Chapala the largest town on the shores of Lake Chapala

For many years, Chapala was the largest town on the shores of Lake Chapala, and the most genteel. Yet centuries before, the Coca Indians inhabited the wooded shores. Even today, their small ceramic offering vessels known as “blood cups” can be discovered on the beach or are brought up in fishermen’s nets.

Distinguished tourists discover the town of Chapala

In 1868, the first steamboat embarked on the Chapala inland sea, and sailboats served as ferries.

In 1904, President Porfirio Diaz discovered Chapala, and vacationed here for several years afterward. English writer D.H. Lawrence penned The Plumed Serpent while staying at a villa on Zaragoza street, mentioning the splendid parish church of San Francisco in his book.

Several Chapala hotels opened: the Hotel Nido, dating from 1905, now houses City Hall, where homeowners pay their annual property taxes. Cazadores Restaurant occupies the Victorian mansion on the waterfront, owned by the Braniff family of airline fame.

The first automobile arrived at the end of 1909 and by 1917, bus service linked Chapala with Guadalajara, although the journey took five hours. In 1920, the railroad came to Chapala and the lovely old railroad station is now a cultural center.

For a quiet town, Chapala has plenty to do

Today, Chapala is still a favorite weekend and holiday destination for Tapatios, as the people of Guadalajara are known. A landscaped median divides Calle Madero as it leads into town past the plaza with its charming bandstand.

Each year on the weekend leading up to Mardi Gras, Chapala is the setting of one of the liveliest Carnaval celebrations in Mexico.

With its scenic pier, the lakefront promenade or malecón, boat rides, and restaurants along the main avenue and lakeshore, this is a delightful place to while away a lazy afternoon.

There are sports aplenty in this delightful municipal seat. Chapala’s municipal park, La Cristiania, has six tennis courts, available for a nominal fee. Its large public swimming pool is complemented with picnic areas, a basketball court, two volleyball nets and a children’s playground. Across the street from the park, east of the pier, is the Chapala Yacht Club.


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A selection of Chapala real estate in the neighborhood of your choice

Centro (“Downtown”) Chapala is a popular for residents who enjoy being close to everything and can walk most anywhere.

Las Redes (“The Nets”) near the Cultural Center offers quiet living but shops and business are conveniently located along the neighborhood’s main avenue.

To the northwest, Nuevo Chapala is a beautiful gated residential community with a pool and clubhouse. Its modern homes are set along cobblestone streets where palm trees rustle.

Ten minutes east of town, Vista del Lago is home to the Chapala Country Club with a challenging nine-hole golf course overlooking the lake. This is an open club. All you need to play is to pay the greens fee, golf cart and caddy. Beautiful private homes surround the course.

To the west on the carretera – the highway that runs along Chapala’s northern shore – is Jardines de Montecarlo. This neighborhood takes its name from the lakefront Hotel Montecarlo. Local residents can use the swimming pool there for a modest fee, and a smaller pool on the hillside is filled each day with thermal waters, perfect for soaking tired muscles and aching joints. The hotel’s restaurant has outdoor seating beneath a giant rubber tree where peacocks display their magnificent plumage, to the delight of diners.

To the north, on the highway that leads to the airport, Brisas de Chapala is quite affordable, in a semi-rural setting, although a car is almost a necessity. On the other side of the highway, Chapala Haciendas is a partially gated community with generous lots at excellent prices. In both subdivisions, some homes have wonderful views of the lake.

Explore the town of Chapala with AccessLakeChapala.com and discover the Lake Chapala rentals and real estate that’s right for you with a virtual tour of each property.

Need more information? Resources:

D.H. Lawrence
Living in Lake Chapala
Homes for sale in Chapala
Chapala Picture Gallery

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