Ajijic on Lake Chapala and Hotel Casa BlancaTravel | Sandra | July 31, 2007 at 15:52
Working within a budget of both time and money, the quest was for a cheap kind of exotic paradise not too ambitious to reach. Lake Chapala seemed the perfect match – a 3 hour non-stop flight from Las Vegas to Guadalajara (Mexico) and a scenic 30 minute drive up the verdant two-lane highway to the picturesque artisan village of Ajijic.
The Hotel Casa Blanca proved true to its namesake, more Moorish than Mexican with exotic brass lanterns, corbeled arched windows and mystic nooks and crannies reminiscent of the hidden domiciles of the kasbah. Joseph, the Jordanian inn keeper, with the help of a Canadian couple, runs the Hotel with a friendly efficiency atypical of a sleepy retreat tucked away in the climate-perfect mountains of Jalisco. Joseph met us at the airport, which by the way, has an facile and rapid pass through passport and customs – none of the hectic madhouse one expects in Mexico’s 2nd largest city.
Our room is up the stairs in the back building – dead quiet except for the melodious song of the fountain and the delightful twittering of the in-house swallows nesting in the trees and rafters. Ahh, it is such sweet music to one accustomed to the whirring of fans and air conditioners of a high rise Las Vegas condo.
We’ve got a comfortable king-sized bed and a generous sized bathroom with a soaking tub. It is very clean. With a simple breakfast of fruit, toast, coffee or yerba matte, free wi-fi or use of house internet, in-room kitchenette with fridge & microwave, a Sharp TV, you have a nice deal for $US 70 a night – deluxe accommadtions; standard rooms are also available. Better rates are available for prolonged stays, which seem to be the norm during the high season when blizzards fly in the frozen north and the snowbirds head south for the winter. The open air lobby attests to year-round moderate temperatures.
Last night the lightning flashed and the thunder roared followed by a torrential downpour only experienced in the tropics. Again music to the ears of a drought-afflicted desert rat. The skin literally soaks up the humidity, which although high, is not uncomfortable with daytime temperatures in the upper 70’s and low 80’s. National Geographic claims Lake Chapala has one of the world’s best climates. It certainly is as good as any place I’ve been, particularly if you are fond of a richese of flora.
We came to read, think, rest and relax. I don’t see any problems achieving those goals. You can also party with the sizable ex-pat community if that is your want. The pace here is gentle and tranquil.
The natives are anything but restless and go about their unhurried lives with nary a glance at gringos. No hustlers, no street vendors, no beggars, no unwanted attention at all. You roam the charming streets, hassle-free and apparently quite safe.
No big hotels here, just a collection of eclectic bed and breakfasts and lodgings in private homes, with one old-world elegant Hotel Nueva Pasada. I hear church bells – think it’s time for a little siesta before exploring the dusky cobble stone back streets and heading for Tom’s Bar to see what the other non-native natives are up to.