I have blogged about some interesting colonial cities we have visited but decided that it is probably just as important to focus on some of the colorful villages just outside our back door, Chapala being one of them.

Chapala is the village just east of us, being the municipal seat of the Lake Chapala region and the largest village, I believe, around the lake.  Chapala is more than 500 years old and was probably named for the last chief of the Nahuati-speaking indigenous people of the region – Chapalac.  Murals leading into the village provide a visual depiction of various events that defined its colorful history.

Like many villages and cities in Mexico, a main plaza with gazebo, church and marketplace are the focal points, and Chapala is no exception.

Gazebo in the Chapala Plaza

The church between the plaza and the malecon is not as grand as some that we have seen, but is a beautiful tribute to Saint Francis of Assisi.

Templo de San Francisco de Assisi
Church Interior

The Chapala marketplace is a colorful, bustling daily affair, which offers fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and flowers, just to name a few.

Native Preparing Nopales from the Prickly Pear Cactus
A Favored Restaurant for Tacos - Muy Delicioso!

One of the most prodigious features of Chapala has to be the malecon (waterfront), where folks can be seen wandering at any time of the day.  The villages that we have seen thus far around Lake Chapala all have their version of a malecon, but none as grand as that of Chapala.

Mariachis Walking the Malecon
Tribute to the Chapala Fishermen
Southeastern View of the Malecon, with Scorpion Island in the Distance

Scorpion Island (Isla de los Alacranes) is a small island that can reached by way of tour boats anchored on the Chapala shore.  Due to its name, it does not sound like a desirable place to visit, but we are told that its name arose from the shape of the island and is not based on the number of critters residing there.

Tour Boats

Lake Chapala is the largest natural lake in Mexico and the third largest in Latin America, with a length of approximately 48 miles and a width of 22 miles.

One day soon we hope to take a week-long tour around the lake, exploring many of the other villages.  There is so much to see and do in this country.  It is a wonder that I have time to blog!

3 thoughts on “Chapala

  • How clean and beautiful it all is. When I was in high school, I worked in downtown Los Angeles, after school, and, upon exiting the bus there was a huge mercado where they displayed the fruits, vegetables, and flowers just as in these pictures.

    I was amused, while reading your posting, because each time I wondered about something in the area, the very next picture and writing, answered my question.

    You said that the city was 500 years old. Do they have any history of where these people came from, before establishing this city?

  • Hi, What a wonderful blog you’ve put together.

    I have a very popular site about living, working, and playing at Lake Chapala.

    I would love to be able to republish (over your name and with credit to your website or how ever you would like to receive the credit/ by line) to over 500 of my own subscribers so they can lern about our area of Mexico and places close to Lake Chapala to visit from here.

    Look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Again thanks for the great resource.

    Siempre tu amigo, Sid

    • Sid,

      Since my husband and I have been here just a short time, I am touched by your words. We are truly impressed by the people, the culture, the resources available to us, the beautiful colonial cities, and the love that the locals put into the preparation of their food. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience this oasis!


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