Botanical Garden



Brittani, Houston, Texas (October 2018)


The week I spent in Oaxaca couldn't have been better, honestly. The Casa is a hidden gem of a place to stay- it's a series of beautiful and traditionally decorated rooms surrounding a gorgeous, green open space with a hammock and comfortable tables and seating surrounding it. And because weather in Oaxaca is amazing, I slept in my room with the windows and door open (screens closed) to enjoy the sounds of birds and a nice breeze.

The breakfast is great, with eggs cooked any way you want them (including all the mexican styles I knew nothing about!), fresh toasted baguettes, fresh fruit and fresh squeezed juices, all served by kind, wonderful ladies from Oaxaca. They'll also cook you a 3-course dinner daily which is fresh, healthy and delicious. It usually starts with a salad, then a soup, then a traditional hot meal item, and dessert. Also, Amado is there to make sure all of your activities are aligned and scheduled, and all your needs are met! So everything is taken care of for you!

I loved the flexibility of the program - I decided I wanted to take 1 hour yoga, 3 hours salsa, and 1 hour of Spanish classes every day and Alice was very thoughtful in aligning all of that (though she warned me that it was ambitious!). My private Yoga class in the morning was at the casa in the library, I'd then walk or cab it (50 pesos - so cheap!) To my salsa classes (indeed, 3 hours was a lot, but I loved taking private classes with Betty and Seymour!). After that I'd have a couple of hours of leisure to walk the city, grab lunch and a coffee, do some shopping, and head back to the casa for my Spanish lesson, a shower, and dinner at 7:30. Evenings were so beautiful, I enjoyed reading a book and even went to a restaurant one night for some late night social dancing, and everyone was so kind! Oaxacans are really some of the nicest people I've ever met, and the city is beautifully traditional, and the food delicious!

I love salsa, and Betty and Seymour are great teachers. They assessed my level the first day, and we went on learning from there! They are fun, kind, and very patient! I will definitely try to take classes with them again. Yoga with Alosja was great - she is truly a yoga master. Not only did I get more limber, but she easily explained to me how to better my practice and recognized all the adjustments I needed and where I lacked mobility. She also explained the neurological and physiological sciences behind her advice! Which, as an engineer, I appreciated, so I could better understand and apply the changes. Spanish classes with Carmen were awesome. She speaks Spanish and English perfectly, she knows grammar rules and studies language in university. I couldn't have had a better teacher!

Because I was traveling alone and female, I did take extra precautions, though the city is very safe. When walking, I kept my bag on the front side of me, to avoid being pick-pocketed. If I was out late at night, I took a cab home to avoid walking alone. But as I do in every country, I stay aware of myself and my belongings (particularly at night) - but honestly Oaxaca is one of the safest cities I have ever traveled to. I don't say this often about cities and places, but I will be back!! :)

Eric, Grand Rapids, Michigan (December 2014)


Alice, Thank you so much for your excellent service in arranging the dance study and homestay for us this past week. We had a a wonderful time that way surpassed our expectations. Beatriz at the dance academy is such an excellent dancer and teacher. Loved her. My cumbia rapidly got up to serviceable level and I sucessfully went out dancing on Friday night by myself and danced cumbia with several Oaxacan ladies and seemed to do quite well with the combinations, turns and transition from the rotating pattern to the lateral pattern. I was really ecstatic that I could go out confidenlty and make it happen. Of course it helps that I have quite a bit of dance experience and would never want to suggest that someone should expect to go from zero to comptent in 10 hours. But bravo! It also helped a great deal to move my lessons to the morning. Having the afteroon to dedicate to my sons turned out to be a great arrangement. The homestay was excellent as well. I had a private room and bath and my sons shared a room. We enjoyed meeting other people staying in the same spot. The family, Luis and Conchita, are top hosts. I highly recommend them. The only downside could be the distance to the dance school, but fortunately I am an avid walker and enjoyed that. Also, a taxi is cheap and sometimes I took a taxi home at midday just to save a little energy for afternoon stuff with my kids. As to the political tensions, it occasionally interfered with transportation. I think exposing North Americans to the political realities is actually good for them.

Charles, San Francisco, California (June 2014)


I had a wonderful time doing the salsa retreat in Oaxaca. My instructor Betty was an excellent teacher and very fun to work with, and she was patient with my "beginner" level skills. I looked forward to working with her for a 2 hour lesson every day! The retreat house was tranquil, comfortable and delightful, and just a short walk to the center of the city where all of the main tourist attractions are located. I'd recommend the salsa retreat to anyone interested in practicing salsa and enjoying the beautiful city of Oaxaca!

Colleen Keane, Albuquerque, New Mexico (June 2013)


For anyone who would like to learn Salsa and discover the beauty and history of Oaxaca, this is the retreat to go on. I had been stuck on a few basic steps in salsa before going on the retreat and in one week learned complicated turns and beginning arm movements. It gave me the passion and interest to keep learning and the confidence to hit the dance floor. The wonderful stay at the guest house, which is filled with rich Oaxacan art, gardens, flowers, birds, lovely patios and a library with books from around the world, made the experience most enjoyable and memorable.

Cherrie from San Diego, California (September 2012)


Thank you all for making my first trip to Mexico one of the most memorable trips of my life!!

It could not have been ANY better!!! I already want to go back! I booked the retreat through which I found online while researching dance vacations. Alice, the director, did an excellent job meeting all my needs and sharing information about what was available. The cost was very reasonable and all these items added up for me to book this retreat for myself! I did not even hesitate. I traveled alone and felt safe the whole time in Mexico.

The room at the guest house was a paradise amongst an amazing city with so much to offer. I had no idea what I was in for on my first trip, everyday was an adventure and the whole trip changed my life. The guest house was a big part of the enjoyment, I had privacy, beauty and comfort. The delicious breakfasts in the morning were an extra delight that was so appreciated to start my day. The staff is a delight and cheerful. They love what they do there and it shows. The lessons at the dance studio with Betty and Martin for my salsa instruction was just what I wanted and the main reason I booked the trip but so much more added to the experience, I can hardly put into words. I even took a side trip to Puerto Escondido and the manager at the guest house made it a breeze for me to fly there and aligned taxis to come and go during my stay. An extra bonus I so appreaceted since I do not speak any Spanish!!

I took photos with my iPhone and documented what I experienced in extraordinary Oaxaca Mexico, since words can fall short. Thank you all, I can't stop telling others and sharing my photos about my trip and hope if you are reading this and considering going to Oaxaca that you do it... do something extraordinary and experience this amazing city!!! You will be so happy you did!!

Cherrie La Porte California Artist


Brenda from Nassau, The Bahamas (July 2012)


Overall, I had a very good experience in Oaxaca. There was a group of artists staying at the hotel who were attending a workshop. I went out to dinner with them one evening and hung out with one of the female artist who is Mexican but lived in a different city. We went salsa dancing and got in after 2am! The other artists looked forward to hearing about our 'escapades' over breakfast the following morning. (smile)

I found both of the dance instructors professional and knowledgeable. I spent one hour with Betty and two hours with Martin. I especially enjoyed my sessions with Martin as I found him to be very personable and patient.

I totally enjoyed my yoga sessions with Alosja. Alosja was also very personable, professional and knowledgeable. We chatted between the sessions which also lended to the relaxed atmosphere.

Would I recommend this trip to anyone? Most definitely!

Would I return to Oaxaca in the future for another salsa session? Yes I would welcome the opportunity.

How would you describe the difference between the dancing you have experienced in Cuba with Salsa in Oaxaca? The difference between Cuba and Oaxaca is that Cuban style dancing is more for a social setting, say a house party or a salsa social event. While one can most certainly social dance the style taught in Oaxaca, the style of dancing in Oaxaca will be most beneficial to salsa dancers looking/seeking to compete, especially for the females as there are many arm placements and spins. While there are spins/turns in Cuban style the guy is normally holding either 1 or both hands so there is not much opportunity for hand styling. While I enjoy both, the style taught in Oaxaca is by far more graceful and elegant, to dance and watch. It's like watching the couples on "Dancing with the Stars" (smile)

Thank you for your kind assistance in organizing my trip.

Zeenat from Toronto, Canada (April 2012)


Hi Alice

I meant to write to you earlier. I just want to thank you for everything and let you know what a wonderful experience this was for me. The city was amazing, the Casa was fantastic, the lessons were excellent and Nicholas was great too. Everything was seamless and exceeded my expectations. Thank you again for making this such a special week. Zeenat

Lara from London, UK (November 2011)


Hi Alice! Just a quick email to let you know that everything went well and I had a wonderful time ! The hotel was perfect and salsa classes too ! And of course I'm in love with Mexico !!! Thank you for your great job :) Best, Lara

Kevin from San Francisco, CA (August 2010)


I loved the experience of being able to focus in a dedicated setting and away from my normal busy life. I was able to focus on salsa, cooking, and reading some books that I have always wanted to read, but didn't have the time and energy to do. Really a definition of a retreat! I was surprised by the presentation. I didn't realize that at the end of the retreat, there is a presentation to an audience. Initially, I was scared out of my wits. However, Betty walked me through the selection of the song and putting together the choreography, including intro, break, shine, and conclusion. While I am probably like most people where I don't plan on being a performer, this really was a great experience I didn't expect. I definitely miss the people I met in Oaxaca. Everyone I came across was very nice, whether they were from the studio, hotel, or the restaurant next to the studio. I went on this retreat on my own, so I didn't know what was available and what was not. I think it would have been better if I either 1) went on the group retreat first, or 2) did some more homework to plan out what I wanted to do beforehand besides salsa.

Frances, Seattle WA (September 2010)


A participant's blog entry about her experience during the September 2010 retreat @ Tee4Life

Angela from Deptford, NJ (September 2010)


Just thank you....Probably the best vacation I've taken. I enjoyed being so active and learned so much about the culture. Nicolas was fantastic so friendly and informative a great addition to the trip, never had any worries of transportation to remote locations. Alice planned everything nicely your day was full, with still time to spare for a small nap, the schedule was in the time....meals ....then dancing.....good pace. Francis was a fellow guest but was also a pleasant surprise.....thanks for all your dance input and the CD. :) Just what I was looking for and blessed with good company, hope to return soon.

Laurie from Seattle, WA (September 2009)


A wonderful experience. The place we stayed was lovely with beautiful grounds, a very relaxing atmosphere and fabulous home-cooked Mexican food 3 times a day. The salsa classes, about 2 hours every day, were really good and I learned a lot. There were 8 women in my retreat and everyone was great. Getting to know other folks who shared my interest in dance and Mexico was one of the best parts of the trip. Nicolas, the tour guide hired to show us around, did a fabulous job and really helped us get a good view of Oaxaca and the culture. I highly recommend this retreat!

Debra from Durango, CO (December 2009)


I was invited to attend the retreat by a friend of mine. I enjoyed the whole experience! Alice, the retreat organizer, is such a fun person to hang around with and she did an excellent job in all the planning. There were events planned throughout the week but it was also okay if we wanted to go do our own thing. Even if you aren't a dancer, you can learn to dance at your own pace, have fun in the city, make new friends, and just enjoy the atmoshpere. This retreat was one of the best vacations I have ever had!

Ann from Cortez, CO (December 2009)


To say that participating in Salsa Retreat is a life altering experience might seem a bit of an exaggeration, but then again, it’s all a matter of what you make of it and what you take away from it. Everything was top notch – the lovely accommodations and delicious food at guest house; our guide/driver extraordinaire – Nicolas; invigorating and rejuvenating daily yoga; and last, but definitely not least, the fabulous salsa dancing. The instructors were excellent teachers as well as super fun dance partners and just all-around terrific guys. And Betty, our lead instructor, was a true inspiration. Oaxaca is the perfect city for this retreat. With many world-class salsa dancers around it’s easy to find lots of dancing opportunities. There is plenty to do and experience from absorbing the local culture while sipping margaritas on the zocolo to exploring the botanical garden and surrounding indigenous communities to shopping for mole, mescal, huipils, and local crafts in the markets. Salsa Retreat was one of the most fun and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ll definitely be back for more!

Jennifer from Seattle, WA (January 2009)


I have traveled extensively in my life. The Salsa Retreat was truly one of the most unique and quality experiences I have had. From the simple beauty and charm of our accommodation, to the choice of dance and yoga instructors, local guides, and tours ... the retreat was organized really well, and the details arranged with lots of thoughtful, personalized touches that made me feel special and allowed me to relax and enjoy myself. Dancing Salsa was so fun with this crowd! I learned many new moves from the best! Beatriz is a top notch instructor, as are her staff. But it also felt like an exchange, as all of the instructors were from the area, and were fun, kind, and patient. I enjoyed meeting people who live in the community! When we went out on the last night, we were all out on the dance floor! The yoga provided a nice balance. Jenn is a great teacher and facilitated the class to really support our dancing, but also our individual needs and levels. Oaxaca is a beautiful, authentically Mexican city... a cultural center with lots to do and see from visiting ancient ruins, going to small crafts villages, to taking a cooking class. There are a few scheduled tours, and enough free time to pack more in if you’d like, or just relax in the garden. The food was spectacular! We even visited the program that supports local kids and where our collective donations will put a child through school for a year! If I had stayed longer, I would have volunteered there. I feel more confident and graceful in my dancing. I made some new friends from all over the world, many who live here in Seattle, and, I got to experience Oaxaca. What a great way to travel, explore and rejuvenate! An unforgettable and very special treat that I highly and thoroughly recommend!


Frances from Seattle, WA (January 2009)


A must do if you want a vacation that includes rest, relaxation, good food, exercise for mind and body as well as a cultural experience! This tour has a little bit of everything on top of all the yoga and dance. Oaxaca is an amazing place that is unlike the tourist oriented cities of Cancun or Playa Del Carmen. It is rich in culture and the people are hospitable and welcoming. The Oaxacan cuisine is simply amazing and the hot chocolate we were served every night is something I took back with me to Seattle as a practice. The guest house was a haven inside the city. A home away from home with a wonderful staff and a garden that is serene and quiet, protected from the hustle of the city around it. The tour is fantastic and alongside it, waking to yoga in the morning followed by a wonderful breakfast made to order is the best start to the day. Lunch is late in Oaxaca, but there is time to chill out or explore the city before heading over to Tumbao Academia for 2 hours of non-stop dancing - both individual footwork and with a partner. The yoga is a perfect compliment to the dancing - allowing the body to stretch and awaken in preparation for the dancing. The dancing culminates in a recital at the academia followed by dancing at La Candela with a live band and the company of the Tumbao troupe. I learned a lot about styling, footwork and made significant improvements to my partnering. Everyone loves to dance! I was able to work on my skills and feel confident in my ability to dance. All in all the trip was a blast! I would recommend it without hesitation and will definitely go again.


Thekla from Berlin, Germany (January 2009)


A wonderful experience. When I arrived in Mexico I had never even danced with a partner before. After 5 days of practice I was so happy and proud of my dancing together with my instructor. Oaxaca is a beautiful city, very colourful and lively. Yoga in the morning gave me the strength and the positive feeling for beeing open to such much input. I hope that I can come back again (I have eaten the chapulines, so maybe it will become true).


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