AJIJIC'S BEST HOMES in LAKE CHAPALA MEXICO
Thinking about living in the Lake Chapala area of Mexico?
We look forward to introducing you to the Lakeside and helping you ease into your new lifestyle.
By Neill James the founder of the Lake Chapala Society.
We are blessed by what National Geographic (1966) hails as "the second best climate in the world..." (second only to Kenya, Nairobi) enjoying a semi-tropical climate with warm days and cool nights throughout most of the year. Our warmest months are April and May with temperatures ranging in the mid 80s (30 degrees Celsius.
Rainy season runs from mid-June to mid-October--with the rains 'usually' falling during the night.
Once the rains commence in June, the hills overlooking the village become a verdant green that reminds me of Ireland. Residents know that when the "rain birds" (cicadas) begin to sing the rains are not far off.... It is my favorite time of year--missed by many snowbirds who return north of the border in early Spring and do not have the opportunity to experience the wonders of our summer months here on the Lakeside.
Most mornings we awaken to glorious sunrises that equal the magnificent sunsets that grace our skies.
Even in the driest months of the year, the area abounds with color from a variety of flowers: Jacaranda in February; Tabachine in April, Frangipani (plumeria) throughout most of the year, a multitude of orchids indigenous to the area; roses; poinsettia TREES! and of course--bougainvillea with their vibrant shades of red, fuchia, and magenta.
Walk down any street and you will see a cascade of flowers gracing stone walls that hide magnificent homes--you never know what you may find until you "peek behind the walls".
Besides the climate and the tropical
vegetation by which we are surrounded, what else drew us to Lake Chapala,
There is an excellent four-lane highway from Guadalajara to Chapala. Guadalajara -- named after the Moorish city of the same name in Spain -- is Mexico's second largest city and the capital city for the state of Jalisco.
Guadalajara, The City of Roses, is a city of monuments, parks and flowers, fountains and tree lined avenues. A city alive with subtle attractions that can keep the first time visitor entertained for weeks. Guadalajara's history dates to the 16th century and the rich heritage of México's colonial gem is evident everywhere you look.
The Guadalajara area is known as the birthplace of the world famous Mariachi bands. Famed for its dignity, culture and restraint; where traditions are preserved; the siesta is an institution; and fiestas are an art form. When you visit Guadalajara take time to visit the many fine historic and cultural sights. You will find many different styles of Mexican and international arts; galleries and museums.
Every Sunday morning students from the University of Guadalajara perform the Ballet Foclorico in the outstanding Teatro Degollado. Performances center around songs and dances from a variety of states throughout Mexico. Not only will you be greatly entertained by this multi-talented group, but you will also catch a glimpse of Mexican traditions.
Guadalajara's historic center is a great place to get acquainted with some of the area's history and to discover the incredible colonial architecture that has made Guadalajara the envy of other Mexican cities. The landscape of the historic center is dominated by the colonial Cathedral, a great starting point for a leisurely stroll through this city's cultural center.
Begun in 1561, the Cathedral located on the north-side of Plaza de Armas, was consecrated in 1616, presenting an interesting mixture of Baroque and Gothic architecture. Ten of the silver-and-gold altars were gifts from King Ferdinand VII of Spain. In a loft high above the main entrance is a magnificent late 19th-Century French organ.
After visiting the Cathedral, drop into the Governor's Palace when you can see many fine murals by Guadalajara's most distinguished muralists, Jose Clemente Orozco.
His works painted on the staircase of the Governor's Palace were commissioned by the governor of Jalisco, Everado Topete, in 1939.
Take a leisurely stroll along Plaza Tapatia heading toward the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, one of the most famous buildings in Guadalajara.
Originally an orphanage and home for the elderly, this building was constructed as a humanitarian gesture by the last colonial bishop of Guadalajara, Don Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabaña. As you step inside you will be able to view more Orozco murals.
Perhaps his greatest work -- "Man of Fire" can be seen on the dome of the Instituto Cultural Cabañas along with other works adorning the walls. On certain days tour guides are available to explain more about Orozco's work. But even without the guide, it is an amazing experience to walk into the Cultural Centre, sit down on one of the benches and just admire the genius' work.
Back in the in the late 1940s, the city fathers made a concerted effort to change the city's image from an old colonial city with narrow, cobble-stoned streets to a modern city. But in the early 1960s, they realized that the 20th Century architecturewas threatening to destroy the aesthetics of the city. Realizing that the city was in danger of losing its charm and historical qualities, city administrators in the 1980s declared 30 blocks in the heart of downtown as a cultural sanctuary.
As you tour the city you will find evidence of the fine architecture that still exists today. Beautiful statues like Minerva grace glorietas throughout the city.
Guadalajara is a city of monuments, parks and flowers, fountains and tree- lined avenues.
A city alive with subtle attractions that can keep the first time visitor entertained for weeks. Guadalajara's history dates to the 16th century and the rich heritage of México's colonial gem is evident everywhere you look.
Sunday afternoon is family time in the historic centre of Guadalajara. Families spend their afternoons enjoying time off from their weekday labors: children chasing balloons, mime artists performing in the plazas, young lovers strolling arm-in-arm, grandparents looking on or strolling past vendors and marble fountains.
After a wonderful adventure-filled day in Guadalajara, be sure to return to Ajijic in time to enjoy one of our famous sunsets overlooking Lake Chapala.
How do we spend our time here? How do we fill our days? These question are asked over and over again by new arrivals to the Lakeside. What could there possibly be to do in this sleepy little Mexican Village?
Take a further step inside.... and find out how the days unfold before those of us who call this Lakeside community of Ajijic and Lake Chapala home....
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