This trip was to Chapala, Mexico. It’s a small town located about 45 minutes drive from the airport in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. About 1 hour drive from the city itself. Before arriving at the airport there is a wheelchair transport company that you can make arrangements with for pick-up. They have Vans with lifts and can take you to Guadalajara, Chapala, etc. Just tell them your destination. Tel 0133-3620-9592 and 0133-1566-9251 and the cellular phone is 04433-1602-5855. If you speak Spanish you can talk to the phone service. if you only speak English, please speak to the Supervisor on his cell.
I had the pleasure to visit Chapala when I was in Mexico in 2011. I stayed a month in this beautiful town. Chapala is home to the largest, freshwater lake in the whole country of Mexico. Though it is a small town there are many retired people living there. People from all over the United States, Canada, U.K. and of course the locals that are from there. You will see many chair users there so you will not stick out like a sore thumb. There are many fun things to do and see in Chapala, especially the lake, IT’S AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL! During the weekdays the lake is pretty calm, mostly the locals and a few others but on the weekends and holidays, they are literally a thousand or more people there. People from the bigger and busier cities come there to vacation, take in the sun and relax.
Chapala is a very old town most of the streets are rough, like cobblestone roads but a few of the main streets are newly paved and smooth. At the lake pretty much everything is chair friendly. There is a concrete ramp that leads to what they call The Maleacon, there area surrounding the lake. It’s smooth concrete all around. It has a really long walk deck that leads out into the lake. Once you are to the end of it you can look back and truly see the complete beauty of this place. On busy days, they are families with children there swimming. There is also live music, arts, crafts, and tons of great food along with street performers. The open market there is narrow and long, it’s dirt and a bit bumpy but with my power wheelchair, I was able to manage. It’s crowded so once you’re in the line going through don’t be in a rush because the other people in front of you aren’t either so it’s a lot of stops and starts etc. They are lots of hand-crafted items for sale, very beautiful and pretty cheap. There is a boat tour and if you use a manual chair they can carry you onto it; not too sure about a power chair because of the weight of the chair.
There are many places to rent for your stay if it’s a weekend, a few days, weeks, or even a whole month. The apartment I rented was at CASA DULCE. It’s a beautiful house with four apartments, the bottom two were built especially for chair users. It is located in the heart of Chapala, about 2 blocks from the lake, and a few flocks from the Plaza in the center of town. Everything is close. Safe since it’s located directly across the street from the Police Dept. and the owners are Americans that live on-site on the third level of the house. The owners Bob and Candace have created an Oasis there in Chapala and they are very nice, helpful for all and anything that you may need during your stay there. Very clean, completely furnished apartments that include everything: dishes, all appliances, cable, electricity, wireless internet, bottled drinking water, and maid service. Each apartment is 1400sqft or bigger with two bedrooms; the bottom two have a built-in shower bench with a hand-held shower nozzle that is great and easy to use, sinks you can pull up under with your chair, and open areas to easily access the toilet. Private patios for relaxing, BBQs, or whatever. Everything is included in one price so no headaches for contracting services. Just arrive with your suitcases. You can call or email Bob & Candace directly. See more information on the rentals along with pictures on www.vrbo.com.
There are also many other great places to rent there and you can find them through online search engines. There is also a website for the lake and a web board where many places are listed. Chapala is small but has all the stores that are needed for most things, food, med supplies, etc. There is a Hospital there in case of emergency and also a Dr. that has a clinic located there in the Plaza, he has an office in Guadalajara but usually, he is there on Saturdays for the clinic. I have personally used him and had good results. If you need to hire someone for personal help/care they are plenty. For instance, you can post an ad on the Chapala website and it has many people with ads listed there looking for work. There is an American named Peter St. John that lives there and provides all types of free services for renting, buying, and helping people searching for workers and such. You can also find him through the web board or just mention his name to anyone there, he’s very well known. He referred a young, local guy to me for personal help during my stay there and things were great.
I have been traveling to many different locations in Mexico since 2007 and Chapala I will say has been the best place so far. HEAVENLY! I plan to return there in the near future.