Most of the commercial papaya genotypes show susceptibility to water deficit stress and require high volumes of irrigation water to yield properly. To tackle this problem, we have collected wild native genotypes of Carica papaya that have proved to show better physiological performance under water deficit stress than the commercial cultivar grown in Mexico. In the present study, plants from a wild Carica papaya genotype and a commercial genotype were subjected to water deficit stress (WDS), and their response was characterized in physiological and molecular terms. The physiological parameters measured (water potential, photosynthesis, Fv/Fm and electrolyte leakage) confirmed that the papaya wild genotype showed better physiological responses than the commercial one when exposed to WDS. Subsequently, RNA-Seq was performed for 4 cDNA libraries in both genotypes (susceptible and tolerant) under well-watered conditions, and when they were subjected to WDS for 14 days. Consistently, differential expression analysis revealed that after 14 days of WDS, the wild tolerant genotype had a higher number of up-regulated genes, and a higher number of transcription factors (TF) that were differentially expressed in response to WDS, than the commercial genotype. Thus, six TF genes (CpHSF, CpMYB, CpNAC, CpNFY-A, CpERF and CpWRKY) were selected for further qRT-PCR analysis as they were highly expressed in response to WDS in the wild papaya genotype. qRT-PCR results confirmed that the wild genotype had higher expression levels (REL) in all 6 TF genes than the commercial genotype. Our transcriptomic analysis should help to unravel candidate genes that may be useful in the development of new drought-tolerant cultivars of this important tropical crop.