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Conscious Future

Our Conscious Eye On
- Papaya Playa Project

Conscious Hotel

Sustainable Hotel Papaya Playa 01
Sustainable Hotel Papaya Playa 02


Tulum, Mexico


Design Hotels Design Team

The Originals

Emilio Heredia

Surrounded by lush jungle along the sparkling Caribbean, Tulum’s Papaya Playa Project is cocooned by nature’s majesty. The hotel defied industry norms from the outset by keeping 93% of its original jungle intact. Caring for this jungle—and the beautiful beach that it borders—is core to the hotel’s essence. Dedicated to a low-impact lifestyle, the property treats its own water, maintains fair trade practices, and builds nearly 90% of its furniture on-site. While much of Tulum is powered by diesel generators, Papaya Playa Project took the initiative to install the infrastructure required to join Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission grid, avoiding the production of 1,164,070 tons of carbon dioxide per year. A connection to the community also runs deep. Thanks in part to the on-site workshops, the hotel has become one of Tulum’s leading sources of employment. Papaya Playa Project also runs an advanced turtle conservation that takes sees thousands of baby turtles hatch each year. During the 5 years of the program, the hotel has released 39,444 baby turtles from its beach.

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Buildings use ancestral techniques like low thatched roofs to keep areas cool and walls finished in the ancient chukum technique. Facilities are elevated so as not to disturb roots and animal burrows.

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The hotel reuses and repurposes constantly. Towels and linens become cleaning rags, puffs are filled with reusable filling, wood and furniture are fixed and reused, and plastic is limited.

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Tulum uses highly polluting diesel generators. Papaya Playa Project installed the infrastructure to join Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission grid, avoiding the production of 1,164,070 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

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The hotel treats wastewater with an aerobic process treatment plant and has installed a reverse osmosis plant. In this way, it avoids transporting the equivalent of over 200 truckloads of garbage per month.

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Products & Produce

Whenever possible, products are sourced locally and the remainder is purchased from fair-trade Mexican manufacturers. On-site workshops produce 90% of the hotel’s furniture and sew textiles.

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The hotel collaborated with groups like Letras Itinerantes to benefit Mayan communities and LADLE (Los Amigos de la Esquina) to offer activities to kids to keep them off the streets.

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The hotel takes care of hundreds of turtle nests and sees thousands of baby turtles hatch each year. Guests are invited to be a part of the experience.

Learn about our Conscious Hotel Principles

We spoke with the team at Papaya Playa Project to learn the latest on the hotel’s conscious journey.


What is your sustainability philosophy?

Papaya Playa Project aims to become a zero-carbon-footprint property in the near future. We are located in an ecosystem of great natural wealth in Mexico. We consider part of our essence to be the care of hundreds of hectares of jungle and the living beings that inhabit it, pass through it, and populate the sea that borders us. Papaya Playa Project’s corporate social responsibility was established following the pillars of the business: to use hospitality and creativity as a means to protect nature and generate a positive impact on society. We are committed to improving the quality of life of communities facing tough challenges. We strive to facilitate livelihood opportunities and socio-cultural development both locally and beyond our geographic or physical reach.


How do you forge a connection to the local community and cultural surroundings?

Papaya Playa Project contributes to a variety of local and global organizations. Most recently, we have donated to The Mexican Association to Assist Children with Cancer (AMANC) so they can purchase special needles and oncology treatments. We have also donated to Hurakaan, an NGO dedicated to coral reef research. We also work with the Grupo Orígenes De Quintana Roo and the local authorities to create an advanced turtle conservation program through which we take care of hundreds of nests and see thousands of baby turtles hatch each year. By our latest count, we have released 39,444 baby turtles from our beach during the 5 years of the program. We have also collaborated with the Letras Itinerantes foundation by providing transportation, meals, and lodging to volunteers and performers, bringing books and cultural activities to Mayan communities. Whenever possible, we source all products used in the hotel locally, and the remainder is purchased from fair-trade Mexican manufacturers. 


What do you see as the biggest sustainability hurdle for hotels? How are you combating that?

In Tulum, overtourism is one of the greatest hurdles. We strive to create a hotel that respects nature by preserving 93% of our land as the original jungle. Overtourism also affects the community’s resources. To alleviate this problem, we take action on energy, water, waste, and more.

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