There's something about Lake Chapala that is so relaxing. Once you arrive you can feel the tension just melt away.
So why do people go to the lake?
My guess is because every once in a while it's nice to escape from city life, relax and enjoy nature.
And how could you not relax? Look at that view..
Chapala is a beautiful town hidden in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental.
Lucky for you it's close enough to Guadalajara to make a wonderful and unforgettable weekend or day trip. To head out to Chapala, we started our morning early from Guadalajara. One of the easiest ways to reach it is by automobile or bus.
If you'd rather not drive or take a taxi, then the bus is a great way to travel and cheaper than taking a taxi or rental car.
We decided to drive since we borrowed our car from relatives.
It took us about 30-45 minutes to get there. Once you get close you'll start to pass through lots of winding roads and rolling hills.
It was quite a scene even in the dry season.
You'll soon find out why many Tapatios spend their weekends here vacationing.
Chapala is known for its beautiful sunsets, quiet countrylike atmosphere, very mild and almost perfect weather (of course) and best of all it's right by Mexico's largest lake, Lake Chapala.
Chapala and its lovely lake are very popular.
So popular that many Americans and Canadians alike have decided to uproot their lives and live there full time. And I really don't blame them.
The whole area of Chapala and neighboring village, Ajijic are heavily populated with retirees. The area is so beautiful it's easy to fall in love with it.
Once you arrive, you'll want to walk around the old town Plaza. A few blocks away from Lake Chapala on Av. Francisco I. Madero you'll find the town church of San Francisco.
It was dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi and it is said to hold the remains of one of the first Franciscan missionaries to the area, Padre Miguel de Bolonia. But by far, my number one must do activity in Chapala would be a boat ride.
Just walk toward the pier and you won't miss the boats or their owners, who can be pretty competitive with each other for your business and quite persuasive.
There are dozens of small colorful boats ready to take you on an island tour of either Mezcala Island (National monument) or to Isla de los Alacranes (also known as Scorpian Island).
Read about one of our lakeside boat tours to Scorpion Island. This is a must do if you take a trip to Chapala.
Note: If you go to Isla de los Alacranes be prepared to eat, they have several restaurants just waiting to serve you a delicious meal. Note: If you go to Mezcala Island there is no food sold there, so you might want to take something to eat or eat before.
And after your boat tour, to the right of the Chapala Pier or to the left if you are coming from land, you'll find plenty of vendors selling things ranging from locally made candies, toys, arts and crafts and food such as the locally caught charales.
(Charales are very small fish- actually smaller than sardines and very light in taste) and best of all roasted corn.
It comes right off the grill and is roasted to perfection; topped with chili powder it was absolutely mouthwatering.
We went home with our stomachs full and totally relaxed, ready for another day of big city life in Guadalajara, Mexico. You definitely need to visit Chapala even if it is just to see the marvelous lake and have a Cazuela on Scorpion Island.