Sun setting over the Sierra Madre mountains on Lake Chapala.

Ajijic, Mexico

Ajijic is the heart of life on the shores of Lake Chapala, Mexico. There is so much to see and do! Here you will discover a warm and inviting place of tranquility, fragrance, music and color, special friendships and renewed energy. You'll find yourself smiling more, laughing harder, and you will feel so fortunate to be at home here, even for just a little while.

Lake Chapala sits at an elevation of 1,524 meters, 30 miles south of the city of Guadalajara in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. It is Mexico's largest natural lake, measuring approximately 80 kilometers from east to west and 13 kilometers from north to south. Its northern shore contains most of the population, with the village of Ajijic as its true 'heart'. At any given time, approximately 10,000 expatriates call the region home, along with 65,000 Mexican citizens who cheerfully act as their hosts.

Nomadic people roamed throughout the lake region 10,000 to 12,000 years ago and recorded settlements occurred as early as 1300 A.D., when Nahua, Cora and Huichol people migrated here. Today, the Huichol Indians still inhabit the area and maintain their ancient Uto-Aztecan language along with their bright bead and textile arts. The name "Ajijic" or "Axixic" (both pronounced A-hee-heek) is a Nahua word meaning "the place where the water springs forth." The ancient native people were a fishing culture, deriving their protein from the abundant species found in the lake.

In 1522, the Spaniards arrived in Ajijic, just after Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico. Having found paradise, they soon began establishing haciendas, planting corn and coffee and raising cattle, and fishing the lake, too. Franciscan Missionaries eventually arrived and gave Ajijic its patron saint, San Andreas, and began constructing the beautiful Iglesia de San Andreas, which sits just off the central plaza. You can still see the generations of construction in the church, from early 16th century all the way to modern-day improvements.

Ever since those early days, people from all over the world have been drawn to the area. But it wasn't always easy to get here - modern roadways from Guadalajara to Chapala, which sits 11 kilometers east of Ajijic, were not built until the 1950s. Getting to Ajijic from there was either by boat or by donkey trail. Today the area boasts modern roadways, but not too modern.


Old stone church by the plaza in Ajijic.

Boats tied up at the pier in Chapala, Mexico.


It is said that the muse dances freely in Ajijic, hence the reason that artists, writers, actors and musicians - some even famous - have always flocked to the region. The village has long been bohemian in nature, with delightful celebratory noise a constant, and just enough juicy scandals to keep all hearts pumping. Its numerous brightly painted galleries - all unpretentious - dot the main thoroughfares, and art instruction is available from some of Mexico's best native and expatriate artists.

Writer's groups abound, and Ajijic now hosts an annual writer's conference, which is growing in both scope and attendance. More, the region is almost always hopping with live theater - especially at the Lakeside Little Theater's beautiful complex - as well as musical performances ranging from stirring classical philharmonics to foot-stomping rock n roll groups to invigorating Mariachi, Banda and Rancho bands.

Not only does Ajijic boast a lively shopping district, with fashion and jewelry boutiques and Mexican décor shops strung like pearls alongside its galleries, but the village enjoys a diverse culinary scene, too. Its local restaurants meet every taste from spicy street tacos to cozy Italian places that offer traditional recipes to Mexican-European fusion creations plated with panache. The village even boasts a terrific Chinese restaurant, an Egyptian café and a place that satisfies your taste for some Thai food.

If you wish to cook at home, you can find everything you need at the Wednesday 'tianguis' (tee-ahn-gees) - a traveling food and dry goods market that happens 52 weeks a year. There are two locally owned supermarkets, numerous neighborhood tiendas, and even giants like Soriana's and Wal-Mart. The village has recently seen an explosion in organic and prepared foods markets, which are held in the mornings Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, in various locales.

And amid all of these Dionysian delights, you will find medical and dental care of the highest quality, as well as church homes of just about every faith practice, west or east. Can it get any better?

Well, you will have to decide for yourself. They say there's no other place like Ajijic and when you visit, we know you will understand what that means. It's best to settle in for a while, to catch its natural rhythms and discover your part in them. Numerous long-term rentals abound, including on this site, as well as many fine local B & B's and hotels. Ajijic is an exceptional choice for short or long-term property rentals in Mexico.

If you are not the open-minded type or do not handle change well you may want to reconsider the lifestyle in Ajijic. This is not the country we came from so we shouldn't expect it to be like home. We need to remember we left our previous lifestyle for various reasons and we should embrace the culture and it's people with a positive attitude as we are so fortunate to live in their village.

"Imagine a rental property in Ajijic, Mexico for as little as $40. per night."

Ajijic Events and Holidays 2014

Annual Gala - Feb 6, 2014
Behind the Walls Tour - Ajijic - Jan 26, Feb 23, Mar 22 (34th Annual)
Chili Cook Off - Ajijic - 2014 Feb 22, 23, 24
Mardi Gras - Mar 3 - 8
Benito Juárez Birthday - the third Monday in March
Labor Day - May 1
Independence Day - September 16
Revolution Day - the third Monday in November

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"Your source for information about Local Attractions and Things to Do in Ajijic and Lake Chapala, Mexico."