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Why did Ajijic become so pupular?


Crazydog
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I wonder why Ajijic became the hub of expats when Chapala has much better infrastructure of roads and space. I also find Chapala much more visually pleasing than Ajijic, however the big majority of restaurants are located in Ajijic, the prices of real estate are extremely more expensive compared to Chapala, yet the Ajijic Carretera is full of dust and traffic that barely moves and for being an expat retirement community it's not particularly handicap friendly or noise friendly to live. 

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We agree!  We retired to Ajijic in 2001 and were happy there, but soon found that Chapala called our name. We sold in 2004 and bought another home in Chapala centro, where we stayed for the next decade. Yes, living in Chapala was much more enjoyable, with easier shopping, walking, the park & malecon, and the more pleasant plaza, etc.  Actually, it was easier to get to most of the “Ajijic restaurants“ from Chapala, since many of them were more easily reached from the carretera; especially those that are actually in San Antonio or Riberas del Pilar.  Of course, prices were better than in Ajijic, as one would expect.  We learned that very quickly, when furnishing and equipping our first home on Calle Ocampo #87, and later put it to good use remodeling and setting up our second home at Lopez Cotilla #265 (now listed for sale again on this site‘s real estate section)......Makes me homesick.

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The traffic got very bad very fast.  It seems that lakeside has been rediscovered by the Tapatios.  I say rediscovered because it was a destination for them for much of its history and then it seemed to ease off a bit before a big resurgence starting about 3 years ago.  Chapala isn't immune to this, try getting through that traffic light in the middle of town on Hildalgo on the weekends.  The entire area is flooded with Tapatios these days.  

Other than the fact that most of our tax dollars are diverted to Chapala and hence things are better maintained there, I don't see a big difference in the quality of streets and sidewalks.  Both towns are pretty primitive when compared to places like Mazamitla or Tapalpa, for example.  Both have very nice Malecons for walking.  WalMart and Centro Laguna are more convenient to Ajijic.  We have a very decent grocery 3 blocks away at Plaza Bugambillias and now we have by far the nicest gym in all of Lakeside there.  There are two pharmacies, 4 hardware stores, four banks/investment houses all easy to walk to and geared to expats.

There are numerous restaurants within easy walking of Ajijic centro and although Chapala has that very nice market next to its plaza, we like the greener more artistic feel of the Ajijic plaza.  We have a decent movie theater at Plaza Bugambillias and nicer ones at Centro Laguna.

Heck, now there's even a BMW moto shop two blocks away. :)

Homes cost more in Ajijic because a lot more of them are higher end, with more land and landscaping.  That's obvious as soon as one actually walks around both towns.  San Antonio is more like Chapala, denser and with fewer expats.  Riberas is a failed fracc and it has the layout of a fracc like La Floresta, which is adjacent to Ajijic and one of the very nicest in all of Lakeside if you're up for fracc living.  

To each his own.  We wouldn't consider moving anywhere else Lakeside.  Judging from the popularity and the many magnificent homes owned by prominent Mexicans here I'd say we have a lot of company for that sentiment.  

 

 

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Well, things have changed in both areas and in fact you could consider them a single area now. I first lived here 45 years ago and "way back then" Chapala was where ALL the infrastructure was and where most of the gringos lived. Chapala is where you went to eat out, bank, go to the doctor, do your shopping, hang out at the American legion, etc. Or you had to go to Guad. Ajijic was a very small artist community where a few hippie and beatnik types mingled with writers, musicians, and painters. Most gringos lived right in town and town ended where the panteon is. The only Tapatios here came on Saturday or Sunday night to dance to live bands at the old Posada which was the only nice hotel in town as well. There were no two story buildings, streets went all the way around the plaza, the one public phone was in a tienda where the everything store now sits and the movie theater on the plaza showed mostly Mexican films. One traffic light, one Pemex station (also only one in Chapala and one in Joco) and no malecon. Just a flood plain and a pier that went under water during the rainy season. No libramiento and a highway that washed out regularly just this side of Chapala. Yes things change and much of the change makes things a little more congested and noisy but change also brings in more more options for those of who decide to make this place home...options that much of the world can't even fathom. Alan

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When we came in 2004 the only light was at Colon and the Carreterra.  I think that lasted until 2007 or so when the others began to show up.  It took another year for those to be reliably functional.  The good old days.

 

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I jst moved to the "failed fracc".Riberas. So quiet  and peaceful. great place to walk. People take care of their dogs, thus no dog shit, dog packs, and minimal barking. Why???? people take care of things. Animals are in at night. There is no garbage thrown around. 

Chapala is a lovely walking town. So enjoyable to walk on the main drag. Driving is easier , too, IMO. I like some of the things that go on in Ajijic, so enjoy LCS stuff and the like. Tried living there 3 years ago. Lasted 4 months.

Everyone has their preferences, that's for sure, and it is nice to be able to access all the communities so easily if you want a little variety in your day.

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Expats in Ajijic were originally the artsy, hippie ones. Chapala was retired military, as was Guadalajara. Many moved to Chapala from Guadalajara.

One traffic light in 2004 followed by two more in 2005 in Ajijic. Then I stopped counting.

Riberas del Pilar being called a failed fracc is absolutely correct. It is.

One of the main reasons that Ajijic became the hub for expat activity, rather than Chapala, was the founder of the Lake Chapala Society, Neill James, who relocated it to her home and its beautiful grounds in Ajijic almost 35 years ago and willed her property to the Lake Chapala Society upon her death giving all area expats a place to meet and socialize, gather and share information and offer helpful classes and other forms of assistance to the local community.

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2 hours ago, virgogirl said:

I jst moved to the "failed fracc".Riberas. So quiet  and peaceful. great place to walk. People take care of their dogs, thus no dog shit, dog packs, and minimal barking. Why???? people take care of things. Animals are in at night. There is no garbage thrown around. 

Chapala is a lovely walking town. So enjoyable to walk on the main drag. Driving is easier , too, IMO. I like some of the things that go on in Ajijic, so enjoy LCS stuff and the like. Tried living there 3 years ago. Lasted 4 months.

Everyone has their preferences, that's for sure, and it is nice to be able to access all the communities so easily if you want a little variety in your day.

You do understand that Riberas used to be a fracc?  And that fracc went belly up?

I think it was something like two years ago or so that Chapala supposedly assumed responsibility for it.  Very recently there was a meeting there with the "Presidente" of Chapala during which the residents got on his case big time because, basically, they've done nothing at all for the place.  Most that gets done there gets done by the residents themselves.

Don't believe me, ask anyone who has been there for a while about the history of Riberas.

 

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I think expats move to Ajijic over Chapala because that is where the majority already have moved.  That is where most of the gringo businesses and restaurants tend to be.  That is where the higher end neighborhoods and expensive homes are already located.  Basically, Ajijic is much more nicer looking!  It just boils down to money, that is where all the money happens to be these days.  And because of all that money, they were able to build a really cute looking plaza and put up some really nice looking murals all around.  Ajijic has its charm, it is predominately artsy, compacted, claustrophobic, with super narrow streets where even the sidewalks are roughly cobble stoned.  Chapala, the city itself has much less charm than Ajijic, it is has less of the money, hence less high end restaurants but the infrastructure is much better.  That means that the streets are much wider, the sidewalks are wider and better paved, the area is much flatter, much better for walking, it doesn't have that claustrophobic feel.  It is a larger town.  We have the more classic looking boardwalk which has a lot more action. The shopping is good meaning that there are more stores and shoppes in Chapala, but the fancier stores, the Super Lake and Walmart are in the San Antonio-Ajijic area.  I think that Chapala is the next up and coming town, if you NEED to be within walking distance of lots of gringo neighbors and lots of gringo oriented entertainment, shopping, and fancier homes......the Ajijic area is your best bet.  If you desire a town with a more real Mexican vibe, with much more affordable living, a city that is more pedestrian friendly and easier on your ankles.....Chapala is your town.   The good news is that Chapala and Ajijic are just 10 minutes apart.  If you choose to live in Chapala, all the fancy stuff that Ajijic offers is just 10 minutes down the road.

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T. Falcon lived here for many years before she died a few years ago.  T said that there was no road between Chapala and Ajijic and the Hollywood crowd brought their boyfriends/girlfriends here to party.  If their mates showed up, they had to come by boat from Chapala and someone would call and warn them to ditch the lovers before their spouse arrived.

T said there were some great parties in Ajijic down on the lake that would go all weekend.

I live here because of the view of the lake and mountains.

 

 

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13 hours ago, solajijic said:

When we came in 2004 the only light was at Colon and the Carreterra.  I think that lasted until 2007 or so when the others began to show up.  It took another year for those to be reliably functional.  The good old days.

 

the light at Colon was there in 1992 when we first visited lakeside...2007 seems to be the year for more light installations and all those topes going into San Juan Cosala.

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When we first started coming here 25 years ago it was simple. Chapala was for enlisted and Ajijic was for officers, with all that implies. Chapala is a city and Ajijic has been able to stay a village and wants to stay that way. The houses are more expensive in Ajijic because they are usually updated and up to NOB standards. 60% of Chapala's tax revenues come from Ajijic, but, the votes are in Chapala hence the focus of the politicos.

 

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This is real easy - much easier to promote a quaint, fishing village, than a market town, serving an agricultural and ranching community. Same as Puerto Vallarta, promoted as an old fishing village (not true) filled with Spanish Colonial treasures (not true). BS trumps brains, every time. I'm sorry, Ajijic makes no architectural, town planning, or artistic sense whatsoever. Fake Corinthian columns around the bandstand - what is this Sadaam Hussein school of decorating!?!? Murals? Please direct me to even one which can hold a candle against the great Mexican muralists.

And those Tapatios MC sees everywhere? Spend a day in Ocotlan or Ixtlahuacan. The are many very wealthy farming and ranching communities about. Yes they drive very expensive vehicles, their families wear nice, expensive clothes. Demographics have changed a lot over the past ten years.

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Not sure what other towns have to do with the Lakeside towns being discussed here but, hey, if it makes you happy to believe that those places are as big a draw as here, go for it.

Funny, I rarely see Ajijic residents posting covert or otherwise slams of Chapala here but the opposite doesn't seem to hold.   Y'all sound a bit defensive.  Why? 

:D 

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We don't live in Chapala and moved from Ajijic 3 years ago because of what I see on this thread plus the noise, lack of parking and the general vibe so in my case, it's not defensiveness.  The "better than thou" attitude is just stupid in senior citizens.  One would think by this age some would know better but I guess not.  

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You don't get the point MC. Tapatios generally are not buying flash rides, flash clothes right now - there is just too much rising crime, kidnapping and car jacking in Guadalajara. Why make yourself "bait". Many of the local farming and ranching compounds are very wealthy - a lot easier when the land was paid off generations ago. They want to live the "lifestyle of the rich and famous" and the scenarios suggested by the Telanovellas and music videos. That means packing the family into the 2016 Lincoln Navigator, and finding a place on the water to have a family meal. Older city kids have far too much going on to want to go to a family dinner on the Lake - bor-r-ring. You will see more Lincoln Navigators and high end pickup trucks in those small towns I mentioned, than in Guadalajara. These are the country barons, these are the ones you see visiting on the weekends. Older country kids are already bored out of their minds anyways.

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As usual this post drags on and on and gets into slamming and rude remarks!  Why can't a person ask an opinion..as was done...and just give your ideas/opinions and shut up!   Grow up people...we are here because we love many things, dislike many others...and made our choices.  Its not about snobs, rich people...etc etc....    

Viva both Ajijic and Chapala and every place surrounding...for their own particular charms!!  Just enjoy.....there is enuf hatred and animosity in the world without turning very discussion here into a battle ground!!! 

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