Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico is a “puebla magico” or Magical Village situated on Lake Chapala just south of Guadalajara. It is home to many thousands of Americans, Canadians and Europeans escaping the climate and higher cost of living north of the border.
Ajijic is one of the many villages along Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest fresh water lake and surrounded by the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains. At 5000 feet elevation, Ajijic has a near perfect climate according to National Geographic Magazine and the many that have chosen to call Ajijic home. The average daytime temperature is 72 - 75°F (22- 24°C) and the humidity is very low. The sun shines most days even in rainy season from June to October.
Ajijic and the surrounding areas of Lake Chapala were first discovered in 1522 by Captain Avalos, a cousin of Hernan Cortez, Spanish Conquistador of Mexico. His family was given a land grant by the King of Spain and soon other cousins arrived including the Saenz family who acquired lands in and around Ajijic and built the first mill on the site now occupied by the Old Posada at the foot of Colon by the pier.
The Franciscans arrived in 1533 and began building a monastery and later a church and chapel. The church originally build in 1535, later rebuilt is still in use today. The Lake Chapala area played an important part in the war of Independence from Spain. Local natives occupied Mescala island and fended off the Spanish from 1812 -1816 and in the end, due to illness negotiated an honorable surrender. All are interesting sites to see in our area.
Today, Ajijic is a quaint colorful centuries old village, seeped in culture and tradition yet having all the expected modern amenities. It is not unusual to see a cowboy on his horse talking on his cell phone! Family life is very important in Mexico. You will often see parents or grandparents walking smiling children dressed in uniforms to the local school. Parades are a fairly common occurrence celebrating both religious and civil events. And any reason is a good reason for a Fiesta. Fireworks too!!
The Lake Chapala Society founded in 1955 is a cultural, social and benevolent society for English speaking people. Since its founding it has grown and now has its headquarters on the 16th of September in Ajijic. Here members & non members alike can enjoy its beautiful gardens, a cup of coffee, getting local information, booking a trip or theatre tickets with English speaking volunteers. It is wonderful for visitors to the area.
Once you have visited Ajijic and Lakeside as the area is fondly called, you will always want to return.
Blog about Ajijic
For more information and photographs about Lakeside, see Jim Cook's wonderful blog.