As you would expect, word of mouth is often the best way to find something good! Since the apartment that I booked online is only available for May, I spent a few days looking for a place to move to in June.
My preference was to find one place for all of June-Sept. so that I wouldn’t have to keep moving around, which can be disruptive (I want to focus on my work). In October I’m thinking of travelling a bit before I come to the U.S. for a conference in California.
I looked in several places: Craigslist, Oaxaca Times, and print listings in the Oaxaca Lending Library. When I went to the newcomer orientation there (they have it every Monday morning), a very nice woman named Gerry was leading the orientation. She’s an American who has lived in Oaxaca for 15 years. Since I was the only person who came, we focused on my immediate need to find another place to live.
She very kindly took me to a place down the street where she knew the caretaker. This place doesn’t advertise online. I looked at several options there. I had also visited a few places on my own, mostly tourist-oriented places that combine short-term hotel-like stays with slightly longer furnished apartment stays in the same facility. Of course those places tend to charge more and some of them charged almost as much as I would pay in New England!
She also told me about a woman named Michelle who she thought had an apartment available nearby. She looked up her contact info and emailed it to me later.
Well, it turned out that Michelle’s place was just what I was looking for! She is from Chicago and has lived in Oaxaca for about 3 years. The apartment for rent is where her brother was living and she is subletting it for him while he is away for a few months. She lives next door to this apartment (which is handy… living next to another English-speaking person who’s been here for a while is appealing!)
The timing works out well because he’s returning around the time I want to leave. And the apartment is really great! Here’s what I like about it:
- It’s in a neighborhood with more trees than where I an now.
- It’s near a small park (see photo above).
- It’s near the Oaxaca Lending Library (English-language)
- It’s near the Zócalo (center town square where everyone hangs out).
- It’s near a restaurant with plenty of vegetarian options (100% Natural… a chain throughout Mexico, but a good one!)
- It’s got incredibly high ceilings and is in a very old building with lots of interesting details.
- It’s got a lot of outlets everywhere, the kind with 3 prongs. (I do have adapters with me, just in case).
- The price is right and includes utilities and wifi. I’ll be paying 5,000 pesos per month, which works out to about $415/mo U.S.
- If the internet is not strong enough for any reason, she has offered to let me order a new installation which I will pay about $45/month for. She can set it up in her brother’s name and he’ll take it over when he returns. The prices for cable internet are similar to what you would pay in the U.S.
- She has offered to let me spend some time there this month testing the connection so I can decide whether to get my own installation, so I’m going there tomorrow with my Macbook Air to test it for a while.
- Other handy things: a nearby pharmacy with an ATM machine, purified water delivery for very low cost, garbage gets taken out for a very low cost, laundry nearby where you can drop off your clothes and pick them up later.
- Bedding, sheets, towels, fan and kitchenware all included.
Possible negative things:
- It will probably be a bit noisy, since the bedroom balcony looks out over a busy street. But it’s something I’m willing to live with, since I like living in cities, rather than out in the countryside or suburbs.
- I could have rented something about $100 cheaper and much smaller, but I just didn’t love the layout of those places compared to this one. This one just feels right.
- The kitchen and bathroom are really small and not quite as nice as where I am now, but they are good enough for me. I don’t spend a lot of time cooking anyway, just making smoothies and salads.
Here are a few photos.