Area Info


Living at Lake Chapala

Despite the lakeside’s quaint charm, you won’t lack the conveniences and comforts of modern living. Many homes have pressurized water and purification systems, and cable and satellite TV are available all along Mexico’s Chapala lake shore. Several providers offer high speed Internet, and some English speaking computer technicians make house calls. Attend the cinema or rent a DVD to watch at home. Well equipped clinics, and highly trained physicians and dentists give residents peace of mind.

Who lives at Lake Chapala?

The community living along the north shore of Lake Chapala is an intercultural mix of native Mexicans and individuals mainly from Canada, the United States and Europe. Some 20,000 to 30,000 English-speaking foreigners reside in the area.

Because expatriates living at the lake are mainly retirees, most are over 45 years old. However a growing number of younger expat families with children are moving into the Chapala area.

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Discover Ajijic

Once a fishing village, Ajijic was first settled by Nahua Indians in the early 1400s. Its cobblestone streets were built during Spanish rule. Ajijic is the focal point for foreigners living at Lake Chapala, and the Lake Chapala Society is located just blocks from the charming plaza.

The center of Ajijic is best explored on foot, and you can spend days discovering beautiful homes and gardens, narrow lanes, shops, galleries and restaurants, and stunning views of the lake. Restaurants abound, and Ajijic offers some of the finest dining experiences on the Riviera. From Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Greek to Italian, German, Spanish and traditional Mexican, you’ll find an astonishing array of choices. Ajijic also has some of the best variety for shoppers.

The town of Chapala dates to 1530, and is said to take its name from a Coca Indian chief named Chapa who was an early convert to Christianity. Franciscan priest Miguel de Bolanio evangelized the area, and the parish church of San Franciso is a landmark.

Chapala flourished in the early 20th century, and architectural treasures such as City Hall (a former hotel), the Braniff house across from the malecon, and the 1920s railroad station – now a cultural center – have been preserved or restored. Former Mexico president Porfirio Diaz enjoyed vacationing in Chapala, and D. H. Lawrence wrote his novel “The Plumed Serpent” while living at Lake Chapala. A mural at one end of the lakefront promenade tells the story of the town.

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Discover La Floresta

A gracious neighborhood developed in the 1960s and ’70s, La Floresta is immediately east of Ajijic. Stately ficus trees are its hallmark, and they form a shady canopy over thecarretera, the highway from Chapala to Jocotepec.

The carretera divides Upper La Floresta on the hillside from La Floresta on the shore.

Set on the highway in La Floresta, the Lake Chapala Municipal Auditorium serves as a cultural center for Chapala’s north shore. Dance performances, concerts, theater and more take advantage of its excellent acoustics. The stage alone has room for an 80 piece orchestra.

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Discover San Antonio Tlayacapan

Between Chapala and Ajijic, San Antonio Tlayacapan is situated on the lake shore. The traditional town centers on a delightful plaza with a wrought iron bandstand. But along the highway in San Antonio are some of the most popular stores and shops, such as 7-11, Superlake – with a great assortment of specialty foods imported from north of the border, and a well stocked liquor store where a gentleman from Veracruz rolls Cuban cigars by hand. In addition, at the liquor store, wine and cheese tastings are often held.

Village style homes stand side by side with more lavish houses along cobblestone streets. In addition, in San Antonio Tlayacapan, there are several very nice gated communities in varying price ranges where neighbors share swimming pools and clubhouses. Far from being isolated in these communities, expats and Mexican families are neighbors and enjoy Lake Chapala living.

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Discover San Juan Cosala

Not all that many years ago, each tiny town on Chapala’s northern shore had a unique identity and personality.

Located in the municipality of Jocotepec, San Juan Cosala was famous for its geyser, and its thermal springs are renowned. Heated by underground volcanoes, the mineral springs are believed to have curative properties. Spas and balnearios (swimming resorts) grew up around them. Some offer private pools and masseuses as well as public pools, dressing rooms and restaurants.

In addition to the swimming resorts, San Juan Cosala is becoming the focus for extreme sports on Lake Chapala. Hang gliding, wake boarding and rappelling as well as sailing, rock wall climbing, mountain biking and more are offered.

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But I don’t speak Spanish!

You might think language is a problem in a Spanish-speaking country where nobody speaks English. Wrong! In addition to the thousands of English-speaking foreigners who visit and live here, many Mexican nationals take pride in knowing how to communicate in English. Although learning Spanish will help you become a more active part of the community, many expatriates do not learn Spanish and get by just fine, especially in Ajijic.