Ajijic old center of town

A Weekend trip

Ajijic is a 30-minute drive from Guadalajara. It’s a small quiet colorful lakeside town. In Ajijic, Mexico, you can find a very laid-back hippy atmosphere. It’s a great place to relax and wander through cobblestone streets as well as walk lakeside on the Malecon.

Ajijic central plaza

On the Shores of Lake Chapala

Ajijic, formerly Axixic, means “place of water” or “place where water bubbles up” in Classical Nahuatl. Don Andres Carlos and Fray Martin founded Ajijic in 1531 due to its good water source. It’s one of the oldest villages in Western Mexico. It’s the home to many expats from all over the world. So it has a very international vibe.

Arts and Crafts Shopping – Walk through the cobblestone streets and see many art galleries and craft stores.

I recommend visiting Ajijic if you like…

Peaceful atmosphere
A mild temperature
Lakeside wandering
Colorful Artisan Culture
Retiring with a lower cost of living
Great International restaurants
Therapeutic hot springs

YouTube player
View my little slideshow glimpse of Ajijic.

Dining and Cuisine

It’s a very small town but because of the retiree and expat community, there’s something for everyone at a reasonable price. You can find whatever you are in the mood for from tacos to prime cut steaks if you want.

Click to use what I use to find restaurants

Regional Dishes

Ajijic is famous for…

  • Birria: Spiced and marinated meat (often goat or beef) cooked until tender, typically served in a rich and flavorful broth with tortillas, onions, cilantro, and lime.
  • Chiles en Nogada: A patriotic dish, featuring roasted poblano peppers filled with a mixture of ground meat, fruits, and spices, topped with a creamy walnut sauce, and garnished with pomegranate seeds.

Popular Local Tacos

  • Tacos de Birria: Spiced and marinated meat (often goat or beef) cooked until tender, typically served in corn tortillas and garnished with onions, cilantro, and lime.
  • Tacos de Carnitas: Slow-cooked and seasoned pork, served in soft corn tortillas with toppings like salsa, guacamole, and fresh herbs.
  • Tacos al Pastor: Marinated and grilled pork cooked on a vertical spit, similar to shawarma, served with pineapple, onion, and cilantro.

The Best Things to Do in Ajijic

Many things you can do on your own but there are some activities, I suggest a tour. I haven’t been on a bad tour yet. And they really know how to do it here in Mexico. They take all the stress of planning out of it so you can focus right on what you want to see. I haven’t found a bunch online but there are some boat tours if you ask around when you’re in town depending on the season.

Walking Tour

There are not a lot of local tours here but if you don’t mind taking a tour with a local promoter of “Moving to Mexico”, you’ll get to know the area fast. You can certainly just start wandering on your own. it’s that small.

Visit a natural spa nearby

Visit one of the nearby thermal hot springs

Take the city bus 25 minutes north to San Juan Cosala Hot and spend a day at one of the Thermal spas.

Walk the beautiful Malecon along the lake

The Malecon

It’s a lovely stroll along Lake Chapala. There’s usually some colorful entertainment to be seen. Some restaurants and food vendors are dotted along the walk.

Where to Stay – Accommodations

There are all kinds of options and price points available. I am more economically minded and I wanted to be immersed in the Ajijic. Because I booked last minute, options were limited when I booked so I found a central hotel that was reasonable. It was literally in the heart of town, next to the bus station. The bed was super comfy and it was safe and quiet. I stayed here using Booking.com

Want to know how I find an apartment in a safe neighborhood? Click here

But you can find any price point you want from dorm rooms to luxury.
Click on the links below to go directly to Ajijic.

If you’re on foot like me, you want to be as close to the center as possible. I recommend staying in the pink zone shown on the map. Otherwise, Ajijic is a narrow long sprawled-out city.


More Photos