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About Ajijic, Mexico

Ajijic (Ah-hee-heek) has the normal services of the 21st century - water treatment plants, electricity, cellular phones, and the internet. But when you first arrive here what you see is the mystery and charm of a 16th century village. Restaurants buy mesquite firewood for their grills from a local farmer, who delivers it on his donkeys. Cows and horses graze along the lake. And maiz is grown everywhere, to be made into corn tortillas, a staple of the Mexican diet.
The narrow cobblestone streets remind us of old Europe. Drive with your window rolled down, so you can hear the clip-clop of horses' hooves; just around the corner you may see a caballero riding to work on his horse, a common sight in the village.
Family is the most important part of life in Mexico. Children play in the streets and the village square, but it is rare to see them fighting. Often you will see an older child holding a younger one's hand as they walk to school, or a father carrying his infant as the family takes a walk.
Wandering along the village streets is the best way to see Ajijic. In the most unexpected places you'll find things to surprise and delight you.
High walls in front of the homes are a constant reminder of the Spanish influence of centuries past. You will find that the houses are typical of old Mexico and there are simple little village homes with colorful walls fronting the cobblestone streets as well as magnificent colonial haciendas hidden behind high walls. The exteriors give few clues to what lies inside the doorways and gates.
Ajijic still retains its charm as an artist's colony, and the narrow cobblestone streets house art galleries and studios for painters, photographers, sculptors, weavers, potters and talented craftsmen.
The plaza (as the locals call their Town Square ) is the center of village life. There is always someone sitting on a park bench, enjoying the flowers, watching the passers-by, or just basking in the sunshine. At night and on weekends the plaza is alive with children playing, street vendors selling food and trinkets, and friends stopping to chat.

There are fiestas and holidays every month throughout the year, many with parades. One of our favorites is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), celebrated on November 1 and 2.

From November 20 to 30 Ajijic holds its biggest fiesta of the year, in honor of its patron saint, Saint Andres. This is the safest street party you'll ever enjoy. Ajijic has a reputation for being the most fun place to celebrate fiestas; Mexicans come by bus from the surrounding villages to party in Ajijic.
The nightly fireworks are attached to a special apparatus. These are hand made and assembled on site, a skill passed on from father to son. Mexicans love fireworks. They are even incorporated into the way Mexicans practice their religion. Fireworks are part of every fiesta.

Golf is popular and locally available - there is a 9-hole golf course on the side of a hill which brings a whole new challenge to the game!

Tequila, made from blue agave plants which abound across the Mexican state of Jalisco, was invented an hours drive from Ajijic and is used in many favorite cocktails. The abundance of fruit grown in Mexico makes fresh fruit drinks popular too; guayaba, pineapple, strawberry and other flavors are readily available.
A few blocks from the plaza is Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico, approximately 50 miles long and about 20 miles at its widest point. Former presidents of Mexico have had estates here, and today Lake Chapala is a popular retreat with many people coming in from Guadalajara for the weekends. The lake is surrounded by mountains, and enjoys a climate which is dry, warm and sunny year round, with a rainy season - it usually rains at night - from June to October. National Geographic magazine rated this one of the world's best climates.
Wednesday is Market Day in Ajijic - vendors sell a little of everything, including the most delicious fresh fruits and vegetables.
Since the 1950's Americans have been coming to Lake Chapala, and especially the village of Ajijic, to spend the winter or to live here permanently. Today there are more Canadians and Americans resident in Lake Chapala than in any other community worldwide.

Ajijic is home to a large international population of Canadians, United States citizens, Europeans, and South Americans, many of whom are writers, sculptors, artists and craftspeople.

The quaint ambiance that brought them to live in this village makes your vacation even easier because English is fairly well understood by the local shopkeepers.

The steady immigration of non-Mexicans moving to Lake Chapala has been a blessing for the local economy. Construction has been a big industry here for several years already, and demand for new housing is still increasing. This has brought employment to the local villages, and the difference is visible.
Many new businesses have opened in the last few years, and local supermarkets have added more "North American" products to their shelves. Even better, many native residents are adding new rooms to their homes, painting them, and planting more gardens. This has made the village more picturesque than ever.
But perhaps the best part of life in Ajijic is that the local Mexicans are truly happy to have the foreigners here. We are greeted with a smile, and there is a mutual courtesy, respect and patience. Many Mexicans in Ajijic and Chapala speak at least a little English, some are very fluent. If you need help with the language, someone walking down the street will cheerfully stop to help you.
Ajijic is a village of artists and artisans. Art galleries, furniture making, and wrought iron work are all common professions here. Very little is done by machine in Ajijic; the time-honored skills of the hand craftsman are passed down from one generation to the next.
At the waterfront and along the highway they sell handmade blankets, carry-bags and wall hangings, hung on ropes from the trees. It is all hand woven and shows the colors and symbols central to their way of life. Often you can see a Mexican woman weaving on her loom as she waits for customers to come and buy from her.
The Mexican Indians add their own old-world touch to the village. Men and women in traditional dress can be seen on the streets.


Yet Ajijic is also a part of the modern world. An easy thirty minute drive to the newly renovated international airport connects you to the rest of the world. Another ten minutes will bring you to the center of Guadalajara, where a city of over 5 million people offers shopping, restaurants, history, culture, and its own special energy. Several major American stores such as Costco, Sam's Club, and Wal-Mart are in Guadalajara. La Gran Plaza is a large air-conditioned indoor shopping mall featuring stores like Sears and Fabricas de Francia. The Libertad is a huge traditional market, while the Teatro Degollado offers symphony and opera seasons along with performances of the Ballet Folklorico.

This ends our tour of Ajijic. If you visit the area, please stop in and see us at Casa del Sol. We'd love to meet you!

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Casa del Sol     Javier Mina #7, Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico    From U.S. 415.453.7771 • In Mexico 376.766.0050
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