Papaya Playa and other places in and around Tulum

Ever since my pen pal Luis wrote about beautiful clothing-optional beaches in Tulum, Mexico, I had been aiming to go there. We planned a trip with Luis exactly one year ago, but unfortunately he had to cancel literally last minute. I still went on my own, and I wasn’t disappointed to say the least. Out of two resorts recommended by Luis, I picked Papaya Playa.

naturist 0013 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

It is a quiet place with cabins, open-air showers, restaurant all built in rustic tropical style, that blends harmoniously with local environment. There were many people but it never felt crowded. In the mornings, I often had the beach to myself.

naturist 0009 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I didn’t just stay at the resort, of course. I made friends with Tomas from Papaya Playa reception, and he organised a couple of trips in its vicinity and also joined me when he didn’t have to work. The obvious choice was Mayan ruins of Tulum, which is not a clothes-free place, of course…

naturist 0021 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

… with the exception of iguanas, that guard the ancient site.

iguana 0022 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

However, we went for a snorkelling tour on the coral reef right in front of the ruins, and I asked the boatmen if I could swim naked. They said they had no issues with that, as long as the only woman in our group of about 6 tourists wouldn’t mind. (Apparently, it was obvious to them that men wouldn’t.) She and her husband were totally cool with the idea, although they said they had never been to a nudist beach. I was really happy that both local and visiting Mexicans seemed to be much more open-minded re nudity, than they were portrayed by some of my Mexican friends, who believed their country was too conservative….

naturist 0012 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

So, there I was snorkelling naked in the warm Caribbean Sea!

naturist 0000 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

By the way, that reef is a part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest barrier reef in the world!

corals 0023 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Although I knew that it wasn’t very rich in terms of biodiversity (for a coral reef! which means that it would still be probably the most diverse marine ecosystem around), I was disappointed that visually it wasn’t nearly as bright as the coral reefs of the Red Sea that I saw in Israel and Egypt.

corals 0024 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

But then I saw three squids, and two of them were facing each other. I had just watched a documentary about cuttlefish before going to Mexico, so I immediately recognised that those were two males in a competitive dance that involved display of change in colours. Unfortunately, one of them retreated when I came closer to take a video.

squid 0025 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

We also went to the beach of Akumal, which is famous for sea turtles. It’s not a clothing-optional beach, but I felt it’d be a waste to swim clothed in such a nice warm water, so I took off my swimming trunks as soon as I was in water. Not long after, I saw some huge sea turtles grazing on sea grass! They looked so majestic and didn’t seem to be bothered by my presence.

sea turtle 0026 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

We also went to the beaches of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, south of Tulum. Those are really beautiful, and I would like to say truly pristine, but unfortunately there was quite a lot of trash! It wasn’t garbage left by visitors of Sian Ka’an, but all the stuff that people through away from numerous boats into what they think is unlimited vastness of the Caribbean. It probably doesn’t occur in their head that if those things don’t sink down to the bottom of the sea, they will float until washed away ashore… and with time they accumulate in noticeable and disturbing amounts! The only reason why we don’t see this garbage on beaches at the resorts is because of constant cleaning. I think it would be good to leave small sections of urban beaches unattended, so that everyone is reminded about the amount of trash that floats in the sea…

naturist 0001 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Despite that, it was probably the most stunning beach in the area!

naturist 0002 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The water was beautiful,

naturist 0007 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

and we discovered some ruins too, doubtfully though as ancient as to be tracked to Mayan civilisation.

naturist 0006 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Palm trees grow all along the beach,

naturist 0003 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

and of course we were tempted to go for a walk in the forest too.

naturist 0004 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

It was probably the first time I saw a forest comprised entirely of palm trees.

naturist 0005 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

In the evening, I read short history of Mexico under coconut trees of Papaya Playa. 🙂

naturist 0010 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

And with the full moon rising,

naturist 0008 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

it was a perfect time to take some night shots with that kind of iconic tropical background.

naturist full moon 0019 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Oh well, I couldn’t decide if that place looked more beautiful during moonrise or sunrise! 🙂

naturist sunrise 0020 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Then, I had some delicious mangos for breakfast at the beach, and those attracted some new friends.

iguana 0017 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I didn’t realise iguanas were such mango-lovers, they seemed to have lost all their shyness and typical careless look.

iguana 0014 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Pelicans were passing by and just checked out if there was anything for them, but I usually don’t eat fish for breakfast.

pelicans 0016 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

However, I did make quite a few iguanas happy with mango skins.

naturist 0015 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

At some point, they were all satisfied and retreated to sunbathe…

naturist 0011 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

So did I, and I would definitely like to come back to Papaya Playa to see my friends again. Maybe next time, I should give them some papaya 😉

12 thoughts on “Papaya Playa and other places in and around Tulum

  1. We were in Tulum last jenuary and I SAS that it was impossibile stay naked on the beach
    On the beach es of Sian Ka an is still possible


  2. I have bad news: just a month after posting this entry, my second visit to Papaya Playa revealed that it was no longer clothing-optional! There was a warning on the beach that read: ‘Welcome to Papaya Play. Clothing is mandatory!’ Unfortunately, Papaya Playa also bought neighbouring resort Copal that was known to be clothing-optional. So now there is no nudist beach in Tulum’s eco-hotel zone. I’ve read about a couple of luxurious nudist hotels in the area – Hidden Beach Resort, Dolce Vita B& B, and Desire Resort, but they seem to be very expensive and do not offer day passes. So, if you don’t mind staying away from the hotels, you could go to Sian-Ka’an and Xcacel-Xcacelito for some more secluded beaches where you can sunbathe and swim ‘as nature intended’.


      1. Lol, I need to read the captions better. The sunrise and moonrise photos were beautiful. Thanks again 🙂
        See you on the beach!


  3. Так здорово что ты везде успеваешь 😉 Завидую. А что прикольнее в Москве в проруби или в Мексике?


    1. ну в Мексике побольше у меня приключений было (буду ещё постить), да и холод я вообще не люблю


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