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.
Change is a constant in our lives. That’s a maxim we have all become more aware of as COVID-19 has infiltrated every area of our lives, but exactly what changes there will be as we slowly emerge from our respective havens is still a matter of conjecture.
Here at Lakeside, one of those changes will be Open Circle, although it will not be the first time this popular event has changed. First organized in 1995 by Joan and Roy Forman as New Dimensions, it was held in their home every Sunday morning and emphasized spirituality and various aspects of Buddhism, Sufism and Christianity. Then, in 2001, it changed its name to Open Circle and moved to other homes and restaurants. Shortly thereafter Marianne and Michael Warren approached LCS to see if the organization could utilize the patio area and a rental agreement was drawn up.
For several years Marianne Warren, Hilary Stewardson, Derek Firth and Jim Spivey coordinated the weekly programs until, in 2011, Jim Spivey assumed total responsibility for the event. In 2015, when poor health dictated he could no longer continue, things changed again and Jim passed the reins over to David Bryen and Margaret Van Every, both regular attendees and supporters.
“Stylishly Renovated One Level View Home in Upper Ajijic’s Premier Gated Gommunity, Lomas de Ajijic”
Casa Holly has just been given a complete makeover by its current owners, including all new kitchen with high-end appliances and bathrooms, one with a soaking tub. All windows and sliding doors are brand new, using a German-engineered product.
A romantic entry patio overflowing with mature flowering plants leads to a cupola domed foyer, and invites you into the high boveda ceilinged living room with fireplace, connecting to the covered terrace via sliding doors. The open concept continues as you flow into the dining room (also with sliding doors to the covered terrace) and the marvelous gourmet kitchen with excellent high-end appliances and breakfast bar, offering lots of storage, both in the kitchen and in the adjacent pantry. Through the pantry you reach a separate large laundry room (new washer and dryer), again, with lots of storage.
Over the decades many writers have found their way to this tropical Eden, where those seeds they held inside so long suddenly found the soil they had been secretly seeking. The Ajijic Writers Group provides a home for many of these writers. But how did the Ajijic Writers Group first come about?
Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez, a screenwriter/film director in Hollywood, came here in ‘87. “One day a woman said to me, ‘Grattan, I hear that you have sold several screenplays in Hollywood. Would you co-sponsor a writers group here in Ajijic?’ So we put up flyers and to my surprise about 35 people showed up at the Old Posada for the meeting. That was in June of 1988.
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.