Check in: Forget the tourist traps, this ecohotel is Tulum at its finest

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First came the hippies, then the celebrities and now, everybody and his uncle. Tulum in Mexico is no longer a secret, but Casa de las Olas is one place holding the line.

Emily Ames 30 January 2018

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The eco-conscious beach house that makes up Casa de las Olas, tucked away on the edge of the Sian Ka’an reserve, is the last property on the famous beach road and the last place you’ll get a taste for the old Tulum on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

It’s 100% self-sufficient – with solar powered energy and showers running from the natural cenote next door – making it the go-to spot for eco-conscious travellers in this part of Mexico. With a quiet beach and natural breakfast it’s a far cry from Leonardo Dicaprio’s Tulum, through Olas does have hook-ups with all the best places to eat in the area (they’ll get you into fully booked, off-grid ethical wonder Hartwood every time).

The rooms

Laidback luxury is the vibe here, with light and airy rooms featuring Mexican tiles and furniture fashioned from reclaimed wood. There are just five suites in total: Balcony Suites are perfect for couples who plan to spend their time eating their way through Tulum, while the Mastersuite is ideal for a hideaway (it has a full kitchen, living room, dining table and a balcony complete with a hammock).

Casa De Las Olas Tulum Review1

Simple, serene and sustainable. Casa De Las Olas is a hideaway in the Mexican jungle

The view

You’d never know Tulum was a popular destination from the view from your window. The property is secreted away in a  coconut groves and all of its suites faces the ocean – Casa de las Olas means ‘house of waves’ in Spanish after all. It’s situated right on the edge of the natural reserve, so you won’t find a quieter stretch of sand. 

The service

If you didn’t get it from the word 'casa', Olas is meant to be treated like home. That’s what it is to owner, Jimmy, who is always around to help out – whether that’s chopping the top off a coconut, sorting you out with a margarita or telling you the best places to go for tacos. 

Rooms are always pristine, breakfast is served on time, and there are private yoga lessons offered on the beach by a young resident. If you’re looking to be waited on hand and foot though this isn’t the place for you. 

Casa De Las Olas Tulum Review4
“Rooms are always pristine, breakfast is served on time, and there are private yoga lessons offered on the beach by a young resident”

The menu

While there is no formal restaurant at Olas, food is still an important part of the experience (Jimmy even runs an Eat Retreat with chef Eric Werner from Hartwood a few times a year). Breakfast is the most important part of the day here, with guests gathering at the communal table for the changing menu. Chef Lulu is the master of traditional dishes like green chilaquiles while Pamela adds a modern twist to Mexican classics. 

All ingredients are locally sourced with produce from a local Mayan vendor, bread from Pan Comido in town and chicken from a small organic farm near by. They offer lunch and snacks (to be ordered beforehand) and dinner six nights a week.

The bar

There’s no bar at Olas but you can always grab a beer or margarita if you ask Jimmy. They’re happy for you to stock your fridge with your own booze too. 

The sustainable bit

Casa de las Olas is the only Platinum LEED-reviewed property in Mexico and sustainability is at the forefront of everything they do. It was built by an Austrian ex-engineer, designed to work in harmony with nature and weather any storm. 

The palm-frond roofs protect rooms from the hot sun while curved walls circulate ocean-breeze as a natural air-conditioner. Water for the kitchen and shower comes from the cenote next door while Jimmy ensures all products are biodegradable. 

The property is 100% powered by solar energy with an impressive panel display up on the roof. There’s Wifi and phone signal but hair dryers aren’t allowed.

Three reasons to book Casa de las Olas

  • You get the best of both worlds – buzzy Tulum with its restaurant and bar scene, combined with a natural oasis on the edge of the biosphere reserve.
  • You’ll meet like-minded, eco-conscious travellers who share the same interests and travel habits.
  • You won’t find better guides to show you the real, Mayan side of Tulum.

Where is Casa de las Olas?

On the furthest point on the beach road next to the Sian Ka’an reserve. It’s just over a two-hour car journey from Cancun.

Free Wifi? Yes

Dog friendly? Yes

Child friendly? No

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