San José del Pacífico, a town in the clouds
By Sergio Camalich
Located between the City of Oaxaca and the relaxing beaches of its namesake state, San José del Pacífico is a small town located on top of the mountains, surrounded by a constant layer of clouds and forest. It is mostly unknown and ignored by tourists, but those who stay are in for a big surprise.
I knew about it well before I arrived because it is famous for its magic mushrooms during the rainy season, which attracts hundreds for enthusiasts from May to September and since it only takes a 3-hours ride from Oaxaca, it is a really accesible place.
San José del Magnífico
This is how the locals call it and I couldn’t agree more.
From the moment I arrived, I noticed how different this place is from any other. With just one main road passing through its middle and a dozen more going up through the hills, San José del Pacífico is not a big town.
It is mostly unknown and ignored by tourists, but those who stay are in for a big surprise.
Mushroom and psychedelic imagery can be found anywhere in town and just asking around will quickly get you a family of 7 mushrooms or a big one—the Maestro. This mushrooms shouldn’t be used as a recreative drug but mostly as a way to connect with your inner self and nature.
I was expecting higher prices than in Oaxaca, since it is located on top of the mountains but as I quickly discovered, the food was cheap and accommodation, even cheaper.Sorry, mom!
Hostal de Doña Catalina
Easily the most famous hostal in town, the Hostal de Doña Catalina is a beautiful hippie hostel with a loving community of permanent travellers.
Here you can camp, have a private room or sleep in a dorm with several other people, which is what I did, surprisingly paying only $50 mexican pesos per night, one of the cheapest hostels I’ve ever stayed in.
Each night, we made dinner for the whole hostel for only $10 pesos each. Is this real life?
Coolest cabin ever
The local landscape
Even if you’re not in for a mushroom trip, you can’t deny the fact that the surroundings are just astounding.
Each afternoon, the whole hostel gathered in the panoramic terrace just to see the Sun set behind the mountains, while the clouds slowly covered everything in sight and beautiful music played in the background.
I don’t know how many hours we spent on that area, talking and enjoying the view, but I’m sure they were many.
There are also several trails that take you up the mountains and into the forest, where I couldn’t help but marvel at the special lighting that’s created by the trees and the sound the wind makes as it rushes through the leaves.
By the third day there, I was ready to leave everything behind and start living a simple life, but the waves of Mazunte were calling me.
The costs of San José del Pacífico
Bus from Oaxaca to San José del Pacífico: $95 pesos
8-people dorm/night: $50 pesos
Meals: $10-45 pesos
Beer: $20 pesos
Mushrooms: $70-300 pesos, depending on the season.
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