This beautiful Oaxaca vacation rental home is perfect for groups, family reunions, weddings, retreats, educational workshops and other events. It is fully staffed and has a guesthouse for larger group expansion or independent travelers. Enjoy exploring markets, handicraft villages, ecological preserves, and ancient archaeological ruins.
The staff at Casa Raab will help your stay to be as pleasant and carefree as possible. We are certain that the beautiful surroundings, excellent cuisine, elegant accommodations, humorous staff and great swimming pool will make your visit to Casa Raab one of the most enjoyable vacations you have experienced.
The 40 acre estate is located in the foothills at 5,500' above sea level, in the rural Mexican village of San Pablo Etla, map it, just 20 minutes north of Oaxaca City... or 40 minutes to the airport.
Back in 1965 the Raab family went looking for adventure and a second life away from the US and the national troubles that were rampant during that time. Eventually arriving at the end of the road; Oaxaca, they found an ideal climate, great people, inexpensive living, a cultural appreciation for all of the arts, incredible food... So "Don Roberto" and "Donna Betty" bought 10 acres in the farmland north of Oaxaca and built Casa Raab over the 30 years they lived there.
Eventually, after Bob and Betty moved back north, son Tony added 30 more acres to the original 10. This created an ecological protection zone that is unique in the foothills surrounding the city of Oaxaca. He and his wife Rebecca live there now and manage the many aspects of an active little ranch... running the small B&B, the animal rescue program... and of course the growing of agaves for mescal production in our own still.
Staying at Casa Raab can be quite an experience. We try to create a total environment for you which includes a great staff and fine meals.
Meals are cooked for the groups renting the Casa Grande, and sometimes the Casita upon special request. The renters of the smaller Casita usually prepare their own meals, unless they are part of a large group renting both houses.
The first evening meal and breakfast are furnished for incoming guests. ($50 basic grocery stocking charge) In the morning, after their first breakfast, guests usually plan a three or four day menu. We will do the shopping and then prepare two meals per day (standard in Mexico). La Casita guests must provide food and groceries for themselves unless other arrangements are made in advance.
All meals are prepared using careful sanitary methods. We disinfect all produce as it enters the kitchen. The meals are eaten family style in the dining room. You will need to make your own arrangements for Sunday meals. Purified water is provided for drinking, brushing teeth, etc.
Oaxaca city is famous for its great cultural food... perhaps the most varied and special in Mexico. Fine restaurants are plentiful downtown.
Your safety and health are of the utmost importance to us and our local knowledge keeps us well informed of any possible problems in the greater area. Please ask about our current system for guarding your valuables.
US managers live just behind the kitchen in a little house, and are available to you, as well as looking out for your well being, throughout the trip. The village of San Pablo Etla is a friendly one, sharing a 45-year relationship with Casa Raab. Once you are in San Pablo, and especially on Casa Raab grounds, you can relax and enjoy the best of Mexico. The only threat to even consider in Oaxaca is petty thievery in a crowded public marketplace. Avoid this by leaving backpacks, purses, and wallets at the Casa. Carry only photocopies of your IDs and leave the originals at Casa Raab, locked up.
Cultural adventure is everywhere, and the kids will begin to absorb it as soon as they get off the plane. Our 40-acre estate will keep them busy exploring the foothills. Oaxaca City is child friendly, with plenty for them to do. Our Mexican staff members love children, and their extended families can supply baby-sitters if needed. Informal Spanish tutoring can be arranged for kids and/or adults.
The height of the holiday season (Christmas) certainly sees a large increase in tourists, both international and Mexican. The town pretty much fills up since Oaxaca from Christmas through New Years is quite special. Day of the Dead is weirdly spectacular and Easter more somber. When renting during the holiday season, not much changes out at the Casa. We honor the various special days, and sometimes the staff takes a day off. There is a lot happening in the various villages nearby, and you can always just stroll over to drifting music and socialize with the local villagers.
WiFi is broadcast over the entire compound. Cell phones work well. I-pads, pods, gizmos of all sorts seem to do just fine. Check with your provider before arrival to ensure that you will have the coverage that you want.
The basic staff consists of a groundskeeper, a maid and a cook. Additional staff is brought on when needed. The staff does not speak much English (or at least they pretend not to), but they get along very well with English speakers and language is never a problem. They like to act as personal tutors, and sometimes this humorous interaction is one of the highlights of the trip.
Oaxaca offers so many rich and rewarding experiences that the biggest problem is finding the time for everything. This is why we always recommend around 10 days for your trip... however many folks do come for shorter periods.
Flying into Oaxaca airport is simple. Either work with the schedules of any airline that goes to/through Mexico City (MC), or fly to Houston and take the (now) United flight directly to Oaxaca.
If you fly into MC you will have to clear both customs and immigration at the airport before boarding the flight to Oaxaca. Just follow the crowd and the signs and go through the process. If you fly into MC and land in terminal 2 you will have to take a monorail train to the main terminal. Again all this is well marked and agents are everywhere if you have questions. Once you are in the main terminal ask an agent where your flight to Oaxaca will leave from and then go there. Sometimes the departure gate will not be assigned until the final half hour. In this case just keep an eye on the information screens and you'll be fine.
If you fly from Houston directly to Oaxaca you will clear customs and immigration in Oaxaca.
We will advise you on the best way to get to Casa Raab depending on your particular situation.
Many families drive from Mexico City to Oaxaca. Casa Raab is just off the highway north of Oaxaca, so it is easy to get there without having to go to or through the city after a long day's drive. Just let us know in advance and we will send you driving instructions.
Weather, Clothing & Luggage
Oaxaca is famous for it's "eternal springtime" weather. The city is at 5,000 feet above sea level; about the same as Denver. Although far south, being in the mountains eliminates the temperature and humidity extremes that you would find at the coast. Plan on general temperatures ranging from the low 40s on the coldest winter nights, to mid-day high 90s in the hotter times. General daytime temps are in the 70s. The "layered" approach works well with a sweater if needed in the evening. Rainy season (June-July-August) may require a light jacket.
Since Oaxaca is a center for many arts and crafts you may want to bring home a small load of decorations, gifts, artwork and clothing. If this is a possibility, be sure to carry extra luggage for hauling those beautiful things back. Bringing some bubble wrap with you is a good idea if you plan on buying any pottery, fine art or carved wooden animals.
Oaxaca runs on cash, so plan for it. Money is best accessed with a debit card, cash or travelers checks - in that order. ATMs: Around $350 (usd) is available from your debit card in pesos on a daily basis. This saves you the trouble of changing money but multiple stops will be necessary. ATMs are plentiful, including one at the highway below Casa Raab. CASH: Dollars have to be changed into pesos at either a bank or a change window in Oaxaca. It is more and more difficult to change cash dollars these days and the limit can be as low a $500 usd and you must show ID. Usually, though, you can change $1,000 with no problem. TIP: If you come through Mexico City change a large amount of cash into pesos at the many service windows. This will save you time and trouble in Oaxaca. TRAVELERS CHECKS: Almost never used anymore, but if you have them it will take a passport to cash them at a bank or change window in Oaxaca.