Considerations when renting an apartment or house in Oaxaca are different than pondering a one-week commitment to lodge in a hotel or bed & breakfast accommodation.
Travelers to Oaxaca, whether tourists seeking lodging for a month or two, or those contemplating a more permanent move, are best advised to not rent or lease long distance, sight unseen. Luxury accommodations usually excepted, the pitfalls of renting longer-term over the internet or phone, if a substantial deposit is required, out-weigh the benefits.
Renting a house or an apartment in Oaxaca deserves the most careful consideration, especially by travelers who have not previously spent much time in the city and accordingly are not familiar with issues which should be considered. Will there always be sufficient water? What will night-time noise be like? How close are the nearest food stores and public transportation? What’s the quality of internet and telephone service? The questions are, or at least should be, numerous.
Water as a Consideration When Renting an Apartment or House in Oaxaca
Availability of municipal water in Oaxaca is a problem. And it becomes a greater issue every year. When contemplating rental accommodations, one ought to consider the size of the cistern, if in fact there is one, and whether or not it will have to be shared with other tenants. If there is no cistern, then there must be at least a tinaco (tank) on the ground and / or on the roof. How large is it?
Depending on the time of year, and the neighborhood, municipal water arrives as often as a couple of times a week, and as infrequently as once every two or three weeks. If one has only a single, thousand liter tinaco, consider the implications, based on average adult consumption of 200 liters daily. What happens if the building consists of four two-bedroom apartments, with a single seven thousand liter cistern feeding four, one thousand liter tinacos?
Of course water trucks, known as pipas, are always winding their way through Oaxaca, servicing houses, apartments and businesses. But water costs money, as others in North America will appreciate soon enough. The smaller the cistern or tinaco, the more expensive the cost of water.
When Renting in Oaxaca, Consider Neighborhood Noise
Downtown Oaxaca lodging rentals have their unique set of noise issues. Traffic congestion, street construction, parades, and fireworks each create noise. Remember that noise bylaws are either non-existent, or generally not enforced in Oaxaca. Of course ear plugs are a potential solution, if one wishes to go that route.
In the suburbs, towns and villages, rental accommodations have their own auditory idiosyncrasies. Reveling during fiesta time tends to be louder and extend later into the night. Rather than hearing car horns and buses, one is more likely to be awoken by barking dogs, donkeys and roosters. Fireworks do not prefer urban versus suburban neighborhoods, but they do tend to appear louder when the lodging is in or near a valley.
As a rule, suburban sounds are more diverse, numerous and frequent than city noises, since commercial enterprises tend to send cars, motorcycles and trucks from home to home, horns and loudspeakers advertising, individually, sale of tortillas, water, propane, fruit, bread and pastries, and more.
Proximity of Stores, Markets and Buses to an Apartment or House Rental in Oaxaca
Proximity of stores and markets to a rental home or apartment, for most tourists in Oaxaca should perhaps be the least important consideration. Oaxacan economics, lifestyle and worldview impact on the existence of variety stores and neighborhood markets. As such, there are tiny mom-and-pop stores along virtually every block on every city and town street, selling the staples; and fruit & vegetable markets are almost as prevalent, either permanent or once-a-week outdoor marketplaces.
Oaxaca has an excellent public transportation system, with maps showing major bus routes available at many hotels and bed & breakfast accommodations, and from Amate Books on M.Alcalá. Accordingly, there should not be an issue finding lodging which is more than a couple of blocks from a bus stop. Taxis are common, no matter how small or isolated the neighborhood.
Phone, Internet, Television: Oaxaca Home and Apartment Rental Considerations
Telephone service, internet connection and television are essentials one tends to take for granted. However, they ought not to be simply assumed to be available when one is seeking rental accommodations in Oaxaca. Just because an apartment advertises WIFI does not guarantee it will be working 24 hours a day. Many households in Oaxaca do not have stationary phones. But when it comes to television, it’s almost always a given, no matter how humble the household. Satellite in Oaxaca tends to provide inferior service to cable.
The Solution to Finding Longer-Term Rental Accommodations in Oaxaca
The solution to finding an apartment or house to rent in Oaxaca, that will not disappoint, is simple. Begin by renting in a hotel or bed and breakfast for about a week, and use that time to find accommodations which address the above and other considerations satisfactorily. Confirm that management will assist.
Visit the Oaxaca Lending Library to obtain advice from English speaking residents of the city. Knock on doors with rental signs, look in newspapers, and go online. Ask all the right questions, walk the neighborhood, and then carefully consider before committing.