offers its foreign residents the unparalleled experience of life
in a quaint Mexican village...with all the services and amenities
of a nearby metropolitan city, lovely Guadalajara.
Ajijic’s Foreign Community
A large community
of full-time and seasonal foreign residents enjoy life in Ajijic
including an estimated 7,000 U.S. citizens and Canadians. There
is a very good representation of people from many parts of the
The large number of
active charitable, civic and social groups make it easy to meet
people and become a part of Ajijic’s community.
Active social groups in the area
include Duplicate and Progressive Bridge Clubs, The Humane Society,
several Garden Clubs, Culinary Arts Society, The American Legion,
The Writer’s Group, Needle Pushers, Daughters of the American
Revolution, Genealogy Club, Computer Club, Chess Club, Lakeside
Little Theater, and two Yacht clubs. The list goes on and on as
there are more than 40 English language clubs and charitable organizations
Classes in art, handicrafts,
music, computers, and Spanish (both conversational and structured)
are available. Tennis, golf, walking, jogging, horseback riding,
boating, fishing, mountain biking, Tai Chi, and various exercise
groups are available for sports enthusiasts. A variety of passive
pleasures are available too, such as concerts, art galleries and
Keeping in touch and
being informed about many countries and cultures in the world
is easy too, as cable television has many English-language stations,
the popular CNN amongst them, and satellite reception gives up
to two hundred and fifty channels including those beamed down
from the U.S., Mexico and from around the world.
The Lake Chapala Society
On top of the list
of active organizations is the 3,000-plus member Lake Chapala
Society (LCS) with its well-stocked library of English-language
books, periodicals and videos. The library has 20,000 volumes
including reference books. There is a magazine collection and
a reading room. Talking books are available from the library in
both fiction and nonfiction, obtained from the U.S. Library of
Congress in Washington, D.C. The LCS is the only civilian organization
outside the U.S. to be honored with such an arrangement. The videotape
library has approximately 2,500 VHS video movies. Also available
are tape duplication and VHS player repair.
The LCS is the place to meet. The extensive
and beautifully landscaped grounds host events such as annual
Independence Day celebrations for both the United States and Canada
in early July, and an annual fiesta on Mexico’s Independence Day,
September 16. LCS publishes an annual directory of members’ names,
addresses and phone numbers, which many who reside lakeside find
indispensable. The LCS is dedicated to the ideals of community
service, good fellowship and good relations with local citizens
and authorities. Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and staffed
almost exclusively by volunteers. Unfortunately, the LCS does
not have a phone.
LCS has a children’s library in Spanish with a wide assortment
of books and reference materials. They sponsor a scholarship program
through this library for selected students in secondaria (junior
high) and preparatoria (high school) based on financial need as
well as scholastic ability.
available for loan from the LCS includes wheel chairs, crutches,
canes, and walkers. Baby furniture for loan includes a crib, a
high chair, and walkers.
Free blood pressure
checks are normally Monday and Friday from 10 a.m. to Noon. A
HAM radio station is located on the grounds, and in emergencies,
contact can be made with any place in the world.
Membership is on an
annual basis and is open to all.
Ajijic, and the lakeside
in general, has a low crime rate. There are few safer places in
the world where one can live.
Several clinics are
located Lakeside, with the principal ones being Clinica Ajijic
at Carretera 33, telephones 766-0662, 766-0500 and for 24 hour
emergency, 766-1499; San Andrés Clinic adjacent in La Floresta,
766-1198; and Clinica San Jose de la Ribera at Plaza Maskaras,
Hidalgo 79-G, Chapala, telephone/fax 765-4805. Most have bilingual
doctors on staff. In emergencies, ambulance service is available
from these clinics locally or to large modern medical centers
in Guadalajara. Medical air evacuation services are available
to the United States as well. The Red Cross, 765-2277, which is
located on Calle Gonzales Gallo in Chapala, responds to all traffic
accident injuries. The services are at no charge, even if an ambulance
has to take you into one of the Guadalajara hospitals or a doctor
has to perform surgery. Donations to the Red Cross are always
The U.S. Consulate
General in Guadalajara, Calle Progreso 175, (3) 825-2700, is open
8 a.m. until Noon, Monday through Friday. Passports can be renewed
in one day. Registration of full or part time residents is recommended
with the American Citizen Services Unit. Necessary information
will be on file in the case of an emergency. It will not be shared
with any other agency (like the IRS); the information is strictly
confidential. The Federal Benefits Unit handles veterans’ claims,
railroad pensions, and social security, both inquiries and benefits.
The Canadian Consulate
has an office at the Fiesta Americana Hotel in Guadalajara, (3)
615-6270, (3) 615-6266, and (3) 615-6215. Office hours are Monday
through Friday, 9 a.m. until Noon.
Of course, all Embassies
are located in Mexico City.
In addition to several
Catholic churches [San Andrés in Ajijic has an English language
mass, 9 a.m. Sunday] there are Sunday services in English at Saint
Andrew’s Anglican Church, Calle San Lucas, Riberas del Pilar,
10 a.m.; the nondenominational Little Chapel By The Lake on the
highway in Chula Vista, 11 a.m.; New Apostolic Church, Roble 61,
Chula Vista, 11 a.m.; El Lago Community Church, Javier Mina 7,
Ajijic, 11 a.m.; and the Lakeside Fellowship interdenominational
congregation which meets 1:30 p.m. at Saint Andrew’s.
Telephone lines and
cellular telephones are easily obtained, and fax services and
long distance pay phone calls can be made locally in many places.
Where the Mexican mail service is still somewhat slow, it has
been supplemented by MailBoxes Etc., with faster access to international
postal service. UPS has several pickup points in the area, including
one at Ajijic Real Estate, Calle Morelos 4.
The Internet &
For those computer-oriented
individuals Cyber-Cafes abound and are easily accessible in most
villages. CompuServe and AOL have made their services readily
available at very competitive fees. There are many competing services
available for internet access, including one offered by TelMex