If you are reading this guide, you probably heard of a town in the mountains of Oaxaca known as San Jose Del Pacifico. I was also in your shoes, traveling in Mexico from Oaxaca city to Puerto Escondido, when I heard about this serene town in the Oaxacan mountains that had magic mushrooms in the wild.
The town is called San Jose Del Pacifico (sometimes called the Mushroom Capital of Mexico), and it’s a town where magic mushrooms (hongos in Spanish) can be consumed legally.
With the beginning of decriminalization of psychedelic mushrooms and other scientific studies that indicate mental health improvement with micro-dosing, it is no surprise that San Jose del Pacifico is also getting more popular.
But San Jose Del Pacifico isn’t just a hippie town where people are constantly on shrooms, it’s about wellness and reconnecting with nature. Visitors can go on hikes, relax, and just be zen (okay maybe it’s a little bit hippie).
Without further ado, let’s jump into our guide on San Jose del Pacifico, one of our favorite towns in Mexico!
Where To Get Magic Mushrooms In San Jose Del Pacifico?
Being the most popular thing to do in San Jose del Pacifico, it is not very difficult to find magic mushrooms. Sometimes, you can find them in grocery stores, hotels, and even restaurants around town. There is even a chance, someone will offer them to you the moment you arrive in San Jose del Pacifico
However, there is no guarantee that the mushrooms someone offering you are real and effective. There is a good chance that they will be counterfeits or defectives.
Around 75% of the people I met in San Jose Del Pacifico bought fake or expired mushrooms that had no effect on them.
The locals know how much of a big hit these magic mushrooms are and started making fake ones to sell to unaware tourists.
But you won’t be one of them after reading this San Jose Del Pacifico guide! So what is the best place to get magic mushrooms in San Jose del Pacifico? Cabañas Pacifico.
Cabañas Pacifico might look like just a place to stay in San Jose del Pacifico, but it also features a restaurant on the second floor. Go up the stairs on the left and you will arrive at an outdoor patio with jaw-dropping views of nature in San Jose del Pacifico.
Unlike most places that offer whole mushrooms, this restaurant serves mushroom tea. After “totally not having tried it ourselves” and speaking with other travelers, it seems that mushroom tea is the most effective way to ingest these magic mushrooms.
The mushroom tea here is one of the best in San Jose Del Pacifico. In fact, Cabañas Pacifico is one of the first establishments to sell anything mushroom-related here. They are the pioneer of mushroom tourism in San Jose del Pacifico.
The cost was 250 MXN pesos per cup (at the time of writing) and you have to follow the instructions the old grandma will give you. She told us to drink half a cup only and don’t drink any more than that.
Though we have not experienced this ourselves, we’ve heard from a ton of readers that the owners at Cabañas Rubí also have good mushrooms for sale.
Instead of tea, you get entire mushrooms that come straight from the ground. It is important to wash them before consuming, though you might not find them very effective outside the mushroom season.
If for some reason both of these places fail you, go to La Taberna de Los Duendes, the town’s most famous restaurant serving Italian cuisine.
You will find some amazing food that is well-priced for its portion. After enjoying a meal there, you can ask the waiter where you find some magic mushrooms. (That is how we found this wonderful place!) The staff at La Taberna de Los Duendes are all locals so they know some of the best places!
Other Things to Do in San Jose Del Pacifico, Oaxaca
San Jose Del Pacifico is becoming a very popular backpacking destination in Mexico, especially for those traveling between the quaint city of Oaxaca to the beach town of Puerto Escondido. Up until recently, sampling the local fungi was the only thing you could really do in San Jose Del Pacifico.
Nowadays, you will find a variety of other things to do in San Jose Del Pacifico, such as:
San Jose Del Pacifico is becoming a fairly hippie town with yoga studios and wellness centers spawning. While we haven’t been to a yoga studio in San Jose Del Pacifico (there weren’t any when we visited), we heard that there are a few in town now.
With Google Maps lagging behind, it is best to ask the locals for the location of the yoga studio.
We were quite surprised to hear that Ayahuasca is becoming popular in San Jose Del Pacifico, Oaxaca.
For those who aren’t familiar with Ayahuasca, it is a hallucinogenic medicinal plant from the Amazon Forest in South America. Its effects are rather unique, with each participant usually experiencing something different.
Most people usually experience something unworldly when trying Ayahuasca, but eventually come out of the ceremony with a better self-understanding, mood, and self-awareness. In a way, it promotes better mental well-being and sometimes helps with issues such as depression, anxiety, and the like.
However, there are cases where Ayahuasca did more harm than good.
Because the Ayahuasca ceremony requires shamans that are native to the Amazonian region, it is rather strange to find the ceremony available in San Jose Del Pacifico. If it is something that you really want to try, we highly recommend you to visit countries like Peru, where Ayahuasca is more professional.
However, if you really want to try it (at your own risk) in San Jose del Pacifico, then go ahead!
On the other hand, Temazcal is one of the most popular wellness activities in Mexico. Participants enter a small sweat lodge where a shaman will use the sound of chanting and the fragrance of herbs to detoxify them.
It isn’t as simple as it sounds though, because the sweat lodge is very hot and humid, which makes breathing very difficult sometimes. The whole ceremony also lasts 2 hours in total!
If you are going to visit Tulum, Temazcal is also a very popular activity there!
4. Go Hiking!
With some of the most stunning greenery in Oaxaca, it would be a shame not to enjoy some of the hiking trails near San Jose del Pacifico. There are multiple hikes you can do in the area, but the most popular one involves hiking into the mountains and observing all of San Jose’s beauty from various viewpoints.
💪 Pro Tip: It is hard to find the exact hiking routes in San Jose del Pacifico, so we recommend you to check out this Alltrails map to help you navigate!
Another popular hike in San Jose del Pacifico is to San Mateo Rio Hondo, another small mountain town in the Oaxacan State. The town is located about 5.5 miles away from San Jose, so the hike usually takes about 2.5 hours one way.
Once you arrive at San Mateo Rio Hondo, take some time exploring the town before hiking back or getting a taxi!
5. Eat Good Food At La Taberna De Los Duendes
No matter what you are doing in San Jose del Pacifico, your trip is not complete without visiting La Taberna De Los Duendes. It is an Italian restaurant with a cozy ambiance that serves arguably the best food in town. It is the place to gather at night after a mushroom trip or a day of hiking around town.
There are many dishes to try at this restaurant in San Jose del Pacifico, but we can guarantee you their pasta is incredible and well-made!
How To Get To San Jose Del Pacifico, Oaxaca
If you are planning on going to San Jose Del Pacifico, it is best to come from one of two places – Oaxaca city, or by the Oaxaca coast near the Pacific Ocean (Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, or Zipolite).
The cost of the colectivo to San Jose Del Pacifico from Oaxaca City or Pochutla is around 100-120 MXN pesos. The price is subject to change!
From Oaxaca City to San Jose Del Pacfico
If you are in Oaxaca City (aka Oaxaca de Juarez), there are vans that run to Pochutla and stop at San Jose Del Pacifico. The vans are known as “vomit vans” because they go so fast on these windy roads that the majority of foreigners vomit in them.
The ride is only about 3 hours from Oaxaca city to San Jose Del Pacifico (short for bus journeys in Mexico), but don’t underestimate it. Make sure you take motion-sickness pills beforehand.
Ask the reception at your accommodation where you can take a bus to San Jose Del Pacifico. If they are not sure where that is, just tell them you want to go to Pochutla.
The receptionist should be able to point you to the nearest stop. The vans run quite frequently (every 30 minutes or so) but just be aware that they might not be in service at night or late evening.
You can also pre-book your tickets to San Jose del Pacifico in advance online, which is what we would recommend if you don’t want to deal with full buses and try to speak to them in Spanish.
From Puerto Escondido to San Jose Del Pacifico
If you are coming from the popular surf town of Puerto Escondido, worry not. Though Puerto Escondido and San Jose del Pacifico are far from each other, it is fairly easy to get from one to another.
First, you must take a colectivo (shared vans) from Puerto Escondido to Pochutla, the transportation hub of the Oaxacan coast. These colectivos run frequently so all you need to do is ask a local where is the closest spot you can flag one down.
Once you are in Pochutla, you need to look for either Lineas Unidas or Eclipse 70. As far as we know, those are the only two companies that offer
“vomit vans” colectivos to San Jose del Pacifico. The end destination of these colectivos is actually Oaxaca City, so don’t be startled if the sign on the transport says “Oaxaca de Juarez”.
The vans do run quite frequently so don’t worry about not making the one you want. However, the vans might not run at night or late evening.
From Mazunte to San Jose Del Pacifico
Similarly, if you want to go to San Jose Del Pacifico from Mazunte, you need to find yourself in Pochutla as well. Mazunte is located about halfway between Puerto Escondido and Pochutla, so the same van that goes from Puerto Escondido to Pochutla will stop by Mazunte as well.
From Zipolite to San Jose Del Pacifico
Going from Zipolite to San Jose del Pacifico is slightly different. You’ll still need to go to Pochutla to catch a “vomit van” to San Jose del Pacifico, but you have two options to get there.
The first and faster option is a colectivo that goes from Zipolite to Puerto Angel to Pochutla. The second option is going to Mazunte and following the steps we have highlighted above. The duration varies slightly but both options are viable.
Once you are in Pochutla, catch a colectivo to Oaxaca City from Lineas Unidas or Eclipse 70. The colectivos will make a stop at San Jose del Pacifico.
Tips For Visiting San Jose Del Pacifico
- Mushroom season is from the months of July to October. That is the best time to go and you will have the highest chances of finding good quality mushrooms. In the other months, look for mushrooms preserved in honey. These have the highest chances of them being still good!
- It is “legal” to consume psychedelic mushrooms in San Jose Del Pacifico, Oaxaca. There is no police presence and the locals make their own laws.
- Take a motion-sickness pill before you get in the van to San Jose del Pacifico, you will thank me later. You can easily find those in the pharmacies in Oaxaca or Puerto Escondido.
- There is internet service (via mobile phone) in certain parts of the town. There is also an internet cafe and a restaurant with WiFi. Many accommodations are now starting to have WiFi, albeit it can be a bit unreliable.
- There is not a single ATM in San Jose Del Pacifico. However, some places accept credit cards, but with an additional charge on them. We recommend that you bring enough cash to San Jose del Pacifico!
- It gets really cold at night! There is no heating at night and the cold is unlike anything I experienced in Mexico. Make sure you get some thick blankets, some layers, or an accommodation with decent insulation!
Altitude At San Jose Del Pacifico
San Jose Del Pacifico is situated 2500m (8,200 ft) above sea level. This elevation is quite high, especially for those that are used to sea level near the beaches of Mexico.
Though altitude sickness isn’t common here, some travelers do experience mild effects of it. Just stay hydrated and your symptoms will go away.
Altitude sickness isn’t a huge worry here, but the cold temperature is. The weather can get freezing at night. Pack layers and check the weather beforehand. It is going to be strange to pack gloves and a hat for Mexico, but you will thank me later!
Best Time to Visit San Jose del Pacifico
The best time to visit San Jose del Pacifico is between the months of July to October, when the magic mushrooms are in season. You are more likely to find effective and fresh mushrooms rather than ones that are preserved in honey or fake.
However, that is also the wet season (which is why the mushrooms are at their freshest), so pack some rain gear with you!
If you want to just enjoy the beautiful dry days, go visit between December and March. This is the dry season for this region of Mexico. However, you’ll need to pack some warmer clothes with you!
Is San Jose del Pacifico Safe?
Mexico might not have the best reputation when it comes to safety, but San Jose del Pacifico is generally a very safe place. Violent crimes are nearly none existent, simply because the town is so small and everyone knows each other.
However, we do have to warn you about some things that could ruin your experience.
- Fake mushrooms – As we mentioned, mushrooms have become quite the attraction in San Jose del Pacifico. It is not unusual for you to find vendors with fake or ineffective mushrooms. Sometimes, these vendors don’t know, and sometimes they do. Go to a reputable place (get a recommendation from someone) and visit during the mushroom season.
- Shamans For Mushroom Ceremony – Mushroom ceremonies are starting to become popular in San Jose del Pacifico, but that is only because travelers have been asking for something like that. When there is a demand, eventually there is a supply. Now there are “shamans” in San Jose del Pacifico that will guide on in a mushroom ceremony or retreat. Most of them are NOT reputable, so be extra selective when going on a “ceremony”
- Be careful with your belongings – Because there are no ATMs in town, locals know that travelers bring lots of cash with them. Some travelers have reported that their money was stolen from their room, so maybe it is best to keep it with you or hide it in your room.
Where To Stay in San Jose Del Pacifico
Best Hostel in San Jose del Pacifico – Bostel Rancho Viejo
Hands down the best place to stay in San Jose del Pacifico is Bosque Rancho Viejo. It combines two words – bosque (Spanish for forest) and hostel, hence the name bostel.
This San Jose del Pacifico hostel is the perfect representation of what the area is like. Guests can stay in comfort and exist in harmony with nature, enjoying everything it has to offer. The hospitality of the staff will ensure that your stay is more than perfect, and they are ready to book tours for you and answer any questions you might have.
The rooms are more than cozy and guests can use their kitchen, stunning common areas, and workspaces all without extra charge! This place is about a 2-km walk from the town center, but the property itself is so nice and cozy you don’t want to leave!
Best Hotel In San Jose Del Pacifico – Cabañas Rancho Viejo
If you are looking for a big space for your accommodation in San Jose del Pacifico, then the Cabañas Rancho Viejo is perfect for you. Cabañas Rancho Viejo offers a wide variety of cabañas, perfect for solo travelers, couples, or even groups.
Each cabaña is rustically designed to complement the lush nature in San Jose del Pacifico. You will find a fireplace, bathroom, and a small seating area for each cabaña.
The inside of the cabaña is sure to provide you with a relaxed stay, but the outside features more seating areas for guests to chill and daydream the days away.
This accommodation is also situated about 2 km away from the town center. It is about a 30-minute walk, but there are plenty of tuk-tuks to shorten your journey! We loved the walk as it was very scenic and peaceful!
Cabañas La Cumbre In San Jose del Pacifico
We don’t want to end this post without addressing the most popular place to stay in San Jose del Pacifico – Cabañas La Cumbre. This accommodation is situated in the town center, however, some of their cabins and domes are situated in the forest, which is a 30-minute walk away.
Their forest cabins are quite basic, and you won’t find any reception, restaurant, or anyone to help you with anything. If you are looking to disconnect, this is probably a good option for you.
The rooms in town are situated near the top of the town, and guests have some incredible views of the mountains. There is a common area where you can meet other guests. Though this is technically considered a hostel, it does not have dormitory-style rooms with bunk beds.
La Cumbre used to be very cheap when we stayed there, but now the prices have gone up quite a bit. And since then, many other places have also opened up in town. So our recommendation? Do your research before blindly booking a place at La Cumbre.
Visiting San José Del Pacifico FAQs
Is There WIFI in San José del Pacifico?
WiFi is notoriously hard to find in San José del Pacifico. Most places will offer WiFi, and your device will connect, but you still won’t be able to access the internet (or it will be too slow). There is an internet cafe right at the bus stop where you can pay per hour to use their WiFi!
What is San José del Pacifico famous for?
San José del Pacifico is famous for its psychedelic mushrooms and its lush environment that offers visitors a peaceful and spiritual escape. Situated about 2,500 meters in altitude, visitors come to detach and enjoy the best of nature through surreal vistas, relaxed vibes, and wellness activities such as yoga, Temazcal and Ayahuasca. San Jose del Pacifico is worth visiting!
Is San Jose del Pacifico Worth Visiting?
San Jose del Pacifico is one of the most unique places to visit in Mexico. Its mountainous landscapes are quite different compared to Mexico’s famous beaches, colonial towns and metropolitan cities. Visitors can enjoy a variety of wellness activities and try magic mushrooms! We highly recommend you to visit San Jose del Pacifico.
How Many Days To Spend In San Jose Del Pacifico?
We recommend to spend 2 full days in San Jose Del Pacifico. This way you can spend one day exploring the nature and hiking trails, and another day participating in some of the wellness activities in the region!
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We hope our article has answered every question you might have about San José del Pacífico! It is one of our favorite towns in Mexico and we hope you can enjoy it as much as we did!
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