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San José del Pacífico: a place close to heaven

In the southern highlands of Oaxaca at 2,500 meters above sea level, there is a magical place, in which it is said that “you can touch the clouds”. It’s called San Jose del Pacifico. Image by Angelobcn.

In the southern highlands of Oaxaca at 2,500 meters above sea level, there is a magical place, in which it is said that “you can touch the clouds”. It’s called San Jose del Pacifico. Surrounded by trees and clouds, it offers exceptional panoramic views. But this place is full of magic and mysticism, since here the consumption of mushrooms (which is allowed) and dates back to pre-Hispanic times, being used by the Zapotecs for religious rituals and revelation. Closer to our times, the famous shaman María Sabina, in the ’60s managed to popularize its consumption.

“The sacred mushroom takes me by the hand and takes me to the world where everything is known.” Maria Sabina

Travelers looking to delve into this journey of introspection, arrive in San José del Pacífico during June to September, the rainy season, in which fungi grow.

In addition to the consumption of mushrooms, this place is ideal for personal spiritual reunion and healing, since temazcal baths are very popular, which purify the body.

What to do in San Jose del Pacifico?

For travelers heading to Mazunte or Zipolite, two of the most popular beaches in the state of Oaxaca, San Jose del Pacífico is a must-see.

Thanks to its landscapes and geography, here you can carry out activities in contact with nature such as:

  • Hiking: there are many paths to do this activity. Most are climbs that you can do on your own, although you can hire the services of people who can help you travel these roads and enjoy the wonderful landscapes of the place. You can also travel by mountain bike.
  • Visit the Golan Heights viewpoint: from this viewpoint, you can admire really beautiful landscapes. Unlike the viewpoint of Los Pinos, this one is a little safer (since you do not have to climb a 12-meter staircase and stay on a small platform).
  • In the Golan Heights, you can observe the horizon and take spectacular photographs.
  • Zipline: For those looking for slightly more extreme thrills, you can find the adrenaline you need by taking a zipline tour. There are some that have routes from 130 to 800 meters and enjoy from the heights the landscapes of the mountains.
  • The extreme swing: very close to San José del Pacífico you can find a forest that has two swings. Located 2400 meters from sea level, when you rock on these swings you will feel that you are touching the clouds.  
  • Visit the handicraft markets: the town has different handicraft markets where you can buy the traditional handmade ponchos, the traditional drink of Oaxaca, mezcal or buy some woven mushroom figures, characteristic of the place.

If what you need is tranquility, the fresh air of the mountains, and contact with nature, San José del Pacífico is undoubtedly your place.

Spending a few days in this place is very affordable so you can travel on a budget.

What to eat in San Jose del Pacifico?

In San José del Pacífico you can enjoy the traditional Oaxacan cuisine: mole, chocolate, tlayudas, in short… an extensive range of dishes. But some restaurants offer an international menu, believe it or not, being the Italian one of the favorites.

Traditional Oaxaca food that you can eat at San Jose del Pacifico.

Image by Ashley Celic Garcia Leyte

How to get to San José del Pacífico?

To get to San Jose del Pacífico, you can get there by car, whether you’re on your or consider renting one. You can also take a bus from Oaxaca City or if you are in Mazunte, Puerto Escondido, or Zipolite, take a bus, both of which make frequent trips and you do not need to book a seat in advance.

From Oaxaca City, the trip will take you around 3 hours. If you are traveling from Puerto Escondido, you will have to arrive first in Pochutla for about an hour and a half and from there take another bus that will take you to San José del Pacífico.

Map to get to San Jose del Pacifico.

Where to stay?

In San José del Pacífico you will find several cabins and small hostels to spend a few days of tranquility. Most people spend around 3 nights in this place since in addition to contact with nature, there are not too many activities to do and the weather is cold, so we recommend you wear clothes that keep you warm especially at night.

You should also consider that the payments for accommodation (mostly) and activities are made in cash.

We invite you to know more about the magical places of Oaxaca by visiting the following articles:

Tu guía de viaje Puerto Escondido: 5 actividades imprescindibles

Un pueblo con encanto: San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya

Disfruta las raíces del mezcal, la bebida espiritual más antigua de México desde Quiegolani.

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