An overhanging pepper tree provides the perfect amount of dappled shade on El Barco's south patio.

An overhanging pepper tree provides the perfect amount of shade on El Barco’s south patio.

The following comments are lifted word-for-word from reviews of El Barco and La Casita posted on VRBO (to date there are 20 El Barco reviews; 100% are 5 stars):

El Barco:

Wonderful Experience

This property is a spectacular hideaway in the hills overlooking Oaxaca. The home is exquisite: decorated in the most beautiful manner possible with every nook and cranny filled with interesting local art and books about the surrounding countryside. It is warm and inviting with all the comforts of home. Quiet and peaceful, we enjoyed our time there and would recommend this home to anyone.
  • Stayed: May 2012
  • Recommended for: Families with young children, Sightseeing, Tourists without a car, Age 55+

Spacious and Comfortable

We three sisters stayed here for one month. The rooms, baths, and living areas are spacious and comfortable. The pool is convenient with beautiful design and views. Oaxaca can be accessed by public transportation, taxi, or car rental in 20-30 minutes. The village life is a welcome contrast to the noise and stimulation of the big city. Walking, hiking and enjoying the beautiful outdoors is a daily must. American neighbors are friendly and helpful, as are the native staff. We plan to return annually!
  • Stayed: April 2015
  • Recommended for: Sightseeing, Girls getaway, Tourists without a car, Adventure seekers, Age 55+, Families with teenagers

A better Home away from Home Mexican Retreat

Charming, comfortable, authentic and soulfull. It is easy to become native by catching the collectivo taxi in the village to take you downtown Oaxaca (40 mins). We loved finding our way Mexico style and relied heavily on locals to direct us and help us food shop (we spoke no Spanish). Neighbors, the manager and local staff were warm and friendly. Thanks to Gene & Melinda who live next door. Thanks to other neighbors for including us in their Day of the Dead celebrations and the Bodega Boys Band for entertaining us around the pool. We enjoyed two meals cooked by local help and enjoyed getting to know everyone in the area. We highly recommend our stay in this area and at the house. Thanks to Adele for making it all so easy.
  • Stayed: November 2014
  • Recommended for: Sightseeing, Girls getaway, Adventure seekers, Age 55+, Romantic getaway

Perfect Stay

Our stay was great. The house and surrounds were very comfortable, sensuous and endlessly interesting. Adele has a great sense of decor and a lovely collection of local crafts in the house and a warm sense of local country decor. Facilities are convenient and functional and the manager and local people exceedingly helpful and welcoming into their community. San Pablo Etla in my opinion was close enough to Oaxaca to be convenient but out in the country on the edge of town. The house has a nice view of the valley below. The climate was ideal – a bit hot late in the day it cooled right off early evening. Great pool. Not having been to Oaxaca before, the area made a deep impression on us for its rich traditions in the arts, crafts, culinary, and historic interest, and not least the people we met were great. Feel like it would be an honor to be welcomed back, and look forward to it. Loved the Ruins, the mountain pine forests, market in Tlacolula, birdwatching with Bill, shopping for crafts, and our guide/driver/companion Sebastian.
  • Stayed: March 2014
  • Recommended for: People with disabilities, Pet owners, Sightseeing, Girls getaway, Adventure seekers, Age 55+, Romantic getaway, Families with teenagers

Great place! Exceeded expectations.

Our group of eight rented both the main house and casita at El Barco to celebrate my 50th birthday and dia de los muertos. The place is magical! It is beautiful, charming, comfortable and nicely located beyond the urban reaches of downtown Oaxaca. Property manager Florencio was attentive and helpful in getting us settled-in and his wife, Sarai, prepared three delicious meals for us during our stay. Initially we were concerned about transportation since El Barco is a few miles from Oaxaca. We opted not to rent a vehicle and have no regrets with that decision. We enlisted the services of Sebastian to shuttle our group all over the area and act as our de facto tour guide. We can’t say enough good things about Sebastian! He bent over backwards for us and made our visit truly unforgettable! My only hesitation in writing this very positive review is that it may make it more difficult to book El Barco again in the future! Great place and wonderful people! Thank you!
  • Stayed: October 2013

Beautiful, Relaxing and Welcoming Home

Our family of four absolutely loved our stay at this home. It is such a sweet place with something beautiful everywhere you look. The beds were super comfy – my 6 year old has never slept better! We enjoyed the gorgeous pool, meals on the back patio surrounded by lush plants and beautiful views, and hikes on nearby trails (meeting friendly neighbors collecting firewood with their donkeys along the way). The owner, Adele, was super helpful in recommending nearby activities for the kids (they enjoyed a week of horseback riding camp). The manager, Florencio, was very welcoming. We look forward to returning!
  • Stayed: July 2013
  • Recommended for: Families with young children, Sightseeing, Adventure seekers, Age 55+, Romantic getaway, Families with teenagers

A Home Away From Home!

Staying here at ‘Casa El Barco’ was absolutely lovely! I traveled with my sister and mom and the three of us had a 4-day getaway in Oaxaca over Thanksgiving. The house had everything to make it a relaxing, creative, colorful and inspiring experience fully set in a Oaxacena traditional scene: artwork, crafts, furnishings, sculpture, kitchen pottery, fireplace, books books books, outdoor patio with lush gardens, a tree house, swimming pool, an area where locals meet one evening for guitar and singing and chilling with mezcal, and very courteous and enjoyable drivers who were informative guides to Monte Alban and nearby markets. Even the bathrooms were elegantly decorated and pleasant to be in! It’s dangerous to come to a house so lovely and well-equipped up in the mountains of Oaxaca, it might make you not want to leave (I read a book from their bookshelf, Oliver Sacks’ Oaxaca Journal cover to cover in one sitting on the sofa, and would love to return for a longer visit with a large group of friends to enjoy the pool in a warmer season!)
  • Stayed: November 2012
  • Recommended for: Families with young children, Girls getaway, Romantic getaway

Great Time! beautiful house!

I am from mexico and traveled from NY to Oaxaca to celebrate Day of the Dead. We were so happy to connect with Adele and to find this warm and beautiful house were we could cook and relax as well as drive down to the city. The views are beautiful and nights are peaceful. The grounds are extremely well taken care of and full of native flowers, lemon trees and rain gardens. Because of the changing weather of Oaxaca at this time of year we used the fireplace as well as the pool so it was great that the house was equipped for both cold and warm weather. One of the best part was the separate guest house were I was able to stay with my husband away from the other guests, so it provided us with some privacy, while allowing us to share the common spaces of the house. I highly recommend it!
  • Stayed: October 2012

La Casita:

Beautiful retreat from which to explore Oaxaca

The casita is a tasteful, comfortable space that served us very well. The open living room has an exquisite fireplace in the corner that, on the chill evenings, was a delight to dine beside and enjoy a quiet, romantic evening. The kitchen is “muy Mexicano”, user friendly and fully equipped. A small but complete bathroom lies off the kitchen, filled with thoughtful touches of art and function. The bedroom (s) are comfortable and clean. We chose to occupy the “optional” extra bedroom with it’s lovely view out over the valley and were able to hear owls at night and lovely song birds and doves during the day. The grounds of the complex are beautifully maintained and designed. The small community consists of 3 major dwellings along the ridge, with extensive views out over the valley. The swimming pool is shared and also of tasteful design. We were able to access the laundry room beside the casita, which was very useful indeed. Finally, we found the owner and managers to be friendly, supportive and highly responsive to any needs or cares that came up for us. Highly recommended.
  • Stayed: March 2015

Surrounded by beauty

The two of us have just checked out of La Casita and have been dropped off back in town by Lupe, the excellent taxi driver recommended to us during our stay.  La Casita provided a lovely, countryside refuge after two weeks in Oaxaca City.   We enjoyed every minute of our time–cooking vegetables purchased at market in a lovely kitchen looking out on a small inner garden, eating in the warm outdoors surrounded by bird calls and fresh breezes, walking the mountain trails and the quiet roads into the villages, and meeting so many fascinating people who gave us the warmest of welcomes and made us feel immediately a part of a very vibrant community. Wherever we looked at La Casita we were surrounded by beauty–the house itself is filled with examples of the various arts of Oaxaca and surrounded by well-kept gardens; at the pool, views stretch out across the valley to the distant mountains; and then there’s always the Oaxacan sky. If you do not have a car and are thinking of renting one, let me encourage you to think again. You are bound to enjoy being free of a vehicle. The walk to either of the nearby villages is very easy. There you will find good friendly greetings from the residents, very inexpensive internet service, stores to supply all your basic needs (including fresh fruits and vegetables), and plenty of mototaxis and taxis if you decide to go further than your own legs want to take you. Definitely plan to take a half day at least to visit San Augustin Etla, home of a paper factory and an extraordinary art gallery–extraordinary for both its architecture and the quality of exhibits it hosts.
  • Stayed: December 2011
  • Recommended for: Sightseeing, Girls getaway, Tourists without a car, Adventure seekers, Age 55+, Romantic getaway

Refreshing “Re-treat”

The moment you arrive at this casita you are completely charmed. The driveway is sensitively landscaped with varieties of agave, cacti, echeveria and other succulents. Open the front door and another picturesque view unfolds onto a stone courtyard complete with fireplace, relaxing furniture and a step down to a sunny dining area. The bedroom, kitchen and bathroom appear as they do in the photos. However, it’s not until you are actually there that you realize everywhere in the casita is a feast for the eyes. Windows frame a verdant landscape while a bedroom screen door offers a glimpse of a mini-courtyard complete with gurgling fountain and hot-pink bougainvillea. Mexican art – pottery, elaborately embroidered cushions, basketry, glazed tiles — are authentic touches that attest to the cultural talent of this region. Fresh long stemmed calla lilies are on the outdoor table as well as kitchen table and bedroom console. An assortment of fresh fruit is offered in a bowl in the kitchen. Towels, for both the pool and bathroom, are plush and bed linens are of a very fine quality. An easy drive from the town of Oaxaca, this casita is a refreshing “re-treat” at the end of a busy day. The swimming pool is long enough to swim lengths and just glamorous enough to hold a mirror to the magnificent sunsets.
  • Stayed: February 2011
  • Recommended for: Girls getaway, Adventure seekers, Age 55+, Romantic getaway

Read many more reviews on VRBO. All El Barco reviews are here; La Casita reviews are here.