The Best of San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca | Magic Mushrooms, Mystical Mountains, & More (2023 Guide)
Nestled in the Sierra Sur, the magical and powerful mountain range south of Oaxaca City, lies a small pueblo tucked away in a cloud forest. Three hours from Oaxaca, find the magic that is San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca. This village is known for its psychedelic mushrooms, trails that twist through pristine pine forests, and a place where ancient ceremonies are practiced. Welcome to the land of Magic Mushrooms, a place of transcendence.
This San Jose del Pacifico travel guide includes: how to get to San Jose del Pacifico, tips for visiting, things to do, and where to eat and stay in the village.
If you have enough time, make sure to visit the magical villages that are close to San Jose del Pacifico.
This is a complete guide to San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca, one of the best places to visit in Oaxaca State.
Table of Contents
- How to Get to San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
- San Jose del Pacifico Travel Tips
- Things to Do in San Jose del Pacifico
- San Jose del Pacifico Restaurants & Where to Eat
- Where to Stay in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
- Adorable Villages Near San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
- The Complete San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca Travel Guide
How to Get to San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca By Bus
San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca is located midway between Oaxaca City and the rustic coastline dotted with some of Oaxaca’s best beach towns. There are two bus companies that run between Oaxaca City and the coast: Eclipse 70 and Lineas Unidas. Each bus company makes stops and takes a quick break in San Jose del Pacifico.
These small minivans twist through the mountains and are referred to as “vomit comets.” If you get motion sickness, it’s best to take some kind of tablet before the ride, like Dramamine. I’ve witnessed many people getting sick on these speedy vans, including a woman who literally puked in my removed shoe.
Oaxaca to San Jose del Pacifico By Bus
For some reason, I always gravitated to using Lineas Unidas bus company. Here’s detailed information on the route between Oaxaca, Pochutla, and Zipolite.
🚐 Oaxaca to San Jose del Pacifico Public Transportation | Catch Líneas Unidas in the direction of Pochutla in Oaxaca here: Bustamante 601, Centro | Departure: Every 30 minutes from 3:00 a.m. | One-Way Ticket: $180 pesos per person ($10 USD) | Duration: 3.5 hours | Verify the Schedule here on Facebook
Zipolite to San Jose del Pacifico By Bus
It’s easy to visit San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca after enjoying one of the best nude beaches in Mexico: Zipolite.
🚐 Zipolite to San Jose del Pacifico Public Transportation Logistics | Catch Líneas Unidas in the direction of Oaxaca here: Playa Zipolite, terminal | Departures: 5 times daily | These vans also pass by the beach town of Puerto Ángel | Alternatively, catch a bus to Pochutla where vans depart frequently | One-Way Ticket: $210 pesos ($11 USD) | Duration: 4 hours
Here’s the most recent schedule in Zipolite to San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca by Lineas Unideas. Make sure to verify the bus schedule at the tiny terminal before departure.
|Monday to Thursday||Friday to Sunday|
If coming from Puerto Escondido, which is further away, hop on a bus to San Antonio. Exit and wait for a camioneta, a small truck that you can hop in the back of. These stop in Mazunte with some continuing directly all the way to Zipolite.
☛ Psst… Coming from the Oaxaca Coast? Did you visit the rustic beach town of Chacahua Oaxaca?
San Jose del Pacifico Travel Tips
Here’s some important things to know before visiting San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca.
There is no ATM in San Jose del Pacifico, so it’s important to carry enough cash. A few eateries and places accept credit cards, but many charge an additional fee for processing, so it’s more expensive. Fun Fact: Oddly enough, you can even purchase magic mushrooms on your credit card in San Jose del Pacifico.
Opt to book your San Jose del Pacifico accommodation online before arrival. The town is becoming more and more popular, so make it’s better to have a place to sleep beforehand.
Keep in mind that the internet is unstable, especially since the village is located in the mountains and a cloud forest. When the afternoon clouds roll in, it’s not easy to run a credit card. For those who rely on the internet and Wi-Fi for work, the slow speed can be an issue. For those who want to unplug, San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca is a paradise.
When to Visit San Jose del Pacifico
San Jose del Pacifico sits in the Sierra Sur mountains at an elevation of 8,360 ft (2,548 m). There are two very distinct seasons: rainy and dry. Since San Jose del Pacific is in a cloud forest, no matter what, clouds will more than likely roll over the mountainsides in the late afternoon.
With that being said, the best time to visit San Jose del Pacifico depends on what you are looking for. If it is fresh magic mushrooms, visit during the rainy season. Hikers will prefer the dry season when the trails aren’t as muddy. However, the rainy season transforms the landscape to lush and super green.
Either way, visiting San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca is worth it and always a good idea.
San Jose del Pacifico Mushroom Season
The mushroom season in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca usually coordinates with the mountain’s rainy season, July to October. This is when you will find an abundance of fresh mushrooms, both fresh to eat and those magic ones that take you to another astral plane.
Sometimes I heard the word “hongusto” being tossed around, which essentially is a cross between hongo (mushrooms) and augusto (August). Coincidently, August is the month when there is an abundance of fresh mushrooms.
During the dry season, it’s possible to find psychedelic mushrooms preserved in honey; however, they aren’t nearly as strong and are a bit more expensive. They also don’t provide the same “intense spiritual experience” that the fresh mushrooms do, or you just have to take quite a bit more.
No matter what season you go, ask around the village and purchase from a reliable source, or join a local and forage your own.
How Long to Spend in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
San Jose del Pacifico is a nice weekend getaway from Oaxaca, although, I think it’s best to visit during the week to avoid the “crowds.” If you love nature, the outdoors, and want to visit the nearby villages, plan on spending at least two full days.
Those who are active and like to be on the go may find that just a “quick stop over” for one night in San Jose del Pacifico is sufficient.
San Jose del Pacifico Weather
Again, San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca is at a high altitude in a cloud forest. It will probably rain a little bit most days. At night, it’s cold, so make sure to pack warm clothing. Many cabañas include a fireplace in the room to help with the chill during the night.
Getting Around in San Jose del Pacifico
A majority of the San Jose del Pacifico cabanas are outside of the main village area and tucked in the forest, so motos run frequently. In town, you can usually wave down a moto and the prices are generally listed inside the moto, but there is a standard rate between all of the drivers by distance.
Here are four trusted contacts for Mototaxis in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca.
|Luis||951 582 35 02|
|Rogelio||951 392 18 07|
|Ivan||951 563 71 16|
|Dario||951 398 7019|
To move between villages near San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca, you’ll need to catch a collectivo, the small burgundy cars.
Things to Do in San Jose del Pacifico
Here are some awesome things to do in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca to make the most of your time.
Skip to | More Oaxaca Magic Mushroom Regions | Hiking | Temazcal | Viewpoints | Relax
1 | Oaxaca Mushrooms
One of the main reasons people opt to stop at San Jose del Pacifico is to dabble and experiment with psychedelic mushrooms. Technically, mushrooms are a gray area, but are not officially regulated in this community and region. For example, you can literally purchase hallucinogenic mushrooms on your credit card from many places in town.
Oftentimes it’s possible to sit in a healing ceremony with a shaman. Be mindful and check reviews on local shamans, as sometimes “spiritual tourism” is sadly exploited. Otherwise, experienced “travelers” can find a spot in the magical pine forest and take a journey outside their consciousness and into another realm.
Oaxaca magic mushrooms are strong, especially when fresh during the rainy season.
☛ Local Tip | There are two main types of Oaxaca magic mushrooms that are commonly consumed in this mountain region, “los niños,” the children, and “los maestros,” the teachers. 🍄
In San Jose del Pacifico there are also opportunities to go on foraging tours where you can hunt for magic mushrooms. This is a great way to experience the plentiful hiking trails in the area and support the local community.
Besides psychedelic mushrooms, many women will sell fresh edible mushrooms for cooking. Hello, mushroom risotto! Just verify before if they are “hongos magicos,” or for cooking.
San Jose del Pacifico is generally a safe place to dabble in the power of magic mushrooms.
More Oaxaca Magic Mushrooms Regions
While San Jose del Pacifico has been nicknamed “The Mushroom Capital of Oaxaca” this is not where Maria Sabina is from. Maria Sabina is one of the most famous and powerful female shamans. She has been credited with re-introducing mushrooms to the modern world from her small village of Huautla de Jimenez.
Maria Sabina hosted many healing ceremonies throughout the 1950s and 60’s in her home in Huautla de Jiménez. The mountain village of Huautla de Jimenez is recognized as one of six Oaxaca pueblos magicos and is found in the Cañada region of Oaxaca State.
History of Oaxaca Magic Mushrooms
It is said that many celebrities came to participate in otherworldly ceremonies with her. Whispers of John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Aldous Huxley, and even Walt Disney were some of the famous names who were said to pass through the house of Maria Sabina. Thousands were said to take the pilgrimage to Oaxaca and sit with this incredible female shaman.
It was actually R. Gordon Wasson who published an article in Life magazine that made eyes turn to Mexico and the curative powers of mushrooms.
However, today, many of the healing powers and theories of plants are being revisited. It is said psilocybin can help with severe depression, alcoholism, PSTD, and give people a new way to look at life, and most importantly offer a transcendent experience. This is just another reason why psychedelics are becoming increasingly popular with the population over the age of 60.
☛ Psst… I highly suggest reading How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan to understand how mushrooms and plant medicines are awakening the world and being used as a healing source.
Plant medicines like Peyote, San Pedro, and Ayahuasca are also helping raise consciousness and offer deep healings. Huge shifts can take place in as little as one ceremony, shifts that would take years and years in therapy.
While there are some “new” offerings to take Ayahuasca in San Jose del Pacifico, the plant medicine originates in South America, typically from the jungle areas of Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador.
💬 Real Talk | If interested in sitting with these ancient plant medicines, there is a fabulous retreat and sanctuary in the Cloud Forest in Mindo Ecuador
2 | Hiking in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
One of the best things to do in San Jose del Pacifico is to wander the many hiking trails. These spectacular paths lead through the dense pine forests of the Sierra Sur. One of the most popular routes is Cerro la Postema, which boasts views of the surrounding mountains.
Many of the trails in the forest are unmarked and are not found on offline maps. Be mindful when hiking in San Jose del Pacifico, or hire a local guide.
Some of these paths lead to nearby villages, like San Sebastian Rio Hondo and San Mateo Rio Hondo, which make worthwhile and scenic day trips from San Jose del Pacifico.
3 | Experience an Authentic Temazcal
San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca is also one of the best places to experience a traditional temazcal. This is a sacred sweat lodge that honors the four elements, four directions, and our ancestors. Many of these ceremonies are self-guided but can include a “limpia,” or cleansing of your soul before entering. It is common practice to say a prayer and set an intention when entering into the temazcal.
A typical temazcal consists of four rounds, one for each cardinal direction. The temazcal is heated by volcanic rocks. Depending on the ceremony and place, rocks are usually added between each round, making it hotter the longer you sit in it.
Be prepared to heal in the form of “sweating it out,” and by connecting with the breath. Temazcal is a natural medicine that physically cleanses us and gives us the opportunity to sit with the “uncomfortable.”
Upon exiting the temazcal, be splashed with cold water. Some places have warm herbal tea waiting for you. Emerging from a traditional temazcal ceremony is compared to “exiting the womb” and is often referenced as a “rebirthing experience.”
☛ Travel Tip | There are a handful of spots that offer traditional Temazcal ceremonies in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca. Temazcal Yo’o Be’en has a great authentic temazcal where they add hot rocks for each round. They also provide tips on how to have a sacred experience. At the end, get splashed with cold water and receive a healing tea.
4 | Visit One of the San Jose del Pacifico Miradors
With all those mountains, there are plenty of viewpoints to enjoy in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca.
✔ On the road into town, find the Virgen de Guadalupe Shrine. There is a small observation deck with the “Vivelo” sign and across the street, angel wings are painted onto the rocks. (Free)
✔ Los Altos del Golan San José del Pacífico is in the town, but deeper on the outskirts. It can be located easily with the large white sign that says Mirador. There are different observation decks that offer views of San Jose del Pacifico. Onsite is a cafeteria. (Entrance Fee: $35 pesos, under $2 USD)
✔ Many of the San Jose del Pacifico cabañas have excellent viewpoints as well.
✔ The popular San Jose del Pacifico Accommodation La Cumbre has stellar views and a restaurant, so stop in even if you don’t sleep here.
5 | Support the Local Artisans
Don’t forget to walk on the main street in town and observe the many women knitting. They sell cute little knitted mushrooms, warm hats, and more. There are also stands that sell hand-carved wood items.
6 | Simply Be & Relax
One of the best things to do in San Jose del Pacifico is relax, savor the rich nature, and unplug. The internet isn’t the best in the Sierra Sur Mountains, so bring a book or two and enjoy the tranquility.
San Jose del Pacifico is worth a visit, even if you simply do nothing!
Where to Eat in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
Although the town is small, there are quite a few San Jose del Pacifico restaurants and cafes to choose from. Near the main bus station, there are two great bakeries including Cafe Express San Jose del Pacifico to grab pastries, coffees, or hot chocolates. I couldn’t stop eating the small custard-filled pastries with a cherry on top.
La Morenita is a quaint little cafe serving up typical Oaxacan cuisine. This spot is perfect for breakfast and the prices are more than fair for the portion size. On top of delicious food, they serve excellent coffee, chocolate, and fresh juices, and have super-friendly service.
Find them here: Carretera, Oaxaca – Puerto Angel Km 131 | Hours: Daily, 7:00 – 22:00 | Facebook Page
Comedor El Molcajete
At the intersection of the main road that leads to San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca and Cabañas Rancho Viejo is a small home that serves home-cooked meals. The menu is simple and mostly antojitos, or “little cravings,” like quesadillas, tacos, and tlyaudas. The food is good and worth a mention. They might have one of the best salsas I had on my entire trip to Oaxaca.
This family-run spot only has two tables inside, but there is an incredible view of the mountains. Also, the family is friendly. They sell artisan knit items next door to the restaurant.
La Taberna De Los Duendes
La Taberna delos Duendes is probably the most famous restaurant in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca. This Italian-owned restaurant is known for its mouthwatering pasta and diverse wine, artisan beer, and mezcal menu. Reservations are highly recommended as it is an intimate restaurant.
Find them here: Carretera Federal, km 132 +500 | Hours: Daily, 15:00 – 22:00 | Facebook Page
On the outskirts of town, Teonanácatl Restaurant is a modern building that also has a nice outdoor seating area. They serve breakfast and have a diverse menu, including a delightful veggie burger. Service is great and they take credit cards.
Find them here: Carretera, Oaxaca – Puerto Angel km 131 | Hours: Daily, 7:00 – 21:00, weekends close at 22:30 | Facebook Page
Where to Stay in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
One of the best accommodation options in the mountains is to stay at a cabaña. Many places aren’t on popular reservation sites like booking.com yet, so it’s best to contact the place directly.
I’ve stayed at Cabañas Rancho Viejo just on the outskirt of San Jose del Pacifico and recommend it. They’ve recently added a new hostel Bostel Rancho Viejo.
However, here’s a list of places to stay in San Jose del Pacifico that are utilizing booking.com or have a direct booking through their website.
Budget $: Cabañas La Cumbre San Jose del Pacífico Oaxaca has hostel rooms, cabañas, and unique dome rooms. There is an incredible terrace view. Hostel rooms start at $160 pesos ($7.75 USD) a night.
Mid-Range $$: Cabañas Rancho Viejo is outside of town a bit, but has spacious cabañas with private decks and fireplaces with wood included.
Luxury $$$: Alto de la Sierra By Rotamundos
➜ Find the Best Places to Sleep in San Jose del Pacifico
Adorable Villages Near San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
While many visitors simply pass through San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca, there are some nearby villages that have maintained their authentic charm. Two noteworthy villages that are easily accessible to San Jose del Pacifico are San Sebastian Rio Hondo and San Mateo Río Hondo.
San Sebastian Rio Hondo
San Sebastian Rio Hondo is an adorable village in the Sierra Sur Oaxaca. The town offers many senderos, or small paths, next to the tranquil river and the hillsides. Remember, it’s possible to hike here from San Jose del Pacifico.
In the center of town, a simple church and plaza greet you. On the outskirts of town, find a hauntingly beautiful cemetery.
San Sebastian Rio Hondo also has unique boutiques like Khadi Oaxaca, which is focused on preserving ancient weaving techniques that help support the local economy. Stop in at one of the tiendas in town to look for handmade soaps or artisan shops.
There are so many things to do in San Sebastian Rio Hondo, but a highlight is Casa Maitri. This little slice of paradise boasts a zen garden, beautiful cabañas, and two powerful temazcals. Spiritual seekers will love the mushroom ceremonies held in a simple meditation room. Casa Maitri also has a vegetarian-focused restaurant on site, but make sure to call in advance to hear the menu.
On the weekend, head to Casa de Barro. They have a cute garden terrace and make fresh artisan bread. Casa de Barro also runs cultural events and showcases local artisanal goods, usually on the weekends.
In San Sebastian Rio Hondo, sleep at Casa Maitri.
San Mateo Río Hondo
San Mateo Rio Hondo is another small village to visit in the Oaxaca Magic Mushroom region, and again, with fewer crowds. Here, there are many hiking trails that connect to both San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca and San Sebastian Rio Hondo.
A unique place to visit in San Mateo Rio Hondo is Torre del Roure where you can purchase serrano ham shaved fresh from the cured leg, just like in Spain. In the village, find many artisan shops from fresh honey, panaderías, to local art.
In San Mateo there are more places to sleep than in San Sebastian Rio Hondo, but they aren’t on booking.com, yet. Try contacting Cabañas Vicenta and Cabañas Juárez.
☛ Love hidden gems like these? Visit the underrated Mixteca region of Oaxaca. Santiago Apoala is a mountain pueblo with spectacular hiking trails, a waterfall, and truly mystical energy. Another authentic village is Tamazulapam del Progreso Oaxaca with natural springs and a beautiful plaza
Returning to Oaxaca? More Oaxaca Travel Guides
After visiting San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca, will you head back to the incredible city of Oaxaca?
Browse through these detailed Oaxaca itineraries that showcase the best things to do in Oaxaca. Oaxacan cuisine is arguably some of the best in Mexico, so try some of these top-rated Oaxaca food experiences and stroll through at least a few of these best Oaxaca markets. There are also tons of incredible Oaxaca restaurants and cafes to sample the diverse gastronomy.
Don’t miss a chance to visit the rich East Oaxaca Valley from Oaxaca City to Mitla, a popular Oaxaca pueblo magico. Other notable places of interest include Teotitlan del Valle, a village known for its ancient weaving techniques, and the sacred mountain of El Picacho.
If you have plenty of time to explore the diversity of Oaxaca, here are some of the best places to visit in Oaxaca State and more information on visiting the six Oaxaca pueblos magicos.
San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca 2023 Travel Guide
San Jose del Pacifico is the perfect gateway village to discover the magical Sierra Sur Oaxaca. This picturesque mountain village is nestled in a cloud forest and is conveniently located between the vibrant city of Oaxaca and the rustic Oaxaca Pacific coastline.
There are a plethora of things to do in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca, from relaxing, hiking, taking a spiritual journey via a magic mushroom ceremony, or being reborn in a temazcal sweat lodge
While San Jose del Pacifico is a special place to visit, the nearby pueblos of San Sebastian Rio Hondo and San Mateo Río Hondo have an alluring charm to them. It’s possible to hike between all the villages via mystical pine forests along dirt paths.
San Jose del Pacifico is a special place to visit in Oaxaca Mexico
Was this San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca travel guide useful? Did you visit the nearby villages of the Sierra Sur Oaxaca? Have you experienced Oaxaca Magic Mushrooms or sat in a sacred temazcal ceremony? Let me know in the comments below!
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Wow, how fascinating. I can say I’ve tried magic mushrooms a few ways – dried and raw, dried on pizza, dried in pasta… but never fresh! What a cool place to visit. I am curious, are the locals generally accepting of foreigners visiting and consuming drugs – does it cause conflict, or is it a pretty harmonious experience for everyone? The hiking does look pretty amazing as well.
My experience with mushrooms in the Sierra Sur was always harmonious, but I was fortunate to have access to a local in the nearby community that foraged them. I also did not use a retreat center, but it’s possible to see many people from the local communities out hunting for mushrooms both magical and edible. Of course, with natural medicines, there will always be someone trying to exploit and profit on them. If the mushrooms continue to come from a “legitimate source,” the community, local foraging tours, I don’t foresee a problem. However, where there is money to gain, oftentimes things can go awry. I hope this region and the healing techniques will not be abused in the future.
I have dreaming about traveling to different regions of Mexico for the last two years during the pandemic. This is my #1 place to see. Your articles are so helpful.
Thanks so much Terri, happy travels to Mexico in the near future! 🎒
What a fascinating place! I’d love to visit Casa Maitri!
It’s so magical ✨
The information that yo have provided is wonderful.
I am plan a trip with my husband
And we have experience with mushrooms but we wan to experience them there with the respect to the Comunity.
Can you provide me with who to contact for a ceremony.
Thank you so much.
In San Jose del Pacifico, I did not participate in an actual ceremony. Most experiences here are self-guided, with locals selling from a few different places in town. My journey was self-guided, but extremely incredible and powerful. There are some places in town that provide a safe space to have a journey. Safe travels
Any information how can someone order mushrooms from there to Europe?
Hey, I’m sorry I have no information on that or if it’s even possible due to custom laws.
Greetings Meg! thank you so much for the nicely written article and very useful information. we are looking to visit the area in 2023 and interested in attending the mushroom festival in July. do you know where we could find more information on the mushroom festival in 2023? Gracias!!
Hey Ann, Thanks so much for reading!
I’m not sure about the mushroom festival and I had never heard of it while visiting. San Jose del Pacifico is very small, so I don’t believe there is an actual information center in the village. The two main popular sleeping places in San Jose del Pacifico of Cabañas Rancho Viejo and Cabañas La Cumbre might have information and dates on the festival.
In Oaxaca City, there is a Oaxaca Tourist Information center that provide lots of helpful information from the Pueblos Mancomunados villages in the Sierra Norte and beyond. It is found right in El Llano park. A block over, the Oaxaca Lending Library also has tons of knowledge on events and community happenings.
I hope they can help and please let me know what you think of the festival! 🍄