I've been doing a lot of research about Tulum and the surrounding areas. Tulum is primarily an eco-community, which means that a lot of the housing is designed to be low-maintenance and even run "off the grid."
There is a great little travel article here about Tulum and how it's changed in the last two decades. Tulum certainly has more tourists than before, but it's still an unspoiled paradise (especially compared to Cancun or Puerta Vallarta, both of which I found unclean and full of scammers).
People use solar panels and tináco water tanks to provide hot water in Tulum. The water tanks are common throughout Mexico. When we went to visit my in-laws in Leon, they had one of these on the roof. It was common for the city water to run out at the end of the day, and the tank allowed them to have water in the bathroom and the kitchen even if the water ran out for the rest of the city.
For hot water, a small propane water tank is usually installed outside somewhere. We were able to use a little 25-gallon tank, in combination with a low-flow shower head, to provide hot showers for six people. You have to get in, turn on the water, soap up, and get out fast. But it works.
Hot water is a luxury in many small towns throughout Mexico, but we've been lucky so far to have basic amenities everywhere.
We're very excited about our trip. I'll make sure that I post lots of pictures.
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Just a middle-class family with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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