The Papaya Playa Project: A Luxury Resort in the Middle of Mexican Jungle

Taking a vacation to Mexico should be on everyone’s list. While it can involve free traveling across the country to get in touch with the amazing culture, it can also mean warm water, white sand beaches, and a luxurious hotel with high-end amenities. Nothing wrong with all-inclusive resorts, but today we want to entice you with a different offer: An eco-friendly hotel along Mexico’s splendid Yucatan Peninsula called the Papaya Playa Project.

A completely alternative vacation experience, this resort is ready to change the perception most of us have of luxurious traveling destinations. In addition to the luxury treehouse they have recently opened to the public, they also offer healthy relaxation and rest to all of their guests.

Papaya Playa Project: Where Is It Located?

The small coastal town of Tulum is home to the Papaya Playa Resort, located roughly 80 miles south of Cancun. This beachfront hotel is nested in the heart of a national park, but not completely disconnected from the world. It’s located within 3 miles (5 km) of Tulum Mayan Ruins, Ziggy Beach, and Tulum National Park. Tulum Beach and Playa Paraiso are also within 3 miles (5 km), which means guests can easily visit the rest of the beautiful area.

Vacationing in a Sustainable Way

But what exactly sets Papaya Playa apart from other luxury resorts around the world? It’s the fact that the project is sustainable and of true benefit to the region and community. The management, headed by Emilio Heredia, the Project Director, seeks to promote a spiritual and holistic life, consciously accepting their responsibility for nature and the local community.

 “Sustainability means the protection of a healthy biodiversity and vibrant life for future generations and integrity for the current one. Elevating the structure encourages the growth of jungle plants around the treehouse and ensures the building does not interfere with nature. We wanted to show the utmost respect to all the wildlife living in the jungle when building the treehouse.” – Emilio Heredia, about designing the treehouse.

The name Papaya Playa Project represents the hotel’s mission to seek to improve the natural surroundings of the resort. Therefore, the resort is very determined to put into action a social responsibility and ambitious sustainability project that will inspire others to develop a more conscious operation themselves.

Building the beach houses and the treehouse involved locally sourced materials. Aside from the timber, Heredia also used area bamboo for the building’s window coverings, a wood-and-plaster blend for the walls, and thatched palapa roofing.

While Papaya’s cabanas, beach houses, and private rooms are all located within a stone’s throw of the serene white-sand beach, the latest addition – the luxury treehouse – was built in Tulum’s lush forest. Therefore, guests renting accommodation in the treehouse will have a bit of a journey reaching the beach.

Zero Emissions & Zero Contamination

That statement is part of the Papaya Playa Project mission started in July 2015. The management hopes to create such a community by 2018. Since the start of the initiative, the hotel has partnered with a team of passionate experts to implement proven technologies, change paradigms and better administrate their energy sources. The resort has currently achieved “zero aquifer contamination, and reduced carbon emissions by almost 66% in comparison to pre-emission levels.”

Papaya Playa’s water is in accordance to the highest standards, whether it’s for the guests’ bath or for drinking. By using the very latest eco-friendly technology, the hotel utilizes less energy for processing then typical systems. The pool water also uses fewer chemicals for cleaning and less energy for enjoyment.

Preserving the Environment

If Papaya Playa Project would have followed the business model of most developers along the Riviera Maya, the property would have hosted a 1,500 room all-inclusive hotel. But replicating these business models would permanently create an ambient light pollution, causing most of the stars to disappear in the night sky. What the resort did, however, is retain around 93% of the original jungle surrounding it. This goes over and beyond the norm in the region of just 5%, and 30% which is the local environmental regulation.

Sourcing Local Materials

Tulum is a harmonious fusion of spirituality, nature, and leisure. Its guests are offered physical, emotional, and intellectual experiences. In keeping with this, Papaya Playa has decided to shape its business model along social and sustainable principles.

In addition to the technology systems they use, all of the products are purchased locally or within the Mexico borders. Decorations, food, crafts, hammocks, fabrics, furniture, weaving, and materials – they are all sourced from Mexican and Mayan artisans, purchased through local providers. Therefore, PPP succeeds in supporting local artists and merchants.

Papaya Playa Project: Accommodation

Inspired from nature, the resort mirrors the simplicity of the jungle and the sea and the elements of Mother Earth. The casitas and cabañas offer the ultimate luxury accommodation, with their private porch and plunge pools, hammocks and King-size beds. According to travel critics, the Papaya Playa Project has catered to uber-wealthy clients, all of whom instantly fell in love with the location for its “barefoot luxury.”


Either sprinkled along the beach or nestled in the jungle, the PPP rooms are satisfyingly charming in their simplicity. The new Oceanfront Casitas at Papaya Playa are the newest and most exciting accommodation offering, located just steps from the ocean. They offer guests natural luxury seamlessly combined with sophistication.

Amenities: The rooms offer large King-size beds, air conditioning, front terraces, plunge pools and roof decks rising above the jungle.

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Beach Houses

Overlooking the Caribbean Sea from their spot far north of the property, the three breath-taking beach houses are to die for. The outcome of collaboration between a number of architects, interior decorators, and landscape designers, the beach houses provide a vision of living space intimately, an organic continuum with nature and culture.

Casa Palapa

The private Palapa House is the most exclusive and luxurious accommodation on the property, located just meters from the oceanfront. In addition to having direct access to the beach, guests will be able to enjoy an infinity swimming pool. (Hosts up to 10 people.)

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Casa Madera

Built primarily of wood and other natural materials combined in a local manner, Casa Madera is undoubtedly one of the most impressive, original, and comfortable accommodations in the entire Riviera Maya. Amenities include a superb ocean view and 2,690 sqft of luxury.

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Casa Viento

Casa Viento is a precious gem of Playa Papaya Project, a new paradise jewel that has only recently opened. Located among the jungles of Mexico and on the Caribbean coast, it offers an unforgettable experience, full of nature, harmony, colors and beauty.

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Luxury Treehouse

One of the most recent availabilities at Papaya Playa Project is the new luxury treehouse. The two-story treehouse comes with a tranquil leisure area. It features two swinging chairs located directly underneath a common area and an enclosed bedroom. The large windows in nearly every corner of the room allow for an abundance of natural light, while the cozy sleeping suite also offers peaceful views of the surrounding forest.

Amenities include one King-size bed, oceanfront and jungle view, air conditioning, and a large terrace. Papaya’s extravagant treehouse is built out of locally sourced timber and using ancient Mayan building methods. The finished treehouse is utterly stunning, looking as natural as possible against its natural setting.

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Papaya Playa Beach Club

The Papaya Playa Beach Club is a multipurpose facility located on the grounds of the resort. It combines:

  • a double-decker bar overhanging the beach that advances toward the ocean;
  • a multilevel semi-amphitheater space with private seating enclaves and a dance/performance sand-floor;
  • two spacious oceanfront palapas; these serve ideal meal-time hideouts;
  • 360° wooden “skyscraper” observatory offering a vantage point private table area;
  • a generous stretch of beach; guests enjoy serviceable sun beds and shaded hanging beds palapitas;
  • and a restaurant, whose menu is based on recipes largely influenced by the Mexican and Mayan traditions.

Papaya Playa Project: Prices

Like most luxury hotels in this world, the price for a vacation at Papaya Playa is not for the faint of heart. The beach houses run from $400 to $4,000 per night – excluding taxes and fees! The most expensive accommodation at the Mexican resort is at Casa Palapa, while the brand new treehouse rents for roughly $1,400 per night.

Aside from the steep price tag, the chance of staying the night at the Papaya Playa resort – whether in a beach house or in the treehouse – is tough to say no to. The gorgeous beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula await for you!

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