Lakeside Guide to Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico

Join The Lake Chapala Society

At a Glance

Since 1955, the Lake Chapala Society has been a place for newcomers at Lake Chapala & those who want to stay connected with the local foreign community.

More Info

The Lake Chapala Society has long been a place for newcomers to meet other foreigners and start to get integrated with the local community.

Founded by a group of foreign residents as “The Chapala Society” in 1955, its first two committees were called Mosquito Control and Information Service. Today, LCS (as its commonly abbreviated) is a non-profit organization with a large number of activities, classes and outreach programs in the local community.

Since 1983, LCS has been located on Neil James’ former property, which she donated to the society 1990, four years before her death.

Almost 60 classes, groups & activities

Most activities at The Lake Chapala Society are limited to members, but the lush garden grounds are open to anyone to wander around or you can eat at the on-site restaurant, Café Corazón.

Every week on the LCS schedule you can find classes for exercise, dance, tai chi, yoga, meditation, art, and photography; board game groups, discussion hours, lectures, and more.

There are almost 60 activities in all. About 35 are exclusively for members. Activities which are open to the public are mostly related to health services and immigration.

Access to all of these activities is included in your annual membership.

Additional benefits of membership

Lake Chapala Society members can enroll in additional members-only classes, such as Prueba México, for reasonable costs. This series of classes teaches foreigners about Mexico’s cultural side, from good manners to good food.

Members get access (with a $500 peso refundable deposit) to a library with 26,000 books and a DVD/VHS library with 4,000 titles. You can imagine how valuable this part of the LCS membership used to be before the internet arrived.

LCS members can join the Spanish class for $220 pesos a month. The classes have less than 13 people and are designed for complete beginners using the Warren Hardy method.

The Lake Chapala Society regularly arranges private bus tours to Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara and other local destinations such as Tequila. These usually cost somewhere between $400 and $1,000 pesos. Non-members can go on these trips, but it costs about $100 pesos more.

To save you a trip to Guadalajara, the US and British consulates come once a month to take care of immigration matters such as renewing your passport.

The British Consulate comes to LCS on the last Saturday of the month. The U.S. Consulate arrives on the second Wednesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. and stays until everyone is processed. Sign up between 10-11:30 a.m. on the day of the visit. You can apply to renew your passport and pick it up from LCS, avoiding two trips to the Consulate in Guadalajara.

Non-members are welcome to use the consulate services.

Cost of membership at the Lake Chapala Society

The cost of an annual membership in 2019 is $730 pesos per individual. For persons aged 79 or older, the cost is $575. For brand new members, there is a $100 peso administration fee. (There’s no fee for renewals.)

Your membership fees give you access to all of the activities at the Lake Chapala Society. There are some additional activities, classes and trips which cost extra and is noted on the activity schedule. Some of these extra activities are exclusive to members or members receive a discount. Membership fees go to maintaining the programs at LCS and contributing to the local community through the organization’s outreach programs.

So should you become a member of the Lake Chapala Society?

Ajijic is no longer the one-stoplight town that it was just two decades ago. And the Lake Chapala Society, thanks in part to the internet, is not quite the vital institution that it once was for new residents at Lake Chapala. Today, there are dozens of places that you can meet new people (Mexicans and fellow foreigners), both offline and online. And most of the types of classes and activities that LCS offers, such as exercise, yoga, and Spanish classes, can now be found elsewhere. Foreigners living at Lake Chapala aren’t cut off from the rest of the world as they used to be.

The Lake Chapala Society might be a great fit for you if you’ve just moved to Lake Chapala and don’t have much experience outside of your home country or you want to meet other foreigners. It’s a great deal in terms of the number of activities, groups, classes and events you get access to. $730 pesos a year is a bargain for 35 activities to choose from, even if you only occasionally stop by LCS.

The Lake Chapala Society’s community outreach programs have helped thousands of people over the years and membership fees help sponsor these programs. Check out these volunteer opportunities if you’re looking for a way to make a difference in your community.

Last updated June 14, 2019

Street View

Address

16 de Septiembre #16-A

Ajijic

HoursOpen Now

Mon10:00am -2:00pm
Tue10:00am -2:00pm
Wed10:00am -2:00pm
Thu10:00am -2:00pm
Fri10:00am -2:00pm
Sat10:00am -2:00pm
Sun----

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Photos of Join The Lake Chapala Society

Inside the Lake Chapala Society at 16 de Septiembre #16-A in Ajijic, Mexico.

Inside the Lake Chapala Society at 16 de Septiembre #16-A in Ajijic, Mexico.

The Lake Chapala Society was founded in 1955 and moved to the grounds of Neil James' property in 1983.

The Lake Chapala Society was founded in 1955 and moved to the grounds of Neil James' property in 1983.

James later donated her estate to the Lake Chapala Society before her death in 1994.

James later donated her estate to the Lake Chapala Society before her death in 1994.

The grounds are lush with trees and plant life, including this koi fish and lily pond. The LCS grounds are open to the public, so non-members are welcome to stroll around.

The grounds are lush with trees and plant life, including this koi and lily pond. The LCS grounds are open to the public, so non-members are welcome to stroll around.

Non-members may also eat at Café Corazón.

Non-members may also eat at Café Corazón.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

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Café Corazón has some Mexican dishes plus more north-of-the-border type food.

Café Corazón has some Mexican dishes plus more north-of-the-border type food.

One of the primary attractions of annual membership is access to around 35 members-only classes, groups, and activities.

One of the primary attractions of annual membership is access to around 35 members-only classes, groups, and activities.

Members also get access to this English-language library of 26,000 volumes.

Members also get access to this English-language library of 26,000 volumes.

Before the internet, this was one of the few ways to get access to books in English.

Before the internet, this was one of the few ways to get access to books in English.

Lake Chapala Society members may purchase hardcover and softcover books for $10 and $5 pesos from this used bookstore.

Lake Chapala Society members may purchase hardcover and softcover books for $10 and $5 pesos from this used bookstore.

Inside the Graveyard Mausoleums of Mexico

Inside the Graveyard Mausoleums of Mexico

See this Photo Essay
See this Photo Essay
The video library is open to members and has around 4,000 DVD and VHS titles (30% are VHS and are being replaced with DVDs). To borrow from the video and book libraries, members must pay an additional $500-peso refundable fee.

The video library is open to members and has around 4,000 DVD and VHS titles (30% are VHS and are being replaced with DVDs). To borrow from the video and book libraries, members must pay an additional $500-peso refundable fee.

This bulletin board is a good place to get and post information.

This bulletin board is a good place to get and post information.

The U.S. Consulate visits the Lake Chapala Society every second Wednesday at this building on the LCS grounds. And the British Consulate on the last Saturday of the month. You can get your passport renewed, documents notarized and other consulate services here. It's open to non-members.

The U.S. Consulate visits the Lake Chapala Society every second Wednesday at this building on the LCS grounds. And the British Consulate on the last Saturday of the month. You can get your passport renewed, documents notarized and other consulate services here. It's open to non-members.

This kiosco gets used for some activities, such as the Saturday chess club.

This kiosco gets used for some activities, such as the Saturday chess club.

There are a few places scattered throughout the Lake Chapala Society grounds where you can sit.

There are a few places scattered throughout the Lake Chapala Society grounds where you can sit.

The grounds, which take up about a quarter of a full block, are easy to get around.

The grounds, which take up about a quarter of a full block, are easy to get around.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Dance of the Little Old Men

Dance of the Little Old Men

A dancer in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, performs La Danza de los Viejitos, the Dance of the Little Old Men, a traditional dance from Michoacan.

Purchase This Fine Art Print
Purchase This Fine Art Print
Outside the Lake Chapala Society at 16 de Septiembre #16-A in Ajijic, Mexico.

Outside the Lake Chapala Society at 16 de Septiembre #16-A in Ajijic, Mexico.

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