Ajijic, Mexico: A privileged place to live. After Chapala, Ajijic is Lakeside’s best known town. Around 1941, “Petticoat Vagabond” Neil James – a contemporary at Scribners of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolf – made her home in the village. Among many altruistic deeds, she planted mulberry trees and experimented with silk weaving, then cotton weaving as a cottage industry for local residents. Restaurant Los Telares is housed on a part of the property where weaving workshops, with their rustic handlooms, or telares, were situated.
Around the same time, Peter Lilley built the original Posada Ajijic on the Chapala lake shore beside the pier and – with Anthony Stansfeld – wrote three books about village life under the pen name of Dane Chandos. Its restaurant is still a popular gathering place to dine and dance.
The former fishing village was “discovered” by expats in the 1950s, and attracted adventurous, artistic and sometimes bohemian types. Well into the 1960s, there was a single caseta in the village for long distance telephone calls, and by the 1970s, horses were still more common than cars.
(Photography Credit above to Bert Miller, an expat who lived in the Lakeside area during the 70s and captured some priceless pictures, to read more about him and his history in the area, make sure to visit Lake Chapala Artisits Bert Miller where you can read more about him and his time in the area.)
In the 1970’s the Ajijic area attracted more attention from Canadians, Americans and even Europeans. It was also common for expats north of the border to drive down in their motor-homes and stay at some of Trailer Parks, one in particular used to be in Upper Ajijic (La Floresta) area, as shown in the pics below. With all the attention from expats and wealthy Mexican families out of Guadalajara who enjoyed vacationing in Ajijic on the weekends, developers starting building residential communities and town amenities such as Golf courses, yacht clubs and shopping centers. In some of the pictures below you will see the local Golf Course, Trailer Park, Club Nautico and El Castillo shopping center. Make sure you don’t miss the Aerial picture of the East Ajijic and La Floresta, which was take circa 1971. By seeing these picture you can appreciate how much the area has grown since the early 70s.
Twenty-one expatriates formed the Lake Chapala Society in 1955. Then in 1983, headquarters were moved to the Neil James property, and she bequeathed it to the Society upon her death. In 1998, the Ed Wilkes property also became part of the LCS grounds. Today, with 3,700 members, LCS is a gathering place for expats from the area. Its many programs and activities ease the transition to a new community and culture for those who choose Mexico retirement, and its bulletin board is a good place to find information. During subsequent decades, the expat community grew and Ajijic real estate offerings reflect a vast variety of tastes and lifestyles.
Ajijic: the heart of Lake Chapala living
The town is still the focus for the arts on Lake Chapala’s northern shore. With galleries seemingly everywhere you turn and handicrafts of all kinds, its weekend art walks invite you to view the art and meet the artists.
There is a market held every Wednesday in Ajijic, right next to the El Torito Shopping Center, all expats know it by “The Wednesday Market” or “Tianguis”. It is a highlight in town and you will find many locals shopping for their weekly vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and anything else you can think of. There is much to do in Ajijic, social events, art shows, dances and more. To get an idea of what we have mentioned so far, take a look at the videos below where you will get a first hand experience on what it is like.
Homes and shops in bright tropical colors seem just right in the dazzling Mexican sunshine, while restaurants with shady garden seating and sidewalk cafes take full advantage of the best climate in the Americas. And the food? There’s probably no other village in Mexico with such sophisticated dining options. Residents of Guadalajara often drive out to Ajijic restaurants for breakfast, brunch or lunch.
Ajijic’s central plaza is a wonderful place for people watching, and the center of civic celebrations. Village homes are often remodeled adobe dwellings with high ceilings and spacious central patios. These are highly prized for their location, within walking distance of the plaza and parish church, banks, restaurants, the Lake Chapala Society and the picturesque shore and malecón.
Neighborhoods: Popular Ajijic neighborhoods and hotels
La Floresta, is by far the most popular one, it is to the east of the village, has been the site of weekend homes and garden villas for many decades. It surrounds the Real de Chapala, one of the oldest Ajijic hotels, and is characterized by the majestic ficus trees that tower above the gracious homes and well kept gardens. Upper La Floresta to the north is just across the carretera from La Floresta. Its wide, shady streets are lined with roomy homes set on generous lots, many of which boast a lake view. Take a walk into some of the houses below:
Some other of the popular communities include:
- Riviera Alta with its cobblestone streets is a walled community. Its common areas include a terrace, swimming pool, tennis courts and a small gym.
- Another enclosed neighborhood, Lomas de Ajijic also features a swimming pool and terraces for get-togethers with the neighbors that live along its cobblestone streets.
- Rancho del Oro takes its name from gold mines located there. Rising steeply to the north of the carretera, the mountainside setting of Rancho del Oro has unspoiled panoramic views across the lake, and Ajijic’s fire opal sunsets can be viewed from terraces and gardens in this upscale residential area.
- Los Sabinos named after a popular mountainside in the area offers organized living with common areas that include a pool, gym, hot tub and fully stocked clubhouse. Many homes on the upper level have Lake views
- La Reserva is a massive gated complex with paved roads, modern houses with a “Hacienda Style Touch” and a private club each home has access to join that is placed right on the lakefront with an immense garden, pools and restaurant. You even have room to store your boat!
Take a look into our Community
There is no real words to describe the magic and energy that is felt in Ajijic, you have to come experience it for yourself to see why so many foreigners call it their home. While you browse through the Access website you will start to fall in love with the area and get a taste of what the community is like. On our website we transmit what the area is really like, so to get a realistic feeling of the town, make sure to take a look at our “Picture Gallery” and “Video Gallery” where we have sets of photos covering different events, traditions and every day life in the Ajijic area. Our images date back to 2010 so you need some time to check them all out.
Regarding the general region and in many ways, Ajijic is the heart of lakeside living, with something for virtually everyone. With so much to offer, it is a privileged place to live, you need to come see it for yourself to believe it. We offer a “Free No Obligation Sales Tour” where we show you the area during a 2 hour tour, along with some properties on the market For Sale. This is the best way to get a feeling for the area, we cover the most important topics on way and also provide a seminar on legal and immigration concluding the tour. So feel free to contact us for more information on how we can help you.
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