Lake Chapala

Mexico is a country with an unusual nature. Every year, Mexico receives more than 40 million tourists from around the world. Of course, how not to want to see such beautiful historical places and truly feel the local culture and way of life! In addition to the famous resorts, you will find many lakes that should be visited.

Sunset on the Chapala Lake
Sunset view of lake Chapala

Lake Chapala is the largest freshwater reservoir in Mexico. The lake is located on a distance about 28 miles to the southeast of the cultural center of Guadalajara. The Chapala is notable for its three beautiful islands, Isla de los Alacranes, Isla Mescala (the largest island, here is the stray fort and the prison) and La Isla Menor island.

The Chapala characteristics:

  • Maximum depth is 34 feet
  • Coastline 16.5 miles
  • Length is 7.8 miles
  • Width is 50 miles
  • Square is 268800 acres

Lake history

For the first time, Lake Chapala was discovered in 1530 by the Spanish conquistador Niño de Guzmán. He became the first among Europeans and saw the pristine beauty of the lake nature. By the way, this lake has always been considered a sacred place for indigenous peoples (Indians Otomi and Zapateki) and has been a place of sacrifice. According to the inventions, the inhabitants of the Chapala tried to preserve the purity of its waters.

Already at the beginning of the 20th century, after 4 centuries, the lake became the favorite resting place of the top of the Mexican society. Since then, Lake Chapala has become an attractive resort with many hotels and restaurant complexes.

Lake Chapala
Such a beautiful Chapala promenade

Nature and wild world

The climate of the lake and the rich world of nature are very favorable for life. Coolness and fresh air are something that many areas of hot Mexico lack so much. Therefore, the lake is so often visited by tourists, especially the elderly.

Thousands of rare plants and animals inhabit the lake.

The most common birds on the Chapala:

  • Pink pelican
  • White pelican
  • 3 types of heron
  • Wild ducks
Pelicans chapala lake
There are a lot of birds on the lake Chapala. Photo by @yasmin_quesada

The most common Chapala plants

Water hyacinth is a beautiful rare plant with purple and blue flowers. The flowering plant can be found on any part of the lake, as it quickly disperses and densely covers the water. Also white and red poppies are blooming by the lake.

Fish in the Chapala Lake

Among the fish here are catfish and a few crayfish. There are also snakes, but they are not poisonous and do not pose a danger.

Parks around

If you are going to come and spend the weekend on Lake Chapala, then you should visit the Sierra de San Juan Cosala National Park and Parque Agua Caliente City Park. Both parks are open for tourists from 07: 00–18: 00 every day and free to visit.

Photo of San Juan Cosala National park
San Juan Cosala National park. Photo by @monte.coxala

Particularly noteworthy is the landmark Mirador de La Piedra Lancha. This beautiful place is located 21 miles from the central part of the Chapala to the north. Here you cannot take your eyes off stunning waterfalls and panoramic views opening right in front of you.

How to get to mirador de la piedra lancha
Route from Chapala town to the Mirador De La Piedra Lancha

Opportunities on the lake

Lake Chapala is very beloved by anglers from the USA and Canada. After all, there are favorable conditions for a comfortable life and the cost of living is much cheaper than in other places. Therefore the lake is a popular among elderly tourists.

There is everything for a relaxing holiday, as well as for those who like active games and sports.

On the Chapala you will find something that you really enjoy. You can go boating, learn to ride a sailboat, go fishing and much more. All information about the rules of rent and cost need to be clarified on the place.

Boats on the water. Lake chapala beach
Some boats on lake Chapala. Photo by @noemi.hcastellanos

There are no campsites on the lake.

If you want to enjoy the magnificent scenery and stroll through all the interesting places, you can stay in one of the nearest cozy towns on the coast for a while.

In each city, there are wonderful promenades, cafes, and restaurants. The city of Ajijic and the city of Chapala certainly deserve attention. They are rich in both historical sights and unusual city streets.

Wonderful view of Ajijic Plaza. Aerial photo
Ajijic Plaza – the main square of the town. Photo by @royks80

What cities are worth visiting?

Guadalajara is one of the most ancient Mexican cities and at the same time the main city of the state of Jalisco. It is known as the Pearl of the West and the City of Roses. The city is located not far from the lake: 22 miles to the north.

Be sure to visit the Guadalajara Cathedral consecrated in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the historic center of the city, you will not find a temple more famous and delightful than this one.

Famous and amazing Guadalajara Cathedral
Guadalajara Cathedral. Photo by @gln_photography_18

The distance from the center of Guadalajara to the Cathedral is about 1.24 miles. You can reach it through the streets of Calz Independencia Sur and Av Ramón Corona, Av 16 de Septiembre, Calz Independencia Sur and Av Juárez.

The city has many 4 and 5 star hotels for every taste. A large number of options can be found on the Booking.com.

And if you really liked Chapala?

This is very likely. After the first trip to Lake Chapala, you will definitely want to come here again and again to enjoy the beautiful nature. And if you really liked it, you can buy property and stay forever in the arms of the lake.

Here you can find both affordable options and elite real estate.

For example, one of this houses. Residential can be purchase for 74 000 US dollars.

Cheap houses for sale near lake Chapala
Typical house for sale in Chapala – 74 000 US dollars

If you prefer luxury and high comfort you can buy amazing apartments with a pool for 485 000 dollars.

Lake Chapala luxury real estate
Not entire house, but totally equipped and luxury apartment in club house – 485 000 US dollars

How to get to Lake Chapala

From Guadalajara:

All cities on the coast of Chapala have good transport links. Each of the city buses has stops at the bus station in Guadalajara.

There are 2 types of common buses. The first go non-stop strictly from the city to the station. And others stop along the way and you can get off at the right place.

The journey from Guadalajara to the lake by car or by bus will take no more than 1 hour. Public transport runs every half hour from the old bus station Antigua Central Camionera. The bus station is satiated on 1 mile to the south from Guadalajara Cathedral. Ticket prices are fairly inexpensive, about 2 US dollars.

For foreign tourists

If you go on a trip from the USA, Canada or another country, then you need to fly from Mexico-Mexico City Airport to Guadalajara. Direct flights usually fly 28-36 times a day. Flight time is about 1 h. 15 min.

Next, you need to get on the bus. Schedule and route can be found right at the airport of Guadalajara. The best way to find out reliable information is to contact the information desk at the airport.

There is no doubt that it is worth taking at least a couple of days of rest and spend a wonderful time at Lake Chapala. You will not regret, and recharge yourself with a huge amount of energy and positive!

If you are interested in any information, then pay attention to the links below. They will help you navigate the right route and learn more about the lake before traveling.

Useful links

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