Chapala is located about 25 miles south of Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico. Chapala is the oldest and most easterly of the area known as Lakeside, a string of towns along the north shore of Lake Chapala popular with expats and tourists from the US, Canada, and Europe.
Ajijic lies about 3 miles west of the town of Chapala on the shore of Lake Chapala. Ajijic is the heart of the Lakeside expat community. With a population of about 10,000 full-time residents that number can nearly double when the winter snow birds arrive.
The small village of San Juan Cosala lies midway between Ajijic and Jocotepec. With fewer expats, living in San Juan is very much living in a Mexican small town. San Juan is home to several spas which feature pools of thermal water, naturally heated by underground volcanic activity.
The town of Jocotepec is in the municipality (county) of Jocotepec on the west end of Lake Chapala. It is the westernmost town of the area known as Lakeside, which lies from "Joco" on the west, to Chapala on the east.
San Antonio Tlayacapan is located between Chapala and Ajijic. With a charming plaza and population of around 5,000, San Antonio offers traditional Mexican charm. But San Antonio is also the location of the Centro Laguna Mall, Walmart, and boasts a new hospital just opened in 2019.
Some people prefer to live a little farther out from the concentration of expats in the Lakeside area. These areas will be a little more challenging for people who do not speak at least a little Spanish, and may have a little less developed infrastructure.
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