Arriving at Ahau Tulum was pretty surreal. After a long 2 hour drive from the Cancun airport, with a sleepy Evelyn in the back and two starving parents up front, we finally made it to our home along Tulum Beach for the next 5 days.
There we were, in the middle of our own little paradise. Ahau Tulum is a small boutique hotel, with only 24 rooms on the property, ranging from tiny 80 square foot bali huts to sprawling beachfront master suites. It’s these various-sized palapas that make Ahau Tulum affordable at just about any price range. We opted for something in between – an ocean front junior suite with a large deck overlooking the beach and ocean. We kind of lucked out, because it was the last room available (aside from the bali huts) for the time we’d hoped to visit, and because we were visiting during the very lowest season, the nightly rates were within our reach.
At check-in we were greeted by Rafael, who I can only describe as the Mexican version of a hipster millennial (and I mean that in a good way!). He was the nicest guy, showing us around the property as we made our way to our suite and explaining the basics of our room before leaving us to our own. Later, any time we ran into him throughout our stay, he would be sure to say “hi baby Evelyn” in the sweetest voice. 🙂
Ahau Tulum is the only certified sustainable hotel in all of Tulum, and they take this commitment very seriously. For us this meant only being able to run air conditioning at night, filtered water dispensers in each room instead of plastic bottles, and furniture made entirely out of wood by local craftsmen. Best of all, the resort sits in the midst of a completely natural setting, with the palapas built right in between the mature trees. There are no concrete sidewalks, only fine white sand paths that lead you throughout the small property. You can read more about Ahau Tulum’s sustainability efforts here.
One of the reasons we chose Ahau (aside from the gorgeous property) was for their on-site restaurant. This was important for us being that, having a baby, vacations can be unpredictable. We wanted to know we would always be able to get a quick bite to eat if Evelyn started getting hangry! We loved how Ahau’s restaurant overlooked the beach and made for an equally nice setting for a simple cocktail, hearty breakfast, or a nice dinner. For a more informal breakfast or lunch, Raw Love Cafe, a vegan restaurant and smoothie bar, sits on the back of the property.
Everyone we encountered from the staff was so amazing, and I have a feeling they would have literally done anything we’d asked. When our dinner plans fell through one night and Evelyn was too cranky to sit at a table, they were there to deliver room service within 20 minutes to our room. When we asked for a wine opener for a bottle we’d bought down the road, they insisted on delivering the bottle in an ice bucket to our room and opening the bottle for us. Little things, I know, but the level of hospitality and attention to detail really made our stay feel that much more special.
Of course you’ll want to venture out along the Boca Paila (the main road that runs along Tulum Beach) as well. There are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby within easy walking distance from the resort. We didn’t bother to bring a stroller, and instead let Evelyn do a lot of her own walking (she seems to much prefer that anyway). Some of our favorites near the hotel: Canopia for breakfast, Gitano for cocktails and small plates, Las Bolas de Postre for ice cream, & Welove for a souvenir t-shirt. I’m hoping to put a full guide to Tulum up soon!
Evelyn wasn’t the only baby at Ahau Tulum either. On our first day, we saw another couple with a young baby, maybe only 4 or 5 months old, sleeping in a bassinet under a beach cabana. And Matt met another Californian who’s baby girl Ava, just a couple months younger than Evelyn, felt equally cautious towards the sand and ocean. Yes, after one day of trying to get Evelyn to play in the sand unsuccessfully, we decided not to force it, and instead played under the shade of the beach loungers whenever we visited the ocean.
If you are looking for a getaway that is not your stereotypical Mexico beach vacation, Ahau Tulum is it. Sure, you won’t find quite the same conveniences of the massive all-inclusive resorts, but you will get to know the people and the surroundings so much more as you explore on foot. Tulum has a much more authentic (albeit, still very tourist-driven) relaxed feel to it, and for that I look forward to visiting again someday.
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