Chapala is located in the central zone of the state. Chapala is also the name of the biggest lake of the country. Chapala means "place of Vases"(Nahuatl); "really wet place" (Coca); or "place of grasshoppers over the water" (Nahuatl).
Originally Chapala or Chapallan was a pre-Hispanic settlement whose earliest antiquity is found in the twelfth century AD,when migration of Nahuatl tribes from the northwest, reach this latitudes, finding the north shore of the lake highly populated as referred by Fray Antonio Tello, franciscan friar and chronicler.
It is temperate, thanks to Lake Chapala, which provides freshness, and does not reach the levels of heat or cold that is in the towns to their surroundings.
Buses leave every 20 minutes or so from the old bus station (la central vieja) in Guadalajara.
From Guadalajara, follow the signs to the Airport, then go ahead to "Chapala"
Small enough to walk around. When you come out of the bus station, turn left and follow the main road to reach the lake and the main church.
- The Lake. Nice newly designed (2009) lakeshore walk with playgrounds, food stalls, restaurants and markets stalls selling bits and bob.
- The parish of St. Francis of Assisi.
- The main square with the mercado.
- Art exhibits at the Old Train Station.
- Take a boat out to "isla de los Alacranes"(island) on the lake.
- Browse the weekly market (every Monday from about 9AM-2PM) winding all the way up Calle Alvaro Obregon just to the left off the main highway (Francisco Madero) going toward Guadalajara.
- Markets beside the lake where they sell traditional and not-so-traditional things from Mexico.
There are nice restaurants by the shore of the lake. Many of them have live mariachi music.
- Acapulquito: Shellfish
- Alfredo's California: International
- Beer Garden: International
- Café París: Coffee
- Cazadores: International
- Chapala Haciendas: International
- Chef Place: Shellfish
- Chemary: Chinese
- Cozumel: Shellfish
- Don Juan: Shellfish
- El Arbol del Café: Coffee
- El Patio: International
- El Pescador: Shellfish
- Guicho: Shellfish
- Nido Mexican: Mexican
- Pensando en Tí: Mexican
- Petrita: shellfish
- Santinos: Pizza
- Superior: International
- Valencianas: Pizza
- Ajijic Tango (Ajijic tango), Morelos #5, ☏ . Great restaurant in Ajijic, mostly fine cuts and pizzas
Apart from the restaurants you will find lots of drink stalls along the new lakeshore walk selling
- Piña Coladas
- Just plain cold Mexican beer
- Aguas frescas
- Hotel Villa Montecarlo, Hidalgo 296. The Villa Montecarlo Hotel is on the shore of Chapala Lake.
- Hotel Quinta Real (La Floresta)
- Lake Chapala Inn. A very nice B and B right on the Malecon overlooking Lake Chapala. Wonderful breakfast and they even have a pool.
- San Juan Cosala