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Chuck Bolotin of Best Mexico Movers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Hiking in AjijicI can’t comment on the camping in and around Lake Chapala and Ajijic, because if there is any, I’m not aware of it.  I can tell you, however, about the hiking.
 
It’s great.
 
Especially in the rainy season, which is about mid-May to about October. At this time, the hills burst forth with countless shades of green and small rivers and waterfalls come to life.  It’s also good to hike in the dry season, because the weather in the Ajijic / Lake Chapala area is almost always perfect.
 
You can go on short, easy hikes almost always directly out your front door (no need to drive if you don’t want to) or you can go on extremely strenuous ones with sharp grades for more than a dozen miles.
 
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Ajijic has a hiking club that will take you and show you the ropes.
 
The first time I hiked in Ajijic, I just walked across the carretera, up a short street through a residential area, and within 5 minutes, I was at a stream, surrounded by gorgeous foliage.  You can see my first hiking experience here.  Subsequently, I went with one of the leaders of the local hiking group, an experience you can watch here.
 
If you like hiking, you’ll like the Lake Chapala area.
 
Interested in moving to Mexico?  Visit Best Mexico Movers.
Tom Leonard of Hotel Perico – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Camping at Roca Azul, on the shores of Lake Chapala near Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are quite a few trails for hiking in or around Chapala and Ajijic. There is a trail right at the hills here where you can see the airport from the top. Hiking in Ajijic's Oak Forest is a real climb and would take about four to five hours to get to the peak. 
 
If you go to certain towns like San Juan Cosala, there are trails that go up a little ways, but not too far.
 
Hiking in Chapala and Ajijic is more interesting than hiking in Southern California because you go off the beaten path and would be surrounded more by nature. The trails are not fixed like in Southern California where everything's mapped out for you and where you would be told, "Here's the trail. You should go here and here."
 
I lived in Mexico City and also did some hiking there, which is also nice. However, when the trail is all mapped out exactly for you, it somewhat loses the adventure appeal. 
 
There is not a lot of outdoor camping in the Chapala and Ajijic area. One of the reasons is that a lot of people are concerned about crimes. Boy Scouts have come to camp in this area, but I haven't heard a lot of wilderness camping out here in the towns. Camping is probably better when you get to the top of the hills because you'll be more secure there. 
 
There are a few campsites.  One is called Roca Azul, which is a very nice campsite. Generally speaking, Mexicans do not go camping. 
 
You wouldn't want to pull a trailer because it'll be rough due to the potholes on the roads. Bringing a motor home is possible, but there are not a lot of places to pull over and park. In the States, there are a lot of areas where you could pull over and park your motor home, but not here in Mexico.
 
(Camping at Roca Azul, on the shores of Lake Chapala near Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Jeff Smith of DocTours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Sailing on Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCamping, I have not tried here in the Lake Chapala / Ajijic area. But as an ardent environmentalist, I love the lush nature. The lake water quality has a bad reputation, despite a Harvard study finding it safe.
 
What's encouraging are the steps that the Mexican "green" movement and local and federal government are taking to elevate standards. More controls on emissions. More recycling. More organic stores, etc.
 
As for outings in general, personally, I enjoy it all -- walks through the neighborhoods, dinners at the restaurants, the existence of popular bike lanes, hiking to the mountain-side waterfall, the movies, plays, concerts, and other entertaining events. Actually, there is more stuff to do than one can do -- you have to pick and choose. And if you're going to do any long distance work for pay, you'll really have to discipline yourself.
 
(Sailing on Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Gabriel Varela, MD of Gabriel Varela - Neurosurgeon – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Donas Donuts the meeting place for hikers in Ajijijc, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCamping is not too common among Mexicans in Chapala and Ajijic.
 
It’s very common, however, for expats to get together and go hiking up in the mountains and also it’s extremely close. As an example, from Ajijic there are several places that you can go. There’s a place right by a doughnut shop where they meet and go up in the mountains. There are trails by a river and some waterfalls.  It’s beautiful.
 
The expats hike for as little as a couple of minutes or five or six hours. And there are other trails that you could access directly from Ajijic by just walking across carretera (the main road paralleling the lake) and immediately go up into the mountains, so don’t have to get in your car to drive. You could just walk there and then go hiking and then walk back. And because the weather is always so nice here you don’t have to worry about it being too hot or too cold.
 
(Donas Donuts-- a common meeting place for hikers in Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Francisco Araiza of interlago realestate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Las Tinajas  in Michoacá, near the border of Jalisco and Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI have a friend whose business is to bring people up in the mountains around Ajijic on hiking tours. They go to Las Tinajas and sometimes to El Tepalo, which is another mountain site. I have heard that it is beautiful.
 
I have only gone to the lower parts of the mountains around Ajijic and Chapala, but I know that people do go camping, and cross from Chapala to other cities or towns on the other side of the mountain.
 
Once you’re up the mountains you will see waterfalls, different kinds of birds, and really nice views of Lake Chapala. You would see all the towns and houses of Chapala and Ajijic once you’re up there. It’s a really nice view. You don’t have to be in incredibly great shape in order to go and you don’t have to be a hiker to hike here because you could go up and in just about 20 to 30 minutes you would already be in a nice spot with really lovely views of Chapala.
 
(Las Tinajas in Michoacá, near the border of  the state of Jalisco and Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Luzma Grande of Ajijic Concierge Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Sunset from Monte Coxala, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingHiking is strong here in Ajijic and a lot of old people do it. You would see people who are 70 years old and they’re hiking for 8 hours. There are very good hiking trails here and people enjoy them a lot.
 
We have groups of hikers here who go every Tuesday and Friday. There are different groups as well. There is a group that goes hiking for longer hours and there is a group that hike for shorter hours.
 
Hikers go every week for the whole year. For example, there is a group of hikers who go out to find haciendas. They go to the haciendas, take pictures, find out about the history of the haciendas, and so on. They look for different haciendas once a month.
 
(Sunset from Monte Coxala, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)

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