San Jose del Pacifico, Oaxaca, Mexico

Magic Mushroom capital of Mexico

Disclaimer: Where Sidewalks Ends does not endorse the use of drugs, even when used for spiritual, traditional or ancestral practices. Should you choose to take part, please do so at your own risk, and with trusted people nearby.



Experience

If you are travelling to Oaxaca City, you may hear of a nearby town called San Jose del Pacifico that is known for its ancestral use of Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis). At about 2500m is this tiny village where all there is to do is just relax and enjoy the total peace and serenity, up above the clouds.

Watch the clouds roll in through the valleys in the afternoon and see some of the most beautiful sunsets. On a rare clear day, you can even see the Pacific coast… just barely.

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 the Pacific coast. Be prepared for some super windy roads, and some super crazy driving from the collectivo drivers. They’re nuts!! It’s like being on a rollercoaster ride. Not the ideal trip if you get travel sickness. Taking shared minivans is one of the only ways to get there is in the minivan/shuttles. Very few big buses travel up and over the mountains.

San Jose del Pacifico basically has just one main street that is roughly 300m long. Here you’ll find a few places to eat, one internet cafe, a tour company for temazcals and a few craft stores that 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 of streets off that up the steep hill, that leads to a small pocket of houses and accommodations.

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SEE – Photos & Videos

San Jose Del Pacifico Oaxaca - Main Street
The quiet main street that goes through San Jose del Pacifico
San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca - massive Agave plant
A giant Pulquero Agave found along the roadside in San Jose del Pacifico
San Jose Del Pacifico Oaxaca - Mountain Temezcal
A sacred Temescal on the side of a mountain in San Jose del Pacifico
San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca - inside a temezcal
A group of friends taking part in a sacred Temescal
San Jose Del Pacifico Oaxaca - steak dinner
Steak Dinner at La Taberna De Los Duendes
San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca- Hostel La Cumbre
Hostel La Cumbre is nestled high above the town of San Jose del Pacifico

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GO – Getting There

How to get to San Jose del Pacifico

There are at least 3 different companies driving from Oaxaca to Pochutla. Each costs $110 pesos to San Jose del Pacifico. It’s exactly 3 hours from both Oaxaca and Pochutla. All the minivans are 14 seat vehicles with aircon. Take a sweater with you upfront, because the aircon will be on and it’s freezing.

If you’re coming from Oaxaca City, ask your hostel/hotel where the colectivos to Pochutla are. They are all in the same area about 5 blocks south of the Zocalo, near Calle Armenta y López and Calle Bustamante.

If you’re coming from Pochutla, you can’t miss them. As soon as 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.

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Do – Activities & Attractions

Magic Mushrooms in San Jose del Pacifico

If you are looking for magic mushrooms – known as ‘hongos magicos’ 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 trouble finding them. They are illegal under Mexican law, but that doesn’t seem to be policed here, likely due to their ancestral connections. That doesn’t mean that they are any less illegal. Be aware, should you do this, you are technically breaking local law – so please be aware, we are not condoning this – we are simply educating you on an ancestral practice that has opened loosely to tourism.

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 to take, you don’t want to overdo it and totally trip yourself out. One trip for the mushrooms will cost you between $200-$250 pesos. Also every careful venturing into the forest. You don’t want to get lost, too far from the town.

If you want some fresh magic mushrooms, get there in the rainy season between June and September. 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 it’s out of season, you won’t have any problems getting them still, though the effects are often reported to be much lower – sometimes non-existent – when preserved in the honey, or dried out.

Temezcals

What’s a Temazcal?? It’s an ancestral sweat lodge, similar to a sauna. They can look like a brick igloo or a concrete box. Depending on the type of temazcal that you’re entering, they 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 basic temazcals in town for relaxing, but if you’re looking for the full traditional Mexican experience, ask for Casa de Paco. It’s full of rituals and chanting inside the temazcal and it’s intense. And hot!! Casa De Paco lasts for 1.5 hours. It’s located a 30 min walk from town into the forest in the middle of nowhere (it’s well marked with signs though, so it’s easy to find).

You won’t be able to book the Temezcals in San Jose del Pacifico in advance, nor will you need to. A few run every day at 11 am, and some locations will just start them once you arrive, on-demand. The Temezcals cost around $150 pesos per person, though could vary depending on your group size.

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Stay – Accommodation

Where to stay in San Jose del Pacifico

The most popular place to stay if you’re backpacking or looking for something budget-friendly 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 mushroom experience. It’s up the hill nearest to the bus stop and has awesome views to watch the sunset. You won’t be able to book online, as they don’t have the internet to take bookings, but there is almost always availability – even during the high season. They also have their own restaurant, so you don’t need to hike the steep hill every time you want a meal.

Something a bit more comfortable is La Puesta Del Sol. Here you’ll find cabañas and private rooms. Though they don’t have reservations on regular booking engines, you can call or email them with the info found on their website.

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Eat – Restaurants

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Time – Seasonality & Schedules

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Safety – Possible risks

Please Note: Travel inherently comes with an element of risk (just like crossing the road does). You are putting yourself in elements that are unfamiliar and foreign to your usual lifestyle and with that, become more susceptible to fall victim to those who try to play off those unfamiliar to their local scams. There are also potential dangers in the environments to which you may not be accustomed.

Please take extra care in travelling, ensure that you have adequate medical insurance (accidents seem to happen when you least expect them), and have let a trusted colleague, family member or friend know your whereabouts and activities.

Where Sidewalks End travel advises you to travel at your own risk and to be extra aware of your surroundings (without letting it spoiling your time).

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Pay – How much does it cost?

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Responsible Travel – Best Practices

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Reality Check – Be Aware

 

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JOIN US! WSE Travel Packages

This sounds like quite the adventure, right? We thought so too! Though we realize it can be pretty intimidating to get out there into the world on your own, especially when travelling to some of these off-the-beaten-path locations. We love it when our readers give it a shot and try it for themselves! In fact, please leave us feedback if you do!! If trying something ‘this’ adventurous on your own is just a bit outside of your comfort zone, WSE Travel is here to help!

Follow this link for our ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Tours – packages that are highly personalized and tailored at your request.

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Have you been to San Jose del Pacifico?? Did you experience the ancestral magic mushrooms? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know how it was.

50 Responses

  1. I was in San Jose del Pacifico off season one year and have to say, it was not as positive as your experience. There were no places in the hostel and the locals were not so welcoming, although I suspect the backpacking community would have offered me a more hospitable experience altogether. I even wrote a short horror story based on the trip(!) – check it out here:

    http://fleetingreams.blogspot.de/2009/12/hongo.html

    I guess it’s just the luck of the draw, though – every traveller has their off-days when they’ve been on the road for several months. But if I were to go back, it would definitely be during the summer as the winter is extremely harsh. I recommend that anyone else headed that way do the same.

    1. How’s it going Miss E. Sorry to hear your bad experience. You’ll have to go again and give it another go. I’ve been there 3 times and love the place!
      Yeah the winter up there is absolutely freezing, being so high up in the mountains, the summer time is defiantly the way to go.
      I find the locals really tranquilo and always greeting you as you pass by, or up for a chat if you speak a bit of Spanish.
      I hope you get the chance to get back there.
      Happy travels

  2. This is one of the most beautiful places in the world indeed. Everyone is super welcoming and will always want to help you (sorry about your experience Miss E, it’s weird to hear that about San José).

    I wanted to add, this place is called “Del Pacifico” (Pacific) for two reasons:
    1) You can get to see the Pacific ocean very early in the morning.
    2) No police or army members aren’t allowed in this place as authority. That’s why it’s so peaceful. The locals take care of each other (and you’re safer than in any other place in the world because of that). So…mushrooms are absolutely legal, but just in this town :).

  3. Hi all, I just want to ask if someone ever tried using shrooms or truffles for medical purposes? I was reading some articles about this magic truffles and shrooms before engaging my self for the first time. Like this one from:https://www.trufflemagic.com/blog/what-are-shrooms/ .They say that it has a very potent effect on the brain and hallucination. Unlike marijuana does it have any medical use? In one article that I’ve read magic truffles or shrooms compaired to synthetic drugs are very alarming. Also magic mushroom are use on reducing the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. It can also help people to quit smoking and alcohol addiction. Some studies also suggest the property of magic shrooms/truffles can be useful for cancer patients. I would really want to hear other insights regarding this new possible alternative meds. Thanks

    1. YES! The Mushrooms ( Psilocybin) are part of the master or teacher plants. They are medicine and they will allow you to get into a state of being, where you can receive and be helped with the understanding of yourself, life, the universe and much more and with that, the healing of your body and balancing emotions. They are not a magic pill and at the same time they are. Please make sure you take them with respect and never approach them as recreational, because they are not. They are a tool for you to get it that the one to heal you is yourself and that you have all in you to do it. Mushrooms can show you and help you to do it. It takes time but I have seen huge changes in short periods of time, especially if the person starts to understand who he is and with that start changing his/her life. Do not take too much or they could be uncomfortable, take enough so you can connect and be conscious of all the teachings and to remember the experience. Life is an adventure, may yours be full of well being. By the way, even if they are considered drugs, they are not, and together with Ayahuasca, peyote, San Pedro, Iboga, are teacher/master plants. Take them in ceremonial way with respect and honoring the spirits of the plants.

      1. Luz. I like your comment and knowledge and clear respect for the medicines of nature. I also liked the positive comment on San José from Alejandra.
        I’m from England and I’m planning on visiting San José before mid year. My use of the spanish language is non existent. I’m assuming there have been enough tourists through San José over the years for that not to be a problem. ?

        1. I was there – and Puerto Angel in 1972. No paved roads. Slept in my Mustang in the jungle en route to Puerto Angel. Wonderful experiences – maybe the best in life. I drove from Oaxaca City to LosAngeles, alone, speaking no Spanish at all. Not a single problem. Ive known people who were indiscreet in Mazatlan. But no one I ever knew had difficulty of any kind in Oaxaca, certainly not in San Jose del Pacífico. It is heavenly. It still is. The beaches are way too famous now but still perfect. I paid 8 pesos a night in Angel, my room had only a half wall Oceanside. Fish right out of the Pacific, with fresh fruit for breakfast. World renowned for good reason. I still yearn for the burro trail through the jungle.

    2. Hi Daniel, I would suggest you to make a research on Traditional Chinese medicine for start which is based on mushrooms of all kinds considering all of them have different healing properties not necessarily only magic mushrooms as they all have same basic nature. Unfortunately most of it still unknown and unexplored but I’ve been doing my own research and had came across a whole new world and bunch of really special people following their own researches as well with very good content, you might not find easily on google search but there’s thousands of books about it. Wish you good luck on your journey. It makes me really happy to see everyday more and more people getting interest on natural ways of healing with mushrooms. Once you start looking for it, it will come to you.

  4. Hi all, I am heading back to Mexico in January and am planning to head to San Jose for the first time. I know Oaxaca city and spent 4 weeks in Mazunte some years ago, so from this article I have some idea what to expect from San Jose.
    Miss E mentions the winters can be extremely harsh at this time of year – what kind of temperatures can I expect? Is it also rainy? I’m British so I can cope with some low temperatures, in fact I’m intrigued to see what Mexico will be like at this time of year – I’ve only ever been in Yucatan in January and of course that’s a whole other world. So I’m OK with it being cold, I just want to be prepared is all.

    Also – I don’t do mushrooms or even smoke, how out of place will I be here? I’m coming because I imagine it will be quiet and very spectacular scenery. Will the hostal even be open at that time?

    1. How come you are from the UK and your user name is pinche wero? do you know the meaning? are you ok with that? and once there take the opportunity to take the hongitos,
      ‘ ninos santos” they can show you a lot, just don’t take a big amount. 2.5 to 3 grams. they heal and show you who you are and much much more. Do not be afraid. they are not for recreation, take them with respect. They are medicine.

      1. Haha yes I know the meaning of “pinche wero” and I don’t mind 🙂 some Mexican friends called me that, but it’s all for fun. We all have our crosses to bear.

    2. How’s it going Pinche Were… haha
      Are you in Oaxaca at the moment. Yeah it’s going to be cold up there, but not the rainy season. So being a mommy, you should be right haha
      There’s a couple hostels and BnB’s/cabins, so you won’t have any trouble finding a place to stay.
      Happy travels and let me know how you go!

  5. Also interested in hearing about what type of weather one might expect…. although I will be going in late Febrary, no January so I suspect the winter weather will resemble something closer to spring at that point…

  6. Hi! I’m currently healing from an abusive relationship that gave me ptsd and I want to visit San Juan del Pacifico either June or July to have a spiritual/healing experience with the hongitos. I have relatives in Mexico city but will probably have to do this leg of my journey by myself. I’m a single woman so just wondering if I’ll be safe or if I need an escort?

    1. Hello Gabriella,
      I would say get a friend or a relative to be with you. If is the first time that you are planing to take the mushrooms there are another options that are safer. if you mind is set in mushrooms get them in San Jose del Pacifico, but do not take them there, but wait until you are back at your home, safe and in a ceremonial way with a lot of respect take them and have someone else to be with you ( second person without taking them). as well be mindful of the amount you are taking, if you take so little, no much will happen,if you take a lot it may be very uncomfortable and not pleasant. as well when you are back at home in a safe place, and if is your first time taking a master plant, start taking 1 gram the first time, 2 grams second time ( no necessary to be next day, but when you know you have the time and peace to have the experience if you connect and not be disturbed), then next time 3 grams……in that way you can find the amount that is ok for you. Please know that the mushrooms WILL NOT fix your life, there will be a lot of work from your part to be done, the mushrooms will show you in order for you to do the work. Do not risk going by yourself and taken them by yourself if you have no experience . it is great to take them in a natural surrounding but it should be a safe place where you feel in peace and cared.

      1. I’m plannig to visit in April.
        Do you recommend a place to do the mushrooms with respect.
        I would like to have a trip that I can learn from.

    2. Hi Grabiella. I also suffer from mild depression due to life circumstances thrown at me. I am a woman, born in Mexico city but live in the states. I want to heal but know of no one that can sell mushrooms in the states. I am also interested in going there.

    3. Dear Gabriella,
      A friend of mine and I, both from New York (I am in Mexico City now and my friend will arrive in a few days) might go to San Jose sometime at the beginning of June. If we will, and you want, you are very welcome to join us. We are both mature – I am a yoga teacher and a writer, and my friend a psychologist. Maybe my girlfriend (Mexican) will join.

      1. Thank you so much for your reply and kind offer, Henry.
        I’ve decided to try for next year now as my mom has decided to come and visit me in Australia during the time I was able to go to Mexico. I’ve opted to do a shorter journey a little closer to home this year. I’m seriously looking at Mexico for next year, though.

          1. How’s it going Andrew? I live in Oaxaca and Head up to San Jose del Pacafico every now and again. Let me know if you’ll around.

    1. How’s it going Jenifer. I’ve heard recently that it’s been bought and now it’s just a house, not a hostel. If so, such a shame because that place was awesome.
      I live in Oaxaca City, so i’ll be heading back there soon and check it out.

  7. Hi everybody, is there (or in some other place in Mexico) a place where people take it as part of their tradition, in a ceremonial way?

  8. Dear Luz,
    I ready our comment and liked it very much!!! I have hardly any experience with sacred plants – it is probably more correct to say that I have none. I have been teaching yoga for more than twenty years and living, so to speak, a spiritual way of life. I would like to have some of the experiences you mentioned. I am in Mexico City now. Do you know if it is possible to have an experience with sacred plants somewhere closer to Mexico City than San Jose? Thank you for you help. Peace and Light.
    Henry

  9. Hi Johnny,

    I plan on being in SJ del Pacifico for only 2 short days. Is there a company or someone I can speak to in regards to doing a temazcal tour before arriving?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Johan. There’s a few different Temazcals up there. So you won’t have any troubles finding one to do when you arrive. Some run them daily, and others run them whenever somebody arrives and asks in the moment.

  10. Hi Johnny,
    Thanks for sharing your adventures! I am currently in SJdP (yes, on sacrilegious wifi) and hongos seem to be harder to find than what I’ve read. Any advice?

    1. How ya going Rye?
      Try in the fruit and veg shop, just before you start walking up the hill from the bus stop. Or ask in the Hostel cumbre.
      Either of them should be able to sort you out. Or either point you in the right direction 👌
      Happy travels

  11. Hi Johnny,
    very nice story!

    I will be headed there this November, do you maybe know what weather should I expect? I’m from Europe, so I’m used to mountains and cold, but still, should I get prepared for winter or late autumn 😀

    I read in the comments you will be headed there again, would be cool if it’s in late November (20-30th) 😉

    Cheers,
    much love
    Mite

  12. Hola chicos,

    I visited San Jose del Pacifico in early January of 2019. Couldn’t find any mushrooms although I spent a couple of hours trying. Moreover, several legit locals told me that the mushrooms preserved in honey, even if found, were not worth trying as they most probably lost a lot (if not all) of potency since they were picked up. I assume these honey mushrooms are easily available right after the rainy season (early Fall), but as it turns out not in January, and the rest of the winter and spring, therefore.
    Other than that, the place was indeed beautiful, and while the nights and early mornings were cold (close to zero I would say), it wasn’t too much of an issue.

  13. Hello I was in Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca,and got to participate in Mushroom ceremonies with a Mazatec grandmother ( same as Maria Sabina) I was there in January and since it wasn’t time for fresh mushrooms I was given mushrooms preserved in honey, I took maybe 4 or 5 small and the effect was strong, powerful and I had amazing experiences. as powerful as when I take fresh mushrooms. I wanted to be in that area where Maria Sabia used to live and I wanted to experience the way the grandmothers facilitate “ninos santos / mushrooms” ceremony, since where I live we have no problem to get mushrooms any time and take them in ceremonial way, in a small circle of friends. We always respect this teacher/master fungi, we got much insights,wisdom and much more from them, we take them always in a sacred circle, with previous and after food diet ( no red meats, no pork, no alcohol, no other drugs, no dairy, no fermented foods …..just for 3 days before and after). We respect and we are respected, loved and showed in return. The Mushrooms asked to take them with respect, we do it and we do not have bad trips.

  14. Thank you for sharing! I will take note of this and hope to visit theses places one day. It is really amazing to find these kinds of stuff in other places. It goes to show that a lot of people are already into mushrooms and know the benefits of consuming it.

  15. I visited San Jose del Pacifico in1972. The one lane dirt road didn’t matter. The view – looking down at the clouds through the jungle was worth the trip. We met a bruja. Lunch was fantastic. It was not the season for mushrooms, sadly, but the remote and gorgeous scenery inspired me to return and make the drive to Puerto Angel, all night, through jungle, with 5 in my Mustang. Now there is fine highway all the way from Oaxaca city to the Pacific. In1972 the only hotel had 3 rooms. Now hotels line the shore through several villages and area mentioned in Vogue. So glad I saw all of this before the fame set in.

  16. Wow! the place looks so good. It is the perfect place where you can relax and enjoy the fresh air together with the undying beauty of nature. I can definitely do sightseeing where you can see the mountains, clouds and a lot of trees.

  17. I’m thinking of flying to Oaxaca from California next month. Then I’m planning to go to San Jose del Pacífico for a few days to try the mushrooms if possible. Does anybody know what’s the situation there in regards to the corona virus and if you need to wear a mask? Also are hotels and restaurants open at this time? And how easy is to find mushrooms in October there? I’ll appreciate any information you can provide. Thanks much.

  18. I was wondering about the availability of hongos outside of San Jose del Pacifico, specifically in Playa Zipolite. Do you have any info on that?

  19. Exente lugar cabañas el mangote
    La numero 1 es exente $900 pesos
    La noche
    Los hongos fuera de temporada
    Me costaron $700 por 2 hongos
    Que me relajaron me dieron
    Mucha paz ,
    Mire elefantes color de rosa
    Jajaja, no me pasó nada
    Les recomiendo 100%
    Todo Oaxaca es hermosa

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