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).

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

2018 Event Information

In 2018, the regata de globos will be held Saturday, September 8. 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.

Cost

There is no cost to enter the football field to watch the event. You are encouraged to leave a small donation as you enter, so why not consider $50 or $100 pesos to support the cost of running this annual event.

Street View

Address

Revolución #83 Ajijic

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.

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 also intricate and difficult to construct.

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

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.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

A boat in front of Mt. Garcia on Lake Chapala, Mexico

Mt. Garcia & Boat

Two men on a row boat slide into the shadow of Mt. Garcia, which towers over the south shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print
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.

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.

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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Guelaguetza

Oaxaca’s Guelaguetza Dances Come to Chapala

See this Photo Essay
See this Photo Essay
Some of the globos are not successfully launched and come crashing down around the crowd in a fiery demise.

The ones that don't come crashing down around the crowd in a fiery demise.

Globo exploding during the Regata de Globos in Ajijic.

...Which is all part of the fun.

This globo of Homer Simpson made it a couple hundred feet before catching on fire from the burning material inside.

This globo of Homer Simpson made it a couple hundred feet before catching on fire from the burning material inside.

After it falls to the ground, the boys rush over to plunder try to plunder it.

After it falls to the ground, the boys rush over to plunder try to plunder it.

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. The event goes until the last balloon is launched after dark.

Some balloons require a lot of assembly. The event goes until the last balloon is launched after dark.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Aztec Dancers on Mezcala Island

Aztec Dancers on Mezcala Island

Sergio Hernández and Kode Rodríguez perform a dance in the ruins of an old fort on Mezala Island in Lake Chapala.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print
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.