View From The South Shore
By Kerry Watson
Experience its Sights and Sounds
From my back yard in San Luis Soyatlan I have a panoramic view of all the towns from Jocotepec to Chapala. At night I can see each town’s malecon (board walk) clearly in the twinkling evening light, and fireworks of each town as they celebrate their saint’s day. Sound travels easily too, so we hear all the cannons and fireworks in the distance starting at 5 am. Sometimes it seems as if there is a saint’s day every day on the lake.
From here it’s also easy to see the Ajijic-Chapala periferico (by-pass) curving up the mountain, and the snaky new road that may go to a casino some day. Especially distinctive in the mountainside is a brown mountain cropping in La Canacinta – midway between Ajijic and San Juan Cosala – with a cross on the top, and which supposedly reveals a Mexican eagle if you look at it just right. I’ve seen the eagle.
On this side of the lake the shoreline is not improved like it is in Ajijic, and the villages are spaced farther apart. This makes it a paradise for wildlife, and I occasionally see white pelicans in my yard, some of the 5,000 that make their way to the south shore each winter. The main flock is found in Petatan, about an hour and fifteen minutes from Ajijic on the highway around the lake.
On weekends I often see sailing boats, speed boats, and jet skiers out enjoying the water. There’s a boat club, Club de Vela de San Cristobal Zapotitlan. If you’re looking for it, it is on the main highway just past the giant Jocotepec sign that says that Jocotepec is grateful for your visit.
If I look out at the right time on weekends, I can watch the ferry or “water taxi” that travels from the Ajijic pier to the beautiful new malecon in San Luis Soyatlan, taking about 35 minutes to traverse the lake. It brings tourists over here each Friday through Sunday. The boat can also be chartered for parties.
To see the full majesty of the mountains rising sharply above your little town and truly appreciate our lake, each resident or visitor should experience the water taxi at least once. You will immediately add the ferry ride to your list of favorite activities to entertain all your visitors when they visit. And if you are simply curious about this side of the lake, you will be a believer by your return trip. Information on the water taxi’s website at http://www.tuxcuecalt.com/ or call 333-132-4138, English is spoken.
A top-recommended lunch destination for ferry-goers is Los Crotos Bed & Breakfast and Restaurant, just off the San Luis Soyatlan plaza. It’s a pleasant leisurely 15-minute walk through the quaint town, or you can request a land taxi from the boat captain. From the ferry dock, wend your way towards the white church spires rising above the rooftops. As you reach the plaza you will see the church directly in front of you (be sure to tour that too), but go to the far right corner of the plaza on the main road and go a few doors right to the purple awnings. Ring the doorbell (timbre) to begin a gracious and leisurely meal. Use the binoculars there to get a spectacular view of the north shore. Be sure to look for the Mexican eagle in the mountainside.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com
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