CHAPALA (Web: www.chapala.com ) on the northern shore of the lake, is a sleepy community most of the time, and has a quiet charm and relaxed pace that you can easily get used to. However, it becomes positively festive on sunny weekends, when thousands come to eat, swim or take a boat ride out to one of the lake's islands. Shoreline restaurants all offer the local speciality, pescado blanco, famous despite its almost total lack of flavour and lake-bottom origins, and street vendors sell cardboard plates of tiny fried fish from the lake, known as charales. Head to the left along the promenade, past streets of shuttered nineteenth-century villas, and you'll find a small crafts market. There's even a flat ciclopista (cycle path) running along the lakeside between Chapala and Ajijic for easy cycling and walking, with nice views of the lake; on a hot day it beats taking the bus.
If you're in the mood for a longer walk, you might consider heading up to the cross on the top of the hill overlooking the town: there's a path starting on López Cotilla between no. 316 and no. 318, across the street from Hotel Candilejas.