FAQ: Lake Chapala/Guadalajara General Information

Where is Lake Chapala?

Lake Chapala (Lago de Chapala) is in west-central Mexico. It lies on the Mexican plateau at 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level in the states of Jalisco and Michoacán.


How do I get from Guadalajara Airport to Lake Chapala?

What is the fastest way to get from Guadalajara Airport (GDL) to Chapala? The quickest way to get from Guadalajara Airport (GDL) to Chapala is to taxi which costs $310 - $380 and takes 26 min, The cheapest way to get to Chapala is to take the bus which costs $26 - $55 and takes 2h 13m.

Is it safe to come to Lake Chapala?

Unless you looking to form your own cartel or are out looking for drugs at 2 am, and you are using basic common sense, you are going to be safer here than the majority of places in North America. If it was a concern, the people would stop coming.

Is Guadalajara safe?

Considering all the types of crimes, Guadalajara can be considered a medium safe city, since there are drug-related crimes, robbery and auto-part theft which should be worrying for tourists. Guadalajara is a big city and it is a normal thing that there is some crime.


What do the Mexicans think of so many expats living in Mexico?

Having the expats benefits everyone, including the country. Direct benefits retirees bring with them is that many retirees will hire Mexican locals to perform certain work like landscaping, housekeeping, etc., which makes expats a valuable monetary resource. There are also companies that exist because of the presence of expats — restaurants, hotels, shops, services, and even hospitals.


What is the weather like in November during the Feria?

Lake Chapala is considered to have one of the three most perfect climates in the world. Year-round average temperature is about 72°F / 22°C


Is Lake Chapala polluted?

The water entering Lake Chapala from the Lerma River is highly polluted with heavy metals and other toxic substances as a result of insufficient wastewater treatment by the many industries operating near the Lerma River.


Is Lake Chapala man-made?

Lake Chapala is Mexico's largest natural lake and is 80 km long.


Is it safe to swim in Lake Chapala?

A U.S. government-sponsored study noted that mercury levels found in fish caught in Lake Chapala are similar to those found in other locations throughout the world. For those who love swimming, a word of caution — the lake is shallow and full of underwater plants that can be hazardous to someone in the water. At its deepest, the lake is 10 meters deep.

What does Chapala mean in English?

Although there are several theories as to the origin of the city's and lake’s name, the most likely is that it comes from Chapalac, the name of the last chief of the Nahuatl-speaking indigenous people of the region. Chapala became an official municipality on September 10, 1864, by decree of the Jalisco State Congress.

Where does Guadalajara get its water?

Lake Chapala — Lake Chapala is Mexico's largest lake and has been an important water source for Guadalajara for the last 50 years.


Can you eat fish from Lake Chapala?

Fish provide daily nutrition for some people living on the lake. Though the lake water is fairly polluted with farming and industrial runoff, recent testing has indicated that fish from the lake are safe enough to eat.


How do I pronounce Ajijic?

Ajijic “Ah-hee-heek” means the “place of springs” and originates from Náhuatl, the Aztec language.

Where do expats live in Lake Chapala?

Two quaint towns, Chapala and Ajijic support most of the expat population, with Ajijic holding the edge when it comes to numbers. Both communities are nestled along the lake's shoreline and separated by only a few miles.


Why do retirees move to Lake Chapala?

The Lake Chapala area is so one of the most attractive retirement communities in Mexico, due to its year-round spring-like weather and inexpensive living costs. Many retirees living here, feel they have found that retiring is not the end of the line, but the beginning of a new adventure.


What is Lake Chapala known for?

The scenic setting, pleasant climate, picturesque villages dotting the shores, and good fishing make the lake a popular resort and, increasingly by the late 20th century, a retirement center for U.S. & Canadian citizens.


How many expats live in Jalisco?

The Mexican government estimates that nearly 20,000 expats reside full-time in the state of Jalisco. The area around Lake Chapala is home to an organized and developed expat retiree community.


What about hotels at Lake Chapala?

We have economy up to luxurious hotel accommodations at Lakeside. Just search online to find the right one for you.


What's the area like around Lake Chapala?

If you're planning to come to the area to visit Lake Chapala, take some time to see the rest of the sights while you're in town. Small villages can be visited around the lake. There is horseback riding,


If I’m coming to the Feria, is it best to stay in Chapala or Ajijic?

Staying in Chapala will keep you closer to the Feria’s location, however, there are many hotel choices in both Chapala and Ajijic. Do a little research to find the one that’s best for you.


What else is there to do at Lake Chapala besides coming to the Feria?
  • Day trips to:

    • Isla de los Alacranes

    • Isla de Mezcala

    • Tlaquepaque

    • Guadalajara

    • Tonalá

    • Tequila

    • Tapalpa (one of Mexico’s 121 “magic towns,” is located in the pine-covered mountains two hours southwest of Ajijic)

    • and much more

  • Take a stroll on the Malecón de Chapala or Malecón de Ajijic

  • Go to one of the local tianguis (outdoor market) and shop in a tradition that goes back to indigenous times. You can get fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, the best and brightest yellow chicken you’ve seen, cheeses, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and folk art.

    • Chapala every Monday

    • Ajijic on Wednesdays;

    • Jocotepec on Thursdays.

  • Visit The Centro Cultural Center on the Ajijic plaza — a community space dedicated to art, music, dance, and education and is an important part of maintaining Mexican traditions in Ajijic

  • Goat Farm Tour in Mezcala: Galo de Allende goat farm Visiting this organic goat farm in Mezcala is actually the perfect way to spend a leisurely day.

  • Sign up for a traditional temazcal sweat lodge ceremony yet. Get a group of up to ten people together for a ceremony at Coyohualli Temazcal in Riberas del Pilar.

  • La Cochera Cultural Center in Ajijic: Serves the community & acts as a venue for music, dance & other events.

  • Visit the Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic: Since 1955, the Lake Chapala Society has been a place for newcomers at Lake Chapala & those who want to stay connected with the local foreign community.

  • Join the Huarachess Chess Club for a game of chess on Sunday afternoons at the Ajijic Plaza.

  • Hike to El Tepalo Falls: This short hike to a waterfall in the hills north of Ajijic is especially popular (and wet) after it rains.


When is the rainy season?

Like most of Mexico, the rainy season lasts from June into early October and drops a little over 30 inches of rain during the five-month period. July is the rainiest month of the year.

Where should I eat?

Restaurants of all types abound at Lake Chapala. 

Can I drink the water?

All restaurants use bottled water so there is no need to be concerned about getting sick. Your hotel will also have bottled water available. If you are still concerned, drink bottled soft drinks or fruit drinks.


What should I pack to come to the Feria?

The weather is usually short-sleeve but bring a lightweight sweater or jacket just in case the mornings or evenings happen to be cool.

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