There are several components to the shopping in Ajijic. One is local, little stores run by Mexican nationals like the specialty stores where your butcher is located or where vegetables are sold. They have tiny, little grocery stores, too, that are neighborhood oriented.
There are villages located about 5 to 10 miles all the way around Lake Chapala. Each village has its specialty and each village has their markets typically once a week, where you can go and the farmers will set up a farmer’s market type environment for food, knick-knacks, and arts and crafts. For those who prefer the traditional shopping, there are standard, full-blown Wal-Marts there. If you are more North American oriented and you are more comfortable going to a grocery store where everything is prepackaged, and on shelves, that exists too. Depending on what you’re seeking, some blend of the combination is fine. You can pick up your everyday needs at Walmart and if you need something special, like fresh fish of the day that’s brought in from the lake you can go to some of the local markets or street markets.
There are mall-type stores in Chapala and Ajijic where you can buy clothing and electronics. I bought my washer, dryer, oven, and refrigerator in an appliance store that has a wide variety of appliances. I went to a very nice mattress store to pick up my mattress. There are stores whose presentation and format is common in the US or Canada where you can get your day-to-day electronics, household goods, furnishings, and so forth.
There are also craftsmen and artisans in Chapala and Ajijic that sell things that are more localized than you would typically find in the US or Canada if you are seeking the rustic look or the more Mexican type items. The artisan items are a much lower price than what you could get them in the US, and there are a huge variety of artisan products in Chapala and Ajijic. There are individual artisans as well as some phenomenal galleries. Ajijic is known for its arts community and artists who actually retired down there. So you have not only the local talent, but also artists from around the country and around the world who have retired there and are practicing their trades and creating their artwork, only in the Mexican environment. The fun and the pleasure is to find a pair of these little environments and it is part of the joy of learning about the area or the village.
(Mark O'Neal's new patio furniture, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)