Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Oaxaca Sojourn part 1—Introduction

Reprise photo, Lake Pátzcuaro, winter
We wanted to escape the chill Pátzcuaro area winter and to give me a better opportunity to recuperate from my recent back surgery in a warm and appealing place. At first we thought of visiting Zihuatanejo, which we enjoy, but in spite of liking Zihua, it has its limitations. Then I thought of Oaxaca. We'd been there for part of January 2014.

Oaxaca has what I like: colorfully painted building facades, somewhat warmer temperatures than freezing centro Michoacán, easy walking, and above all, some of the most interesting and best cuisine of all México. Walking, water exercises and delicious, healthy food are my goals, with a weekly massage to enrich the visit.

We quickly formed plans to travel. We tried to rent a studio apartment here, or here, but availability is scarce in the winter. Oaxaca apartments are very popular with gringo snowbirds, and it's almost necessary to reserve a year ahead. (Who knows what we may be doing or what condition we may be in a year from now?)

So at the last minute, we booked temporarily into the Hotel Posada El Nito, at Armenta y López 416, Centro. It's a very nice hotel with a very nice staff, but there is a problem. That is the noise from not one, but two cantinas flanking the Posada El Nito. I discussed El Nito and the wonderful juice joint on the corner, La Huerta.  They gave us a "special" price of $550 pesos a night, which I consider moderate.

But in the front of my mind, I was wanting to investigate and probably stay in the Hotel Rincón de Doña Bety, at Calle Morelos 1500, almost in front of the small, appealing Mercado de La Merced (AKA Mercado La Democracía). We had been pleased with our short stay the year before at the Hotel Fiesta Paraiso near the mercado municipal in Zihua. In Oaxaca, the Hotel el Rincón de Doña Bety has the price that is right; $400 pesos a night. Two beds,very clean, hot water, family atmosphere, friendly hosts, use of a small, shared kitchen, and strong and reliable wifi.

Hotel el Rincón de Doña Bety 

Room in Hotel el Rincón de Doña Bety 
Location is almost everything. Hotel el Rincón de Doña Bety is out of the tourist zone, in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood, with perhaps a small Cuban colony a couple of blocks away. The Mercado de la Merced is a major attraction for us.
The heated swimming pool, Natacíon Anacondas is less than ten minutes walk, and the Anahata Spa, where I'd gotten excellent massages, is about 2 blocks way.

Further attractions are the 12 or so fondas within the Mercado, where so so far we have had two breakfasts, ranging from pretty good to excellent, at about $40 pesos each. A branch of the Marisquerías La Red is a few doors away. So convenient, but we haven't yet eaten at that branch. Instead, we had our comida at another seafood restaurant, El Muelle, around the corner from the mercado, The food was good and the prices low.

A few featured dishes at El Muelle, but there is much more

Enchiladas de Coloradito con tasajo Fonda Teresita
Hotel el Rincón de Doña Bety is less elegant but more familial than El Nito. There is Úrsula, the house cat who has free run of the place.  There's our hostess, Sra. Violeta's pet dachshund, Oscar. Fortunately, he's a house dog. There are a few cars parked in the patio. The street is typically noisy during the day, but quiet at night.

But let's back up a couple of days to our one night stay at the Hotel Embassy ($380 pesos for a spacious 2 bed room, overlooking the internal parking garage) in Colonia Roma, Mexico City. We like to stay over to break up long trips and to enjoy one of the many good restaurants in Colonia Roma and, to a lesser degree, nearby Colonia La Condesa.

I hope to discuss some of the aforementioned hotels and restaurants in future posts. Stay tuned.

Don Cuevas


Steve Cotton said...

Too bad we missed one another there.

DonCuevas said...

Yes, too bad. We could have gone out for a fish dinner.;-)

Don Cuevas

DonCuevas said...

I hope to work on this blog today and begin to fill in the story.


Felipe Zapata said...

Actually, the temps in Pátzcuaro have been relatively mild for winter. It has not frozen even once. With luck, that will remain the same.

I've never been in Oaxaca. Maybe that will change one day. Enjoy yourselves.

DonCuevas said...

Thanks, that's good to know. We may return home in just over a week.


DonCuevas said...

You do know; Steve met us for lunch at Mariscos La Güera in Pátzcuaro and then came to our house for comida. That was several years ago.


Don Cuevas