Lake Chapala: Chapala, Ajijic, Jalisco

Region
Enrique Velazquez

Enrique Velazquez: master of Mexican landscape art

A native of Guadalajara, artist Enrique Velazquez has made his home in Ajijic since 1989, painting and selling from his Arte Estudio on 16 de Septiembre, (a block east of Morelos), which he shares with his wife, Belva, also an artist. Together they are raising three children, two boys and a girl, while capturing Mexican […]

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Building costs in the Chapala area

Posted by Richard Alt on July 30, 1997: My wife and I have just returned from Ajijic. While there we toured real estate with a very competent man. We are currently negotiating for a property which is a walled lot with all utilities installed, a basic foundation, cistern, etc. for a small home. What we […]

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American novelist Charles Fleming Embree set his first novel at Lake Chapala

Embree was born in Princeton, Indiana, October 1, 1874, the son of lawyer David Franklin Embree, member of a prominent pioneer family, and Mary Fleming Embree. He was educated in Princeton public schools and entered Wabash College in the fall of 1892. After three years he left college without graduating to devote himself to writing, […]

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Santiago’s funeral

At ten in the morning the day was already hot enough to dry the tears on my face as I walked into San Juan Cosala to attend little Santiago’s funeral. His teacher and his six-year-old school friends filed slowly into the churchyard, many of the girls in white dresses, and all of the children looking […]

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Where angels fear to tread: an interview with Silvia Flores

This morning Nurse Practitioner Silvia Flores Gonzalez is a little tired, having gotten up at 4:00 am to deliver a baby. The young mother knocked on the door of “El Centro de Desarrollo para Mujeres” in Ajijic at 4:00 am, and she only had $30.00 pesos to pay for the delivery. The women’s center serves […]

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El Colibri – The Hummingbird

I will always be here. I send my spirit every night to guard you. We lie in bed listening to the tympani of rain on the tile roof and burrowing into each other’s warmth. My neighbors weren’t home when Jaime came to visit, so no one saw him. Secrecy wearies me. I fancy the scandal […]

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Gary West with Salvador

Lake Chapala fishing trip

A fishin’ we will go, a fishin’ we will go; hi, ho, the merry-o, a fishin’ we will go. Second son Gary came to the west end of Lake Chapala, to the suburbs of Jocotepec, in the colorful state of Jalisco, for a winter holiday, free food and probably an inspection of his aging parents’ […]

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Early map of Lake Chapala (Galeotti, 1837)

Did you know? The first scientific account of Lake Chapala comes from 1839

The first detailed scientific account of Lake Chapala was written by Henri Guillaume Galeotti. It was based on a visit to Chapala in February-March 1837. The article was published first in French in 1839, and then shortly afterwards in Spanish in El Mosaico Mexicano. It remains unclear precisely why Galeotti prepared his excellent article devoted to the […]

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Mexico: a typical day in paradise

One of my readers asked me to describe a typical day here in the Lake Chapala area of Mexico. Others have asked, “What do you do all day?” So, I am inviting you to spend this day with me in the charming colonial village of Ajijic. Only my screen doors are closed so I can […]

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Mexico: sex, schools and automobiles

Dear Blue:   “Is there a Spanish Language school in Ajijic?” LK There are no Spanish Language Schools in Chapala or Ajijic. There are several in Guadalajara and in other major Mexican cities. I recommend the Spanish Language School in Guadalajara. They have 5-hour per day intensive language programs with very small classes and excellent instructors. […]

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Buying property in Mexico: Watch out for landmines

Anyone interested in purchasing land Lakeside has watched the prices skyrocket over the last two years. It’s next to impossible to find single lots because the contractors are buying open land, subdividing and offering construction lots — a combination land and building deal. Several friends and myself banded together a couple of months ago and […]

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A village street party in Mexico

Last week my good friend celebrated her sixtieth birthday with a once-in-a lifetime street party near Six Corners in the Village of Ajijic. Linda moved here four years ago after a thirty-four year career with the New York City Board of Education on the Upper West Side/West Harlem in Manhattan. She was a real city […]

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Intricately woven palm fronds on Palm Sunday © Charlotte Bell, 2011

Palm Sunday in Ajijic, Mexico

Yesterday was Palm Sunday and I observed, with a feeling of respect and rapture, the local Mexicans begin to celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week). As I drove to meet my friend who lives on Hidalgo, the street of Ajijic processions, I was amazed. Men, women and children were sweeping the street in front of their […]

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Easter in Mexico: a blend of cultures

Santa Semana (Easter week) captured center stage last month in Ajijic. For me, it was a chance to really appreciate both the Mexican customs as well as enjoying some from back home. The celebrations of our Mexican hosts begins with The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary on Friday, April 11: “Processions and special altars […]

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Mexico and the US: the best of both cultures

Last month, during the holidays, I experienced a magical mix of south and north-of-the border celebrations. My parents visited for two weeks during Christmas, which made it a special time for me. In anticipation of their visit, I decided to decorate the house and put up a tree. Although not a particularly charitable act, I […]

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Mezcala Island © Belva Velazquez, 2008

Lake Chapala – a local history

…Ah! Chapala you have the magic of a story book stories of sunsets and earthenware, of romantic moonlit nights Peaceful Chapala, your lake – a romantic bride like none other.. Chapala, embedded in the central part of Jalisco, is “a place of flower vases of fragrant clay and small earthenware pots”, known also as “The […]

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Boating on Lake Chapala

Posted by Suzanne on June 28, 1997: We’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this site recently and now have another question. With a lake the size of Lake Chapala there must be pleasure boating but haven’t found much info. We’re thinking about bringing a boat or buying there. Does anyone know about marinas, boats for sale, boating […]

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Mezcala Island © Belva Velazquez, 2008

Art galleries in the Lake Chapala – Ajijic area

The north shore of Lake Chapala is alive with the arts in all their manifestations. Music and dance — from folk to classical, theater in English at the Lakeside Little Theatre, book clubs and creative writing groups complement the offering of galleries. Here are some suggestions to get you started. The telephone numbers are local. […]

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Acapulco in about 1954

Did you know? Mexico was a very different place fifty years ago

G. M. Bashford’s Tourist Guide to Mexico was first published exactly fifty years ago in 1954. It was one of a spate of motoring book guides written after World War II as Americans began to hit the open road and drive south in search of sunshine and adventure. How much has Mexico really changed in […]

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Dane Chandos Books

VILLAGE IN THE SUN HOUSE IN THE SUN CANDELARIA’S COOKBOOK ALL by DANE CHANDOS These books were written in the early 1940s and VILLAGE IN THE SUN is still considered to be one of the most endearing books written about Mexico to this day. Set in the area of Ajijic, Jalisco, it gives a delightful view of […]

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Lake Chapala: attractions for all

The earliest human inhabitants of the Lake Chapala area were probably nomadic tribes of Indians who had settled on the shores and islands of the lake, catching fish, extracting salt, and trying to herd wild game towards the water’s edge so that it would get bogged down in the mud. By the time the Spanish […]

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Candelaria’s Cookbook

Candelaria is back, with her special logic, folk wisdom and Mexican home-style recipes in the bilingual ‘Las Recetas de Candelaria,’ or ‘Candelaria’s Cookbook.’ Readers of Dane Chandos’ charming ‘Village in the Sun’, about life around Lake Chapala in the ‘40s, will recall Candelaria as the cook who ‘could carry in her head scores and scores of recipes.’ […]

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House in the Sun by Dane Chandos

Cogan’s Reviews I’m not sure how come I’ve lived in Mexico these last seven years and never got around to reading this rather well known account of life in Ajijic a good half century ago. This seems to be about the time that the earliest arrivals from up north “discovered” the place and decided to […]

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A Chance to See Egypt by Sandra Scofield

Cogan’s Reviews My spies tell me that author Scofield used to live in Ajijic and that Lago de Luz, the setting for her novel, is in fact Ajijic. If so, here’s her description of the village: “Lago de Luz, on the altiplano far from the sea, where it is neither hot nor cold, boasts no […]

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Village in the Sun by Dane Chandos

Cogan’s Reviews I reviewed Chandos’s other book, “House in the Sun”, in MexConnect a couple of months ago and now I’m catching up on what was actually the author’s first book, published four years earlier. The later book covered his life in Ajijic, running a bed & breakfast and dealing with a mixed bag of visitors, as […]

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Mexico Magic by Dru Pearson

Cogan’s Reviews I think there are two audiences for Dru Pearson’s latest book. The first is the same as the audience for her first book, Retire in Mexico, which I reviewed here in 2004. That one was aimed very definitely at those people at various stages of contemplating making the big leap and settling, either part-time or […]

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Agave Marias: Border Crossers, Boundary Breakers by the Lake Chapala Women Writers

Cogan’s Reviews Here’s an unusual volume with ten individual authors, each of whom is independent of the other nine except for the fact they all reside – either full or part-time – in the Lake Chapala area of Mexico. Their book consists of some 45 or more pieces of fiction and non-fiction plus a poem […]

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Only Once in a Lifetime by Alejandro Grattan

Cogan’s Reviews Here’s a story that takes in a complete life, from childhood well into adulthood, and from rags to riches. It’s a story that is of interest to we residents in the Lake Chapala area as it starts out in Ajijic and covers a fair number of years there – or should I say here. […]

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The Insider’s Guide: Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic

Cogan’s Reviews There are two occasions when writing a book review is a particularly pleasant experience. One is when you hated the book and now you have the opportunity to punish the author for wasting your time and money. The other is when you really loved the book and you just want to say nice […]

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Marianne's home in Chapala

Linking up with the Chapala Lakeside: to rent or buy?

Once upon a time, in the previous century, an old journalist and his still-beautiful bride were pondering retirement and escape from Washington, D.C. They had roots and land on the original TVA lake in Tennessee and that was going to be home, sweet home for spring, summer and football season. But Tennessee winters can be […]

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White Pelicans on Lake Chapala; photo: John Mitchell, Earth Images Foundation

White pelicans on Lake Chapala

Granddaughter Kim couldn’t resist. Our slender, pert redhead scampered along the flatland toward the water. Thousands of white pelicans immediately got the message. After a second or three of awkward, cumbersome struggle, they got the heck out of there. Aloft, these majestic birds are among God’s most handsome creations. Big. Graceful. Glorious. Soaring. Gliding. Circling. […]

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Tamara Johnson, pictured here looking out over the lake from in front of the Old Posada, near Ajijc pier, with her faithful dog Gordo, is going to take us on a tour of Ajijic, in about 1970... Photo by Beverly Johnson. All rights reserved.

A tour of Ajijic, Chapala, Mexico, in about 1970

In the early 1960s, Ajijic was gaining something of a reputation as a hang-out for ‘bohemians’ and later for hippies. Historian and MexConnect author Jim Tuck once described 1965 in Ajijic as “The Year of the Purge” when “resident hippies were unceremoniously escorted to the city limits”. In Tuck’s words, “Those who remained were serious […]

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Marsha kept her own horse, Marie-Elena, in the village. On this overcast day in summer 1966, she rode for miles along the shore to the east of Ajijic. She bred Marie-Elena with a stallion from Jocotepec. Photo in family collection of Marsha Sorensen; all rights reserved.

The Chapala lakeside as it was

As Yogi Berra might say, 90 per cent of the world is changing. The other half is making adjustments. Among relatively recent arrivals to the shores of Lake Lirio (formerly Lake Chapala before water hyacinth took over the top), only Tony Burton and a few astute historians can begin to describe the changes a few […]

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Lirio, Lake Chapala

Enough water hyacinths, more than enough

Ancient Chinese proverb say ox in ditch bad news. Really bad if your ox. Lirio (water hyacinths) on Lake Chapala, in the colorful state of Jalisco, in this magical country called Mexico, is bad news. Because the ugly green carpet spent too much of the winter at our end of the lake, it’s really bad — […]

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Nick Lampiris lives with his dogs in Mexico's Lake Chapala area. © Marvin West, 2010

Gone to Mexico and gone to the dogs

If man’s best friend is really a dog, Nick Lampiris is richly blessed. He has 37. Many colors, sizes and ages, pleasantly healthy, tails wagging, happy bounce to their steps. Some were hungry orphans. Some were rescued from the streets, before or after contact. Some were rejects from weary owners. Some were handed off by […]

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A Mexican berry farm © Daniel Wheeler, 2014

Mexico berries are the “in” thing

Corn was the crop of choice 17 years ago when we landed in Mexico, on the shores of Lake Chapala. Everybody who had a patch of ground had a corn patch. More land, more corn, some for tamales, some for farm animals, some for the market. A surge in tequila sales created a shortage of agave. […]

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Marsha kept her own horse, Marie-Elena, in the village. On this overcast day in summer 1966, she rode for miles along the shore to the east of Ajijic. She bred Marie-Elena with a stallion from Jocotepec. Photo in family collection of Marsha Sorensen; all rights reserved.

Jocotepec blessed with one sharp historian

Aguilar Perez is my favorite Mexican historian, in part because she knows all about our favorite small town, Jocotepec, at the west end of picturesque Lake Chapala, in the colorful state of Jalisco. She and we are near enough to the Guadalajara airport for quick getaways, but a reasonable distance, we think, from other congestion […]

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Lake Chapala through the ages, an anthology of travellers’ tales

Tony Burton’s passion is Mexico, and particularly Western Mexico. Most readers of MexConnect find his many articles on Mexico to be both fascinating and useful, articles with titles like “Guayabitos – the Family Vacation Spot,” or the four-part series, “Can Mexico’s Largest Lake Be Saved,” or “Butterflies by the Million: The Monarchs of Michoacán.” Burton currently puts […]

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Heart’s Desire

At age seventy-five, Peter Larson gave away or threw out most of his old life, packed up what was left into a few boxes, got into his old red Pontiac and drove south, to Mexico, to begin a new life. It was in late spring, toward the end of the dry season in the tropical […]

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Moving to Mexico’s Lake Chapala: Checklists, How-To’s, and Practical Information and Advice for Expats and Retirees

Moving to Mexico’s Lake Chapala: Checklists, How-To’s, and Practical Information and Advice for Expats and Retirees By Lisa L. Jorgensen Mexico Expat Press, 2012 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback This book really does tell you about everything you need to know if you are planning to move to Lake Chapala, one of the most popular retirement […]

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Ajijic: 500 Years of Adventures

Ajijic: 500 Years of Adventures Produced by the Thomas Paine Chapter National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution 2011 This charming little book, put together by the Thomas Paine Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was compiled by long-term Ajijic residents Alexandra Bateman and Nancy Bollenbach. The Thomas Paine chapter of […]

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Living at Lake Chapala

Living at Lake Chapala By Judy King Mexico Insights Books, 2013 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback Judy King’s Living at Lake Chapala is a must have book for any expatriate living at Lake Chapala, and it is a very useful book for any expatriate anywhere in Mexico. It is a book to keep beside the bed, or on the coffee […]

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Josefina, a woman of Mexico

Living in New York and Los Angeles, while good for one’s metabolism, is not that great for one’s patience. Who has time to stop and smell the roses? Who stops? Who smells? What roses? When I moved to Ajijic in 1995, I assumed qualities like honesty, integrity, kindness, patience and, above all, respect, would be […]

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Las Posadas, 2001

“What is Christmas like in Mexico?” asked my friend, Edward. It didn’t take much encouragement for me to eagerly share this experience: Once upon a Christmas nighttime, in a tiny village on the shores of Lake Chapala in the State of Jalisco, began las posadas, which means “the inns.” At the shy invitation of my beloved housekeeper, […]

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Ajijic: the way we were

In the ancient Nahuatl language, Ajijic means “The Place Where Water Springs Forth.” This year marks the 40th anniversary of an historic event: the Great Geyser Eruption. It is said to have been the tallest in the world at 260 feet, while Old Faithful gushes in at a mere 185. Jack McDonald reported in a […]

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Stars shine in sunny Mexico

Along with many other expatriates living in Mexico, we occasionally hear of a famous one who lives, or once lived, among us. We know that Helen Hayes, Erich Fromm and Maurice Evans lived in Cuernavaca, and Tennessee Williams, D. H. Lawrence and Somerset Maugham lived in Ajijic. Just a few years ago, I had Christmas […]

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Tourism in Mexico City, Cancun and Ajijic

Mexico’s economic downturn may be worse than those of other nations, because so much of Mexico’s economy depends on tourism. Mexico City is desperate to restore its tourism industry; perhaps they’re suffering from an abundance of media coverage of killings, kidnappings, and cartels. What can Mexico possibly come up with to attract tourists under this […]

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Bandstand in the plaza of Ajijic

Seven reasons why tourists to Mexico should choose Ajijic

Mexico’s economic downturn may be worse than those of other nations, because so much of Mexico’s economy depends on tourism. Mexico City’s solution is the Tourist Assistance Card, offering insurance for medical, legal, and flight delays. Cancun has a problem with no sand on their beaches, a problem so severe that the Mexican Navy was […]

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Bronze dog effigies

A Chapala treasure: ceramic artisan Javier Degollado, creator of pre-Columbian reproductions

Feria Maestros del Arte has been called a “heart” show and not just another “art” show because the artists pay nothing to attend — no booth fee, no percentage of sales. We find local families willing to house them for the three days they are here and we feed them while they are at the show. […]

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Where a lake dies, a desert is born. Photo by Tony Burton ©2002

Lake Chapala: Part 4 – 2002 follow-up to saving Mexico’s largest lake

This article is Part 4 of Tony Burton’s series: “Can Mexico’s Largest Lake be Saved?” . Part 1: May, 1997 – Can Mexico’s Largest Lake be Saved? Part 2: March, 2000 – The State of The Lake. Part 3: March, 2001 – The Future of Lake Chapala–Suggestions For Discussion Part 5: April 2003 – A review of “The Lerma-Lake Chapala […]

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A street in Chapala

Chapala: Mexico’s Shangri-la by John Russell Clift

MexConnect reprinted, with permission, this article on the 50th anniversary of its original publication in Ford Times, the monthly magazine of the Ford Motor Company. John Russell Clift, the author and illustrator, was born in 1925 and at the peak of his career in the 1950s when he wrote this piece, one of the earliest […]

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Villas Buenaventura features cottages and guestrooms around geothermal mineral springs at San Juan Cosala on the shores of Lake Chapala. In spring, jacaranda blossoms bring clouds of lilac color to the gardens.

Ajijic-Lake Chapala accommodations, hotels, restaurants, services

Although Lake Chapala’s north shore is quaint and beautiful, services are world class. From cozy B&Bs to gracious hotels and bungalows, the traveler will find the perfect place to feel at home in either Chapala, Ajijic or Jocotepec. Some inns, bed and breakfasts and hotels are like private homes in garden settings behind the walls, […]

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Creation - Tree of Life sculptures by Juan Hernández Arzaluz of Metepec.

Marianne Carlson and the Maestros del Arte

“In Mexico I have found an outlet for creative talents never tapped before. You can do what ever you want. Pick up a plastic bag and make something out of it. Pick up a seed pod, paint it and add legs, and it’s an animal. Where else but in Mexico would someone put a fancy […]

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Footprints in San Pedro Itzican

As a home-based working mother I recently found myself faced with an annual quandary: how to keep my two restless pre-teens entertained over their summer holiday and simultaneously squeeze some quality time into an already busy agenda. Inspiration came from a handsome coffee table book entitled Espacios del Lago de Chapala * (see note below) featuring dozens of […]

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In the parish church of San Andres

The graceful 18th century Parroquia de San Andrés, is not only Ajijic’s chief landmark, but also the hub around which village life revolves. It is the focal point for those important milestones that bind the close-knit Mexican family: baptisms, first communions, confirmations, weddings and funerals. Poised in its multi-tiered campanario are the four bells that mark the […]

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Noches de Ajijic

International music, art and gastronomy festival: Noches de Ajijic

Set on the shore of Lake Chapala, the town of Ajijic has become a center of art and culture. The Noches de Ajijic International Festival of Gastronomy and Music highlights some of the region’s best. Seven host restaurants offer special menus prepared for the occasion by outstanding guest chefs. Other festival activities will draw residents […]

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Lake Chapala In 2004

Lake Chapala In 2004

2004 turned out to be another fortuitous year for Lake Chapala. According to data issued by the National Water Commission (CNA), accumulated rainfall registered nationwide in 2004 ran nine per cent above the previous year’s figures and 16 per cent above the historic average. On November 1, the first day of the 2004-2005 hydrological cycle, […]

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Circling Lake Chapala

Today Mary and I set out to drive completely around Lake Chapala, Mexico’s biggest lake. It’s quite an undertaking, about a 180-mile drive. Before hitting the road, we went to “Sanborns” for breakfast. I ordered my own breakfast in Spanish, asking for eggs, ham, and orange juice. This was the second time I’d tried to […]

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White Pelicans on Lake Chapala; photo: John Mitchell, Earth Images Foundation

El Lago de Chapala: se podra salvar el mayor lago de Mexico?

Chapala, el mayor lago natural de México está muriendo. En este tiempo el lago juega un papel vital en un gigantesco ecosistema, la cuenca hidrológica del río Lerma – lago Chapala, que incluye a más de 8 millones de personas, 3,500 de industrias diversas, 750,000 hectáreas de tierras de riego y 14 ciudades con poblaciones […]

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An Interview with Ajijic-born artist Ricardo González

The interview with Ricardo Gonzalez was one of the most interesting I have done yet. On the surface he appears to be a simple workingman, but after speaking to him, you realize that behind the facade of simplicity, there is a strong mind at work. We began the interview with the subject painting. He says […]

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The gallery and art of Bruno Mariscal

I have just had a very enlightening interview with a young man who some of you may know. Bruno is the owner of Ajijic Original T-Shirts, the small gallery/gift shop right down from Bancomer in Ajijic. His story is like many others in this wonderful, talent-ridden town. Born to Jose Mariscal and Sara Lazaro, Bruno […]

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Sergio Aimar – artist in stained glass

There was sunlight pouring through the stained glass window depicted on this month’s cover, as I sat down to interview its creator, Sergio Aimar, at his studio and home in Seis Esquinas. Born in Mexico City on October 7, 1968, his parents moved to Guadalajara six months following, where young Sergio remained until he was […]

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Hands around Lake Chapala, Mexico – an eco event

On Saturday, June 3rd, residents of Lakeside, schools, and visitors from Guadalajara, came together in a showing of support for Lake Chapala in the first annual, Hands Around the Lake event, which happened simultaneously in nearly 40 locations along its shores. For a first effort it showed promise, and underlined that Lake Chapala needs much […]

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Efren Gonzalez: artist in Ajijic and Puerto Vallarta

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Efren Gonzalez at his home in Ajijic, a home he is building entirely from the sale of his paintings. For years he has struggled with the dream of living and supporting his family from his art; a dream he now realizes everyday, brick by brick. Born on June […]

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This nearika -- Huichol yarnwork "votive" painting -- depicts the sacred blue deer, who also appear as shamans on eac side of the composition. © Kinich Ramirez, 2006

Huichol Indian art: yarn paintings (cuadros estambrados)

This months cover features an example of Huichol yarn painting, Cuadros Estambrados, a transformational art form to the artists and shamans of the Huichol people, who use it to depict their myths, sacred totems, and stories. This particular example sprung from the imagination of Justyn Vallori, a local artist and psychic who says she was drawn […]

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Rita Pomade: artist and graphoanalyst in Mexico

This month’s cover features an etching by local artist and graphoanalyst, Rita Pomade, who admits to having a life-long fascination with lines and their potential for expression. Rita works in pen and ink, printmaking, linocuts, and pastel, as well as interpreting the lines of her client’s handwriting, for which she studied two and a half years in […]

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Ajijic’s answer to the historical mural

Efren Gonzalez was born and raised in Ajijic, a student of the Santos Degollado, Secondary School, at the top of Encarnacion Rosas. Never did the artist dream he would be the painter commissioned to adorn the huge wall facing the main entrance. The town of Chapala agreed to pay 1500 pesos, hardly the cost of […]

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Javier Zaragoza - original

The art of Javier Zaragoza, Lake Chapala artist

This month’s cover proudly displays the work of Ajijic native, Javier Zaragoza. The Artist was discovered by Niell James, an author and pioneer in this area. She also was the founder of the LCS (Lake Chapala Society) and upon her death, willed her estate to the organization. In those days, Ms. James would supply art […]

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Mexico’s Lake Chapala And Ajijic

Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insiders Guide to the Northshore for International Travelers by Teresa A. Kendrick is a comprehensive 170-plus page guide to one of the most sought-after destinations in Mexico. Designed for the traveler, the book includes detailed information about the geography and ecology of the area by Tony Burton, wise cultural […]

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Kimball Gallery In Chapala

Artists from the Ajijic-Chapala-Riberas area of Jalisco joined together June 6, 2003 to meet one another, renew collaborations and celebrate the upcoming rainy season at the new Kimball Gallery in Chapala.   Organizer Jacqueline Stewart called the event the ” Fiesta de las Chicharras” to honor the locusts that herald the rainy season in this part […]

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In Mexico, Operation Compassion feeds the hungry

Often, when we think of starving children, we’re thinking about Central Africa or parts of India or even remote areas of South America. But Mexico has its share of the poor, as close by as the Chapala area. Some children are, in fact, so impoverished as to border on that critical brink of lack of […]

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Hammering out a future for young people in Chapala

Hammering out a future for young people in Chapala, Mexico

The men and women in the Chapala-Ajijic area whom I admire the most are those who can give so generously of their time to help others (without expecting anything in return), and Lakeside seems to be overrun with them. One such humanitarian organization (it is, I believe, truly humanitarian in the same league as those […]

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Naked Stage location 3A Calle de Zaragoza, Ajijic

Theater in the Chapala lakeside: The Naked Stage

The Naked Stage, Ajijic’s biting and sexy new minimalist theatre, has another successful reading sceduled for November — Rabbit Hole. Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for drama, the play premiered as a film this past September (2010) at the Toronto Film Festival starring Nicole Kidman. Its next performance will be Psychopathia Sexualis by John Patrick Shanley, directed by […]

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Freemasonry Is Alive And Well At Lakeside! Axixic Lodge No. 31

AF&AM AJIJIC Lodge #31 (Working under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful York Grand Lodge of Mexico, F. & A. M.) Axixic Lodge #31 is located in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, and was founded in 1987. Since its founding, the Lodge has been an activity member of the community, and growing! From eight founding members, the Lodge has […]

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Mi Pullman is a Mexican art nouveau home and a famous landmark in Chapala. Built in 1906 by architect Guillermo de Alba and restored by the author, it is seen here in it's ghastly shade of mustard! © Ros Chenery, 2010

Mi Pullman: remodeling a Mexican Art Nouveau townhouse III

To Part One:  Agreement to purchase Part Two:  Buying the house Now that the house was legally mine, I had to make some important decisions about how I would go about restoring the property. Alberto and I spent two exhausting weekends cleaning the house with the help of some hardworking guys who took the rubbish away, cleaned […]

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Remodeling "Mi Pullman" © Ros Chenery, 2009

Mi Pullman: remodeling a Mexican Art Nouveau townhouse I

To Part Two:  Buying the house Part Three: Restoration: time to make decisions This is a story about my love affair with an old house in Mexico. It began in February 2004, when I did a road trip across Mexico and ended my journey on the shores of Lake Chapala. Exploring Chapala town one day, I […]

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Rosalind Chenery and her beautiful art nouveau town house in Chapala, Mexico. © Arden Murphy, 2009

Mi Pullman: remodeling a Mexican Art Nouveau townhouse II

To Part One:  Agreement to purchase Part Three: Restoration, time to make decisions The first step on my journey to buy the Mi Pullman house had been achieved — the family had agreed to sell. However, the distance between agreeing to sell me the house and making the escritura was vast — I had no idea that the […]

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The plaza in Ajijic, Mexico, where Bob and Judie Terry make their home in the winter months. © James Tipton, 2011

Peace Corps couple retire to their Mexico paradise

Bob and Judie Terry are not only veterans of the Peace Corps — which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year — they actually met at a National Peace Corps Association meeting. Judie (whose mother was one of the first female pilots in the United States) had always had a longing for far-off places and for […]

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The beloved Virgin of Zapopan. Photo by Ute Hagen

The Virgin of Zapopan: Her visit to Lake Chapala

Well, She came out to the lake again last Sunday. Driving in a specialized open car, The Virgin of Zapopan and the Bishop came from Her home, the Basilica of Zapopan to spend the day at the lake, bringing blessings, visiting friends and admirers in several of the lakeside communities. In all those lakeside communities, […]

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Church dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua in San Antonio Tlayacapan on the shores of Lake Chapala, Mexico © Taner Sirin, 2011

Saint Anthony and John the Baptist: June festivals at Lake Chapala

Christianizing their way around Lake Chapala in the early 1500s, taking the path of least resistance, Franciscan missionaries left each well-established settlement of Indians with their centuries-old community name. As the Franciscans were moving from village to village, they were selecting a Patron Saint for each new congregation, then adding the Saint’s name to the […]

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How the Huichol Indians brought their art to Lake Chapala

Mexican History For centuries Indians have been leaving offerings of votive bowls and clay figurines in Lake Chapala for the deities of the waters. Today the Huichol Indians of Jalisco and Nayarit continue the tradition. But their story has a peculiar twist. One person’s mythology is another person’s religion. The Huichols have a vast store […]

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Languages and place names of Lake Chapala, Mexico

Mexican History As a newcomer to the area, I wonder if your excellent magazine could assist me in understanding a couple of things. Is it correct that the language of this area at the time of the conquistadors was Nahuatl, the language of the Azteca? If so, when did the language cease to be used […]

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White Pelicans on Lake Chapala; photo: John Mitchell, Earth Images Foundation

Did you know? Mexico’s largest bird is the American White Pelican

Two distinct kinds of pelican thrive in Mexico. Excluding exotic species held captive in zoos, the American White Pelican is North America’s largest flying bird. It grows to about 1.58 meters (5 feet 2 inches) in length, weighing up to 11 kilos (25 pounds), with a wingspan of up to 2.74 meters (9 feet). Its […]

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Oil #1751 Canvas 43 x 47 inches Unframed "Tropical Landscape" © Georg Rauch

Georg Rauch: Artist in Mexico gallery

Born in Austria, Rauch survived the horrors of WWII and began painting seriously in Vienna in 1949. Strongly influenced by his fellow Viennese painters Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, he held his first one-man show in 1952 in Vienna and became a member of the prestigious “Wiener Secession.” Since then he has had […]

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Jocotepec

Mexico exploration: Jocotepec discovered

This news bulletin just in: Mexico considers revising history books. Another holiday proposed. Famous explorer discovers Jocotepec! Okay, maybe not in the way Christopher Columbus did his thing. It appears several somebodies previously found Jocotepec — or maybe it was never lost. But it has been mostly ignored or taken for granted far beyond politeness. […]

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The national seal of Mexico cut of iron and painted by a local Chapala tattoo artist © Marvin West, 2013

Canada to Mexico: From there to here

Happiness is following memorable footsteps under more favorable conditions. Most of 50 years ago, outside London, Ontario, brothers Jim and Jack Young acquired an old truck and bulldozer and made a bold move up in the world. In good weather they hauled gravel and helped build roads. In bad weather they moved snow. Their little […]

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Notes from Exile

Mexico is a haven for exiles where the braver or weaker or more foolish can find themselves or re-create themselves or… lose themselves. T. M. Spooner’s novel, Notes from Exile, is a lakeside story, and because it is, I feel a certain nostalgic empathy for the book. It’s hard not to considering the number of years I’d […]

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Javier Zaragoza

Javier Zaragoza: artist with a mission

An old man smiles, crooked teeth in a beautiful mouth, head cocked to the left, eyes squinting with delight. A young woman, softly rounded and warmed by sunlight, gazes hopefully into the future. A fisherman stares pensively into space. He waits, expectantly, but resigned. The portraits are evocative, the technique flawless. I wander through the […]

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Cover of Mexico My Home. Primitive Art and Modern Poetry With 50 easy to learn Spanish words and phrases. For all children from 8 to 80 (1972); painting by Eunice and Peter Huf. Artwork by Eunice and Peter Huf  

The Lake Chapala artistic and literary scene in the 1960s and early 1970s

The area’s reputation was considerably enhanced in the 1930s, ’40s and’ 50s by a long string of visiting writers and artists, many of whom settled permanently in the string of villages along the northern shore of the lake. This brief alphabetical listing of some of the stalwarts of the Lake Chapala art and literary scene […]

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Far more exciting was watching a horserace in San Antonio. With a clattering of hooves, stallions thundered by galloping towards the lake. Photo, now in collection of Tamara Johnson, taken by Beverly Johnson; all rights reserved.

Ajijic, Mexico, in the 1960s and 70s: a picture essay

and a second picture essay: Marsha Sorensen lived in Ajijic in the mid and late1960s, and made two extended visits in 1972 and 1973. Revisting Ajijic in 2008 for the first time in thirty-five years, she was struck by the “astonishing changes” and searched out some photos from the old days as a contribution to […]

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The Through Line: A Journey from Darkness into Life

The Through Line: A Journey from Darkness into Life By Jay Koppelman. CreateSpace, 2010 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback Popular Ajijic photographer Jay Koppelman has two things to celebrate this winter: one, the recent opening of Studio 18, on Colón 18 in Ajijic, which features exclusively his photographs; and two, the recent publication of the first […]

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Did You Know? Lake Chapala under attack from water hyacinth

The masses of beautiful violet and yellow flowers of the water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes) add an attractive splash of colour in the Lake Chapala landscape during the rainy season but the lirio as the locals call it, is a serious problem for many of their economic activities. The hyacinth was first described in 1824, in Brazil. In […]

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Painting of a boat on the shore of Lake Chapala by Mexican artist Efren Gonzalez. © Rob Mohr, 2010

Mexican artist Efren Gonzalez revives an ancient art form with terracotta murals

Part of the wonder and adventure of experiencing life in Ajijic, Mexico is the incredible diversity of color in the natural world — pungent reds, a range of blues, pale purples, brilliant yellows — and of form: broad leaves, lace-like foliage, sharp narrow leaves of bamboo, and fields of cultivated raspberries, set between surrounding mountains […]

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Colorful homes in Las Animas, an attractive residential area in the southeast area of Xalapa. © Donald J. MacKay, 2009

Expat living in Mexico: Xalapa vs. Ajijic

Reports written some years ago about Jalapa, (or Xalapa as the locals prefer to spell it) Veracruz in MexConnect caught my eye. These tout the pleasant climate, cultural attractions, the presence of universities, lack of foreigners, and metropolitan character. My wife and I thought it would be a pleasant contrast from Ajijic where we live year-round. In […]

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Rain clouds over Lake Chapala © Taner Sirin, 2011

How do summer rains affect Mexico real estate in Lake Chapala?

May is our hottest month when everything tends to slow down and everyone heads for the shade in the afternoon, trying to relax and get away from the heat. The days linger a little and it feels like the sun just hangs steady in the midday sky a little longer. Fortunately, the gentle breeze of […]

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Chapala circa 1930 (Vintage postcard in collection of Tony Burton)

Historia local de Chapala en español

….¡Ay laguna de Chapala tienes del cuento la magia, cuento de ocasos y albarradas de enamoradas noches lunadas. Quieto Chapala, es tu laguna novia romántica como ninguna! Enclavado en la parte central del estado de Jalisco, Chapala “el lugar de búcaros u ollas pequeñas”; o “el lugar mojado o empapado”; o “el lugar de chapuzones […]

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The lobby and staircase leading to the second floor rooms.

La Nueva Posada Ajijic: a modern boutique hotel with the romance of colonial Mexico

Down a quiet village lane in Ajijic, a high blue wall hosts climbing vines sought by songbirds. A wrought iron gate opens to a spacious colonial style mansion. Designed and run by owners Michael and Maria Elena Eager, La Nueva Posada is a modern boutique hotel with the romance of colonial Mexico. A grand staircase carved from quarry […]

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March memories linger in Mexico

Ajijic, Mexico: Mexico smiles and accepts many foreigners — because they bring money. Most prove to be some degree of blessing. Some gripe and complain but do no real harm. A few become curses. Thousands choose our mostly sunny country for retirement and live happily ever after. Some come only for emotional re-starts. Some hide […]

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Ajijic, Chapala, Jocotepec – Mexico’s Lake Chapala region: resource page

The Lake Chapala region (numerous villages stretching from Jocotepec on the northwest corner of the lake to Ajijic and Chapala further east) continues to grow in popularity among American and Canadian retirees looking for winter warmth and plenty of activities. The area has many attractions and comforts, and yet, not everyone can live happily here […]

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Flocks of migrant white pelicans, some from Ontario, Canada, spend their winters on the warm waters of Lake Chapala. Photo by John Mitchell, Earth Images Foundation

Lake Chapala: Can Mexico’s largest lake be saved?

Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest natural lake, is dying. The lake right now plays a vital role in a gigantic ecosystem, the River Lerma-Lake Chapala drainage basin, which includes more than 8 million people, 3,500 diverse industries, 750,000 hectares of irrigated farmland and 14 cities with populations in excess of 100,000. At the western extremity of […]

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