Nestled in the Sierra Sur, the magical and powerful Mountain range south of the picturesque Oaxaca City, lies a small hamlet tucked away in a cloud forest. This village is known for its psychedelic mushrooms, trails that twist through pristine pine forests, and a place where ancient ceremonies are practiced. Here, find San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca. Welcome to the land of Magic Mushrooms, a place of transcendence.
This is a complete guide to San Jose del Pacifico in the Sierra Sur of Oaxaca State. Find out how to reach this mountain village, tips for visiting, things to do in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca, and nearby villages that are just as lovable.
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 Guide to San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca & Beyond in 2022
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 Oaxaca coastline dotted with heavenly beach towns. There are two bus companies that run between the city and the coast. Both Eclipse 70 and Lineas Unidas make stops and take a quick break in San Jose del Pacifico.
These small mini vans twist through the mountains and are sometimes called “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.
✔ More Oaxaca Travel Guides | 5 Unique Oaxaca Itineraries | Discover the East Oaxaca Valley | Best Oaxaca Markets | One Day in Teotitlan del Valle | Santiago Apoala Oaxaca | Lagunas de Chacahua | Where to Eat in Oaxaca
Oaxaca City to San Jose del Pacifico By Bus
For some reason, I always gravitated to Lineas Unidas. Here’s detailed information on the route between Oaxaca, Pochutla, and Zipolite.
🚐 Mini-Van Logistics | Catch Líneas Unidas in the direction of Pochutla in Oaxaca here: Bustamante 601, Centro | Depart Oaxaca 24 hours a day, every 30 minutes | One-Way Ticket: $150 pesos ($7.25 USD) | Duration: 3.5 hours | Verify the Schedule here on Facebook
Zipolite to San Jose del Pacifico By Bus
After enjoying one of the best nude beaches in Mexico, Zipolite, head up for some crisp mountain air.
🚐 Mini-Van Logistics | Catch Líneas Unidas in the direction of Oaxaca here: Playa Zipolite, terminal | Depart 5 times daily | These vans also pass by the beach town of Puerto Ángel | Alternatively, catch a ride to Pochutla where vans depart frequently | One-Way Ticket: $210 pesos ($10 USD) | Duration: 4 hours
Here’s the most recent schedule on 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.
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 the village, so it’s important to carry enough cash. A few eateries and places accept credit cards, but many charge an additional fee for processing; hence it’s more expensive. Oddly enough, you can even purchase magic mushrooms on your credit card in San Jose del Pacifico.
Opt to book your hotel online before departure. Keep in mind though that the internet here is also unstable, especially when the afternoon clouds roll in, so sometimes it’s not easy to run a credit card. For those who rely on the internet for work, the slow speed can be an issue. For those who want to unplug, its 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 seasons: rainy and dry. No matter what, clouds will most likely roll over the mountainsides in the late afternoon. With that being said, it depends on what you are looking for. If it is mushrooms, visit during the rainy season. Hikers will prefer the dry season.
Either way, visiting San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca is 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, this month is 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.
San Jose del Pacifico Weather
Again, San Jose del Pacifico 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.
|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, catch collectivos, the small burgandy 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.
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. The 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.
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 the powerful female shaman, Maria Sabina, who is credited with re-introducing mushrooms to the modern world, is from. Maria Sabina hosted many healing ceremonies throughout the 1950’s and 60’s in her home in Huautla de Jiménez. This mountain village is found in the Cañada region of Oaxaca State.
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 to 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. This inspired Timothy Leary to take the journey to experience the healing powers of Oaxaca Magic Mushrooms. Of course, his controversial research with LSD at Harvard would be shut down rather quickly.
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.
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 these trails are unmarked and are not on maps.me or any other offline map service. Be mindful when hiking in San Jose del Pacifico, or hire a local guide.
Many of these paths lead to some of the nearby villages, like San Sebastian Rio Hondo and San Mateo Rio Hondo, which makes worthwhile day trips.
Experience a 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 a warm herbal tea waiting for you. Emerging from a traditional temazcal ceremony is comparative 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 just outside of San Jose del Pacifico 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.
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 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 Pacificio cabanas have excellent viewpoints as well. The popular hostel La Cumbre has stellar views and a restaurant, so stop in even if you don’t stay there.
Simply Relax in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
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.
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.
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 the 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, fresh juices, and have super friendly service.
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 in 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 their mouthwatering pastas and diverse wine, artisan beer, and mezcal menu. Reservations are highly recommended as it is an intimate restaurant.
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.
Where to Stay in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
One of the best accommodation options in San Jose del Pacifico is to stay in a cabaña. Many places aren’t on popular reservation sites like booking.com, yet. It’s best to contact the place directly.
However, here’s a list of places to stay in San Jose del Pacifico that are utilizing booking.com
- 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
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 close to San Jose del Pacifico are San Sebastian Rio Hondo and San Mateo Río Hondo.
These villages can be hiked to from San Jose del Pacifico, or simply take a taxi or a local collectivo.
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 greets 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 onsite, 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.
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 less 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.
San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca 2022 Travel Guide
San Jose del Pacifico is the perfect gateway village to discover the magical Sierra Sur Oaxaca. This picturesque mountain village that is nestled in a cloud forest is conveniently located between the vibrant city of Oaxaca and the rustic Oaxaca 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 hamlets 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.
Have you been to San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca? Was this San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca travel guide useful? Did you visit the nearby villages of the Sierra Sur Oaxaca? Have you experienced the Oaxaca Magic Mushrooms or sit in a sacred temazcal ceremony? Let me know in the comments below!
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