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May 6, 2012, 8:23 PM

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A new way to cool off: the new Lake Chapala ferry

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A party of five of us took the new cross-lake ferry a week ago, and it was quite an adventure! The ferry picked us up at 11:15 (about 15 minutes late, according to their schedule), along with six other people, at the end of the Ajijic pier. Boat Captain Serrano spoke very good English. The boat is a catamaran with a big outboard motor, and quite roomy. There are plush naugahyde seats all around the front, sides, and back, so everyone had plenty of leg room and a nice view. The 45 minute ride across to San Luis Soyatlán was comfortable and smooth. I had suggested to bring jackets or sweaters, even though it was a warm day. With a steady breeze blowing over us from the speed of the boat, and the coolness rising from the water, it did get a bit chilly out in the middle, and I was glad i had thought of it. We docked smoothly at the new San Luis malecon and spent some time checking out the waterfront and walking around town.

Around 12:30 or so, we started to get hungry, so we stopped in at Los Crotos, the B&B on the lake side of the Carretera about 3 doors west of the main plaza. At first we thought it was closed, but I rang the bell and Arturo, the proprietor, let us in. The decor inside was beautiful, and he led us back to a covered terrace overlooking a lush courtyard garden. The food was excellent and moderately-priced. We hung out there for a couple of hours, just chatting and luxuriating in the coolness of the shady garden. Then we walked around San Luis a bit, exploring the plaza and the church.

Finally, since it was approaching 4 PM, our departure time, we returned to the dock to find the boat waiting for us. The return trip was also pleasant, but the wind comes up a bit in the afternoon, making the water slightly choppy, so we occasionally got a bit of splash. Nothing serious, though, and the coolness of the water felt good on that hot afternoon. We docked about 4:45, and thanked the crew for their excellent handling of the boat. All in all it was a very pleasant way to spend a day. I recommend it!

The boat only operates on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We went on a Friday, because on Saturdays and Sundays there are lots of folks in town from Guadalajara and we thought it might be tricky getting seats on the boat. However, even on Friday, the boat was nearly filled for the 11 AM run.

Here are some of the details:

Taxi Acuatico "La Barquita"
Boat Captain Salvador Serrano (speaks English)
Schedule: Leave San Luis Soyatlán 10 AM, 12 noon, 4 PM. Pick up times at Ajijic pier 11 AM, 1 PM, 5 PM (Check with Capt. Serrano on this)
Fare (per person) 75 Pesos each way--150 pesos round trip

Los Crotos Posada & Restaurant
Proprietor Arturo (?) (speaks English)
Ramon Corona #31 (the Highway 15 Carretera)
3 house west of the Plaza
San Luis Soyatlán

This is a great new addition to the things to see and do a Lakeside. My hope is that Captain Serrano gets enough business to keep it going. He is also open to setting up special events with the boat for groups.


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