San Jose del Pacifico, Mexico: A beautiful place to relax
San Jose del Pacifico, a beautiful little town between Oaxaca City and the Pacific coast, is full of lovely little surprises. From roaming the hills to the spectacular views, it’s a wonderful place to kick up your feet and relax.
San Jose del Pacifico energy
Many travelers stop by San Jose on their way to the coast, and many try the local Magic Mushrooms that San Jose is renowned for. The atmosphere around the town is very relaxed and as soon as you arrive, you feel a quiet energy about the place. The main street isn’t long and everything is within walking distance, though the altitude may take a little time to adjust to (almost 2,500m above sea level).
It is beautiful to watch the clouds roll across the mountains, though compared to the Pacific coast and Oaxaca City, it is definitely colder. Before you arrive, make sure to pack a jacket!
When you mention San Jose, many people will ask about its Magic Mushrooms (“hongos” as they are known in Spanish). While they aren’t legal under Mexican law, it appears that it is not heavily policed here (though obviously there are always risks). A trip will cost about 200-250 pesos (about $10-$13) and you never have to look far to get mushrooms.
If psychedelics aren’t for you, have no fear! You can always try a temazcal ceremony. Many places in San Jose offer ceremonies each day. A temazcal (which translates as “house of heat”) is a spiritual ceremony to cleanse the mind, body and spirit. You sit in a circular, enclosed space around a sacred centre which is filled with burning volcanic rock or wood as water and herbs are placed onto the fire. The cleansing ceremony will leave you feeling pure and at peace for sure!
Scenery in San Jose
The scenery in San Jose is absolutely spectacular. Watching the sun rise form your hostel balcony as it floods the valley in a pale, golden light is an unforgettable experience. Forested mountains stretch as far as the eye can see, and when the mist clears it makes way for more beautiful views. It’s also great to walk the roads around the town and see all the houses built into the hills. You’ll find even more viewpoints across the valleys!
If you like hiking, there are many trails in the surrounding forest, but just remember to stick to the trails as it can be quite easy to get lost. The uphill can be intense but it is worth it! You’ll have no problem finding fabulous trails through nature, but remember to bring plenty of water!
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Where to stay in San Jose
Many travelers who stop by San Jose mention La Cumbre hostel and it’s worth checking out. The views from the hostel are breath-taking and the atmosphere is so peaceful it’s infectious. It’s not too far from town and while it gets cold at night, the cabins are warm.
A private cabin costs 150 pesos (about $8) and while not overly spacious, you’ll manage. The hostel also has fabulous hot chocolate which you have to try! San Jose is known for its quality chocolate and it tastes so fresh and pure you’ll be hooked from the first sip!
While La Cumbre is not available to book online, I have been told it has rooms even in the busiest seasons. Set into the hills, you’ll get lost in the beautiful views!
There are a variety of places to eat or you can by basic groceries in the little stores. The wifi cuts out from time to time but you should be able to find somewhere with working wifi in town (I had to pay 10 pesos).
La Cumbre is definitely a spot to visit and many people who have come from San Jose or who are heading there will have heard of the name. While the town itself is very quiet, it is a great place to relax. A minibus from Oaxaca City cost 110 pesos (about $6) and takes about 3 hours.
Lastly, bring a jacket; the clouds roll in and it starts raining out of nowhere!
Thinking of heading out on the road? Check out my 5 tips for traveling alone!