The city of San Miguel Allende sucks all the air out of the room when the conversation turns to expatriate life in Mexico. While San Miguel Allende has been garnering lots of awards for its quality of life and general wonderfulness, the tiny town of Ajijic (pronounced Aah-hee-HEEK) is developing into another expat paradise for citizens from the U.S. and Canada.
Ajijic is in the state of Jalisco on the shores of Lake Chapala, which at 417 square miles is the largest lake in Mexico. Ajijic is about a half-hour drive from Guadalajara’s international airport. This positions the town close enough to the big city benefits of Guadalajara, while still being tucked away from the urban sprawl in a unique natural setting. Imagine a huge lake with fisherman out on the water in pangas (small boats) casting for carp. At the shoreline are snowy egrets doing their own fishing. Someone in Ajijic must have made a concerted effort to protect the town’s trees since the streets are lined with huge specimens, including palm trees mixed in with pines and flowering jacarandas.
The compact town of Ajijic has narrow streets with rough cobblestones. Strolling through the town, there are hints of past hippy glory, such as a Volkswagen Beetle festooned with stuck-on flowers, or a distant sound system playing Creedence or the Stones. Many of the walls of the town are decorated with colorful murals in a range of styles, from figurative to whimsical to abstract.
A note about the cobblestone streets and in some places cobblestone sidewalks: If you plan to do any amount of walking at all, you’ll get a lot more mileage if you wear sturdy footwear and forgot the high heels.
Source: USA Today