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Get to Know Chapala & Ajijic

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Getting to the Feria & Map

Airline Information
Where to Stay in Chapala or Ajijic
Eating at Lakeside
Money Tips
Are Chapala & Ajijic Safe?
Chapala & Ajijic Water
Other Questions

Chapala & Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico

Chapala and Ajijic (Ah-hee-HEEK) are just 30 minutes south of the Guadalajara International Airport. Both are two of the many villages that surround Mexico's largest lake, Lake Chapala, 700 miles south of the US border.

The area is noted for its exceptional climate. In November, daytime temperatures will be around 70°F. This area is home to a vibrant international community of Mexicans, Americans, Canadians and Europeans.

Internet, ATM banking, hotels, restaurants, and public transportation exist side-by-side with traditional Mexican life. The primary language is Spanish, but many people speak some English.

Here is a beautiful video on Mexico - an incredible country full of color, adventures and cheerful, friendly people.

Getting to the Feria & Map

The 3-day Feria Maestros Del Arte folk art show is held at Club de Yates de Chapala (Chapala Yacht Club)in Chapala - check the map or just follow the signs. We suggest that you arrange for taxi service from your hotel.

Admission each day to the fair is $70 pesos. We've made the price of admission very affordable so that you can come every single day! Get your hand stamped and return as many times during the day as you like.

Taxis - we will have taxis available at the Feria

Ajijic Taxi stand at Plaza - 376 766-0674, 766-1663 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Recommendations:

    • Francisco 333 157 8060 (cellphone - from a land-line add 045 in front of the number). He is also available to take you to and from the airport.
    • Carlos 331 173 3424 (cellphone - from a land-line add 045 in front of the number. ) He is also available to take you to and from the airport.

Chapala taxi stand at Plaza 376 765-3511, 765-4697 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Recommendations:

    • Sergio 333 137 4218 (cellphone - from a land-line add 045 in front of the number.) Sergio is also a certified tourguide and available to take you to or from the airport.

Bus: Local buses are also available. Ask for the information at your hotel.

Airline Information

Arriving by Air
Arriving during the daylight hours will make it much easier to check into your hotel or B&B, although many connecting flights into Guadalajara may arrive at night - just alert your hotel to your arrival time. To enter Mexico you need a passport for identification purposes.

When you deplane, you'll board a bus that will take you the short distance to Immigration where you'll fill out an immigration form and have your passport stamped.

From there you'll pick up baggage and pass through Customs. You'll find the Guadalajara airport safe, easy to navigate, and friendly. ATMs that dispense pesos, a Starbuck's Coffee, Burger King and gift shops are available after you exit Customs.

If you are not being met by your hotel, the taxi kiosk is just before you exit customs. Fares are set so no haggling is required. Be sure that your hotel has provided you with their address and directions.

Leaving by Air
Feria Maestros del Arte ends Sunday at 4 p.m. Stay Sunday night and plan to fly out the next day. Your hotel can make arrangements for your departure and help you check that your flight is on time. Folk art is exempt from duty so don't worry about declaring your purchases to Customs. If you've bought too many items to carry, be sure to visit our on-site shipper at the Show. They'll help you ship your treasures.

Staying in Chapala or Ajijic

Be sure to secure your hotel reservations well in advance.

Following is a list of hotels/B&Bs in both Chapala and Ajijic. If the name of the hotel or B&B is underlined, you may click on it to go to their website or email.

CHAPALA

Hotel Quinta Quetzalcoatl - Better known as Hotel QQ, this B&B has been totally restored. It is a small, romantic inn located in Chapala. QQ is "the" place at Lake Chapala Mexico to indulge yourself in peace and relaxation. If you feel fit enough, QQ is about 6 blocks from the Feria site. (01152 from outside Méxic) (376) 765-3653 or from within Mexico: (376) 765-3653.

Lake Chapala Inn - Located in downtown Chapala, on the shores of Lake Chapala, within easy walking distance ( one short block) of shopping, restaurants, banks, and lakeside transportation. If you feel fit enough, the hotel is about 8 blocks from the Feria site. For more information 1-800-501-9446, phone 011 52 376 765-4786; Fax: 011 52 376 765-5174

Calli Aztatl Hotel Spa Boutique - located about 6 long blocks from the Feria site, this small hotel offers 4 rooms ranging from $900 pesos to $1500 pesos. There is a great restaurant on-site. 331 117 2325 (cellphone)

Hotel Perico de Chapala - located in the hills north of the city and has a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Chapala. 333 142 0012, info@hotelperico.com.mx or eventos@hotelperico.com.mx.

Montecarlo Hotel - Hotel has restaurant, pool and extensive grounds. Hidalgo 296, Chapala. If you're fit and want to walk, the hotel is within walking distance to the Feria - of all the Chapala hotels listed, Montecarlo is the furthest away. http://www.hoteles.udg.mx/montecarlo/

El Pequeño Suites Hotel - El Pequeño is a grand 75 year old Mexican home that has been completely modernized into a cute little guesthouse with four guest rooms, located in the most convenient part of Chapala. Click here to email:www.elpequenosuites.com/contact.html or call 503 621 3818. English spoken.

Hotel Villa San Francisco - Situated in a perfect location on a beautiful palm-lined boulevard, just yards from Mexico’s largest and most beautiful lake. (376) 765 2128.

Hotel Villa Samary - Right off the plaza in Chapala, Morelos #199, this 6-room hotel is within walking distance of the Feria. Rooms are very basic but clean and run $400 pesos/double (kingsize bed). (01152 from outside Mexico) (376) 765-3960, villasamary@yahoo.com.mx

AJIJIC

Ajijic Suites - Hidalgo #72, Ajijic, (376) 766 1920 - Comfortable, clean, economical accommodation just two blocks west of the Plaza. Comfy beds, silky sheets & fluffy towels await your arrival!

Casa del Sol - Nestled between the Sierra Madre mountains and Lake Chapala, this B&B is centrally located on a quiet residential street, just two blocks from the the Ajiic plaza. Just a ten-minute taxi/bus ride to the Feria. www.casadelsolinn.com

Casa de las Flores - a haven of peace and tranquility with 18th century wooden doors, that open to a secure private garden and pool area. www.casafloresajijic.com

Casa Tres Leones - Elegant B&B and inn. Enjoy the comfortable and relaxing atmosphere surrounded by the beauty of Mexico, with a spectacular lake and mountain view. www.casatresleones.com

Casita Montaña B&B - "Little home on the mountain" is located at the corner of the Carretera and Ave. Colón in Ajijic. From the US/Canada 918 895 4089; in Mexico (376) 766-5513; www.casitamontana.com

Estrellitas B&B - Lorraine Pasini previously owned an award-winning inn in Glen Allen, CA (in the heart of wine country) and brings with her the expertise of making guests feel at home by providing quality service. Estrellita's is conveniently located in the heart of Ajijic, two blocks from the plaza. www.estrellitasinnajijic.com

Hotel Lindo Ajijic - A luxury B&B on the banks of Lake Chapala in Ajijic with a wonderful view - adults only. Calle Angel Flores 17-A, Las Salvias Ajijic - enter from 5 de Febrero y Tempisque, 33 1162 1614 cellphone or Whatsapp.

Hotel Italo - located 1/2 block from the Ajijic Plaza, this hotel is in the "budget" category. Rooms are 285p/person/night or 380/2 persons/night. If you book for multiple nights during the Feria, be sure to ask for the 10-15% discount. Guadalupe Victoria #8, Ajijic. marianabrandi60@hotmail.com , (376) 766-2221.

Hotel Casa Blanca - an oasis in paradise, 16 de Septiembre #29, Ajijic. To telephone from outside Mexico 01152 (376) 766-4440; 1-800 436-0759 www.casablancaajijic.com

Hotel La Estancia (no website) - Eight rooms with king or twin beds, cable TV, restaurant. Located on Ajijic’s main street near banking, shopping, galleries. Small pets okay. hotelestantanciaajijic@hotmail.com

Hotel Real de Chapala - Located in Ajijic on the shore of Lake Chapala. They have 85 rooms and 5 Suites, ample gardens with a view of the mountains and the lake, four convention/event halls, restaurant, pool, tennis courts, soccer, volley ball and a recreational area for children. http://www.realdechapala.com .

La Nueva Posada Hotel - The oldest hotel in Ajijic. Right on the shores of Lake Chapala, this hotel has a restaurant and beautiful gardens. Just a ten-minute taxi/bus ride to the Feria. http://www.hotelnuevaposada.com/

Los Artistas B&B - Spectacular, serene, secure. www.losartistas.com

Villa Eucaliptos - Private Mexican villa located one block from Lake Chapala in the Heart of Ajijic. Enter into a private world all of your own, set in colonial Spanish architecture with magnificent fifteen-foot ceilings and arches. http://villaeucaliptos.tripod.com

SAN ANTONIO TLAYACAPAN

Casa Luz B&B - Colón #100, 376 766 4648 or 331 023 9868, casaluz100@hotmail.com. Home of local artist Luz Preciado. An inspiring space to enjoy and relax.

RIBERAS DEL PILAR

Mar Chapalico - San Jorge #6, 376 765 6952, c.reservaen@marchapalico.com or c.mar_chapalico@hotmail.com. Unique B&B built by the owner. Each room is different and the B&B is on Lake Chapala.

JOCOTEPEC

Rincon de Frida - Hidalgo Sur, Jocotepec Centro, 387 763 2801. Closed Sunday this little gem of a restaurant serves fabulous food - open for breakfast and lunch - sandwiches are fresh and very good.

TLAQUEPAQUE

Casa de las Flores B&B - Amazing atmosphere in which to relax and feel at home, while staying in a typical Mexican neighborhood - savor Mexico's wonderful people, customs and culture. Personalized tours are offered that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.

Also see our links page for other hotel/B&B recommendations in the Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque or Tonalá areas

Eating at the Feria

Great food is available at the Feria so there is no need to leave during the day. Enjoy a meal while spending the day making your folk art purchases, watching artist demonstrations, the fashion show, entertainment or enter the raffle. Meet the artists who are the backbone of Mexico's art culture. You won't regret it. You'll be amazed at how affordable everything is when you buy from the source.

Where to Eat When not at the Feria
Local Restaurants

There are many fine restaurants at Lakeside - just about any type of food desire.

Chapala

Casita Del Molcajete - seafood of all varieties. Free margaritas. 132 Paseo Ramon Corona on the malecon

Café Paris - one of the best breakfast restaurant at Lakeside. Calle Hidalgo, 376 765 5021. Open 8 am to 2 pm every day.

Coffee Hour Restaurant - Avenida Francisco I Madero 413 A

Delicias - one of the best breakfast restaurant at Lakeside. Calle Hidalgo, 376 765 5021. Open 8 am to 2 pm every day.

Isla Cozumel - Seafood. Margaritas are FREE. On the malecon at Paseo Ramón Corona 22, Centro. Closed Monday. Open Tues-Sat 10 am to 9 pm

Letra CH - Restoran Del Mar Restaurant - interesting menu, great view of the Lake, Carretera San Nicolas #4, Chapala, (331) 117- 2325

Toca Madera - the best hamburgers and wedgy fries at Lakeside. Avenida Ramon Corona 15a,

Ajijic

Ajijic Tango - Argentinian food. Menu is very diverse, the "flap" steak is unbelievable! Morelos #5, Ajijic.

Arileo (no website) - Carretera Ajijic-Jocotepec #1088, Los Charales, San Juan Cosalá. 376 106 1627. Open 11 am to 10 pm - closed Wednesday. Great menu - pasta, Mexican, pizza, steaks, and the duck is fabulous!

Cocinart - 16 de Septiembre #4c, Ajijic, (33) 1395 3810 cellphone. Facebook: cocinart. Great prices, exceptional menu - a real favorite with the locals.

Hosteria del Arte (no website but check Trip Advisor - Small Italian restaurant just west of Ajijic. Try the fried calamari as an appetizer. Then you have your work cut out for you choosing one of the delicious entrees. Save room for the best tiramisu or panna cotta you've ever had! Buon appetito!

Johanna's - Exceptional Austrian-German cuisine. Their wine list is long. German, Dutch, and Mexican beers are available. Blvd. Ajijic #118-A (in upper La Floresta, opposite the Auditorium). (376) 766-0437.

Lake Taco - This is the best burrito place at Lakeside. It is conveniently located, on the Libramiento, next to the car wash - Libramiento Chapala Ajijic #132, Interior 23. 331 230 6173. Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

La Nueva Posada Restaurant - Donato Guerra #9, in Ajijic right on the lake. Breakfast, lunch & dinner. International cuisine in a beautiful setting.

Los Telares (The Looms) - On Morelos across from Ajijic Tango, this restaurant boasts umbrella-covered tables around a pretty garden. Try the salmon, steaks, and chicken; finish the meal with an espresso. Full bar. Morelos #6, Ajijic. (376) 766-0428.

Manix - Family style, nightly specials, good simple food. Soup or salad and dessert included with entree. People love the corn pudding that comes with the entrees. Ocampo in village, west of Colon 1.5 blocks.

Mario's - Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menu is a mixture of Mexican and international favorites. Ramón Corona 132, San Antonio Tlayacapan.

Panino Deli & Restaurant - Carretera Chapala-Jocotopec 91, San Antonio.. 376 766 3822 Monday through Friday 11:00a.m. to 4:p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Pizzaria Toscana de Alessandro - (376) 765 6996. Paseo de la Revolución #122, La Floresta (across from Auditorio) The best pizza we've ever had!

Roberto's Restaurant - On Carretera Ajijic-Jocotepec (highway) across from the Strom Moving company.

Salvador's Restaurant - Good breakfasts, daily specials, salad bar, good Sunday brunch buffet - mixture of Mexican and American favorites. In Ajijic right next to El Torito Market, on the Carretera.

Sunrise Cafe - Large airy, restaurant with good breakfasts and chili relleños on the lunch/dinner menu. On the Carrtera Chapala-Ajijic in a small strip mall onn the lakeside of the road in Riberas del Pilar.

Tabarka - Ramon Corona 2-A, Ajijic, Mexico Phone: 376 766 1588 .

Tio Domingos - Salvador the owner serves you himself. Reasonable prices. Specials can include Mexican pre-Hispanic, Indian (Mexican) dishes. Mexican and international cuisine. Spanish coffee and crepes are the signature dessert, always prepared at tableside by Salvador. Ocampo # 204 west side of Ajijic.

Tony's - BBQ ribs, steaks, chicken, Mexican dishes, a nice/fresh salad bar, and his daily specials are always good. On the Carreterra in San Antonio almost next to Super Lake Market.

San Juan Cosalá

Viva Mexico Tia Lupita - Porfirio Diaz 93, San Juan Cosala, 387 761 1058. Excellent Mexican food with a flair.

And if you venture into Tlaquepaque or Guadalajara, here are a few restaurants we recommend:

Tlaquepaque - Rio San Pedro - Calle Juárez 300, Centro,
333 659 6136. Casa de las Flores B&B in Tlaquepaque recommends this restaurant to their guests. Outstanding menu, especially the two pages of chilaquiles to choose from. Food was fabulous.

Tlaquepaque - Adobe Fonda - Independencia 195, (333) 657-2792 , daily 12-7 p.m. This is both a shop and a restaurant and is one of the more fun ones in Tlaquepaque. Contemporary Mexican food. Everything on the menu is well prepared.

Guadalajara - El Sacromonte - Pedro Moreno #1398, (333) 825-5447 A beautiful little restaurant , especially at night with all the little twinkle lights. Very popular with the haute Guadalajarans so make a reservation for dinner. Updated Mexican dishes that have been famous for so many years - it has music, and an outdoor patio.

Guadalajara - il Duomo (no website - check Trip Advisor) - Av. Americas #202, (333) 615-4952. Easy to find, in the first block after you turn off Av. Mexico going north. Incredible Italian food, a really good salad bar with daily changes based on what's fresh.

Guadalajara - Pierrot - Justo Sierra # 2355, (333) 630-2087, opens at 1:30. Traditional French, very well done, with very good service from white tux waiters.

Paying in Chapala or Ajijic

Bring your ATM card. Lake Chapala is a cash society. There are maps at the Entrance of the Feria showing where all the local ATM machines are located and we offer a free shuttle to the ATM of your choice. Just ask one of the parking attendants and they will assist you.

We do not recommend traveler's checks and will not accept them at the Feria - here it is quite a procedure to get them cashed in the banks. The Feria will change your US dollars or cash a check for you if needed - ask at the Administration Booth.

Is this Area of Mexico Safe?

Mexico often gets what we living here consider "a bad rap" in the foreign media. There is unrest in parts of Mexico the same as in any other part of the world. There is also crime. BUT when you compare Mexico crime statistics with those of the US or Canada, you will find them very much lower. After all, why would the "largest" group of expatriates in the world stay in Mexico if it was truly and unsafe place to live or visit?

With all the negative press appearing in the press, Linda Ellerbee's (well-known journalist) assessment of Mexico gives a much more accurate picture of the Mexico that we know and love - "Mexico: One Journalist's View". We who live here applaud those journalists who do not join their colleagues in jumping on the bandwagon and exaggerating what is happening today in Mexico.

Here, we offer an article by Charles Simpson entitled "The New Global Economic Reality." There are keen insights as to why the US continues to malign Mexico on various fronts. Read and judge for yourself once you see the comparisons and information Mr. Simpson provides.

Chapala and Ajijic are both lovely villages whose people are centered around family and tradition. To keep your visit a happy one, observe normal travel safety. Make Xerox copies of your passport, ticket, credit cards and other documents and keep the originals in your hotel safe.

Take as much cash as you need for a day's purchases and keep an eye on your belongings.

Can I Drink the Water?

Everyone drinks bottled water! It is readily available at corner grocery stores, in your hotel, and in restaurants. If you have a delicate stomach we recommend carrying Pepto Bismal tablets. The restaurants we recommend above are very reliable. If you think you may need the services of a doctor - most of them make housecalls. Just ask your hotel for information and assistance.

Other Questions?

Still have some questions or perhaps you need more information, contact feriamaestros@gmail.com

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