There were no poses in crystalline cenotes. No visits to “insta-worthy” locations.

Just palapa-thatched huts dotting the jungle alongside a pristine stretch of the Caribbean sea.

We spent our time in unplugged stone white rooms, whose entertainment was the occasional iguana on a distant rock catching a tan.

We took barefoot walks along sandy paths winding their way through pockets of the jungle, letting the ocean stain us with its saltiness.

Palapa thatched roofs just out of dense foliage at Papaya Playa Project
Dense foliage provide a private respite for each room

Large blue butterflies ushered the way to a complimentary breakfast spread of fresh fruit and local fare. We spent our days lounging in hammocks swinging in time to the swell of the ocean. In the evenings we watched the stars wink at us in the cool of the night, while our bodies bobbed in the current of the pool.

Bicycles recline in an open wooden shed at the entrance to Papaya Playa Project
Complimentary bicycles to roam Tulum Beach town

Beyond Papaya Playa Project

We did spend a full day with Xamanha Connections. Manuel , our private guide was eager to share the history of his people with us, history so personal and steeped in Mayan culture. Our day with him including feasting on cochinita pibil, exploring the left over remnants of a thriving community at Tulum Archeaological Zone, zipping through dense jungles on an ATV and culminating the day with a wade in cenotes so deep we wore life jackets.

While we ventured out a few times, much of our 5 day trip was spent at Papaya Playa Project.

Tulum Archaeological Zone

What we didn’t know we needed

All the rooms at Papaya Playa Project are fabulous. However, the intimate oceanfront cabana and hammock invited us into blissful naps to the white noise of the ocean.

What I especially loved about our stay:

+ The guilt free and tasty complimentary breakfast spread
+ Ocean views no matter where we dined in the restaurant
+ Sustainability is not a buzz word here, it’s a way of life. From preserving 93% of the jungle during build to recycling waste water for irrigation
+ Complimentary bikes to roam the heart of Tulum beach town 2 mins away

+ Agusto, our personal concierge, who gifted me a chocolate cake for birthday, took care of scheduling our day out and transported our many bags from room to room

+ Quiet walks in the expansive lush grounds, getting lost, exploring garden art and making friends with the wild life

+ Snuggling up next to hubby in the cool of open air theatre watching guests sway to live music and a DJ most evenings

Oceanside cabana at Papaya Playa Project
Oceanside cabana
communal table in the restaurant at Papaya Playa Project
extended restaurant space at Papaya Playa Project

In all my years of traveling, I don’t think I’ve ever truly relaxed at (or explored) a hotel. I always armed myself with a list of places to see and things to do.

Who knew that going ‘nowhere’ was everywhere we needed to be?

That was the experience Tulum planned for us.


The perfect respite for the creative soul.

It’ll be an experience you won’t soon forget. The city and the jungle oasis of Papaya Playa Project hold a special connection for us. So much so that the beaded woven bracelet we received upon arrival is still on my husbands wrist many months later.

– a simple reminder to slow down.