When stateside friends ask Lakeside resident Karen McConnaughey what she does to fill her retirement days in Mexico, she responds, “I don’t know, but it takes me all day to do it!”
The perception of a scarcity of north-of-the-border style diversionary activities—at least in this area of Mexico—couldn’t be farther from the truth. Instead there is something for everyone, be they sedate, active, social, philanthropic or intellectual. This recap shows many (but definitely not all) of the many things to see and do at Lakeside Chapala, regardless of your areas of interest. For specific events, see our online Events Calendar.
Although a wealth of additional sites and activities exist just outside the area, here is a partial list of diversions generally available without ever leaving Lakeside:
Just about any type of traditional Mexican or international cuisine can be found at Lakeside, at a price range to meet any budget. For the most popular dining recommendations, reviews, information, hours, etc., based on our most recent Best of the Best, People’s Choice Awards, view our 2014 winners.
DANCING / LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
A large number of both visiting and in-residence musicians at Lakeside keep the area’s restaurants, bars and night spots hopping with all genres of music, including jazz, R&B, country, rock, pop, Cuban, salsa, etc.
Among the favorite local hangouts offering live entertainment and dancing are Restaurants-Bars Adelita’s, La Bodega, Manix, Los Telares, the Beer Garden, and Mama’s Bar, just to name a few. View the 2014 winners from our most recent Best of the Best, People’s Choice Awards contest or find additional information (location, hours, etc.) in the Chapala Directory, available online by subscription or in hard copy at Diane Pearl Colecciones at Colon #1 in Ajijic.
For updates on who is appearing where, announcements are posted on the bulletin boards at SuperLake Market, El Torito Supermarket and the LCS. Also check out our online Events Calendar, as well as AjijicNews.com, the weekly Guadalajara Reporter, or the monthly publications El Ojo del Lago.
Casino Foliatti, in the Centro Laguna commercial center, corner of the Libramiento and the Carretera just east of Ajijic. It offers electronic slots, a sports bar, karaoke on Friday nights, and live entertainment as announced. Happy Hours are 12-1 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. daily.
Other diversionary activities for Lakesiders is Beboy’s video arcade, two golf courses (Chapala Country Club and Chula Vista Country Club), the family park in Chapala, Parque Cristiania; and horseback riding in La Floresta (east Ajijic).
Motorcycle rallies and events sometimes take place in or near the Lakeside area. Watch our online Events Calendar for event dates.
FITNESS, DAY SPAS & BALNEARIOS
Fitness options at Lakeside are too extensive to name them all, but the range of activities includes bike and hiking trails, fitness centers such as Fit for Life, Health House and Zona Fitness; Pacha Mama Climbing Gym; Mundo Acuatica indoor swimming in Riberas del Pilar, Balneario San Juan Cosalá or Tobolandia Water Park, and numerous day spas such as Monte Coxala and Total Body Care.
Lakeside offers two multiplex cinemas. By north-of-the-border standards, prices are extremely reasonable. Many (if not most) movies are newly released and in English with Spanish subtitles, with 3D movie viewing available.
• Cinemas del Lago (Plaza Bugambilias Ajijic) second floor. Go to the Cinemas del Lago web site to view features & times, or call 766-3729 — show descriptions by web or phone are in both English and Spanish.
• MovieSpace Cinemas (Centro Laguna, north end) Go the MovieSpace web site to view features & times. Note the button to specify descriptions and information in English.
While the ever-fluctuating Lake Chapala water level is a factor for large boats such as Batur, lake cruises in smaller boats is available year-’round. These excursions include:
• Boat Launches to the Islands – Excursions by small lanchas (boats) are available from the Chapala pier, taking passengers to nearby Scorpion Island and the historic Mezcala Island. The cost is approx. 250-300 pesos (negotiable) plus tip per boatload of up to nine people. There are life vests on these boats.
• Kayaks & Paddle Boats – For those wanting to remain close to the shore, small paddle boats (in a confined safety area) for children are seasonally available for rent at the eastern end of the Chapala malecón. Kayaks are also available for rent at the same location, as well as at Mezcala and San Juan Cosalá.
• Batur, a king-size, triple-decker, 200-passenger tourist cruiser that most recently departed from Piedra Barrenada just east of San Juan Cosalá and previously at the end of the Chapala waterfront. Offering seasonal excursions depending on the lake level, it is available for private events.
• Fiesta Lago Chapala – Offering two-hour party tours, a low-bottom, fiberglass party boat departing from the malecón (boardwalk) in Jocotepec at the westernmost end of Lake Chapala. The vessel was designed to seat 48. It is equipped with a small dance floor, a bar and kitchenette, and a full supply of lifejackets in case of emergency. Watch for further announcements.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
The Lakeside area is famous for its extensive selection of galleries, offering artisans’ wares, jewelry and fine art, all at very reasonable prices. View the 2014 winners from our most recent Best of the Best, People’s Choice Award and find additional gallery information (location, hours, etc.) in the Chapala Directory, available online by subscription or in hard copy at Diane Pearl Colecciones at Colon #1 in Ajijic.
The renovated train depot north of Cristiania Park in Chapala spotlights area artists, as does the Ajijic Cultural Center and Chapala municipal building. Murals can be seen throughout the area, including a large one depicting the area’s history on Hidalgo West in Chapala.
SPECIAL EVENTS / LIVE PRODUCTIONS
The La Floresta Auditorium (with such shows as Viva La Música, with the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra), Plazas de los Toros, Lakeside Little Theatre, Naked Stage are just a few of the popular Lakeside events. Check our online Events Calendar for special events.
Yearly events include the Chili Cookoff, Carnaval (Mardi Gras), Feria Maestros del Arte, Northern Lights Music Festival, Regatta de Globos, Spring Home Tours, Los Cantantes del Lago, and Patron Saints Fiestas for each town in the area.
CLUBS & SEMINARS
The number of clubs and organizations at Lakeside may well outnumber those offered in cities north of the border! A complete list with meeting days, times and contact people, are published in El Ojo del Lago and the Guadalajara Reporter. Also check our online Events Calendar and various web sites such as those of the Lake Chapala Society and AjijicNews.com.