Lake Chapala is the largest lake in Mexico, at about 2 to 6 miles wide, and about 70 miles long.
Most of the foreigners live on the north shore of the lake.
Lake Chapala helps regulate the climate in the area, which is commonly referred to as “the lake effect” but it is not like the lake effect in Michigan or in Chicago. In a sense, the lake keeps us a bit cooler in the summer and a bit warmer in the winter.
Lake view properties are certainly desirable and there is a demand for them so the price is a little bit higher for those properties. Lake Chapala is clean. It doesn’t have crystal clear blue waters that you can see through for hundreds of feet because it has a muddy bottom and it is shallow, but it tests clean of bacteria and heavy metals.
There is not a lot of recreational use of the lake at this time. Part of the reason for that is that it is muddy and shallow on the parts that are closest to the shore, but there are people who operate boats and sail on it. There are also a certain number of launching places for the boats and some yacht clubs, too.
We have streams here in Chapala and Ajijic rather than rivers. Rivers are temporary during the summer months when we have our rainy season. We do have some waterfalls that you can hike to, which are about 15 to 20 minute hikes. The rivers that are the main tributaries to the lake are at the far east end and are not something that is a part of our life, good or bad, closer to the west end of the Lake Chapala, where Ajijic and the town of Chapala are located.
Some people swim in Lake Chapala but not very many because it is not an appetizing swimming lake. I grew up on a beautiful lake in Washington State called Lake Chelan, which in the summer months, when it is warm enough, is great for swimming. On the contrary, here at Lake Chapala, you have to walk on shallow and muddy water for a couple of hundred yards before you might even have enough water to swim in, which just isn’t very appealing.
(Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)