I stayed for extended periods at Villa Maria in July and December of 2009. I rented a nice three bedroom apartment in July; however, if you wanted to make use of the other two, a fifty dollar fee was charged for each one. It is a quiet complex even though there are two bars on each end of the street. At night, it is very dark and I was warned by Oaxacans that I shouldn’t walk alone. Of course, in the daytime, with the constant traffic, it is quite safe. Two friends came to visit me and Maria charged us fifty dollars per night. I learned of Villa Maria from some of her regular visitors and when I spoke to Maria by telephone, she stated that since I was friends of her regulars, I was most welcome and quoted a reasonable price for the rental of a small apartment. Before I commit myself to a three or four week rental, I like to see what I am getting into so I rented elsewhere until I could see Villa Maria. I rang her bell and a very rude woman came out in blue night gown and when I stated that I would like to see the patio, she almost slammed the door in my face. Nevertheless, when planning my next visit, I spoke to her and sent my deposit and upon arriving there, I found that the small apartment was much too small and rented the three bedroom one on the second floor. I mentioned that she had almost slammed the door in my face and she stated, “I must have thought you were Mexican.” I am Hispanic and teach at a university in the United States. She is accustomed to renting to a loyal group of people mostly from Canada and from the United States.
Nevertheless, I rented for a month and when some friends, colleagues from my university visited, she asked if they could pay $50 dollars per night and I stated that they could. So, while they arrived, she charged them $200.00 dollars to stay with me in my apartment! When I visited in December, I decided to stay in the small apartment and learned from other tenants that when their friends or relatives visited, she would charge them fifty dollars for an additional bedroom—not a bad deal. When I mentioned this to her, she denied having charged my friends for each day they stayed with me. I wrote to my friends and they sent her a letter attesting to the fact that Maria had indeed charged an additional $200 dollars for an apartment which had already cost me $600 dollars. She was extremely annoyed and reluctantly refunded the money even though she stated that she had no recollection of having imposed such a fee. Also, when I was leaving the apartment, she came in and stated that it was customary to leave each employee twenty dollars to motivate them. If she has four employees, that amounts to an extra $80 dollars. She should pay them a decent salary herself! When I brought this up on my second visit, she admitted that she shouldn’t have done this—it literally amounted to extortion. Also, on my second visit, she had raised the amount of rent from $380.00 to $480.00 for the small apartment and she stated that she had been charging that sum for years. Well, thanks to GMAIL, I showed her my initial correspondence in which she had quoted $380.00.
At night, she turns off all of the lights and if you come in late, the courtyard is quite dangerous. It is really just a walk through because there is no place to sit. An 80 year old woman who has lived there for over 20 years, stumbled on one of the uneven paths and broke her arm. That same woman has created a nice roof-top garden which she shares with others. Otherwise, there would be no amenities other than a clothes line and a sink in which to wash.
Villa Maria is clean and secure and if you are white and are willing to go along with Maria’s quirks, no problem; however, beware of extortion. She makes use of the Internet for her business and still charges each apartment twenty dollars for the use of it—something which should be included in the rent.
Privacy is almost non-existent because one must walk in front of each apartment to get in or out of your rooms. Nevertheless, it is a pleasant place and if you are careful when you walk through the property so that you don’t fall, you shouldn’t experience too many difficulties. I don’t think that Maria realizes that the demographics of the United States are changing and that she will have to adapt to many more Hispanic and Black tourists who visit Oaxaca. I can still recommend Villa Maria, but with many reservations.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.