Welcome to Ajijic and Lake Chapala Retirement Area
We want to congratulate you for looking into Mexico's largest North American retirement community. As pioneers in real estate (1st one lakeside) and the publishing business, we have introduced many to our local idyllic scene. We feel this is what we do best, showing you what graceful and carefree retirement is all about. Let us share with you our excitement and knowledge on the lake area. Be among the many that have already begun a new and enjoyable life.
The Area Known as “Lakeside”
This area is known as “Lakeside” to residents from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and Europe, among other places, and “la ribera” to Mexicans. Due partly to the eclectic mixture, it has developed a continental Old World charm which blends smoothly with a distinctly Mexican ambiance.
Cobblestone streets, tile-roofed homes, riotously colorful gardens blooming year around, and incredible open-air markets and restaurants are common sights, backdropped by lush green mountains surrounding the lake. The hills are laced with flowering trees and plants, and accented by waterfalls, caves, petroglyphs, indigenous sacred sites, and a variety of hiking trails and places to explore.
Over 10,000 retirees call lakeside their home, call us, we can show you around!
Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico
In 1521-22, Franciscan evangelists, sent from Spain by Catholic King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to Christianize the natives, baptized Chief Chapalac, and named him "Martin of Chapala," master of the people, owner of the land. In exchange, the Taltica Indian chief destroyed his god, Iztlacateotl.
In 1538, Franciscan Fray Miguel Bolonia founded the city of Chapala. He built a hermitage on Chapala's highest hill, Cerro San Miguel, where he lived until his death. He built another hermitage on the island of Mezcala, where native children were given religious instruction.
In 1548, a church was built of adobe and grass, and named San Francisco after the order of the padres. A hospital was constructed, adjoining the church.
By 1550, Chapala had a population of 825 married persons and 349 children. About this time, a scholar from Spain, studying Indian cultures of the Chapala shores, found that each lakeside community seemed to have its own language. Probably, the lack of transportation (the rough dugout fishing canoes were not capable of crossing the lake) had prevented a common language from developing.
On September 10, 1864, Chapala became a municipality by decree of the Jalisco State Congress.
Home of The Week
Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
"The Place Where the Water Springs Forth"
In 1522, the Spanish Olid Expedition reached the eastern shores of what is today called Lake Chapala. When it arrived, its leader, Captain Avalos, met with little resistance. A royal grant from the king of Spain gave joint ownership of the area to Avalos, who was a cousin of Hernan Cortez. Soon other cousins arrived, and one of them by the name of Saenz acquired almost all of the land that is now Ajijic.
By 1530, the Saenz property was one huge hacienda. The principal crop was mezcal, which was used in the making of tequila. The hills were covered with mezcal plants. Coffee and corn were also planted. Later, when a tequila distillery was built, the beverage was shipped, along with the coffee, back to Spain.