Ajijic and Lake Chapala - La Pueblita
Gabriela Pérez

The favorite retreat area for Americans and Canadians

The Mexican village of Ajijic is home to two biggies:

  •  The biggest freshwater lake in the whole country.
  •  The biggest community of Americans living outside the U.S.

Clearly there’s something in the town environment that attracts foreign people, to the point of choosing it to make it their new hometown for retirement. In this article, I’ll tell you some of the reasons for its magnetism.

Geography and weather

Ajijic is a small town located in the Lake Chapala Riviera. With only 10,500 people living there, it is one of the 43 towns around the lake. Yes, it is a big freshwater lake! Full of history and great relevance for the whole country.

It happens to be just 40 minutes away from the second biggest Mexican city; Guadalajara, also known for its folkloric culture and for being the birthplace of Mariachi music and tequila. But it is also what we can call a “medical destination” since its health professionals and medical services are the best qualified and affordable. Medical tourism is a common thing in Mexico, for foreigners who need medical attention, but it is too expensive to have it in their countries.

The nice warm weather and proximity make Ajijic a good place for people from Guadalajara to spend their holidays. It is on those days that we can find it a bit crowded, but the rest of the year it is a quiet small town where the days pass calmly.

Cultural and social life

There, we can find a variety of coffee shops and restaurants to visit on our own or with an affable company. The town bears a big talented artists community, so art expressions are also in every corner. There are several outdoor markets called “tianguis” where people go and sell specific things, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, or plants. In the “tianguis culturales” we can find local artists selling their pieces for nice prices. Cultural centers are an important element for the social ambient.

Ajijic is a great place for spiritual people too. In traditional churches, some masses are celebrated in English, due to the large number of English speakers who live there. Almost all stores and places are bilingual, – “no English, no problem”, they say.

Green is life: Landscape and health

Most of the Ajijic streets are stone pavemented. It gives an old traditional Mexican town aesthetic, but it is mostly for maintaining the great weather. Stones help the water filtration keeping a fresh atmosphere, especially in the hot season, that goes from March to September. It is mostly humid, so plants grow vastly. Every street is full of big old trees and a lot of different flower species. 

Maintaining good health is not a problem when living in Ajijic. It is also a destination for hikers and excursionists, thanks to its green mountain chain and beautiful panoramic views. There are a lot of nice walks to do down the village too, as well as a recently renovated boardwalk. Due to all the plant species that grow there, streets bloom with colorful flowers during the whole year.

These are just some of the characteristics that make Ajijic and Lake Chapala one of the best retirement destinations in Mexico. In short, Ajijic combines all the requirements to spend a jubilant retirement.

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