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!