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.
A meal fit for a king! You´ve probably enjoyed any number of them here without realizing it. The fact is, many of today´s typical Mexican dishes are comprised of much the same ingredients served to the royalty of Mayan, Toltec, Aztec and other ancient civilizations.
The cuisine of Mexico, based on corn, is one of the world´s oldest, dating back to cultures that flourished over 6000 years ago, and although corn was the mainstay of the ancient Mexican diet (it was even worshipped as a god in early times), many other foods in current use were also included. Tomatoes, chiles, beans, avocados, pumpkins, even cactus leaves were then, as now common elements in everyday meals. From these and other ingredients, augmented by herbs and condiments, today´s delectable Mexican cuisine evolved.
Think back to the last typical Mexican meal you enjoyed. Perhaps it included a rich zucchini soup, an entree of chicken in pine nut sauce with guacamole salad and a basket of steaming tortillas. Or was it chiles rellenos or grilled red snapper or a bowl of pozole with a side order of refried beans? Or just a snack consisting of tacos, enchiladas, tamales or quesadillas washed down with a mug of hot chocolate? If you feasted on any of these, you were dining in the style of ancient Mexican royalty.
Henri Loridans finds Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 both compelling and amusing, if a bit over the top.
Home of The Week
"Elizabeth Taylor slept here .... Historic home on Chapala Malecón"
Presenting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make an historic home on the shores of Lake Chapala your own. This property, consisting of the original home built in 1880 (renovated by current American owners in 1998), two casitas (each with kitchen, bathroom, sitting room and bedroom), covered terraces and a Moroccan 'follie', amidst romantic gardens and several fountains, is awaiting your vision and business acumen.
One of the first houses to be built on the Chapala Malecón, many of its original features have been lovingly conserved: tall stained glass windows, the musicians' balcony in the main reception room (repurposed as a cozy library), cupolas, soaring wood-beamed ceilings, wood windows with shutters, a massive kitchen with its original sink, just to mention a few. The glorious views over Lake Chapala from the second and third floor rooms and terraces are impossible to top.
The lake was formed some 12,000,000 years ago in a seismic upheaval and was ahnost 7 times its present size, even covering the present city-site of Guadalajara. The lake bed is the resting place of many fossils. Originally called Lake Jalisco, it now hears the name Chapala, taken from the Nahuatl ‘Chapalal,’ the sound that water makes splashing on a sandy shore.
Ajijic was originally named, in Nahuatal, the Aztec language, ‘Axixic, place where the water springs forth,’ commemorating the seven fresh-water wells that originally provided the water in this area. One of the wells was at the head of Calle Colon, and another was likely on the site of the church on Marcos Castellanos.
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.