Updated: Jan 19
We were at Guadalajara International Airport by 6am to pick up Heidi. Heidi and I have been friends since our daughters were in kindergarten together. That’s over 20 years now! It took some time for her to get through customs, but the 30-minute wait was worth it when she came out all smiles! The drive back to our house in Ajijic was quick and Heidi and I chatted the whole way. Larry is a great chauffeur.
After she got situated in the guest bedroom, I asked is she was up to a short bike ride into Chapala. We could get lunch and ride around the Malecon. Heidi was in charge of the test run on the bike we got for our renters. We enjoyed the ride as it is easy, mostly flat and very scenic. I love being able to ride right by the lake. We took advantage of all the photo opportunities along the way too! We ate at a little restaurant at the east end of the Malecon called Mariscos Las Conchitas. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g2371486-d12404686-Reviews-Las_Conchitas-Chapala.html Larry and I have eaten here a few times and liked it. We all had ‘First day of vacation’ cervezas and complete with a celebration toast. “Salud!” We also had some guacamole and tacos. Heidi seemed refreshed and renewed after lunch. She agreed to a tiny 20-minute hike to the cross in Chapala. Its only 2 blocks from the Malecon and across from the square. We walked up one steep block to find the trail located down a small alley. The hike is fairly easy, but you need to watch for rocks, roots and low hanging branches. Heidi said it was worth it as the view was lovely.
On the second day, we took Heidi hiking on the Tepalo Mountain a few miles from our house. Our usually hiking spot. We hiked to the hidden waterfalls. Along the way, we saw lots of flowers, bugs and butterflies. We had to climb over a few obstacles like a fallen tree. I was happy that no one slipped or fell the entire hike. Bonus! The first waterfall didn’t have much water flowing but Tepalo was very nice. It’s fun to show off one of our favorite hikes to friends especially when they are enjoying it as much as we were.
In the afternoon, we met our hiking friends, Roberta and Dave at Frida Mexican Restaurant for a snack before the play, ‘Everything in the garden’. https://www.facebook.com/fridarestaurantechapala/ This was the last night of the play that Larry and I helped with set design. We enjoyed the play probably more than others since we helped with it. Larry and I went to the cast and crew after party. Heidi got a ride back to the house with Roberta and Dave. We saw our friends Sheron and Joy, who were also on set design. We were introduced to the cast and director and thanked for all our help. That was nice. We had a light dinner of sandwiches with wine! LOL They even had a cake for dessert, so Larry was happy. We enjoyed the party. It was short and sweet. We chatted with a few of the actors too.
The next day, we rode bikes back to the theater to break the set. We said goodbye to our rock wall we painted. Ha ha ha We spent only an hour or so because many folks showed up to help. Heidi is not shy, she got right in there and worked hard too. Working at the theater was a great experience. I hope that we will have more opportunities to help in the future. https://www.lakesidelittletheatre.com/
Since it’s Monday, we headed to Ajijic in the afternoon for massages. I had made Heidi an appointment the week before as well. Surprise! Larry and I are pretty spoiled with our weekly massages but it’s so inexpensive in Mexico. We like the place that we found in Ajijic called Total Body Care. https://www.facebook.com/totalbodycarespa/ After we were finished and super relaxed, we walked along the Ajijic Malecon. Next we went to dinner at The Peacock Garden. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g499405-d5973523-Reviews-The_Peacock_Garden-Ajijic.html This was a new place for us, but the reviews were good. The garden was beautiful complete with roaming peacocks.
We met a nice man in the village of Mezcala back in August named Jose. He is a guide that will arrange a boat to Mezcala Island and tell us about the history. I let him know we would like a tour on Tuesday. It a beautiful drive from Ajijic to Mezcala around the lake. The road is great and not much traffic. It takes about 30 minutes to get there. Jose met us on the Malecon at 10am. We did have a pack of kids hanging out with us until he arrived. The kids helped us get into the boat and wanted tips, of course! The boat ride to the island only takes 15 minutes but it was nice. https://www.chapala.com/lakechapala/the-battle-of-mezcala-island/ Jose was an excellent guide. He knew so much history and enjoyed sharing it with us. We hiked through some brush and Jose went first clearing out the spider webs. It wasn’t until a little later we saw how many spiders were in the bush…. Very large spiders and lots of them. We appreciated him even more then. We walked all over the island looking at the many buildings. Most are still in good condition because the island is protected now as a historical site. We spent 3 hours walking around before we took the water taxi back to Mezcala. We had a delicious lunch on the Malecon. Seemed like we attracted every kid in town and many of hung out at our table while we ate.
After lunch we took a short drive back up the road to some petroglyphs that Jose knew how to find. They were right off the road but if you didn’t know about the tiny trail through the overgrown trees, you couldn’t find them. We didn’t spend too much time there and walked back to the truck. On the way, Heidi attracted a butterfly that landed on her. That butterfly must have attracted a different one and she was walking down the road with 2 butterflies on her for some time. Magical.
When we dropped Jose off at his home, he gave us gifts. Obsidian rocks. He said that you place them at your door entrance to keep the bad spirits away. That was super nice of him. He also showed us some cannon balls from the fortress on Mezcala island that the natives used against the Spanish. We could have owned them…. for a price. They were interesting but I didn’t feel like I needed an old cannon ball. Plus, I have to make sure I don’t overload the Airstream for when we start traveling again in November. We loved the tour and the whole day in Mezcala. I would recommend it if you ever get to this area. It’s a gem!
We took another hike with Heidi up to the Tempisque Ceremonial grounds on the Tepalo mountain. Tempisque Trail - Ceremonial Grounds - Carretera Loop - Jalisco, Mexico | AllTrails Larry and I have hiked it with the Ajijic Hiking group before and tried to remember how to do it. We made a few wrong turns on some trails or what looked like trails and ended up going up a creek for some time. We eventually found a real trail that went up the hill. It was a nice little hike that wasn’t too difficult, and we got a good view too. I was happy for Heidi’s enthusiasm for the hikes we have taken her on.
After hiking down, we went to the Wednesday market in town. It’s a typical Mexican market. They sell souvenirs, clothes, food to eat and fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t take too long to see it, but you need to have this experience when in Mexico. We even grabbed some lunch and sat in the middle of the market to eat. Heidi found some things to bring home to her family and enjoyed the market.
I planned a nice day of relaxing on the lake for us at San Juan Cosala termal Spa. TERMAL COSALA - Home Larry and I have checked it out but never gone. It’s something I wanted to try, and Heidi was very excited. The price for a spa day is inexpensive compared to the spas in California. We paid only $30 US for the use of the pool, 4 hot spas and 2 Temescals. They have a restaurant and snack bar, so we enjoyed some cervezas and snacks. Larry picked us up around 4 so we ate an early dinner by the pool together. It was a fabulous day of relaxing after so many days of hiking, biking and touring.
Friday, we drove over to the Racquet Club to pick up our friend Tino. He is house sitting for some Americans that are on a trip to Europe. We met Tino back in March on the Malecon in Jocotepec and we see him frequently. He own’s a condo in Jocotepec and is building a two-story home on the other side of the lake close to San Pedro Itzican. We haven’t been back to see how the building is coming along for a while, so we planned a trip around the lake. First, we stopped in Jocotepec to see the plaza and get some juice and a snack, sweet tamales. Jocotepec - Wikipedia We walked into the cultural center to see if our Muralist, Chile, was working and saw absolutely no one. They didn’t even have any art displayed. Next we went to Tino’s friend’s home near Roca Azul https://www.clubrocaazul.com/copia-de-inicio to get a ladder and to his condo to pick up a bed to move there too. The drive was short to the rocky, bumpy dirt road to his house. There are very few homes built on this mountain yet. It hasn’t been developed and it is more Mexican. Ajijic and Chapala area is more for Expats and English-speaking tourists. We like to spend more time in real Mexican villages when we have a chance.
Tino has been having a lot of trouble with his contractor and has changed to someone else. There is much more finished on his house but so much more to go before he can move in. It’s a lovely, peaceful spot with amazing views of the lake. I see why he likes it here. Larry and Tino tied the ladder with wire from the second level to the roof. The stairs haven’t been built yet. It looked too shaky for me or Heidi to climb. So, only Larry and Tino got the roof tops views.
On the way down, we stopped at a large Agave field and took pictures by large bushes with yellow flowers. We headed to San Pedro to walk the Malecon and see a little of the village. I wanted to have lunch at Quinta San Carlos. https://www.quintasancarlos.com/ It’s this fancy hotel, restaurant and event center. When we got there, they were setting up for a wedding. It looked fabulous! We asked to walk around. We took lots of pictures but lunch here was out.
We drove back to Jocotepec and ate our lunch at Frida’s. This is one of our favorite restaurants in Joco. El Rincon De Frida - Restaurant in Sin Nombre (negocio.site) We have probably eaten the most meals out here when we are in the area. After a delicious meal. We drove to the Jocotepec Malecon. We walked the Malecon from end to end. There was a fair amount of folks out, but it wasn’t crowded. It was a nice way to end our day with Tino.
Since Larry and I will be leaving Ajijic and renting out our house from November to May, I thought having a small party while Heidi was here would be fun. Both Heidi and I have birthdays in November, so we called it our birthday party. Larry and I have met a hand full of folks in this area so I figured we would have a few that would show up. I have really enjoyed the music from a local band in Ajijic called Aztaveria https://www.facebook.com/Aztaveria. The young man Victor that plays the electric violin also plays in this Rock band. Both Larry and I love his band Black String and Aztaveria. https://www.facebook.com/tresmusicos I was able to get them to come play on Sunday afternoon at our house on the roof. Heidi, Larry and I spent the day before getting a few snacks, beverages and things together for the party. We invited our friends Hector and Thelma from Guadalajara, all the neighbors and some of our camping friends that were at Roca Azul. Our local friend Edgar was the go-to guy for homemade tamales and helped us get set up. We had to carry all the chairs we had up to flights of stairs.
The party was a huge success with about 40 guests on all 3 levels. Everyone loved the music and were dancing. We even had 2 party crashers from the next neighborhood. They could hear the music and were standing in the street outside until we invited them up. Our birthday party was the Best party I’ve ever had…..in Ajijic! We even had a yummy strawberry cheesecake. Another fun day with Heidi.
As Heidi’s days here were coming to an end. She had been having such a great time, she decided she might like to look at some properties here. Priscilla, our real estate gal, could show us some things on Monday. We went to see 3 different houses to get an idea of prices, location and what she likes. It was a nice morning activity. I always like looking to see what is out there for sale. Heidi has just gotten a taste for Mexico and what you can do down here. She’s getting a retirement plan in order and hopefully will be my neighbor again! Ha ha ha We had massages again that afternoon. I’m getting her all relaxed to go back home to work as an ER nurse.
Tuesday, we all three spent the day at the spa in San Juan Cosala. Heidi and I even did a mud bath! It was so fun and a great way to end her trip. We had a yummy lunch before we showered. We needed to drive her to the airport by 5pm for her flight back to reality. It was so much fun having Heidi here and being able to share this special little paradise we have discovered. Until the next time, Heidi, “Adios y hasta luego!”