Towns in the Lakeside Community

Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest freshwater lake, is a popular destination for expats, especially those from the U.S. and Canada. The region offers a unique blend of picturesque landscapes, mild climate, and vibrant local culture. Here’s a look at some key towns along its shores:


Chapala, the largest town by the lake, serves as the main hub of commerce and administration. It features an extensive waterfront promenade (malecón) ideal for strolls and sunset views. The town is vibrant with its historic train station, open-air markets, and frequent cultural festivals. Chapala’s lively atmosphere is enriched by music, local eateries, and boat rides to the south side of the lake or to the Scorpion or Mezcala islands, making it a central spot for both leisure and daily conveniences.


Ajijic is a picturesque town that thrives with a vibrant art scene and cultural diversity, largely due to its significant expatriate community. The town boasts charming cobblestone streets, vivid murals, and a bustling weekly market. Its appeal includes a variety of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques, all set against a backdrop of the Sierra Madre Mountains and Lake Chapala. Ajijic is particularly favored by retirees for its mild climate and active social scene.


At the lake’s western end, Jocotepec offers an authentic Mexican village atmosphere, less influenced by international tourism. It’s renowned for its agriculture, particularly raspberries and strawberries. The town provides panoramic lake and mountain views, with a quieter, more laid-back lifestyle. Nearby thermal spas and traditional bakeries add to its local charm, attracting those who seek a blend of rural tranquility and modest town life.

San Juan Cosalá

Known for its healing thermal waters, San Juan Cosalá caters to wellness enthusiasts with its numerous spas and hot springs. The town is quieter than its neighbors but enjoys a beautiful lakeside setting, ideal for relaxation and rejuvenation. The local community is welcoming, and the pace of life is calm, offering a retreat-like atmosphere that appeals to both residents and visitors seeking peace and health-oriented living.

San Antonio Tlayacapan

San Antonio Tlayacapan

Between Ajijic and Chapala, San Antonio Tlayacapan is a tranquil town that balances traditional Mexican culture with expat-friendly amenities. Its central church and plaza are focal points for community life, surrounded by quiet streets and local shops. The town is perfect for those who appreciate a quieter setting while still having easy access to larger town facilities and social activities nearby.

Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos

Just a short drive from the lake, Ixtlahuacán offers a unique blend of rural charm and suburban convenience. The town is famous for its production of membrillos (quinces) and holds an annual festival celebrating this fruit. It’s a great spot for those who seek a more authentic Mexican experience with the benefits of a close-knit community, while still being accessible to the amenities of the larger lakeside towns


A lesser-known gem, Mezcala is steeped in history with its significant past, including a rich indigenous heritage and a fortress known for its role in Mexico’s fight for independence. The town is quieter and more rustic, offering a glimpse into traditional lakeside life. Visitors are drawn to its authentic charm and historical sites, making it a fascinating destination for history buffs and those interested in indigenous culture.

San Pedro Itzicán

San Pedro Itzicán

San Pedro Itzicán is a small, tranquil community on the eastern shore of Lake Chapala. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, the town offers picturesque views and a slower pace of life, ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle. The area is primarily residential, with a mix of local families and a small number of expatriates enjoying the serene lakeside setting.

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