Lakeside Guide to Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico

Regata de Globos

At a Glance

Teams of local businesses & families spend days constructing elaborate paper hot-air balloons for this end-of-summer event.

More Info

This annual hot air balloon event using paper lanterns has been held every September since the 1960s.

Families and businesses spend up to a couple weeks preparing hot air balloons made from colorful paper, in shapes and characters that sometimes reach several stories high.

It’s a fun family event that’s highly anticipated and sometimes more than a little dangerous (watch the video below of a globo that causes a powerline to explode).

Food, beer, and liquor are served all afternoon at stands set up around the football field.

2019 Event Information

In 2019, the Regata de Globos will be held Saturday, September 14. It starts at 3 p.m. and goes until the last balloons take off after dark, around 9 p.m. The balloons take off from the soccer field below the highway to the east of Plaza Bugambilias in Ajijic.

Located at the Football Field in Ajijic

The Regata de Globos is held at the Cruz Azul football field in Ajijic, just east of Plaza Bugambilias and west of La Floresta.

Cost

There is no cost to watch the event, which makes it open to everyone, including those who can’t afford to pay. You are encouraged to leave a small donation as you enter, so consider $50 or $100 pesos per person to support the cost of running this annual event.

Last updated September 21, 2019

Dane Strom

Dane Strom The Lakeside Guide

I moved to Ajijic in 2010 when I decided to quit my job of seven years as an editorial assistant at The Denver Post in Colorado. I'm the photographer, web designer, programmer, marketer, writer... the everything behind this website, The Lakeside Guide. All of the businesses on this website appear here for free at no cost to them. If you find this site useful, please consider giving a small donation to become a site patron. Learn more about The Lakeside Guide or check out my other website about photography of Mexico.

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Photos of Regata de Globos

The balloons start going up around 3 p.m. on the second Saturday of September.

The balloons start going up around 3 p.m. on the second Saturday of September.

A large balloon created by the La Michoacana store that sells aguas frescas and ice cream on the Ajijic plaza.

A large balloon created by the La Michoacana store that sells aguas frescas and ice cream on the Ajijic plaza.

Many businesses in Ajijic, as well as families, spend several weeks preparing the globos before the big day.

Many businesses in Ajijic, as well as families, spend several weeks preparing the globos before the big day.

Some balloons take considerable time to create, such as this octopus balloon which these kids are helping inflate with hot air.

Some balloons take considerable time to create, such as this octopus balloon which these kids are helping inflate with hot air.

Some of the globos are simpler in shape but are still intricate and difficult to construct.

Some of the globos are simpler in shape but are still intricate and difficult to construct.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Day of the Dead Skull Altar

Day of the Dead Skull Altar

A skull, white cross, candles, dyed sawdust, marigolds, Corona bottles and other offerings adorn an altar on the Night of the Dead in Chapala.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print
Some are so huge that they need 15 minutes to inflate.

Some are so huge that they need 15 minutes to inflate.

A propane torch handled by one of the adults does the job.

A propane torch handled by one of the adults does the job.

One person usually holds the end of the torch at the entry of the balloon while other members of the team hold it upright. Then another person uses a sheet of cardboard to direct the hot air into the balloon.

One person usually holds the end of the torch at the entry of the balloon while other members of the team hold it upright. Then another person uses a sheet of cardboard to direct the hot air into the balloon.

Regata de Globos in Ajijic, Mexico
It can sometimes take ten or more people to raise the larger balloons.

It can sometimes take ten or more people to raise the larger balloons.

Accordion Player in Chapala

Traditional Mexican Music Genres

See this Photo Essay
See this Photo Essay
A burning wad of material is tied around a wire frame at the bottom of the balloon, which keeps the heat going and makes the balloons glow in the evening sky.

A burning wad of material is tied around a wire frame at the bottom of the balloon, which keeps the heat going and makes the balloons glow in the evening sky.

A group of kids tries to launch a small balloon. In the end, they were unsuccessful.

A group of kids tries to launch a small balloon. In the end, they were unsuccessful.

This globo is full of hot air and ready to go. The bag of water helps keep the globo upright and stable once it's in the air so that it doesn't tip over and start to catch fire.

This globo is full of hot air and ready to go. The bag of water helps keep the globo upright and stable once it's in the air so that it doesn't tip over and start to catch fire.

The flame burns for at least a few minutes as the globo rises in the air.

The flame burns for at least a few minutes as the globo rises in the air.

These kids from San Pedro Itzicán normally spend their days selling vegetables in Ajijic, but today could spend at least part of the afternoon just being kids again.

These kids from San Pedro Itzicán normally spend their days selling vegetables in Ajijic, but today could spend at least part of the afternoon just being kids again.

Regata de GlobosSome of the globos take off successfully to big cheers from the audience, who flood the soccer field and watch from the stands.

Some of the globos take off successfully to big cheers from the audience, who flood the soccer field and watch from the stands.

The ones that do launch successfully can fly for miles until they disappear into the distance.

The ones that do launch successfully can fly for miles until they disappear into the distance.

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Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Aztec dancers at the Virgin of Zapopan procession

Aztec Dancers

Aztec dancers, also known as concheros, lead the procession for the annual arrival of the Virgin of Zapopan in Chapala.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print
One of the first signs that a globo is about to fall is when it tilts on its side, which usually causes to catch fire.

One of the first signs that a globo is about to fall is when it tilts on its side, which usually causes it to catch fire.

The metal fiery ring rips away from the rest of the globo and plunges to the earth, sometimes from hundreds or thousands of feet up.

The metal fiery ring rips away from the rest of the globo and plunges to the earth, sometimes from hundreds or thousands of feet up.

The paper burns up and disintegrates into hundreds of pieces.

The paper burns up and disintegrates into hundreds of pieces.

Sometimes the globos don't make it far before they come crashing back down around the crowd in a fiery demise.

Sometimes the globos don't make it far before they come crashing back down around the crowd in a fiery demise.

After the globos falls to the ground, the boys rush over to plunder them.

After the globos falls to the ground, the boys rush over to plunder them.

A girl dressed as an Adelita during the Revolution Day parade in San Antonio Tlayacapan, which always celebrates Revolution Day the Sunday after November 20 (which in 2018 is November 25). Their parade starts a few blocks west of the plaza in San Antonio at 9 a.m.

How the Women Soldaderas Helped Win the Mexican Revolution

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See this Photo Essay
This globo didn't make it off of the ground before it caught fire at the Regata de Globos in Ajijic.

This globo didn't make it off of the ground before it caught fire.

This balloon from 2016 honored Manuel España, an important person in the Church and the local community, who had died earlier in the year.

This balloon from 2016 honored Manuel España, an important person in the Church and the local community, who had died earlier in the year.

A vendor sells paletas (posicles) during the Regata de Globos.

A vendor sells paletas (popsicles) during the Regata de Globos.

Balloons designed as Mexican wrestling masks.

Balloons designed as Mexican wrestling masks.

Regino will probably be there, too.

Regino will probably be there, too.

The balloins are constructed out of tissue paper, plastic tubes and metal wire.

The balloons are constructed out of tissue paper, plastic tubes and metal wire.

Some balloons require a lot of assembly.

Some balloons require a lot of assembly.

A vendor sells another type of globo during the Regata de Globos in Ajijic.

A vendor sells another type of globo during the Regata de Globos in Ajijic.

The event goes on all afternoon until dark as the teams inflate and launch the balloons one by one.

The event goes on all afternoon until dark as the teams inflate and launch the balloons one by one.

Lake Chapala Sunset

34 Sunsets at Lake Chapala

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See this Photo Essay

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Lake Chapala Sunset

On Horseback at Sunset at Lake Chapala

Taking a ride on a horse along the lakeshore is a great way to end the day at Lake Chapala.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print

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