My Brush with Bachelor in Paradise

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[trip style = beach + sun + glamping]

I'm not head over heels for ABC's The Bachelor franchisefull disclosure, I did watch one season circa 10 years agobut when I was glamping in Tulum in June, half my resort was shut down for what turned out to be the sultry and saucy six-episode Bachelor in Paradise, which debuted on ABC, this past Monday, August 3rd, 2014.

Bachelor in paradise hotel

When I tried to book the Papaya Playa Resort {a hotel I just featured in my Roam+Board hotel series and where Bachelor in Paradise was filmed} in the Spring, I noticed zero rooms were available for a five-week period in May/June. I thought this was really strange for low season in Mexico, so I emailed the hotel asking if this was correct, or a glitch in the reservation system. They confirmed they had a tentative property buy-out. I thought it might be major corporation planning tropical team-building, or an intense yoga retreat, though the duration did seem long. 

Absolutely JETSET on staying at Papaya Playa, a hotel I've longed to visit since it opened in 2011, I kept checking if they'd released any rooms, or if the room buy-out would miraculously disappear. Suddenly, a few bungalows came available and I snapped one up immediately. 

Papaya Playa Resort  Bachelor in Paradise

When I arrived, check-in was as usual {ie - no mention of resort closures, high profile guests, etc..). We got to our thatched-roof beach perch, slipped on our bathing suits and hit the beach like any sun-deprived souls. The property sits on 900 meters of coastline, so, naturally, we started strolling the near kilometer-length swath of sand.

Where the bachelor in paradise was flimed

Suddenly, a gentleman dressed in all black started chasing us, and asked us to stop in our tracks. He told us that half the resort was shut down, and that included the beach. I told him this was ludicrous, and we were not advised of this significant closure at check-in. He said he was under orders not to let anybody cross an imaginary line his superiors had created "in the sand." Jokingly, I quipped, "we can't just go on a normal beach walk? It's not like there's a 24-hour camera rolling" to which he replied, "actually, there is."

This tiny tidbit of info sent me into an internet research tizzy, and after some digging Trip Styler Sis connected the dots: I was there while Bachelor in Paradise was filming. Hence the secrecy. Hence the oh-so-slow internet. Hence the apparent Instagram ban. Hence limited access to the hotel and the beach. 

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While the filming was not too visible, I did notice castaways of a rose ceremony at the opposite end of the beach making out in the waves, and dates in town, one of which took place at Casa Jaguar, a romance-steeped secret garden-style restaurant I recommend in my Tour de Tulum

Aside from the Bachelor in Paradise production staff who took up most of the other rooms, hung out at the bar every night and traded in beach accessories with walkie-talkies, the resort was pretty quieton my side of the beachand tranquil due to 90% of the guests working.... or canoodling. 

 A glimpse of Bachelor in Paradise filming on the beach at Papaya Playa Resort. Note the camera on the shore filming the couple in the water.

A glimpse of Bachelor in Paradise filming on the beach at Papaya Playa Resort. Note the camera on the shore filming the couple in the water.

Did I recognize any of the love-struck Bach alumni in town? No. Did I walk by any of them at the resort? No. The imaginary lines between hotel customer and contestant were surprisingly strong, and causing a scene isn't my style. 

While I'm not sure I can handle two hours a week of drama-tempered storms courtesy of Bachelor babes, bodies and boozing, I will update this post weekly given my brush with the filming and my knowledge of Mexico's hippie-chic beachfront stretch. You're welcome.

Tulum ruins bachelor in paradise

August 3rd Episode Insights
Clare and Robert head to the Tulum Ruins, located about 2 kms from the resort. Access to the historical site, where it's so hot you sweat just standing still, costs 59 pesos per person and is only payable in cash. If you thought it was a strange TV coincidence the two potential love birds were swimming at the foot of the temples at a national historial site, think again, this is one tourist attraction you are encouraged to BYO bathing suit and hit the sea. But don't get too many ideas, contrary to their pow-wow at the top of the seaside temple, you can't climb the Mayan relics, that was a special Bach-fandangled circumstance, so was the lack of crowds.

[top photo via Bachelor in Paradise, other photos my own]