Maybe you’ve seen San Miguel. But have you seen Mexico? If you need to get off the tourist trail try experiencing life in a real Mexican rancho by renting this get-away just minutes from San Miguel.
The village lies high above San Miguel at the foot of the Picacho Mountains. A reservoir created by a 400-year-old stone dam draws a daily procession of livestock to its shore. Horses, sheep, goats and cattle all water here daily, then move up to graze on the slopes of the Picachos. Near the reservoir (‘presita”) sits Huisaches Escondido, a house designed by two American artists and lovingly built by the abaniles of the village.
The house sits on a quarter-acre lot surrounded by a brick and iron fence. The main gate is a cattail motif, designed by one of the artists. Inside the gate is secure parking, enough for at least two cars. The striking two-story house nestles against a mature pirul or pepper tree, which lends its fragrant shade to the south of the house. In front you can follow paths through a lovely cactus garden, then cross a natural stone patio. You approach the house under a Spanish-tile porch and enter through a custom crafted colonial style door.
The downstairs living room is a cozy, round conversation nook under a stunning boveda ceiling. Relax on the built-in cushioned couch and enjoy a wood fire on a cool mountain evening. There’s also a gas heater in this space to take the chill off. But the house itself is your friend here because the walls are built with “sillar’, a natural stone with excellent insulating properties. The house stays warm during those cool mountain nights and holds the cool during the hot Mexican days, much like an adobe house.
The kitchen is set in shades of green tile with a contrasting patterned border. It’s fully equipped so you can make yourself at home right away by cooking your favorite Mexican meal. All dishes and utensils are at hand. A gas stove and refrigerator with ample counter space makes working in this kitchen easy. Two bar stools provide seating at the peninsular counter, which separates the kitchen from the four-chair dining room.
At the rear of the first floor you will enter a cool, blue bedroom to find built-in closets and a custom-made bed with carved headboard, all crafted by the local carpenters. The bedspread is made from hand-loomed fabric in traditional Mexican pattern. The windows face onto the “hidden Huisaches” which give the place its name. These trees hold their color all year and create a shady, green refuge behind the house.
A separate utility room off the back patio has an electric washing machine, ready for your use. The water system is pressurized so you will be able to enjoy a good hot shower every morning in the main floor bathroom. It features cream-white talavera tile, a multichrome ceramic bowl sink, and a hand-carved mirror frame.
Ascend the curving stairs outside the front door to the studio space upstairs. This space has been tailored to make this rental an ideal artist’s or writer’s retreat. The studio is set up with two separate workspaces on either end, both with track lighting and excellent views. A half bathroom and utility sinks are there for your convenience. A queen-size futon can be used to accommodate two guests, bringing the total occupancy to four persons.
A spiral staircase provides access to the roof terrace where the large pirul tree provides rooftop shade as you take in the views from this unique property. The terrace is perfect for viewing the procession of animals moving up from the presita and past the iron “cattail” gate. The views both down the valley and up towards Eagle Canyon are spectacular. In a short while you begin to move with the rhythms of life in the rancho.
This is a house for those who are looking for something different than just staying in town with the San Miguel tourist flock. Spend your days and long afternoons enjoying the excitements and flavors of the city, then fly away in the evening to your home in the village to taste the other side of Mexico. Or enjoy quiet days at the casita and come into town for dinner. Either way, it’s only a short 15-minute ride, and a taxi will take you there if you need it. There is also daily bus service to and from San Miguel.
Stay with us at this hidden jewel. Find another life in Mexico. Hike the Picacho Mountains. Put your feet up on the roof patio and enjoy a cool drink while you take in the view. Experience the buzz of San Miguel on your own time and then return home to the Hidden Huisaches.
Busses 6 times daily, call for taxis.
One week minimum stay. No pets allowed. A security deposit is required, refundable at the end of stay if no damage or breakage.
This is a sweet li'l casita in "el campo," with comfy bedrooms, a simple but nicely appointed kitchen, roomy bathroom, cheery, secured yard, and 3 different outdoor sitting/gazing areas. The no-frills, rural town of Alcocer is not for everyone; I can see why it's billed as an artists' "retreat." Our friend who lives in SMA was puzzled at our choice of location, but it's what we wanted: an authentic area outside the "centro" where we could get away from it all but still get to town. We enjoyed walking through the "barrio," saying and hearing "Hola! Buenos dias!" from nearly everyone. We visited the 3 "tienditas" that had surprisingly good produce (as well as junk food). We slept and woke (!) each day to the honking, cackling, and baying of donkeys, roosters, dogs, sheep, and cows. Our kids played soccer with the local children. We also appreciated Mario and Macrena, the property caretakers who checked on us at just the right intervals and were very patient with my Spanish. We never did get the hang of the bus from Alcocer: the "horario" seemed to change daily! But we managed.
Our Stay at Artist's Retreat was a real joy. The description given regarding the house itself and surrounding environment is very accurate and complete. What few times we had to contact the owner, replies were prompt and to the point. The local caretaker and housekeeper were efficient and our interaction with them added greatly to enjoyment. Use of public transportation and taxis to and from San Miguel required some prior planning, but we found the experience to be both enjoyable and exciting. We would highly recommend this residence to anyone wishing for a stay in rural Mexico.
We went to Alcocer to write and relax; this house was a perfect setting for that. The studio space on the second floor was a fantastic space to work or just daydream looking out over the mountains. The listing is accurate. The house is really lovely and well-maintained. There was a problem with the sink one day and both Stefanie and Mario, the local caretaker of the house, were very helpful; the problem was fixed right away. Alcocer is tiny, rural, and beautiful. We loved hanging out in San Miguel during the day and heading back to tranquil Alcocer at night. It felt like home from the moment we got there and we hope to return someday soon!
Professional watercolorist married to a tall batik painter living an unconventional life between Paducah, KY and Mexico. Life's never quite the way you imagine it.