About 5km north of sleepy-backwater-turned-hip-hotspot Tulum, Punta Piedra is the stuff holiday fantasies are made of - all soft white sand and snorkelling-clear sea. In hurricane season ( June - October) you can be unlucky with storms depositing seaweed along the coast (but prices drop dramatically in compenstation, if you want to take your chances), so the best time to go is October- December, when you'll get cooling breezes, blue skies, calm water, and you'll beat the Christmas crowds booking up all Tulum's brilliant little bars and restaurants.
Where to stay:
If you want barefoot beach heaven, you’ve come to the right place. The Papaya Playa Project’s 85 rooms range from a luxe, five-bedroom beachfront house to thatched cabanas and casitas peeping out from the jungly foliage along and behind the pure white beach.
The look is a kind of designer–Crusoe, with everything seemingly fashioned from driftwood, which, as you would expect from a place run by the people behind Design Hotels, totally works.
Think rustic casitas with flashes of brilliant Mexican green or red, draped mosquito nets, a rustic Beach Club – a two storey wooden bar overhanging the beach - in sight and sounds of the waves. Grab a chilled Dos Equis beer downstairs, and head up to wait for the moonlight to hit the water.
Near Tulum's beautiful Mayan ruins (get there at 8am to beat the coach tours), on Mexico’s eastern (Caribbean ) coast, Papaya Project is no ordinary hotel – it’s also an exercise in sustainability and fun, with delicious organic food and recycled everything, plus DJs, full -moon parties, and an amphitheatre for the various happenings.
There is a spa based on a cosmo-vision concept (no, me neither) – suffice to say the vibe is all very hippy and spiritual - with a temazcal ( traditional sweat lodge) and all kinds of Mayan lotions, potions and rituals to cleanse you inside and out.
Even better, this little piece of paradise is dirt cheap– with the basic (no electicity) dorm rooms starting from only £50 a night. And if you think that sounds a bit rough and ready, the ELLE fashion team shot here a couple of years ago and totally fell in love with the place.
Papaya Playa Project, Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila km. 4.5, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
+52 1 984 116 3774