San Juan Cosala and Raquet Club
On the shores of Lake Chapala Mexico, San Juan Cosala boasts its own geyser. In fact, the town grew up around thermal springs, heated by underground volcanoes.
A friend tells us how in the 1950s, Ajijic teens would make day trips to San Juan. They’d tuck potatoes and chayotes in their pockets and, once in San Juan, they’d bury them in the mud on the shore. When they tired of swimming and came out of the water, the potatoes and chayotes were perfectly cooked.
Today, balnearios are popular with residents and visitors from the area. Featuring public and private pools, restaurants, dressing rooms with showers, and even masseuses, these swimming resorts are filled during the weekends. Some have rooms for rent, others offer cottages in sunny gardens for longer stays. At Villas Buenaventura, original sculptures adorn the pleasant garden.
On the mountain side of the carretera, the Racquet Club is set into the steep hillside with extraordinary views of the Lake. Deep water wells beneath it feed the thermal pools of San Juan Cosala, and some homeowners have piped the hot water into their own swimming pools.
The club itself, with its tennis courts and clubhouse, is the focal point of this residential area, and streets are named for tennis greats from all over the world – Jimmy Conners, Chris Evert, Raul Ramirez, Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King, among many more.
Monte Coxala: a holistic spa with a pre-Hispanic heritage
With its out-of-the-way location and unusual architecture, Monte Coxala is more than just a world class spa. It pays tribute to Mexico’s native cultures, with finely crafted replicas of ancient Olmec, Maya and Toltec art in a magical and sacred setting for body and spirit.
Especially impressive is the traditional temascalli, set inside a copy of the Pyramid of Kukulcan (“El Castillo”) at Chichen Itza, with a quartz ceiling that refracts light into the depths of the ritual steam bath. A restaurant on the ground accepts reservations.