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.
Living in Lake Chapala
Hola to Ajijic!
By Scott Richards
The last plane my wife and I are planning on flying for a very long time, finally landed in Guadalajara from Istanbul three weeks ago delivering us to this enchanting pueblo of Ajijic. Two years, thirty-six flights and almost 100,000 air miles, we find ourselves home. A couple of middle-aged nomads hopping around the world looking for paradise, our Shangri-la only to find it within ourselves all along and not on any map, have finally put their suitcases away.
Twenty-one countries later, we have both decided that if we have a problem living here, we better get over it. We have run out of countries and even continents. Literally, where on earth would we go to find it better than this? We love the weather, the music, food, art and most importantly, the warm and welcoming hearts of the people. From our recent travels, Americans are not always welcomed everywhere in the world anymore. It is a real pleasure learning the language and interacting positively with everyone we meet.
We sold everything in 2008 in Orlando, Florida where we lived for the last twenty-five years performing our proper nine to fives, taking trips every three months in order to keep the will to live alive. It finally dawned on us that we had our lifestyle in reverse. We should be living the life of our vacations. Life is short and we aren’t getting any younger.
Although satisfied in my work having a small art gallery and picture frame shop for almost three decades allowing me to meet interesting clients and handle many exceptional, historic and moving pieces of art, I and my wife sought more than material gain and a dead end consumer existence. It was the soul and heart that needed feeding; badly and soon.
Kathy Koches grew up in Los Angeles and often went to the word-famous Griffith Park Observatory—and in doing so became a life-long fan of Carl Sagan. But in ending her short article, Kathy remembers a quote not of Sagan’s but of Vincent Van Gogh: “I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.”
Home of The Week
"The Jewel in the Crown"
Do you dream of embracing European elegance in a luxurious estate? Welcome to VILLA REAL, situated on a sprawling lakefront lot (7,249 m2/78,027 ft2) in a discreet neighbourhood of important residences, and only five minutes from the Ajijic town center. The home is inspired by classical elegance with impressive proportions, but it could also accommodate contemporary interior design ideas.
Designed and built by the current owner to his highly exacting standards, the entire property is built in a style heavily influenced by Neoclassical architecture to create perfect visual harmony, and boasts the following highlights:
A combination of tropical location, high altitude and a large body of water produce a climate in the Chapala area that is second to none in the world. Although National Geographic magazine has done the full analysis and declared Lake Chapala to have the second best climate, those who live here are quite content to be that close to the ideal.
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.
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.