighttime can upset populations of turtles who lay eggs on the beachfront property. Plumbing can be sketchy, and toilet tissue must be disposed of in open bins with poorly fitting bags. This may be very unappealing to people who are accustomed to more hardy septic systems. 

The resort itself is a series of roughhewn palapas on an expansive stretch of rocky beach. Natural construction materials include bamboo, wood, and palm, and cracks or holes in these rugged buildings can let in leaks, bugs, and small creatures. While smoking is not allowed indoors, it is permitted in public spaces. 


On the edge of the hotel zone, a walk or bike ride to many resources and amenities 

Papaya Playa is on the edge of Tulum's hotel zone, along the Boca Paila beach road. This resort is about a 10-minute drive to downtown Tulum. The hotel zone itself is an active area, with many restaurants, bars, and shops. This road is lined with other resorts that offer a la carte spa services, as well as bike and car rentals. Large sections of the road have bike paths, and visitors to the area are likely to find this mode of transportation affordable and convenient. Taxis are also easily accessible, and relatively inexpensive in this area. Less than 10 minutes north by car, travelers can reach the Mayan ruins at the Tulum Archeological site, as well as other nearby tourist attraction. Boat trips through the Sian Ka-an biosphere present opportunities for visitors to see an amazing array of wildlife, including monkeys and exotic birds.


Simple, open-air rooms are best suited to outdoorsy travelers.

Those seeking luxury, or even just the comfort of a completely sealed room with air-conditioning, will not find it in Papaya Playa's standard rooms. These rugged accommodations feature beds with mosquito netting, small wooden tables, and little else. Most cabins have shared bathrooms, with the exception of the Garden and Oceanfront Cabana. Oceanfront Suites have air-conditioning, but when electricity is limited, guests may be unable to use it. The airy design of units also make running the AC ineffective, as cool air will simply escape under gaps around doors and windows. While this may sound like a rough way to spend a vacation, many rooms do have ocean views and private decks for sitting outdoors. Combine this with the fact that cabins are only steps away from the beach, and this destination's accommodations do carry some nice features. Geckos and ants might eat snacks left open in your room, and the door might not stay shut, but you'll have a great view. Higher-end rooms, called the Casitas, are completely sealed, but are the more expensive accommodations on the property. 


Some nice amenities, including yoga, water sports, and organized day trips

Despite its more challenging features, at Papaya Playa guests will have no shortage of activities to participate in. While none are included in the cost of a stay, visitors can take advantage of on-site spa services with offerings such as massages and Mayan holistic healing rituals. Yoga classes are offered each morning, for added fees, and an on-site tour center connects guests with day trips to historical Mayan ruins, and through the Sian Ka-an biosphere. A variety of water sports can be accessed at Papaya Playa, including snorkeling, kayaking, paddle board, and kite surfing, though all cost extra. In fact, kite surfing lessons can be purchased at this resort. Bike rentals are also available. The on-site restaurant is situated inside a large amphitheater-type building that can also host parties. The menu focuses on Mayan and Mexican dishes. Papaya Playa also has a bar in this same building, which offers excellent ocean views. Breakfasts, either continental or buffet-style, are included in the cost of some rooms, depending on which type of accommodations are booked. 

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Things You Should Know About Papaya Playa


Km 4-5 Carr Tulum-Boca Paila, Tulum, Riviera Maya 77780, Mexico


+52 (1) 984.116.3774

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