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.
MEXICO’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE VIRGIN In “Mexico’s Love Affair With The Virgin,” Carol L. Bowman enthralls the reader with the history of the Our Lady of Guadalupe. She explains the background to the celebration between December 9-12 where the Mexicans share their love of and reverence for this historical icon.
THAT NIGHT IN ASHLAND “That Night in Ashland” Linda L. Steele describes a special night in this fictional story of how time and circumstances change people.
BAD, BAD GRANNY Catherine Mackenzie shares a holiday celebration in her youth with her mischievous Grandmother in “Bad, Bad Granny.”
SERVICE WITH LOVE This month’s Profile is “Service with Love” as Shelly Stokes tells of the work Becca and Alan Poh have done for La Ola girls’ home, Hope House boys’ home, and medical clinics in Mezcala, San Pedro, Agua Caliente, and Chalpicote, villages east of Chapala and their new endeavors with AlivioIntl.com.
BELIEVE Judy Dykstra-Brown tells us to “Believe” as she relates a moving story of her mother’s love of Christmas.
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For starters, they must believe what they read and hear in the U.S. media. Why would anyone want to retire in Mexico anyway…especially the area around Lake Chapala. That’s OK with us. You see, the Lake Chapala region is our little secret. We expats here today like it that way. If too many Gringos and Canadians come down here, they might spoil it for the rest of us.
Luckily, most retirees north of the border would rather stay where they are and worry about whether they’ll remain healthy enough to see their grandchildren graduate college…or whether they’ll have enough money saved to live out their years short of poverty…or how long they’ll be able to maintain that middle-class life style they’ve become accustomed to.
So, to make them feel better, I’ve compiled a list of the top 20 reasons NOT to retire to Lake Chapala (in no particular order):
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.