Welcome to Chapala, a picturesque town located in the Lake Chapala area of Mexico. We heard so many good things about Chapala and its authentic Mexican vibe so we were very excited to check it out.
Our adventure began when we stepped off the bus just a few blocks away from the famous malecon, which exceeded our expectations with its size and beauty. The old buildings, fountains, sculptures, and the stunning views of the lake and mountains all contributed to the town’s authentic charm.
Chapala is a popular destination for both tourists and expats, and it was immediately clear to us that the town had a genuine, Mexican atmosphere that gave us a true taste of local life.
As we leisurely walked along the malecon, we had a chance encounter with a retiree who had chosen Chapala as his new home. He shared stories of his comfortable life on a modest budget, and how he enjoyed dining out every day. This encounter highlighted the affordability and quality of life that Chapala offers.
The malecon itself was beautifully maintained. We loved all the flowers and beautiful sculptures, the people watching, and of course the incredible views of the lake and the mountains.
One of the memorable moments during our exploration was standing on the pier, taking in the picturesque backdrop and taking advantage of the photo opp.
We also took a detour across the street to visit the local church and find a restroom, giving us a chance to appreciate more of the architecture and take more photos. (We do NOT recommend the restroom! It smelled awful!)
While we were there we saw a performance of a traditional Mexican dance known as “Danza de los Voladores” or the Mexican sky dancers. This ancient ceremony, performed for over 500 years, was believed to bring rain and end droughts by pleasing the gods. It was a mesmerizing experience that showcased the rich cultural heritage of Chapala.
Chapala is just one of the many towns that dot the shores of Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico. These towns attract tourists and expats from various countries, and even residents of nearby Guadalajara come to enjoy the lake’s beauty and tranquility on weekends.
Tlayacapan, with its quaint charm, and Ajijic, known for its vibrant atmosphere, are just a couple of the towns worth exploring.
In addition, there’s San Juan Cosalá, located just 15 minutes west of Ajijic, with its own square and malecon. Jocotepec is a lesser-known small city that offers an authentic Mexican experience with its population of around 45,000.
We wanted to see more than just the tourist areas so we decided to wander around the town of Chapala and find the grocery store.
We walked through Plaza de Chapala where we discovered a wide array of restaurants and a vibrant atmosphere. The busy main street, Priv. Fransisco I. Madero had a lot of small shops and restaurants, and was conveniently located near the bus terminal and taxi stand.
During our exploration, we stumbled upon Soriana Híper, a large retail and grocery store similar to Super Walmart or Megamaxi. It also had clean bathrooms!
We were on guard walking around the malecon. Since it is such a popular tourist area we knew we had to watch out for pickpockets. But once we left that area we felt safer, especially after seeing children walking by themselves.
We were so surprised by the beauty of Lake Chapala and the malecon. No wonder it is so popular! We loved the breathtaking views of the mountains, the clear blue sky, and the vibrant buildings.
We had a great day exploring the area and recommend visiting if you’re considering moving or traveling to Guadalajara or Ajijic.
Watch Our Video About Chapala Mexico
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I grew up in the Chicagoland area and spent most of my career working as a sales rep in the commercial lighting industry. I still work online for a company in Denver doing sales CRM administration. YouTube is my part-time gig, but I'm so happy we can share our Unconventional Life and hopefully inspire you live yours!