Lakeside Serenity for Man and Beast- Lake Chapala, Mexico

Lake Chapala, about 25 miles (40 km) south of Guadalajara, is the largest freshwater lake in Mexico and it attracts expats and wildlife. Of course we had to explore it.

Sunset on Lake Chapala from the Ajijic Malecon.

Sunset on Lake Chapala from the Ajijic waterfront.

Exploring Lake Chapala, Mexico

Lake Chapala is ringed by a number of towns including Ajijic, Chapala and Jocotepec. The Ajijic/Chapala area is home to one of the largest North American expat communities found anywhere in Mexico. Unlike other expat magnets in Mexico, like San Miguel de Allende, the Ajijic/Chapala area has also retained a booming Mexican population so the place doesn’t feel like “Canada South.”

Sunset on Lake Chapala from the Ajijic Malecon.

Sunset on Lake Chapala from the Ajijic Malecon.

Every year, thousands of American white pelicans fly south from central Canada to enjoy western Mexico’s warm winter. Much of the population winters on lake Chapala.

The American White Pelican winters on Lake Chapala, and particulary around the village of Petatan.

Flocks of American white pelicans winter on Lake Chapala, particularly around the village of Petatan.

The reason the pelicans congregate around Petatan is the fish processing plant located there. Every afternoon the waste from the factory is fed to the eagerly awaiting pelicans.

Pelicans congregate around Petatan because the fish processing plant there throws away the fish guts every afternoon. 

A quiet town plaza makes the perfect siesta spot.

The quiet plaza in Ajijic makes the perfect spot for a siesta.

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Cinco de Mayo in Mexico

Mexico is a fiesta-happy country so we presumed Cinco de Mayo would warrant a big blowout celebration that would put the 2-for-1 margarita specials offered by “Mexican” food chains in the US to shame. Turns out, Cinco de Mayo in most of Mexico is not a big deal, with one exception.

Cinco de Mayo in Puebla, Mexico

Cinco de Mayo is essentially a regional holiday celebrated in the city of Puebla to commemorate the Battle of Puebla during which the Mexican army somehow defeated  a better equipped and much larger occupying force of French soldiers in 1862.

battle of puebla Cinco de Mayo

The Battle of Puebla.

Anywhere outside of Puebla, however, Cinco de Mayo is just something mentioned in history class. 

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