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howart01

Feb 28, 2010, 8:08 PM

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Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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After posting to another area in the forums, I was interesting in those who may live in Ajijic.

I am considering visiting Ajijic and the surrounding area (flying into Guadalajara), and had a few questions:

1. If I rented a car at the Guadalajara airport, is it a safe (and reasonably easy) drive down to Ajijic? If so, how about to the surrounding areas as well (Chapela, San Juan Cosala, Jocotepec)?

2. I've heard there are a lot of expats in Ajijic, but less so in the other cities I mentioned. Are all 4 cities safe for visiting, vacationing and seeing the sights?

3. I've looked at a number of hotels (actually Bed and Breakfasts) in Ajijic? Any recommendations?

4. From the directions provided by one bed and breakfast, they implied that there was a Wal-Mart near Ajijic? Were they serious?

5. Any general recommendations on the area (things to do, things to see, places to eat or stay) are much appreciated. Also might be interested in looking at longer term accomodations as well. Any good ideas who to speak to?

6. Are most Mexican banks represented in these cities?

7. Finally - how much Spanish is necessary in the cities with less expats? I had 4 years of Spanish in high school, a semester in college and have been reviewing with Pimselur as well. Will this allow me to around fairly well (while still being an obvious gringo.... ).

Thanks for any info you can provide.



howart01

Feb 28, 2010, 8:28 PM

Post #2 of 36 (14368 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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One other thing - is it safe to travel alone? I'm a 47 year old male that's in pretty good shape.


Camille

Feb 28, 2010, 11:19 PM

Post #3 of 36 (14354 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Though I've only had the pleasure of visiting the Chapala area, I'd have to say you're going to have some serious bliss time. I live in a pretty rough but beautiful part of Nayarit on the west coast, and I've only visited the lake twice, but I was blown away by the degree of civilization.... the paved roads, the fat dogs, the number of vets, OK, the gringo stuff I miss!
Anyway, I hope to housesit there next summer, and promise you should spend at least a month.


Vichil

Mar 1, 2010, 5:54 AM

Post #4 of 36 (14316 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Chapala, San Antonio, Ajijic San Juan and Jocotepec are not far from each other and yes it is safe to drive from one to the other. Safe to travel around in Mexico unless you travel at night (ther can be animals or people on the roads at night and the roads are very dark)
I am almost 20 years old and female and I travel alone in the car pretty much everywhere. I do not think anything of driving to Guadalajara or any of the villages around the lake.
I also use public transportation a lot whn I do not feel like driving.


RickS


Mar 1, 2010, 7:15 AM

Post #5 of 36 (14296 views)

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Re: [Vichil] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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I am almost 20 years old and female.....

?????????????




RickS


Mar 1, 2010, 8:00 AM

Post #6 of 36 (14280 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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howart01, you'll be fine traveling in Mexico. From the sounds of your questions you are not very familiar with Mexico in general. It would be well worth your time to just read a lot of Posts on this Website, Mexconnect. That will give you a good 'education' about what to expect.

Safety seems to be a concern to you and I suspect that you have listened to the US news too much. There are surely some hot spots for violence but that is 'mostly' along the border states and generally between waring drug cartels and the police. Tourists are not targeted.

Over the last 3 months I have driven, in my personal car, about 3,000 miles in Mexico from the border down to Lake Chapala, over to the coast and back a couple of times and then over into the state of Queretaro on my way back home. Alone. I didn't have any problems and didn't expect to have any. On other trips I have driven to several other States without concern or problems. I don't speak much Spanish either.

Unless you just want to have a car, I'd recommend that you take a taxi from the airport to Ajijic.... about $30. There's a booth inside the airport by the door where you pay.... rates are fixed. All drivers will know how to get to Ajijic. You can also get pesos at the airport, either exchanging dollars directly or using an ATM. Have the 'exact' directions of your B&B in Ajijic written out to give to the cabbie as they do not know every street. Once in Ajijic you can walk around the village to check it out, take the many cheap buses between the others towns you mentioned. Easy. If you must, reserve a car before you fly down through one of the majors.... Hertz, National, Budget, etc..... to pick up at the airport. The road down to Lake Chapala takes about 20 minutes from the airport (which is on the south side of Guad) and is 4-lane. Safe. Also easy. If you get your own car, I would recommend you get a B&B with off-street parking.

You will have no problem with communications at Lakeside.... even if you knew no Spanish. Most restaurants have English speaking waiters. You B&B will be a US/Canadian host. They will provide you with good information about visiting at Lakeside so don't be concerned. You didn't say when you would be coming down, but snowbirders will begin leaving about now. There will still be plenty of English-speaking folks around for you to ask questions of.

Enjoy your visit.

P.S. Yes, there is a new Walmart. Mexico is probably much more up-to-date than you have been led to believe.


nopogayle

Mar 1, 2010, 8:01 AM

Post #7 of 36 (14282 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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There are MANY expats who post online blogs from the Ajihic/Chapala/Jocotopec areas, all rich with recommendations for hotels, B&B's, restaurants, pool facilities, etc. The most interesting and honest, in my opinion, is the following:
http://MexicoDailyLiving.blogspot.com

This woman, Patricia Walker, also understands what it's like for a 'newbie' - all the questions, the concerns, the unknowns. She takes the time to address each comment posted, and in some cases has developed 'penpal' relationships with those of us on 'this' side of the frontera! She also posts some incredible photagraphy - taken during her daily walks around town, along the lake, etc. I suggest you spend a few hours reading through some of her 2 year's worth of blog history, before you contact her; it'll totally open your eyes to what life in Mexico can offer (and save you some embarassment from having to ask the same questions that've been asked many times before!).

She has become a friend to me, and one day I hope to meet her & thank her personally for all the advice & insight she's given me in my own quest to relocate somewhere SOB (South of the Border). Tell her 'NoPoGayle' says hi....


arbon

Mar 1, 2010, 8:06 AM

Post #8 of 36 (14280 views)

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Re: [RickS] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Rolly says.

"Madame Vichil has described the situation very well."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



howart01

Mar 1, 2010, 8:43 PM

Post #9 of 36 (14175 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Boy the people on this forum are sure great.....if the natives in Mexico are as friendly and helpful as the transplants, it must be a great time....

thanks for all the helpful advice so far. much appreciated (even the private emails).

Anyone have a suggestion for a good B&B in Ajijic?


RickS


Mar 2, 2010, 5:37 PM

Post #10 of 36 (14078 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Most all of the B&B's in town are nice. Look at http://www.casapreciosaajijic.com/Ajijic-Bed-and-Breakfast-Reviews.html
and see if one strikes your fancy. Be aware that, in this group, Laguna B&B is a 'budget' offering and will be a bit 'less fancy' than any of the rest. That's not a negative assessment of the place, just a fact.


Gringal

Mar 3, 2010, 7:07 AM

Post #11 of 36 (14022 views)

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Re: [RickS] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Nothing wrong with a bargain. I've heard the place is clean and pleasant. Centrally located, too.

For an nicer (but more expensive) place, Estrellita is just beautiful. Newly decorated; comfy beds, great breakfast.
For on-the-lake views and very nice digs: La Nueva Posada. Good food in the dining room.

Have a fine time!


bournemouth

Mar 3, 2010, 12:45 PM

Post #12 of 36 (13972 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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And there is a new one, just east of Estrellita, that seems to have some good rates:

http://www.oldhacienda.com/


howart01

Mar 3, 2010, 8:14 PM

Post #13 of 36 (13909 views)

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Re: [RickS] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Thanks to all of you. I've already called a couple of the B&B's that were mentioned in Rick's post. I do appreciate the recommendations and notes. Hope to make the trip sometime this summer.


Peter


Mar 3, 2010, 11:36 PM

Post #14 of 36 (13889 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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 Hope to make the trip sometime this summer.
______

If you come in the summer months you might want to bring an umbrella.


cookj5

Mar 4, 2010, 5:42 PM

Post #15 of 36 (13812 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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I agree with the advice given above, and have lived in Ajijic full time for 3 years. We have a photojournal blog called Jim and Carole's Mexico adventure and here is the url for our posts specifically on Ajijic:

http://cookjmex.blogspot.com/search/label/Ajijic

Enjoy your stay and buena suerte!


howart01

Mar 4, 2010, 9:22 PM

Post #16 of 36 (13748 views)

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Re: [Peter] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Thanks - I talked to one of the B&B today. They said that rainy season is not "too" rainy - tends to rain for maybe an hour in the mid afternoon (4pm or later). Is this fairly accurate?


Peter


Mar 5, 2010, 6:25 AM

Post #17 of 36 (13720 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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True, that is fairly accurate. In those summer months you can expect a daily rain shower of fairly short duration. It is not enough to keep you indoors all day but you should expect your afternoon would likely turn wet for a bit and could interrupt activities. There is usually a heads-up to prepare you for a shower. After a sunny day of excellent weather a gusty wind kicks up a bit usually giving you a 5 minute warning. At that time you may want to duck into a place for a coffee break, then afterwards the sky clears and you can continue on outdoors.

That is just something I thought I should pass along to you when you announced a summer arrival. It helps keep the weather fresh and comfortable and not a terrible nuisance if you are aware of it. The spring months in the central highlands are the hottest. Summer is more comfortable because of the rains and an excellent time to visit.


(This post was edited by Peter on Mar 5, 2010, 6:51 AM)


Gringal

Mar 5, 2010, 7:46 AM

Post #18 of 36 (13701 views)

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Re: [Peter] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Just to add to the above: It's begins to heat up in April. May is usually quite uncomfortable, with heat and dust. Wouldn't recommend picking it. June is hot, but around that time, the rains start. Usually around four in the afternoon, and sometimes all night. How about that? "It only rains at night in Camelot"?


cookj5

Mar 5, 2010, 6:02 PM

Post #19 of 36 (13620 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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In Reply To
Just to add to the above: It's begins to heat up in April. May is usually quite uncomfortable, with heat and dust. Wouldn't recommend picking it. June is hot, but around that time, the rains start. Usually around four in the afternoon, and sometimes all night. How about that? "It only rains at night in Camelot"?


Everyone experiences weather differently. While Gringal finds May "quite uncomfortable", it is rather easier to deal with than what one might experience in Los Angeles, CA in August, or Arizona and Texas for long months on end, or in Florida most of the year. We actually find summer in the Lake Chapala the best time of year. It is quiet, you can always find a parking place and a table at the Jardin Restaurant on the Plaza, the mornings are cool, the evenings are balmy, and mid-afternoon is why the Mexicans invented siestas. The occasional short rains in the late afternoon or at night cool and clean the air, and create the brilliant greenness of the season.

As they say, "while everybody complains about the weather, no one ever does anything about it."


johanson


Mar 5, 2010, 6:39 PM

Post #20 of 36 (13614 views)

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Re: [cookj5] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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I couldn't agree more. I'm from Seattle which is normally quite cool. I complain when it gets above 86 (30 C) even when the humidity is low. My problem is that I don't remember how hot and humid it was when I was stationed in Fort Sill Oklahoma, where I would have died and gone to heaven if I could have had only 86 to 90 with low humidity in comparison to close to 100 degrees F and close to 100% humidity which is normal in much of the South.

To me the ideal temperature is maybe 60 (15 C) at night and 80 F (27 C) in the daytime. Many of you like much warmer weather


La Isla


Mar 5, 2010, 7:07 PM

Post #21 of 36 (13605 views)

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Re: [johanson] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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To me the ideal temperature is maybe 60 (15 C) at night and 80 F (27 C) in the daytime. Many of you like much warmer weather


I like it a bit cooler than that. My ideal temperature range is no higher than 75 F. in the daytime and down to 50 or 55 at night. Luckily for me, most of the year that's how it is in Mexico City.


Hound Dog

Mar 6, 2010, 12:53 PM

Post #22 of 36 (13516 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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I must agree with La Isla regarding the weather at high altitudes here in Mexico versus the lowlands. We just returned from a road trip from our home in San Cristóbal de Las casas to the Soconusco Coast and, while we enjoyed that time we spent on the fabulous beaches at Puerto Arista and in relatively high coffee country on the slopes of the Tacaná Volcano, the weather in the torrid zones on the coast from Tonala' to Tapachula was at the least unpleasant. When we drove back into 7,000 foot San Cristóbal in the refreshingly cool and sunny Jovel Valley enjoying brilliant sunshine, crystal mountain air and mid-afternoon temperatures at about 75F, , we were home at last.

To each his own.


La Isla


Mar 6, 2010, 1:03 PM

Post #23 of 36 (13509 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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To each his own, indeed! I always get a chuckle when folks back in the States ask me how I can stand the hot and humid weather in Mexico. I thenvery patiently explain to them that hot and humid is true only (or mostly) on the coasts and how nice the climate is in the uplands. One point I make is that in Mexico the weather is determined by the altitude, not the latitude!


howart01

Mar 8, 2010, 3:38 PM

Post #24 of 36 (13342 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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Another follow-up. As I've been looking into planning a trip, I've considered whether my family might like to stop in Puerto Vallarta while we're in the area (realizing it's not just next door....).

If we flew into Puerto Vallarta - is it even possible to hire transportation to Ajijic, rather than renting a car? Or is this out of the question? Any idea of expense?

Thanks, as always.


Camille

Mar 8, 2010, 3:43 PM

Post #25 of 36 (13339 views)

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Re: [howart01] Questions about Ajijic and surrounding area

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How about a four and a half hour bus ride on a first class bus?
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