San José del Pacifico; Mexico’s little slice of heaven

Before I went to Mexico, I pictured beautiful beaches, colourful towns and lots (and lots… and lots) of ruins. And, of course, I saw all of those. What I didn’t expect was a quaint town in the mountains surrounded by breathtaking views, unmissable sunsets, and most importantly, spending the night wrapped up in a blanket in front of a log fire. And then I set foot in San José del Pacífico.


San José del Pacifico is what I can only describe as a little slice of heaven tucked away in a cloud forest. And to prove it, its only right to preface this blog with this incredible piece of photo evidence. Exhibit A:

Sunset in San José del Pacifico.

Have you seen anything more heavenly than that? I sure haven’t. But, what is arguably one of Mexico’s best kept secrets now, I’m sure will soon be one of the most popular places to go… so get there before everyone else does! I promise that you won’t regret it.


I spent only 2 nights in San Jose, but honestly I would recommend 3 or even 4 nights if you can fit it into your travels. Especially if you’re someone who wants to relax, spend time in nature, read and walk. I made the mistake of seeing it only as a pit stop on my way to the West Coast. In hindsight I could have spent weeks there reading, blogging and drinking red wine by the fire at night.

1. Hike in the mountains

Allow yourself to get lost…

Most of the accommodation options in San José del Pacifico are Cabañas out in the woods, anywhere up to a 30 minute walk away from the tiny main town. So that walk itself, if you choose to take it, will be beautiful.

Honestly anywhere you choose to wander around your Cabaña will be beautiful.

Many of the hikes can be done without a guide, as there are routes that you can follow and easily trace your way back. That being said, hostels and other locations generally have tips and advice of the best places to hike. Some organise hiking trips themselves!

The woodland paths have hidden seats within the trees, viewpoints and picnic spots.

Hike trail in San José del Pacifico.

2. Watch the sunset at Cabañas La Cumbre with a hot chocolate

The only thing better than a good sunset, is a good sunset with a hot chocolate, right?

Cabañas la Cumbre is a hostel above the town in San Jose del Pacifico. Although it is a good spot to stay, I have a better recommendation… keep reading (no spoilers here).

However, this spot is PERFECT to watch the sunset, and the hot chocolate is delicious. From the main street in town it’s around a 20 minute walk. But the walk is STEEP. So, prepare yourself… I promise it’s worth the view.

Although the hot choc is great, I’ve heard the food doesn’t match it. Stick to the sweet treats.

Or, go to a mirador – a viewpoint.

As you can imagine, San Jose del Pacifico is FULL of incredible viewpoints to watch the sunset above the clouds. I would suggest going each night that you’re in San Jose, because the clouds can either make it incredible, or make it a huge flop.

Sunset in San José del Pacifico.
Cloudy sky in San José del Pacifico.

This is the same viewpoint, two days apart. At the exact same time. Trust me when I say go every evening!

There are some more well known view points within the town. On the main road to town there is an observation deck with a sign saying ‘Vivelo’, across the street from some angel wings painted onto the rocks. Los del Golan San José del Pacifico viewpoint is also on the outskirts of town, but will cost around 30 pesos.

My honest advice is to ask where you’re staying where the best local place to go is, as there are great spots near many of the cabañas. Or make notes of places during the day when you’re wandering around.

TOP TIP: Take warm clothes or even a blanket to watch the sunset. As soon as the sun sets in San Jose it gets COLD.

3. Take part in a Temazcal Ceremony

Take part in a WHAT?

A Temazcal Ceremony is something you will become very familiar with if you spend a lot of time in Mexico. Other spots in Central America too.

During a Temazcal Ceremony, you will enter a small dome, and experience a ‘spiritual cleansing’, essentially through sweating out all the impurities. The environment is like that of a sauna created by hot rocks and water, but you’re in pitch black, and in 4 rounds, more and more steamy rocks will be added.

How does the ceremony go?

Depending on which you try, you will have a very different experience, and some are way more intense and ‘uncomfortable’ than others. The one I tried was more simple; 3 of us were alone in the dome, and we had 4 rounds, getting hotter each time. Then at the end we were splashed with herbs and cold water, and given a herbal tea to finish. For me this was even difficult since I’m not good in Saunas, let alone ones in pitch black for 45 minutes. But it’s all about self control and pushing through.

Other ceremonies can have up to 15 people in the small space, and can be guided by a Shaman. They guide you through your feelings, do chants, and some have you talk through how you’re feeling. If it’s something you’re interested in, it’s definitely worth trying different ones throughout Latin America.

Temazcal ceremony San José del Pacifico.

TOP TIP: Drink LOTS of water before you go to a Temazcal Ceremony, and ask lots of questions about the process. It’s better if you know what you’re getting yourself into. I would also recommend going in swimwear because it gets extremely hot in there. Lastly, remember that it’s okay to leave. If you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable, just step out of the dome or ask the shaman if necessary. It’s not for everyone and you may need a time out.

4. Try some of the trippy local delicacies

San José, otherwise known as mushroom mountain…

It may have slipped my mind to mention this earlier… Oops. I didn’t want it to be the only draw to the place. But during the rainy season in San Jose del Pacifico, from July to October, you can buy fresh Magic Mushrooms.

What if you can’t go in season?

Fear not. They’re also available during the dry season, preserved in honey. They tend to not be as strong so you may have to take more for the same experience. You will also of course be charged a little more. But hey, if there was ever a good place to try them, San Jose is it.

The views are magical anyways, imagine them if they were mushroom magical.

There are lots of places within the town that you can buy mushrooms, often indicated with signs, but don’t pay more than you need to! We bought ours from Cabañas la Cumbre – why not check it out whilst you’re watching the sunset! If in doubt, ask the locals, and shop around.

TOP TIP: If its your first time, try and do it with someone who has done it before, or someone who isn’t doing them. Just incase you have a bad trip. A ‘trip sitter’, if you will. If you want a better experience, don’t have sugary food or drinks before, and if you’re having too much of an experience, have some of those to tone it down. If you don’t want to just eat them, (understandable, they’re rank) make yourself some tea. Finally, find a good spot. Enjoy.

5. Eat unexpectedly good Asian food at Tatsu

I know that this sounds like a really rogue suggestion…

Tatsu asian food in San José del Pacifico.

And I’m sure that the last thing you’re thinking about in the mountains of Mexico is Asian food. But I’m always thinking about Asian food, and against ALL of my expectations… It was extremely good. It was cheap, the food was delicious, and the view was amazing.

I had tuna and salmon taquitos (unreal) and salmon lo mein. They also have a selection of refreshing cocktails and clericot, a drink similar to sangría.


View from Bostel Rancho Viejo in San José del Pacifico.

Now I know that I have perhaps gone on about how heavenly San José del Pacifico is… BUT, this hostel is the cherry on top of a perfect stop on your trip. Think stunning log cabin, comfy beds, huge cozy blankets (super necessary at night), a huge L sofa in front of a log fire, and the most amazing views from the balcony. All for £15 a night in a 6 bed dorm.

Maybe you have to see if to believe it. This is one of the most incredible hostels I’ve truly ever stayed in. I was blown away!

Click on the photo here to see the inside of the hostel (and a cute pupper). Prepare to be tempted.

It’s a 30 minute walk from the main town, but it’s a nice walk, and if you’re feeling brave you can always get a tuk tuk!

With the hostel being quite small, and extremely cosey, it has a real homely, family feel. It gets really cold at night, so everyone snuggles up in front of the log fire with red wine after cooking dinner together. I could honestly tell you the life stories of the people around that fire, but couldn’t tell you a single one of their names.

This hostel wholeheartedly doesn’t have any faults. I loved everything about it. But, be sure to book a little in advance, as it books up quick!

Lit fire at Bostel Rancho Viejo in San José del Pacifico.


When I said that San José del Pacifico will soon be popular, I wasn’t lying. There was constant development around us of new buildings and viewpoint locations. It pains me to say it, but I fear it won’t be as cheap to stay there in the future. So get there whilst its still an affordable part of the backpacker trail.


Have I successfully tempted you to book your flights to Mexico? Whether it was the sunsets, hot chocolates or other magic treats that drew you in, be sure to check out my other Mexico posts for more inspo! Or if you aren’t feeling Mexico, how about Costa Rica?

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