After over a month of city-hopping, we were more than ready to hit the famed Oaxacan countryside. The mist covered mountains in this region are dotted with dozens of indigenous villages, most of which are only accessible via remote dirt roads you won’t find on any map. We had our sights set on a small village by the name of San Jose del Pacifico, a three hour drive south on the region’s only highway. The windy mountain road provided ample mountain vistas and opportunities for viewing indigenous life.
If it hadn’t been for an old, long haired hippy that waved us down as we drove through the center of the town, we might have missed it. San Jose del Pacifico consists of a handful of restaurants and posadas along a 100 m stretch of road. The rest of the village seeps out into the mountains on either side. We had no plan for our stay here but we fell in love with the place at first sight.
With the help of Daniel, our hippy friend, we secured a cozy room in a nearby posada for 100 pesos per night (about $7). Upon first view it became obvious why La Cumbre is so named. Located on a steep mountainside, it boasts the highest position in town and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Our room on the second floor pointed due west, allowing us to view some of the best sunsets of our lives during our brief stay. On the clearest days, we could see the sun melt into the waters of the Pacific Ocean more than 75 miles away.
In a mountain village as small as San Jose, you can imagine there is not much going on. Life is slow and simple. Perfect. We found ourselves once again rising and falling with the sun, something we hadn’t done since the US. We spent our days hiking aimlessly through the mountains, never reaching any particular destination. In the afternoons we’d stroll through town in search of a bowl of steaming hot pozole. By evening, we were cozied up on the balcony in anticipation of the sure-to-be stunning sunset. As soon as the sun dipped below the horizon, the temperature dropped dramatically. The air now chilled and the wind fierce, we warmed up with some Oaxacan hot chocolate (the best on earth, in our humble opinion) while conversing with travelers from around the world.
It only took one day here for us to realize this was the type of place we could stay for weeks, months, years. Mountain air just has a way of easing the mind and relaxing the soul like nothing else.