First impressions of Ajijic

11 Mar


The picture above is a perfect metaphor for our first impression of this lakeside town. The horses, from a corral just down the street from our rental, are brought up here to graze on the grass in front of the entirely gated community across the street from our house here in Ajijic.  The gated community could as easily be in Palos Verdes or San Diego. The place is a fascinating mix of Mexican rural/small town and North American (mostly Canadian) ex-pat community. In the morning, we see very proper, usually older, country-club English speakers walking their little dogs along the street. In the afternoon, young charros come and sing to herd the horses back to the corral, and later men in cowboy hats ride the same horses down the same street. We really like watching the seamlessness with which these two very different worlds coexist.


Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest natural lake, is right down the street–the photo shows the view from our third floor balcony.  The lake is, alas, rather polluted, but the walk along the malecon–the boardwalk–is very pretty. Ajijic itself is small, filled with restaurants, boutiques, and charming street scenes. While the town, according to a big mural in Centro, was founded by the Aztecs in 1472, there are few colonial buildings here.

To the north of our place–we are in Upper Ajijic–are the mountains–Sierra de San Juan Cosala. Unlike many mountain ranges, we are finding these gentle hills to be embracing, protecting, and benevolent.


rentsigninenglish_ajijic_mar10A sign of how overwhelmingly North American the place is:   almost all the signs are in English, including the For Rent signs! Our landlord for this wonderful three-story house with all the mod cons is from New York via Florida and has lived here 14 years. He’s the perfect landlord: here if we need him and not here if we don’t need him.  A very laid back place.


We have been well looked after by my dear Facebook friend Leslie, another American who has lived here for 12 years. She picked us up at the airport in Guadalajara, she brought us food, and has shown us the ropes in town. Today she is taking us into Chapala, the bigger town on the lake, where we will go to the markets and learn how to take the bus back to Ajijic.

Finally, in another sign of how ex-pat the place is, the grounds of The Lake Chapala Society is the prettiest place in town. One has to become a member to have access to libraries, lectures, classes, and bus tours to other parts of Mexico. The grounds include a pond, a pavilion, and lovely gardens.

There are more AA meetings here than you would find in a comparably sized American town, both in English and in Spanish!  I’m set!

4 Responses to “First impressions of Ajijic”

  1. Peter Detwiler March 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

    Will you be joining The Lake Chapala Society for the duration of your visit? Loved the photo of George in his handsome hat, but so far no photos of George eating? Or cats?

    • esauboeck March 13, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

      Those will come in time, Peter!

  2. Margaret Brown March 15, 2017 at 12:50 am #

    Hello Erika

    I was so pleased to read your latest blog, as it is so positive and happy! Fingers crossed that Mexico is the place for you and George. Ajijic looks absolutely delightful…

    Thank you for the charming card and kind message you sent me. So nice to get a hand written message for a change!

    I have decided to end the chemo as the side effects were so brutal. It was always emphasised that the operation to remove the cancer was the main event and the chemo was an ‘insurance policy’ to possibly/maybe delay the return of the cancer. After talking it over with Alex, I decided I would prefer to enjoy my time while I was healthy, and already I am feeling so much better and happier, so I hope I have made the right decision. I will continue to have CT scans and blood tests to check if anything ‘sinister’ is happening, so that is reassuring.

    My sister has invited me to visit them in UK in September, so I am really looking forward to seeing family and friends again. I will go for a month and hopefully it will be a golden September. Now I have to get a bit fitter, to cope with a long haul flight. I am travelling Premium Economy instead of just Economy, so that should be a bit more comfortable.

    After such a dreadfully hot summer, with virtually no rain, autumn is at last here and today we have had a bit of rain – hurrah! NSW, of course, has been swamped. That’s the trouble with Oz, it’s always too much of one thing or the other. The weather on the Eastern seaboard of the US looks pretty horrendous, so I imagine you are very happy to stay where you are. Hope Max and the family are OK.

    Take care and talk to you again, soon.

    Love Margaret xxx

    • esauboeck March 15, 2017 at 1:06 am #

      We were so happy to hear from you, Margaret! You are a strong woman! I would point out that you have written this message not as a private email, but as a Reply on the blog–which everyone in the world can see! I just wanted to let you know that!
      We are thinking good thoughts for you, dear!!!

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