Lake Chapala (Lago de Chapala) is Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. It is centred around, 45 km (28 miles) southeast of Guadalajara, Jalisco, and sits on the border between the states of Jalisco and Michoacan, at 1,524 metres (5000 feet) above sea level. Its approximate dimensions are 80 km (50 miles) from east to west and 18 km (11 miles) from north to south, and it covers a total of some 1100 km² (425mi²). It is a shallow lake, with a mean depth of 4.5 metres and a maximum of 10.5.
The main attractions of the Lake Chapala area for foreigners are the weather and the Ex-Pat community. Temperatures are pleasantly warm year round, averaging about 23° Celsius (74° Fahrenheit). April and May are the hot months with temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s and it does get a little chilly in the winter. The Ex-Pat community can mean social groups activities or just the availability of north of the border items.
The town of Chapala is only about 30 minutes from the Guadalajara airport and is the first community you’ll run into on the north side of the lake. Chapala is a relatively normal Mexican town except it’s a weekend getaway from Guadalajara (a day at the lake). Ajijic is the next town west and is where the majority of foreigners live (Gringolandia). West from Ajijic are mostly ‘communities’ until you reach San Juan Cosala … and beyond to Jocotepec which lies on the west end of the lake.
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Lake Chapala Weather