by Dorothy and Bill Bell
We have discovered a new way to travel! We have either RV’ed or hotel stopped throughout this country half a dozen times or more and both have their up and down sides.
RV’s are a great deal of fun; you can sleep in your own bed, have all your own stuff, cook your own meals and be somewhat economical to boot. By the day RV parks can cost $200 to $300 pesos on average for full hookups. $5000 to $7000 pesos per month.
I am being brave here because pricing is relative to preference and there are those out there that will prefer to boon dock or stay in a Wal-Mart rather than an RV Park. On the flip side, there are those that will not stay in many of the parks that we think are just fine…they are too “rustic” for them. I am trying to generalize here so bear with me.
Hotels are a matter of personal preference too. For a clean motel/ motel 6 type room in a city you are likely to spend $500 to 750 pesos. If you stay a week, it calculates to $3500 to $5250 pesos a week. The sky is the limit on the upper side. You can spend as much as you want for the high end stuff.
So this trip Bill said why don’t we try booking apartments in the places we want to stay for more than a few days. We went on line and Googled apartments for rent in Oaxaca. Sure enough there were many to choose from. We decided to take a “lower-end” apartment – not just because we are CODO (cheap) but because we wanted to be able to walk out of the deal in case it didn’t work out.
Our criteria were that it was clean, had sleeping quarters, was close to Centro (walking distance) and of course had internet. We selected one that we found on Craig’s list priced at $1000 pesos for 1 person = $1200 for two people per week. We thought we would give it a try.
We arrived and were met by the caretaker, Ines. She led us up the very steep driveway past a line of casitas to our unit at the top level. The place was tiny but managed to have all the criteria we needed; cleanliness, bed, kitchen, bathroom, internet etc. The place was just fine; it also had a table and chair outside in a wide open area.
Ines didn’t speak a word of English (we dealt with the owners over the internet who did) but she was extremely helpful throughout our stay. Unlike hotels, we found that conversations naturally developed with our neighbors. We would chat about our days of exploration with other fellow travelers.
The downside was that it was all mismatched. (BIG DEAL) The casita layout for the kitchen was odd and allowed only one person at a time. It was awkward maneuvering around chairs etc. The bathroom was poorly laid out and extremely small – but everything worked well. The place had only one pillow and the towels were a bit worn and skimpy. The plates were small. We fixed that with our next trip to Bodega for just over $400 pesos.
Overall rating? Would we go back? YES! It was close to downtown, in a safe neighborhood and the people were very friendly at an extremely reasonable price. And where else would the caretaker give you a big hug and a kiss on the cheek to say goodbye.
We also found the next place on Craig’s List.
(Scam Alert I would like to mention that we found a scam artist who wanted the following:
Your full name Your Sex Your nationality Your date of birth Your passport ID number Your phone number Your move in and move out date Your current address that i can send the keys
A $700 USD deposit…and rent in advance.
We determined that we will pay cash when we get there when we go apartment –hopping.)
The View from our Mexico City apartment
We liked the pictures and made the arrangements.
We drove into the City on Sunday – which is an excellent strategy for those wanting to explore this metropolis! The traffic was bearable and we found street parking. We hit the intercom and were buzzed up by Diego.
Fully stocked kitchen including fridge, stove/oven, microwave, toaster, coffee maker.
We were surprised to see how lovely it was. Very modern, clean, light and airy. The kitchen is fully furnished, plates, cutlery all match. Granite countertops – table and chairs with a welcome bottle of red wine.
The spacious bathroom with glass enclosed shower had two terry robes waiting for us.
The bedroom with floor to ceiling storage, TV, DVD player, desk, internet, view, balcony and BBQ outside
The bed/sitting room is large with tons of storage space, a large work desk and sliding glass doors. The view is over garden apartments. The whole place has plenty of light and is immaculate. We love it! We think we have found our Mexico City home!
We love RV travel in Mexico for the beach areas. It is fun, economical and you can cook if you want. The major problem is if you like to visit many of the interior colonial cities. Many cities do not have camping and if they do it is generally far away from the center of town which is often the best area to explore the city. Too, large RV’s are difficult to maneuver in cities that were meant for horse and carriage. We won’t even talk about axels and cost of tolls.
We also love traveling and using hotels. The downside is that it can be quite expensive and you can’t cook even the simplest meal. This makes long term travel prohibitive.
Apartment hopping seems like a great alternative. It is certainly more economical than hotels and you can cook 24/7 if you prefer – saving even more money. The hitch here is that you have to know where you want to stay a week and whish area of town fits your needs. We are fortunate to have explored most of this country and know which cities and towns we can lose ourselves in for weeks and weeks….well years.
For us what works is a combination of all three modes of travel/accommodation, and in the future we are going to explore apartment-hopping even more.