Welcome to Ajijic and Lake Chapala Retirement Area
We want to congratulate you for looking into Mexico's largest North American retirement community. As pioneers in real estate (1st one lakeside) and the publishing business, we have introduced many to our local idyllic scene. We feel this is what we do best, showing you what graceful and carefree retirement is all about. Let us share with you our excitement and knowledge on the lake area. Be among the many that have already begun a new and enjoyable life.
Lake Chapala, the Area Known as “Lakeside”
This area is known as “Lakeside” to residents from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and Europe, among other places, and “la ribera” to Mexicans. Due partly to the eclectic mixture, it has developed a continental Old World charm which blends smoothly with a distinctly Mexican ambiance.
Cobblestone streets, tile-roofed homes, riotously colorful gardens blooming year around, and incredible open-air markets and restaurants are common sights, backdropped by lush green mountains surrounding the lake. The hills are laced with flowering trees and plants, and accented by waterfalls, caves, petroglyphs, indigenous sacred sites, and a variety of hiking trails and places to explore.
Over 10,000 retirees call lakeside their home, call us, we can show you around!
Lake Chapala, the largest in the Mexican Republic, with 1112 km². The climate of the lagoon is tempered with rains in summer. The rains appear between the months of June and October. The coldest periods are from December to February. Most months it's a wonderful climate. A combination of tropical location, high altitude and a large body of water, produce a climate in the Lake Chapala area that is one of the best in the world.
Other prime retirement locations cannot come close to matching the climate in the Lake Chapala area. High humidity, searing summer heat, hurricane and tornado threats and miserable winters are all foreign to the lakeside. Temperatures are consistent year round. The sun shines all day almost every day. Consistently low humidity adds to the comfort level. The wind is very gentle or non-existent. Sunrises and sunsets vary only about an hour from winter to summer.
Our not so tranquil day started with a conversation with my husband Tom: “Let’s go to Mazamitla when John and Lynn come to visit,” I said, “this book says it’s situated in the middle of a pine forest and nearby there’s a great waterfall and lots of flowers. They’re such nature lovers this will be perfect.”
Tom’s idea of “loving nature” is sitting in our hot tub, Jim Beam in hand, admiring our bougainvilleas. Grumbling, he said, “Let’s take them on the Tequila Express. They’ll get mariachis, refreshments, look out the train’s windows and see all the nature they want.”
“Mazamitla,” I said.
“We’ll probably have to tromp through the woods, climb over boulders. I’ll bet there are snakes. Poisonous snakes!”
“I patted his head and said, “We’ll go tomorrow and check it out before we take them.”
Mazamitla looks like an Alpine village and it is well worth the drive just to see it and to be in such clean piney air. After a wonderful lunch off the zocalo, we set out in search of the waterfall or Cascada – the Spanish name. We followed some pretty bad directions that took us in circles and up a couple of dead end roads but eventually we got there.
When we arrived we saw a large gate with a guard and assumed we had to pay to drive through. The paying part was right but we weren’t allowed to drive through. Even though this is a state forest, it is a gated community inhabited by private home owners. Outside the gate was a vaquero on a horse holding onto three others.
William Franklin grew up in the early 60’s and remembers the bomb shelters and how it seemed the world was going through one international crisis after another. Today, he meets such moments with an eloquent shrug of his shoulders.
Margie Harrell, as a young girl growing in Canada and enthralled with the Royal House of Windsor once sent a letter to the Queen of England, never expecting any kind of reply. All these years later, she still remembers the day she received it.
Robert James Taylor writes about something that has happened to just about everyone who has ever loved and had to put down a dog.
Home of The Week
Great little house located in a gated community, close to the new hospital San Antonio and all markets, it has a beautiful view to the mountain, solar panel, pressure and purification system, no colonos fees.
The Lake Chapala region is representative of the whole country in the diversity that it is possible to encounter. Encroachment by humans has reduced the species of wildlife in the area, but irrigation has probably increased the available flora. Species of birds and butterflies do not seem to have suffered from human intrusion as there are literally hundreds of each.
Large colonies of white garzas (herons) and snowy egrets are to be found on the lakeshore. Herons regularly take to the giant eucalyptus trees at dusk. Cinsontle, jilguero sparrows and kiskadees are some of the birds most often seen in town.
Ajijic is situated on a narrow strip of land between the mountains to the north and the Lake to the South. It is flanked by San Antonio Tlayacapan to the east and San Juan Cosala to the west. It is seven kilometers west of Chapala. Its average annual temperature is 19.9 degrees Centigrade "68F".
In 1522, the Spanish Olid Expedition reached the eastern shores of what is today called Lake Chapala. When it arrived, its leader, Captain Avalos, met with little resistance. A royal grant from the king of Spain gave joint ownership of the area to Avalos, who was a cousin of Hernan Cortez. Soon other cousins arrived, and one of them by the name of Saenz acquired almost all of the land that is now Ajijic.
By 1530, the Saenz property was one huge hacienda. The principal crop was mezcal, which was used in the making of tequila. The hills were covered with mezcal plants. Coffee and corn were also planted. Later, when a tequila distillery was built, the beverage was shipped, along with the coffee, back to Spain.
"Grasshoppers Over the Water" - Nahuatl "Very Wet Place" - Coca "Place Where the Pots Abound"- Nahuatl
Chapala is located on the north shore of Lake Chapala, 26 km. (16 mi.) east of the Lake's western end, and 42 km. (25 mi.) south of Guadalajara. It is the oldest, most populated, and the most easterly of a string of villages - Chapala, San Antonio Tlayacapan, Ajijic, San Juan Cosala and Jocopetec - known locally as Lakeside.
Its altitude is 1530 meters (5020 feet). Its average temperature is 19.9 degrees C (68 degrees F).
Founded in 1538, the town probably took its name from Chapalac, one of its earliest Indian chiefs. Or perhaps it came from the Mexican "Chapatla," the "place where pots abound," referring to the primitive Indian practice of appeasing the gods by throwing pots, spotted with blood from earlobes, into Lake Chapala.