You all know by now that I am a city boy through and through, and so I am really glad that Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, has been my first stop in the country. But there are times when you just have to get away from it all, times when all you really want for a day is a killer view and an ice cream. And that’s exactly what I got when I headed to the beautiful areas of Chapala and Ajijic with GDL Tours.
These areas in the state of Jalisco are known for their simple beauty and charm, attracting hordes of tourists each year. But it’s not only tourists who like to make the most of these beautiful areas – they are incredibly popular retirement destinations for people mostly from the US and Canada who also appreciate a beautiful landscape, a slow pace of life, and of course a far cheaper cost of living.
Chapala is especially celebrated for its massive lake. And when I say massive, I really mean it. The lake is the largest in Mexico and covers an area of more than 1,000 square kilometres! I mean, there must be one hell of a mosquito issue round these parts but it sure is beautiful. In Chapala, you can visit outdoor markets, you can eat the local ice cream (that has a special name I can’t remember – ooops) in flavours like Tequila (yumz), you can see the beautiful local church, and generally amble around town while you let your worries disappear.
If Chapala is serene, then Ajijic is even more so. Along the cobbled streets you can find cute little boutique shops, retired Americans walking their dogs, and places on the street where you can grab a beer in the Mexican midday sun. I have had kind of a hard time getting myself understood in Spanish while I’ve been here so the abundance of English speakers and English shop signs made me want to high five strangers on the streets.
When it comes to my retirement (which cannot come soon enough, quite frankly), I wonder if I will settle in a big city or somewhere like Ajijic. I have discovered on my travels that I really like being in a big city and then a small town, and then a big city and then a small town. So perhaps I’ll just keep pushin’ on like that until I’m pushing up the daisies.
I get the feeling that my readers are not quite of retirement age, but if you want to enjoy a bit of serenity and beauty in Mexico then I highly recommend a daytrip to Chapala and Ajijic, or even an extended stay. Enjoy.