Ajijic – Lake Chapala (Best Things to do + Tips)


How to Enjoy the Charming Town of Ajijic (Lake Chapala)

Ajijic is a community of artists on the shore of Lake Chapala, in the region of Guadalajara, state of Jalisco.

It has cobblestone streets, colorful houses and red roofs that create a charming atmosphere.

Since the 1930s, its pleasant climate and tranquil environment have attracted foreigners, especially from the United States and Canada, who spend the winter here or live permanently. Today, thousands of foreigners reside in the town, enriching its cultural diversity.

To help you enjoy this enchanting place to the fullest, I have prepared a guide with the best things to see and do, as well as the best hotels to stay in Ajijic, and the details on how to get there from Guadalajara.

So, what are the best things to do in Ajijic? Where to stay?

Let’s go!

1. Stroll through the town

Enjoy the walk along the malecon by Lake Chapala, and then follow Calle Morelos, which turns into Calle Colon, to reach Ajijic’s main square in just 5 minutes (on foot).

It is a charming plaza with a kiosk, trees, benches and the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Nearby, you can see the Parish Church of San Andres, built in the 16th century by the Franciscans, and have a coffee in one of the cozy cafes, such as Art Coffee Ajijic or Café Grano Café.

jalisco ajijic
Streets of Ajijic

2. Discovering the art of Ajijic

You can also explore about 40 art galleries, lovely stores like La Charala, and interesting places like the Muro de los Muertos (or Muro de las Calaveras), which is a wall covered with red clay skulls, and the Centro Cultural de Ajijic, which features art exhibitions.

If you love art, you can also visit the small Museo de Arte de Ajijic, which displays the work of several local artists.

ajijic mexique
ajijic mexico
art ajijic jalisco
arte ajijic jalisco
boutique ajijic
boutique ajijic

3. Visit the Ajijic market

One Sunday, I visited Ajijic when there was a small market next to the malecon. It had crafts (jewelry, hats, furs, clothing, and even traditional Huichol crafts from the region), and products such as honey, tequila, etc.

But to see the “real” Ajijic market, you have to go on Wednesday morning! On Avenida Revolucion, you will find many stalls offering everything: fruits and vegetables, handicrafts, meats and fish, sweets, jewelry, shoes, etc.

And, of course, you can enjoy delicious food there at very reasonable prices. I recommend you try tejuino, a traditional refreshing drink made from fermented corn, which has been consumed since pre-Hispanic times.

que voir ajijic
Ajijic on sunday
huichol jalisco
huichol jalisco
art huichol
huichol art

4. Taste the refreshing cantarito

The cantarito is a cocktail made with tequila and fruit, served in a “jarrito de barro”, a small red clay pot that keeps it cool. It’s a classic you must try when you visit the state of Jalisco!

After visiting Chapala and Ajijic, we stopped at Bar Bonanza for a well-deserved break.

They have a terrace overlooking Lake Chapala, but it was full on Sunday.

So we went to the back, which was quieter.

The first thing that caught my eye when we arrived were the horseback riding saddles that served as chairs at the bar. I wondered if their name came from the famous American western series “Bonanza“. 🤔

Unfortunately for me, the majority voted for comfort and we chose a table in the garden. Next time I will fulfill my cowgirl dream. 🤠

Bonanza has their own brand of 100% agave tequila, produced in San Ignacio Cerro Gordo, as well as other more expensive tequilas on tap.

I ordered the cantaro grande (110 pesos) with Bonanza tequila, lime, orange and grapefruit juice, fruit pieces, salt, lime and grapefruit soda. It’s refreshing!

tequila bonanza ajijic
tequila bonanza ajijic

5. Discover Lake Chapala and surroundings

Ajijic is next to Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico and the third largest in Latin America!

The town of Chapala (20 min drive) is larger and more touristic than Ajijic. You can take a boat from Chapala’s malecon to Isla de los Alacranes or Isla de Mezcala, where you can see historical ruins and nature.

If you want to discover lesser-known places around the lake, you can also visit San Juan Cosalá, Jocotepec and Tizapán el Alto, for example. These towns have their own charm and offer spectacular views of the lake.

lac chapala
lago de chapala

Where to stay when visiting Ajijic?

Ajijic is a popular destination for people from Guadalajara, but if you have more time, you can also stay in Ajijic, as it has several lodging options for all tastes and budgets.

Staying in Ajijic

  • Villas Danza del Sol: A green and quiet environment, 5 min walk from the center of Ajijic. Spacious and comfortable villas (for 2, 4 or 6 persons), with hacienda style decoration, and small kitchen. From 76$ usd per night, very good breakfast included. Highlights: outdoor pool with sun loungers, restaurant at the lodge, very good value for money!
  • Posada Casa del Sol: a quiet area of Ajijic, close to restaurants and the lake. Comfortable rooms with terrace, warm decor. From 135 $usd per night, including breakfast a la carte. Highlights: outdoor swimming pool, several pleasant common areas to relax.
  • Hotel Boutique Jardín de Sueños: a charming hotel in Ajijic, in a large house with pool and nice garden. From 128$ usd per night, breakfast included. Highlights: the pool with garden, the common room, the terrace, the excellent reception.
  • Casa Jardin-Lakeside Boutique Resort a property with garden and pool, ideally located in Ajijic, facing Lake Chapala! Comfortable houses for 2, 3 or 4 persons, with living room and full kitchen. From 135$ usd per night.
hotel ajijic villas danza del sol
Villas Danza del Sol, Ajijic

Staying in Guadalajara

Hostal Hospedarte Centro:

A modern and comfortable hotel 320 ft meters from the Teatro Degollado and the Plaza de la Liberación. Room with private bathroom and cable TV, from 44 $usd per night. Highlights: central location, rooftop terrace, free parking

  • Hostal Hospedarte Centro: A cozy and colorful hostel in the heart of Guadalajara, close to the Cathedral and Plaza de Armas. Dorm or private room with shared bathroom, from 34 $usd per night, breakfast included. Highlights: free walking tours of the city, friendly staff, lively common areas – this is my choice for a cheap and fun stay in Guadalajara!
  • Hotel Dalí Plaza Ejecutivo: A modern and comfortable hotel 320 ft meters from the Teatro Degollado and the Plaza de la Liberación. Room with private bathroom and cable TV, from 44 $usd per night. Highlights: central location, rooftop terrace, free parking.
  • Hotel de Mendoza: A historic and elegant hotel next to the Teatro Degollado and the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres. Spacious room with balcony and panoramic view of the city, from $67 usd. Highlights: outdoor pool, gym, colonial charm, restaurant.
  • Casa HabitaA restored 1940s mansion in the Colonia Americana neighborhood, 3 km from the historic center. Very elegant and comfortable room with terrace and pool view, from 150 $usd per night, breakfast included. Highlights: the outdoor pool, the bar, the retro atmosphere.
  • Boutique Hotel Villa Ganz: A renovated mansion in the Colonia Americana district, 3 km from the historic center. Cozy and elegant room with fireplace and garden view, from 200 $usd per night. Highlights: the personalized service, the gourmet restaurant, the beautiful decoration, it’s my favorite hotel in Guadalajara for a romantic stay!
hotel guadalajara villa ganz
Villa Ganz, Guadalajara

How long to visit Ajijic

I visited Ajijic from Guadalajara for a few hours in the afternoon, after spending the morning at Lake Chapala.

I think that is enough time, because the center is very nice, but small and easy to explore.

Where is Ajijic?

Ajijic is a town on the shore of Lake Chapala, in the state of Jalisco.

It is 25 min (11 km) from Chapala, 1h10 (55 km) from Guadalajara and 5h30 from Puerto Vallarta.

How to get to Ajijic from Guadalajara

By car

Ajijic is 1h10 from Guadalajara (55 km) and is easily accessible by the Guadalajara – Chapala/MexicoHighway23.

Renting a car is for sure the best way to explore Lake Chapala and make the most of your stay!

To rent a car, personally, I always use Booking.com Cars, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental cars prices between all the agencies: for sure the easiest way to find the best rate!
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Booking Cars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies, so it’s an instant saving with no effort

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

My tips for visiting Ajijic by car:

  • If you decide to rent a car to visit Ajijic, you will have to pick it up at the Guadalajara airport.
  • The highway goes through Chapala, so you can stop there and visit both destinations in one day!

With a Tour

If you don’t want to worry about transportation, you can take an organized tour from Guadalajara.

You can book this tour to Ajijic and Chapala here, with pick up in Guadalajara:

By public transportation

You can take a bus from the Guadalajara Bus Station to the Ajijic Terminal with the Chapala Plus bus company.

  • Travel time: 1.5 hours or 1 hour by direct bus.
  • First departure from Guadalajara at 6 a.m. and last return from Ajijic at 9.30 p.m.

How to find a cheap flight to Guadalajara

The Guadalajara international airport (GDL) is also known as Aeropuerto Internacional Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.

With 15 airlines operating and 58 national and international destinations, the Guadalajara airport is easily accessible for travelers!

To find a cheap flight to Guadalajara as well as the best domestic flights in Mexico, you should use our flight comparison tool in partnership with Skyscanner. It is guaranteed to get you the best price!

Book your trip now and save money!

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visit Ajijic Mexico


I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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