Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest freshwater lake, located an easy one-hour drive from Guadalajara on the border between Jalisco and Michoacan states. The area offers a peaceful and quiet retreat from little of the hustle and bustle of Guadalajara. The lake is surrounded by mountains and the region is full of local charm. A substantial number of expats make their homes in Chapala and in nearby Ajijic.
Bird watchers and nature lovers will love it here. Many migrating birds, including the white pelican, spend their winters on Lake Chapala. You will also find indigenous plants and fascinating marine life. There are two islands on Lake Chapala that you can visit: Isla Escorpion (Scorpion Island) and Isla Mezcala (Mezcala Island), which is sometimes called Isla del Presidio.
Mezcala Island is close to the north shore of Lake Chapala. Hire a boat from the town of Mezcala de la Asuncion on the mainland to take you there. The island is a national monument that became famous during the Mexican War of Independence when a group of some 1500 Coca indians created a stronghold here and maintained their independence from the Spaniards from 1812 to 1816. Following their capitulation, it served as a prison until 1855. Mezcala Island is picturesque and full of old ruins including a fortress complete with a drawbridge over a (now dry) moat.
Lake Chapala is not good for swimming. If you're hoping to get wet, you could take a drive to Agua Caliente waterpark that is fed by hot springs. Located about a 45-minute drive from Guadalajara on the Guadalajara-Barra de Naiad Highway, the park has water slides and swimming pools. If you reserve in advance you can rent a private pool that they’ll fill with spring-fed thermal waters upon your arrival. On weekends Agua Caliente can get very busy, but during the week it is usually not crowded.