El Volador is a very…very relaxed spot. The writing on the door suggests it opens at 8am but we have yet to see it open anytime before 9am. The young man who is in charge every day is just as cool as a cucumber and all of his friends that come by for coffees and everyone else who comes by for coffees is just really relaxed. Every time Rich comes back from having an espresso there he is just floating a little bit.
El Volador is a very tiny café right on a corner surrounded by a very quiet courtyard. Across is a tiny music school where you often hear students practicing, who all seem to be quite accomplished. In the evening the pedestrian courtyard which doesn’t get a lot of throughtraffic is filled with little boys running around and riding their bikes. In the corners teenage couples cuddle for literally hours, giggling and holding on to each other for dear life.
In the middle of the square is the Cruz de Piedra or Cross made of rock and often this area is more recognized by that name than its actual name Calle Xototl. At one end of the area is the old aqueduct that makes its way for quite a while along Calle Rufino Tamayo into the Xochimilco neighbourhood where all the weavers used to be based but today only a handful remain. This aqueduct supplied water to the city until 1941 and today there are several homes and stores built around the arches which are also made of Oaxaca’s famous green stone.
El Volador, like the buildings that surround it, is a one story building, painted in bright yellows, blues, reds and oranges. There are several painted ceramic tiles on the walls and cactus planted in pots outside windows. You have a choice to sit outside the café on one of the several tiny but surprisingly comfortable wooden chairs, or inside to escape the heat. Inside you can admire the painting on the backwall, a sort of smiley face smoking a cigarette.
The hot chocolate, like all hot chocolate in Oaxaca really, was very nice. I had this one with milk and it was rich and creamy. The hot chocolates here are not sweet but they aren’t bitter either…just right. If you would prefer a coffee El Volador uses their own coffee beans which the owner Alvaro gets from his family’s organic coffee plantation. If you’re lucky you might even see the neighbours dogs out. All three are very cute but one apparently can walk on his hind legs while smiling.
Verdict: Definitely worth the detour. Apparently their brownies are excellent too. El Volador, Calle Xolotl on the corner right next to the statue, Oaxaca, Mexico