Why you’ll love El Diablo y La Sandia
This welcoming B&B in the heart of Oaxaca is a fun and inviting place to base yourself when exploring one of Mexico’s most magical towns. With just five bedrooms, it’s cosy and homely with the added benefit of a large communal kitchen at your disposal – handy when travelling with kids!
The property is owned and run by Maria, a Guadalajara native who spent time living in London, U.K., before putting down roots in Oaxaca. She became so fond of London that she choose the B&B’s name, El Diablo y La Sandia because she wanted a name that sounded similar to a traditional a “British Pub”!
There’s a living room with a selection of books and a small television, a bougainvillea filled courtyard and a small upstairs terrace that overlooks the neighbouring cobbled streets. An activity board offers ideas of where to go and what to do but largely you are left to your own devices here, free to treat the property as your very own home away from home.
Why the kids will love El Diablo y La Sandia
We travelled to Oaxaca from Mexico City for Easter with our two children, then aged 5 and 3, and my parents who were visiting from the UK. Many of the hotels in Oaxaca’s old town (the only part of town you really want to be staying in) are expensive, especially during the holiday periods. Given that we were going to spend a lot of time out exploring the sights, I wanted somewhere both wallet- and family-friendly, and this British-inspired B&B was just the ticket.
The rooms are small but Maria was very relaxed about us having the two kids in the room with us. There isn’t a lot of space, however, so once the kids get bigger we would have to get two rooms. Fortunately two rooms on the ground floor, Corazon and Catrin, are inter-connecting. My parents took the one and only room upstairs and enjoyed more privacy, away from the communal courtyard.
The room rates include a very good breakfast but there are no other meal options available. We used the kitchen a couple of times to whip up quick meals for the kids, which was definitely handy. There’s little here for the kids (apart from the TV in the living room that our two quickly commandeered) but as a friendly, budget place to stay, we couldn’t have picked a better spot.
There are just five rooms, four on the ground floor that open onto the courtyard and one upstairs.
The ground floor rooms are: Arpa, Corazon (inter-connecting with Catrin), Catrin and Sirena
All rooms come with either a king size bed or two twin beds, private bathroom and a fan (no air-conditioning).
The rooms are simply furnished with whitewashed walls, colourful textiles and traditional decorations. Each room has its own umbrella and sun hat(s) that are yours to use for the duration of your stay.
Upstairs is Luna, which is slightly bigger than the other rooms and enjoys more privacy.
Best rooms for families: Luna is a good option as it’s slightly bigger than the downstairs rooms, although you then have stairs to navigate which is not ideal if you’re travelling with toddlers. Any of the downstairs rooms work for families with young children (you will need to bring your own cot). If travelling with older kids then you’ll have to take two rooms.
Breakfast is served daily at the large communal table in the courtyard. When we stayed we enjoyed scrambled eggs, pancakes and molletes, a traditional Mexican breakfast of refried beans on bread and topped with melted cheese. Bread and jams, fresh fruit and juices are also served.
No other meals are offered (or snacks) but the kitchen is free to use through the day.
For Kids: There are no dedicated kids’ menus but the kitchen is available for you to use.
Activities for Parents: The B&B can help organise paragliding flights and offer advice on what to see and do in Oaxaca itself. We visited the ruins of Monte Alban, took a tour around the Botanic Gardens, sampled mezcal at a Mezcaloteca and took at cooking lesson at Seasons of My Heart.
Activities for Kids: Oaxaca is an easy place to explore with kids owing to its compact size. Our kids love Monte Alban, visiting the biggest (widest) tree in the world, the colourful displays at the textile museum and using the swimming pool at the nearby Quinta Real Hotel swimming pool.
Common rooms, doctors & hospitals, extra beds, inter-connecting rooms, pushchair friendly, travel desk, WiFi.
When to go:
Oaxaca City lies in a valley at an altitude of 1,524m (5,000 ft) and enjoys year-round warm weather. Days can get hot and evenings chilly, so best to pack layers. Christmas and Easter are particularly popular so if you’re planning to visit then, make sure to book well in advance. The rainy season falls from July to October with September being the wettest month. During these months the mornings are usually clear, with clouds and showers arriving in the afternoon. The state’s most famous folk dance festival, Guelaguetza, occurs on the last Monday in July.
Location & Travel:
El Diablo y La Sandia is located in the heart of Oaxaca, just a few blocks from the zocalo, the main town square.
There are direct flights to and from Mexico City daily and regular international flights to Houston, Texas. Other destinations within Mexico include Merida, Cuernavaca and Guadalajara. The airport, Xoxocotlan International Airport, is located 17km from the centre of town. From Mexico City, it’s roughly a 5.5 hour drive through spectacular countryside and along well-maintained highways.
1) Check with the neighbouring Quinta Real Hotel if you can use their pool, we spent a couple of afternoons there for a small fee.
2) Don’t miss the ruins at Monte Alban, it’s a fantastic place to explore with kids.
3) Make sure to take the tour of the Botanic Gardens (the only way you can see them), it’s very well done and even my 5-year-old enjoyed it!