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Andre Bellon of Bellon Insurance Agents – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Mary Steele petting a burro in San Juan Cosala, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best thing to do in Chapala and Ajijic is to be happy. If you have that attitude, you’re going to enjoy anything that’s happening in Ajijic. There are a lot of things- Mexican people like to be in a party, and they like to smile, to laugh. If you enjoy that, you’re going to have a wonderful time. On the other hand, if you prefer everything to be quiet, and if you want a place where you will not have contact with people, this is not the place to be.  
 
Here, there are donkeys screaming at 7 o’clock in the morning. You’ll hear firecrackers at 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning, and then there are parades. These are not quiet parades- they have to make a lot of noise. If you’re not looking for that, this is not the place for you. 
 
They don’t have the parades and fireworks every day, though. Maybe just once a week, but it does happen a lot. If it’s the Virgin’s day, they’re going to have a parade. The 16th of September- they’re going to have a parade. Maybe not in Ajijic, but there are firecrackers almost every day. If you go to Chapala, it could be almost every day.
 
(Mary Steele petting a burro in San Juan Cosala near  Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Centeya of Radisson Blu Ajijic – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Aztec sweat lodge, or temezcalli – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere’s what we call the “Pre-Hispanic Sweat Lodge” in Chapala, which has been promoted by a local man. This local man has taught a lot of us, especially my group of friends, and has healed a lot of people through these “sweat lodges.”
 
A sweat lodge is like a little hut or dome typically built out of stone and other materials found in the area such as adobe and plants. The sweat lodges offer more of a spiritual healing process. You’d really have to do one to experience everything it has to offer: laughter, crying, silence, drums, and singing. The experience is really different every single time.
 
There’s a little hut connected to these sweat lodges on the sides that are made out of 70-100 volcanic stones. We would start a big fire and then clear up all the ashes and the coals before going inside. There’s a little window inside where water is thrown in, and that same window is also where the steam comes in.
 
There are also a lot of sage and eucalyptus plants in the area that grow wild. We just pick them. We fill the floor with all the herbs and create an ambience that resembles aromatherapy. Then we sit on the eucalyptus that has been cleaned up with all the branches taken off. It’s basically sitting on a bed of leaves while at the same time cleaning up little bugs that might be among those leaves.
 
We need a leader to do all this because there’s a process that members need to follow. There are typically four doors and everybody goes in and out of each of these doors. After each door is where we take a dip in what feels like an ice cold bath.
 
We saw some very amazing and even almost miraculous things happen in the sweat lodge. As an example, there was this one man with a really bad edema in his legs that they had turned purple. This man had trouble walking, and we brought him in the sweat lodge, guided him through it all, and at the end, after going through all four doors, he removed his wet clothes and wrapped himself in a sheet. Wrapping yourself in a sheet is one of the most important parts of the process because that’s where you’re perspiring and thus detoxing.   Once you perspire from the last part of the process which is wrapping yourself in a sheet, your heart rate goes up. At this point you’d have to wait until your heart rate goes back down to normal. You can have all-natural fruit juices to aid in this.
 
It was an amazing sight- this man with edematous legs stood up on his own without his helper or his wife, who was just sitting there watching. The man just stood up and walked off to his house like he had no problem with his legs at all. I really enjoyed seeing that healing process.
 
The best things to do in and around Chapala and Ajijic would definitely include hiking. Hiking in Chapala and Ajijic is beautiful. Going up the mountains between the middle of June and September, you’ll also see beautiful waterfalls. There are waterfalls in The Raquet Club, and there are also waterfalls in Ajijic straight up the street with the donut shop. There’s a hiking group that goes up to El Tepalo Waterfalls, a well-known local waterfall in Ajijic that you can get to in a 20-minute hike, on Tuesdays.
 
(Aztec sweat lodge or temezcalli, pictured.)
Roberto Millan of Roberto Millan Design and Construction – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Mural painting, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are a lot of things to do in and around Chapala and Ajijic. Here in Ajijic, you can walk at the malecón, the village, and the streets; visit galleries; shop for Mexican arts and crafts, dresses, and jewelry; eat in the many good restaurants that have reasonable prices; listen to good musicians; and, watch concerts.
 
The expats enjoy their community a lot here in Chapala and Ajijic because they have an active social life; have groups that go out for dinner and go to theaters; join some dance groups and study dance. The expats are mostly retired so they know how to enjoy life.
 
When I'm in Ajijic in the weekends and I don't work, I enjoy it a lot to walk around the lake, look at the sunset, sometimes go out to eat in restaurants, go out to the hills, the Raquet Club, Chula Vista Norte, Chapala, the malecón, or go to the plaza. I like to sit on a bench, eat some corn, and look at the people. 
 
You are in the village and not at the sea and it's different because here you can walk everywhere. I don't use a car. I just park the car and walk. Every place is just walking distance. 
 
Guadalajara, on the other hand, is a big city and you have to ride a car to go to places. Restaurants are also much more expensive in Guadalajara than here in Ajijic. In Ajijic, you can have very good food, drinks, and dessert for you and your partner for less than 500 pesos (US $26.50). In Guadalajara, you have to pay a lot more for the same deal.
 
(Mural painting, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Mark Eager of Eager & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Tapalpa, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best things to do in and around Chapala and Ajijic depends on what you like to do. I’m an old man who has two kids and is married to a Mexican woman. What I do is travel a lot. For example, I’m going to Manzanillo, a three-hour drive from here, on the beach. I also like going to Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende. I like spending time in our plaza here in Ajijic and going down to the boardwalk. 
 
If I was a North American who recently moved to Chapala, I’d be spending a lot more time in the downtown core hanging out with people on piers, on the boardwalk, in the plaza, or eating in the restaurants. I’d also be wandering around the art society, the cooking society, the golfing society, or the tennis society. 
 
I was watching guys playing what seemed like a European sport the other day down on the boardwalk. I felt like I was somewhere in Europe. The guy I was talking to came from France and had a heavy French accent. 
 
Chapala and Ajijic is a multicultural area. If you come here with more money than you can spend every month, or with not enough money, you’d still get along with everybody because everybody in Chapala and Ajijic intercommunicates. Being invited out to cocktail parties, getting together with people in restaurants, and being involved in charities are some of the best things to do in and around Chapala and Ajijic. There are a lot of charities here, so if you want to be busy, you can be busy with something 24 hours a day. 
 
I like going to Mazamitla on the other side of the lake, and to Tapalpa. These are beautiful places up in the mountains. The weather in Mazamitla and in Tapalpa is usually 10-15 degrees colder in the morning. You’ll find lots of pine trees, rocks, and red earth in Mazamitla and Tapalpa. 
 
Tapalpa has an area called Piedras Bola (Stone Balls.) Piedras Bola is out in the middle of the mines where you’ll find huge boulders stacked up one on another. There are also farming fields, anchorages, and pine trees in Piedras Bola. Piedras Bola is the most beautiful place in Tapalpa because it’s an actual Pueblo Mágico like Mazamitla and San Miguel de Allende. 
 
To meet the requirements of a Pueblo Mágico , a town should not have modern facilities, and the signage has to be appropriate and minimal. Tapalpa and Mazamitla are beautiful places where you won’t see orange and black OXO signs or 7-11’s. 
 
Ajijic could never become a Pueblo Mágico because it has a Wal-Mart too close to the downtown core. If you’re staying in Chapala and Ajijic or are having short, one-day trips here, I would highly recommend that you see Mazamitla and Tapalpa. There are beautiful scenic rustic hotels that charge about 1,500 pesos ($70) a night in both Mazamitla and Tapalpa if you want to spend the night there, and from those hotels you can go out, have coffee and breakfast, hear the church bells and enjoy the ambiance of Mazamitla and Tapalpa in the evenings.
 
(Tapalpa, Mexico, pictured.)
Francisco Araiza of interlago realestate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Regatta race, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are lots of activities that you can do in Chapala and Ajijic. You can go boating, sailing, water skiing, etc. In town, there are theaters, concerts, dinners, and associations in the area that initiate different types of activities for everyone, especially for foreigners, to join. There are lots of activities and things to do here in Chapala and Ajijic all year round. Chapala and Ajijic is also a good escape for the weekends if you want to go away from the big city of Guadalajara.
 
There are several activities that you can do on Lake Chapala now. It has been recovered and you can now see more life in the lake. There are new kinds of fish in it such as tilapia, which were brought in.
 
Lake Chapala is no longer polluted. You can go water skiing with the water coming on you and you can go swimming in the lake, too. I went water skiing just recently and it’s great! I like doing it.
 
My favorite things to do in Chapala and Ajijic are going to the lake and going to the mountains, especially at the latter part of the year where we have a lot of water and everything is green. I also love going out to dinner with my wife and my family once a week.  
 
(Regatta race, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Anne Dyer of Casita Montana – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Chuck Bolotin of Best Places walking his dogs on the malecon, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are all sorts of things to do in Chapala and Ajijic. You could go dancing and dining every night if you want to. You could go for a nice walk on the malecon (boardwalk) along the lake. That is just so pleasant in the morning and in the evening. You could meet lots of people here, both expats and Mexicans. You could sit at the square and make new friends. Everybody is friendly and everybody is happy. Overall, Chapala and Ajijic is just a nice place.
 
(Chuck Bolotin of Best Places walking his dogs on the malecon, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.) 
Michael Kavanaugh of Continental Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 
One of the great reasons to move to the Ajijic – Chapala area are the raspberries, the blackberries, and the strawberries that they grow around the lake. They’re so inexpensive and they’re so good for you. They’re fabulous. I love to eat and I love to cook, so that’s a plus.
 
Personally, my wife Martha and I are pretty much homebodies. Once a month or once every three weeks we go to Guadalajara to eat at a fabulous restaurant.  Guadalajara is like Chicago or New York City. It’s incredibly sophisticated and wealthy in certain areas and pretty much anything you want you can find there.  Up above is a video I made recently of Andares Mall and its surroundings.
 
The best things to do in Ajijic – Chapala have to do with the people, who are fabulous.  There’s the interaction between the community, and you make wonderful friends.
 
In addition to that, a lot of people hike. The mountains provide fabulous hiking around. There are a lot of opportunities for exercise. Lake Chapala is not a recreational lake.  It’s for the local fishermen to fish, it moderates the temperature and it’s beautiful.
Santiago Hernandez of Chapala Med – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
International book fair in Guadalajara, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLots of people, whether they are from the north of the border or from the city, come here to Chapala to walk on the Malecon, which is the boardwalk on the lake. People like to come here to have dinner because the restaurants here at the lakeside area of Chapala and Ajijic are second to none.
 
Coming from Chicago, and having visited other cities like New York, San Antonio, and Dallas, the food here in Chapala is second to none and it is very reasonably priced. A nice T-bone steak, for example, costs around US $9. People come here to do sightseeing, and walk around the area especially in Ajijic, where you would see picturesque and very nice homes and buildings. 
 
Although Chapala is on a lake, there are not that many water activities here because the water is sort of murky. There aren’t any beaches in Chapala, either. The beaches have eroded. They tried to rehabilitate the beaches but the job wasn’t really done. There are some boat tours here in Chapala going to an island on the Lake Chapala called Isla de los Alacranes (Island of the Scorpions). They have little restaurants on the island, where people can get their own drinks if they want to; it’s a BYOB place, which is fairly good. 
 
There is lots of live music here in Chapala. There are also little lakeside theater productions that go on here. There are a couple of movie theaters where people can go. This past weekend, we saw Star Wars and I saw people who are bragging about paying only $8 for two tickets. That’s one thing that is also really nice here. 
 
Some of the best things to do here in Chapala are related to arts. The Ajijic area is more of the artistic area of the state. There are several art groups being led by retired writers, sculptors, etc. There is a lot of artists here. 
 
If you want to experience some big city-type entertainment, you can easily go to Guadalajara, which is only 40 minutes away by car. Guadalajara has everything that you could expect from a major metropolitan city. To go to Guadalajara from Chapala, you can take one of two routes. One is on the south side and the other is on the north. You could take the route where you would end up at López Mateos in the south, which is a newly developed area. They have Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart, and a couple of malls that are very chic. This area is nicer because it is closer to some residential areas, for example, Santa Anita and Ciudad Bugambilias. These residential areas look like US suburbs. Going through the airport there is Tlaquepaque. The nicest mall around there is called Plaza Forum, which has Cinépolis, which is a chain of movie theaters that are better than the ones that I have been to in the Chicago area. They have stadium seating, 3D and 4D movies, and they have a VIP area, where they would sit you down on big Lazy Boy chairs and they serve you beverages, food, cocktails, etc. that are served to you by waiters. That is really nice. There are also dance clubs and very nice restaurants.
 
The Guadalajara metropolitan area is made up of five cities: Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, Tonala, and Tlajomulco. Tlajomulco is the largest growing metropolitan city in all of Mexico. If you go through Jocotepec and go south from Guadalajara, you will end up in Tlajomulco and see all the developing areas. Tlaquepaque, on the other hand is an older, colonial area where people tend to go shopping for high-end arts and crafts.
 
Tonala is very well known for its street markets called tianguis. People usually go to the tianguis on Thursdays and Saturdays. There, you will find lots of the manufacturers of local arts and crafts. You could get them a lot cheaper in Tonala than you would in Tlaquepaque. Tonala also exports these crafts to other countries. So a big activity that people usually do in Guadalajara is go shopping for furniture, home decorations, etc.  
 
(International book fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, pictured.)

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