Magical Ajijic in Lake Chapala, Mexico

| February 17, 2012 | 52 Comments
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Just 45 minutes away from busy Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, lies the largest lake in Mexico: Lake Chapala. The lake is 40km wide and 80 km long at its widest and longest points, and is the main source of drinking water for Jalisco’s capital city. Yet despite the huge role it plays as the water provider for millions of people its real popularity lies in the fact that it is the perfect big city weekend getaway that, surprisingly, has not become such.

ajijic chapala

The are has not remained unknown though as expats discovered it decades ago and the towns of Chapala and, particularly Ajijic, are now called home by one of the largest expatriate communities in all Mexico, if not the largest.

Despite this Ajiji has remained mostly untouched, and thus decided to spend a weekend in Ajijic exploring what the area has to offer and find out if it really is as charming as it is.

We got there late at night on Friday, it was raining but our hopes were high as we were in the middle of the dry season (mid February). But alas, luck was not on our side and the rain did not stop during the whole weekend. Not only were we surprised but locals mentioned too that rain during this time of the year is very unusual and they could not remember it having happened in at least two decades.

ajijic street

Ajijic has plenty of hotels to choose from, but the easy going lifestyle and cobbled streets that lead to the lake make it the ideal village where to stay in a guesthouse or B&B. We chose Angel Flores Guest House, hosted by Skip and Felipe. The place is tastefully decorated and ideally located too, and one of the better priced in town. At 50USD/nigh you get a spotless private room with a full bathroom and access to a common kitchen area, several roof tops from which to enjoy the views and lounge areas where to to strike casual conversations with other travelers and visitors (watch my video review).

church ajijic

Ajijic is a quite town who’s main attraction is the lake. There are a few boat tours that will take you to a couple of islands and other lakeside towns, yet the constant rain kept us from joining one. The short promenade along the lake is perfect for an afternoon stroll, and you can also rent kayaks or bicycles if you want to keep yourself active. Make sure you also drive to neighboring Chapala, a slightly larger town with a picture perfect lakeside promenade spotted with great restaurants where to eat, and the thermal water baths in San Juan de Cosala might also be appealing.

Angel flores guesthouse

Angel Flores guest house

Food-wise, you will not be disappointed as there are many excellent restaurants to choose from, offering Thai food, Argentinian cuisine and of course and excellent array of Mexican dishes.

food ajijic

After walking around town and exploring nearby places of interest we decided to call it a day by enjoying a fantastic massage at Viriginia Moreno Massage Parlor on Colon 51 right in front of Lloyd Real Estate. The parlor had just opened a month ago and is simply yet tastefully decorated, making it very affordable (250 pesos for a 1 hour massage). Liza and I enjoyed the session and I highly recommend you visit Virgina and Katy if you have a chance. You won’t regret it!

kids ajijic

Ajijic is a great town where to enjoy a weekend or even more days not only of you want to escape Guadalajara’s traffic and noise, but simply want to relax and enjoy some time of your own. The town is far from being overdeveloped (yet) and when the weather is good it is a great location where to enjoy the outdoors. I must also say that I usually dislike towns that have been become expat settlements because of the transformation that they endure, but I have to admit that Ajijic is just as charming, if not more, than what it could have been a few decades ago.

Have you visited Ajijic? Did you even know that Mexico has a lake this big? What other small lakeside towns around Mexico or the world do you know of you highly recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and this post too if you liked it!

[Photo credit @ Flickr : sunset picture by nick farnhill]

Category: Americas, Destinations, latest, Mexico

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52 Responses to “Magical Ajijic in Lake Chapala, Mexico”

  1. Zila D says:

    Hello – My hubby and I are considering retiring in Ajijic but have read sites that claim Lake Chapala is covered in green plant overgrowth and polluted. Lake Chapala is also the main source of drinking water. It would be great if we could hear from some Canadian Expats who actually live there to help us with our decision to relocate. Do you know how we could go about that? Thanks.

    • maitravelsite says:

      Hi Zila,

      Interesting question. When I was in Lake Chapala three months ago I did not see such green plant overgrowth, and the lake looked OK- it was cloudy though, and it being close to a big city it can never be pristine. I’m sure that Skip (owner of Angel Flores Guest House, where we stayed at and an expat who’s been there for over ten years) will be happy to give you first hand info. This link will take you to his website with the contact info. Hope this helps!

  2. Florence18Moore says:

    This is really wow! I can’t wait to witness this beautiful place…

  3. Ajijic and the Lake Chapala areas are a great place to visit and a great place to live…

  4. Ron Boston says:

    Glad to see you found Angel Flores! I’ve stayed there several times and it’s just as you described it – clean, peaceful, relaxing. Skip works hard at keeping it nice. Restaurants in Ajijic are surprising in their variety and quality. I judge places by the food – and Ajijic rates right up there. Good travels!

    • maitravelsite says:

      Hey Ron, glad to know you have stayed in Angel Flores Guest House! I will let him know this, Skip will be pleased to know. I also posted a video review of his place, I’m sure he will appreciate a thumbs up :)

  5. Is not kinda funny and ironic that we have New Mexico here, as if its a brand new, improved, magical version of Mexico, but Mexican’s can’t go there?

  6. Alex says:

    Ajijic seems very beautiful and very relaxing. Pictures seems very interesting and making me excited to visit Ajijic. The places you have mentioned here in Ajijic seems good. Thanks for sharing it with us! Will surely plan a visit and will try to experience all the activities you mentioned.

  7. Francinne says:

    This looks like a very nice place to have a vacation with friends…

  8. Devhonn says:

    Lovely place…I hope you can update your post too…

  9. Dhana28 says:

    Mexico really is one very exciting and interesting place.. When you say Mexico the image that I can picture out is their hospitality.. :)

  10. Preciouss says:

    I hope I can visit this next year because this year, I will go visit Australia…

  11. wynonaelliott says:

    I love the color of the sunset! Mexico is great place to visit indeed… Thank you for sharing these information about Ajiji, I wish I can visit this place.

  12. Ayie says:

    Mexico is definitely a nice place!I want to try this too…

  13. Nicole Schuman says:

    wow! It’s so nice! I really like the photos, it look so great there! thanks for sharing this!

  14. Jennica says:

    I want to go mexico and see if it is one of the best places today…

  15. Erica says:

    Ooh those pictures look magical! We seriously had to make ourselves leave Mexico or we would have been there forever.

  16. Eddie says:

    I have not visited Ajijic but the closest I’ve come are Panama, Acapulco, and Curacao… Your description and photos remind me of Panama in particular. Wow, what are the odds that a decades old rain record would be broken on the same weekend you were visiting? It looks like you managed to salvage and have a great time despite this…

  17. Jacob says:

    Ajijic seems very beautiful and worth watching destination! I came to know about so many things that one can do in Ajijic after reading your post. I think Mexican Government should try to promote Ajijic a must watch tourist destination. By looking at the pictures you posted, I think one will surely be relaxed by visiting Ajijic. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Ruthy says:

    This looks definitely amazing!I want to travel in Mexico too…

  19. Alex says:

    I think Ajijic is the best place to get rediscover. Due to my work commitments it becomes very difficult for me to get time for own and so I was planning for a relaxing vacation. And after reading your post I think Ajijic will be a perfect destination to get relaxed. The experience which you have shared here is truly great. The things you listed to do in Ajijic like taking a massage, experiencing great cuisine like Thai, Argentinian and Mexican, etc are making me excited to visit Ajijic eagerly.

  20. Ellai says:

    I want to go to Mexico and try some of their food their…This looks an awesome place too…

  21. Dhana28 says:

    never been to mexico, but i think it’s a great place and would like to travel one day.

  22. Brenda W. Scott says:

    I have not known that there is place named Ajijic, just only now. I f want to get away from the busy city, Ajijic is the place to be. Thanks for sharing!

  23. David says:

    Even I was not aware of the Ajijic in Mexico. By looking at the pictures, it seems very magical and beautiful. The colorful buildings and scenic background must be the ideal place to spend quality time with family. Also the cuisine seems very authentic! Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience! Will surely plan a visit to Ajijic and will not forget to stay in a guest house and enjoy to the fullest!

    • maitravelsite says:

      I tend to think that guesthouses offer a much better overall impression of the place you visit than hotels. But hey, that’s just my opinion…

  24. Clark says:

    Nice that you have managed to get a great feel. You have moved beyond the stereotypical view of Mexico to a more realistic and different perspective of the country. I am really excited about it and hope to be able to visit it soon and see these beautiful places that you have spoken about here.

  25. John says:

    A travel freak like me gets really excited to read fun posts like the ones you have put up here. I always wished to go to Mexico but was unable to do it. And now after suffering injury in a car accident I am unable to walk much. Now the only travel I can afford is within Ontario and have to get my travel fill by surfing the internet. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Jannah says:

    Looks an awesome place!I am hoping that I can travel in this place too…

  27. I’ve never even heard of this Mexican town, but it looks quaint and lovely!

  28. I’ve never been to Mexico and this post makes me want to go!

  29. Chelyn24 says:

    For me, Mexico is the perfect place for great fun.. Its nice to be there and have fun…

  30. Never knew about this place. Great that the town has still maintained its charm.

  31. Wow — never realized such a massive lake was smack dab in the middle of Mexico — very cool….

  32. More than the travel what appealed to me was your pictures. I must say that besides the flair for traveling and exploring you also have a flair for photography. I absolutely loved your pictures. Mexico is a great place and abounds in both natural as well as man made beauties and you have chronicled a few here which are really amazing. Looking great, wanna visit the lovely country soon again.

  33. KN says:

    Love the last photo!

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