San Jose del Pacifico.
Are you looking for some magic mushrooms? Or an escape from technology and the world? Then head up to San Jose del Pacifico, Oaxaca. At about 2500m, up above the clouds is this tiny village where all there is to do is just relax and enjoy the total peace and serenity.
Watch the clouds roll in through the valleys in the afternoon and see some of the most beautiful sunsets. And on a clear day, you can even see the Pacific coast… just.
We planned on staying one night on the way through and ended up staying for a week. It’s a hard place to leave. Just kicking back, get a good book or just think about how you could live here forever. Without a worry in the world.
San Jose del Pacifico is 3 hours from Oaxaca City and 3.5 hours from Pacific coast. Be prepared for some super windy roads, and some super crazy driving from the colectivo drivers. They’re nuts!! Its like being on a rollercoaster ride. Not the ideal trip if you get travel sickness. The only way to get there is in the mini van/shuttles. No big buses travel up and over the mountains.
This town basically has just one street of about 300m long where you’ll find a few places to eat, one internet cafe, a tour company for temazcals and a few craft stores sell lots of hand-made magic mushroom crafts and clothing. Anything you want to buy with a mushroom on it, they’ll have it. Then from there, a couple streets off that up the hill to a small pocket of houses and accommodations.
The Magic Mushrooms.
Looking for magic mushrooms?? Or ‘Hongos’ as its said in Spanish. You won’t have to look far. I got asked if I wanted mushrooms when I checked into my hostel, so you won’t have any troubles finding them. They are illegal under Mexican law, but doesn’t seemed to be policed here. But just be aware.
Most of the people walk 10-15 mins up into the forest to take the mushrooms and be with nature. The highs lasting between 3-8 hours. Make sure you get the right instructions on how much/many to take, you don’t want to over do it and totally trip yourself out. One trip for the mushrooms will cost you between $200-$250 pesos.
If you want some fresh magic mushrooms, get there in the rainy season between June and August. Just before the season finishes, they pick enough mushrooms and put them in jars of honey to preserve them until the next season. So if its out of season, you won’t have any problems getting them still.
What’s a Temazcal?? Well… it’s like a sweat box/sauna. And can look like a brick igloo or a concrete box. Depending on the type, temazcals can hold anywhere between 2-20 people. They’re used for both physical well-being and natural healing. You can go to ones where you just relax and take your time, or you can get the full experience with a traditional indigenous ceremony.
There is a couple of standard type temazcals in town for relaxing, but if you’re looking for the full traditional Mexican experience, ask for Casa de Paco. Its full of rituals and chanting inside the temazcal and is intense. And hot!! And lasts for 1.5 hours. It’s about a 30 min walk from town into the forest in the middle of nowhere (it’s signed, so easy to find). Read about My experience with an ancient Temazcal ceremony.
You won’t be able to book the Temezcals in advance, nor will you need to. A few run every day at 11am, and some will just start them once you arrive, on demand. The Temezcals cost around $150 pesos.
Where to stay in San Jose del Pacifico.
The number one place to stay if you’re doing it cheap or backpacking is Hostel La Cumbre. It’ll cost you $150 pesos ($8US) a night for a private room. La Cumbre is a totally chilled out hostel with a hippy backpacker vibe. Most people are here for the mushrooms, or to smoke weed and hash. It’s up the hill a little bit from the bus stop with awesome views to watch the sunset. You won’t be able to book as they don’t have internet to take bookings, but there is always room. Even in the high season. They even have their own restaurant, so you won’t even have to leave.
Something a bit more comfortable is La Puesta Del Sol. Here you’ll find cabañas and private rooms. Check out their website. And there’s also a few little hotels/cabañas right where the colectivos drop you off.
How to get there.
There about 3 different companies driving from Oaxaca to Pochutla. All costing $110 pesos to San Jose del Pacifico. It’s exactly 3 hours from both Oaxaca and Pochutla. All are 14 seater mini buses with aircon. Take a jumper with you up front, because the aircon will be on and it’s freezing.
If you’re coming from Oaxaca City, ask your hostal/hotel where the colectivos to Pochutla are. They are in the same area about 5 blocks south of the Zocalo. Around calle Armenta y López and calle Bustamante.
If you’re coming from Pochutla, you will have no choice but to find them. When you get off your bus or camioneta, people will be yelling from the other side of the street to get you on their colectivo to take you to Oaxaca.
Have you been to San Jose del Pacifico?? Had some magic mushrooms? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know how it was.
If your next stop is Puerto Escondido, check out it all out here.