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The town of Chapala, Jalisco Mexico

If you are looking for a place where you can rest and feel free from stress of the bustle and pollution of the city, the town of Chapala is a magical place full of tradition, folklore and a special charm to live a great experience.  A place that offers total relaxation combined with a nice interaction with friendly people and a feeling of real harmony with nature.  No doubt after you visit the beautiful town of Chapala you will find a variety of activities with your family and have a lot of fun.

Stone Chapala sign at Lake Chapala
Stone Chapala sign at Lake Chapala

What does the name “Chapala” mean?

Chapala in the nahuatl language means “Wet place, Place of small pots or Grasshoppers on top of the water”

Where is Chapala located

Chapala is located 45 km. from Guadalajara, the capital of the State of Jalisco in the Cienega region. The road Chapala-Guadalajara is the main highway and entrance to Lake Chapala (also called Lakeside).

Old railway station, now a museum
Old railway station, now a museum

Towns and Neighborhoods around Lake Chapala

  • Chapala Center
  • Ajijic
  • San Antonio Tlayacapan
  • San Nicolas de Ibarra
  • Hacienda de la Labor
  • Atotonilquillo
  • Santa Cruz de la Soledad.
The main church in Chapala
The main church in Chapala

Economic Activities

The major local economic activity is fishing.  It is distributed to several places and has a large variety of restaurants where fish and seafood are offered in many different dishes.

Lake Chapala Weather

Chapala is considered to be one of the places with the best weather in the world according to National Geographic. The coldest months are from December to February with March to November being the hottest. Here is a weather chart for Chapala

the steeples of the church at Chapala
The steeples of the church at Chapala

Location of the Lake

Lake Chapala is the largest lake in Mexico with an approximate size of 1,000 km2.  It is in Jalisco State and goes thru the municipality of Chapala, Poncitlan, Ocotlan, Jamay, Jocotepec, Tuxcueca and Tizapán el Alto.  The lake in Michoacán State goes thru the municipalities of Cojumatlan, Regules, Venustiano Carranza and Briseñas.

Lake Chapala has 2 islands, the Isla de los Alacranes and Isla del Presidio.

Population of Chapala

 Chapala´s population is 48,839. The mix is 51% female and 49% males.    

Boats and restaurant on Lake Chapala
Boats and restaurant on Lake Chapala

Tourist Attractions in Chapala

  • San Francisco De Asís Cathedral (build in 1528)
  • Chapala´s Malecon
  • Restaurant Zone
  • Mercado de artesanías (Handcraft market)
  • Cristiania Park
  • Mountain of the Cross
  • Train Station (build between 1917-1920)
  • Municipal Market.
  • Alacranes Island (thru a boat)
  • You can view some of Chapala’s attractions here on Trip Advisor

Some of Chapala’s Traditions

Chapala has great traditions that year by year are celebrated and bring lots of tourists, these celebrations are about customs of old times that have been kept generation after generation and you will find variety of Mexican dishes and drinks.

The arch on the Malecón in Chapala
The arch on the Malecón in Chapala
  • CARNAVAL CHAPALA: Celebrated about 40 days before Easter. It is basically musical events in La Cristiania Park and in the Lienzo Charro Municipal (bullring stadium) where you will also find bullring events. 
  • FIESTAS PATRONALES (Celebration of Chapala´s Saint): Chapala celebrates the saint Santo Patrono San Francisco de Asís between September and October. Many other religious activities take place with music and fireworks and many kinds of Mexican dishes.
  • DIA DE MUERTOS (Day of the dead): This Mexican tradition takes place every year on the 2nd of November on 5 de Mayo Street or close to the Malecon.  The Mexican people make many different altars to the dead.  It is important to have the necessary and precise elements and the best ones win a prize.  In this beautiful tradition you will find a big variety of foods. This major Mexican celebration is loaded with bright colors and music.
Fishermen sculpture at the Malecón in Chapala
Fishermen sculpture at the Malecón in Chapala

Here is a list of some Subdivisions and Condo Complexes

Nuevo Chapala Division

  • Located 10 minutes from the main square
  • Gated community
  • 24/7 guards
  • Big green areas.
  • Club House with pool, BBQ area and terrace where you can enjoy time with your family
  • Close to stores, High School and Middle School.
  • Its fees are low ($10,000 MXN per year) which includes: Guards, maintenance and water service.

Fraccionamiento Condominio La Estación

  • Located where the old train station was
  • Just 5 minutes walking distance to the High School
  • Very close to Elementary Schools and Middle Schools
  • Electric gate
  • Green areas and a terrace for events and the pool.
  • Every house has a car port for one car.
  • Accessible fees ($ 7,000 MXN per year) Includes: garbage collection, pool, terrace, exterior gardens maintenance and outside lightening. 
  • Safe to live.
  • Close to stores like Soriana.
Old train car at the museum in Chapala
Old train car at the museum in Chapala

 Las Redes Neighborhood

  • Quite zone in every aspect.
  • Close to one of the best High Schools in Lake side.
  • The street Pepe Guizar connects to San Nicolas, Santa Cruz, Vista del Lago and  Mezcala.
  • Many important stores including Farmacias Guadalajara and Soriana
  • The Municipal Clinic
  • Churches.

Internet, Cable and Cell phone/Telephone Services in Chapala

Internet service has historically been dodgy at best here at Lakeside. However times are changing as is the competition. Many of the telecommunication companies offer more than one service which is driving both competition and quality. Very recently many of the towns enjoy fiber optic internet at very high speeds. This service is rolling out town by town. Internet is provided by the following companies:

Here are some options:

Telmex (Internet and telephone):

Telmex is rolling out fiber optics in many neighborhoods and they have a variety of price points and speeds to choose from. Their service comes with a cloud storage service as well as Claro TV which is similar to Netflix. They are not in every neighborhood as of this article (July 2019) but it’s worth investigating.

Address – Carretera Chapala – Jocotepec Ote 113, Ajijic, Jal.

Hours – 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.

Telecable (now Wiiz) (Television, Internet, and telephone)

Address – Hidalgo 45920 Riberas del Pilar, Chapala, Jal.

Hours – 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Telcel (Cell phone and Internet)

Along with cell phones Telcel now offers Internet en tu casa. It’s a 4G based internet service and perfect for neighborhoods that don’t yet have internet infrastructure.

Address: Carretera Jocotepec – Chapala 206, local 2.

Hours 10:00 am – 8:00 pm.

ILOX (Telephone, Internet and Televisión)

iLox offers high speed fiber optic internet. Although it’s not yet in every lakeside neghborhood it could very well be available in yours and is a great option for high speed internet and streaming.

Address – Plaza Bugambilias Ajijic, Jal.

Hours 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Potable Water and Sewer Systems

The water and sewer service are provided by a government public organization called SIMAPA who serves more than 50,738 people. The fee is paid yearly or monthly if you are under a water meter.  Pay yearly and pay in January or February and you will receive a discount.

Simapa – Address: Juarez 573, Chapala, Jalisco. 

Hours 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.

The old Cazadroes restaurant at Malécon of Chapala
The old Cazadores restaurant at Malécon of Chapala

Electricity

The company that supplies this service is CFE (Comision Federal de Electricidad).

Address: Zaragoza 451, Chapala, Jalisco.

Hours 8:00 am – 9:00 pm Monday to Sunday.

The service coverage is from Chapala to a town called Mismaloya which is close to Tizapan going through San Antonio Tlayacapan, Ajijic, San Juan Cosala and Jocotepec.  It also covers El Refugio which is a town close to the International Guadalajara Airport.

This service must be paid every 2 months and can be paid at the CFE office or in stores like Walmart, Soriana, OXXO and 7 Eleven.

CFE has different rates of power depending on the client’s needs:

  • Rate 01 Domestic use (regular house)
  • Rate 02 Business (stores in general)
  • Trifásico (business and regular house)
Bird sunbathing in bird bath sculpture in Chapala
Bird sunbathing in bird bath sculpture in Chapala

Hotels in Chapala

  • Hotel Villa Montecarlo (Hidalgo 296, Chapala, Jal. Tel 01 376 765 2120)
  • Hotel Villa San Francisco (Paseo Ramon Corona 16, Chapala, Jal. Tel 01 376 765 2128)
  • Hotel El Rincón de los Sueños (Niños Héroes 59, Chapala, Jal. Tel 01 376 765 6000)
  • Hotel Quinta Quetzalcóatl (Zaragoza 307, Chapala, Jal. Tel 01 376 765 3653)
  • Hotel La Letra CH (González Gallo 4, Las Redes Chapala Tel 01 376 765 3004)
  • Hotel Villa Samary (Morelos 199, Chapala, Jal. Tel 01 376 765 3960)

See our Real Estate for Sale in Chapala

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