Experience and Participation - Information and Outings
2013 Programs - Learn during a Vacation
Although you will gain a wealth of knowledge and valuable contacts on a Focus program, let us assure you that it is certainly not all work and no play. You'll discover over 50 English-speaking organizations to belong to, numerous shops and boutiques to wander through, wonderful galleries and crafts, sculptures and paintings from talented local artists, both from the Mexican and foreign communities. Ajijic in particular, has long been known as a haven for artists, poets, artisans and musicians. Many say the Lake Chapala area is their inspiration.
Walking Tours of local Villages
You’ll visit the local villages on walking tours and be able to do a little shopping along the way. We even take you to the local tiangius (open air market) where you will find everything but the kitchen sink.
Through participation you can attend cultural activities like local fiestas, see the history and culture of Mexico through murals, or a visit to the mysterious Monte Coxala Spa & Pyramids - thermal underground hot springs where you can bathe in the pools or step into the giant Olmec head and down into the hot pools under the pyramid.
You’ll learn about all the charitable organizations that are very active lakeside and how quickly you can get involved, if you choose to. Many people find it so rewarding to give back at this time in their life.
Also, you’ll discover the endless list of things to do in this area. It never ceases to amaze me what an active lifestyle you can live here and how many wonderful things you can do, if you want.
You'll visit Guadalajara Centro where we’ll take you to the famous Hospicio Cabañas where our guide will tell you the story of the fifty-seven murals inside by one of the most controversial artists of Mexico, Jose Clemente Orozco. The artist expressed dramatic human attitudes related to the Spanish Conquest, the colonization and modern life, a range from historical themes to the deepest and most universal aspects of the human being. In these murals Orozco portrayed indigenous scenes of the pre-Hispanic life of Mexico. He referred to the imposition of spiritual values and aspects of its history and most typical characteristics of Guadalajara. This is his most significant work. Orozco, also a Jalisco native, belonged to a group of post-revolutionary artists who, convinced that art had to be shared by people of all social levels, dedicated themselves to the creation of monumental works of art, always in public places.
Tlaquepaque (pronounced Tla-keh-pah-keh), and meaning ‘the best of everything’ is a city close to Guadalajara and is famous for its arts and crafts. You'll see the wonderful architecture and historic buildings; masterpieces from the past. The name Tlaquepaque derives from Nahualt and also means ‘place above clay land.’ The area is famous for its pottery and blown glass. It also features El Parian, a large plaza flanked by columned arcades and surrounded by restaurants and bars. The main square in the city center is known as El Jardin (The Garden). During the annual saint festivities El Jardin is filled with stalls and street-sellers, and on the day of San Pedro, towering firework-festooned structures known as Castillo (“castle”) and Toro (“bull”) are built and set alight. It is a spectacular sight indeed. Tlaquepaque is also known for its mariachi bands.
On a Focus Program you will get a broad perspective on what’s available and what it would be like for you to live here. You’ll see it all!
Food and Entertainment
Restaurants Galore. One of the really special treats in the Lake Chapala area is the incredible abundance of excellent restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisine from Argentinean, French, Italian, Peruvian, Greek, German, Chinese, Japanese, Vegetarian, International, English Fish & Chips, good old-fashioned home cooking and, of course, Mexican. Many of the restaurants have live entertainment: Mariachi, Country, Jazz, Oldies, Ball Room, Irish, Rock & Roll, Big Band, and Easy Listening, among others. Many well known artists, writers, poets, painters and actors live or visit here and quite often entertain in local establishments. You never know who you might see.
You'll have the pleasure of sampling some of the best during your stay on a Focus program. The only complaint we have ever received on our programs is we provide too much excellent food. We don't apologize. Come hungry! Many of our participants refer to the Focus program as a 'Cruise on Land.' Don't worry, we offer physical activities to work it off along the way.
You'll attend a welcome cocktail party to give everyone a chance to get to know other participants and Focus staff. (If at all possible please try to arrive in the afternoon in order to be able to attend the 6:00 p.m. Greeting Cocktail party, followed by an early dinner at the hotel.)
Lake Chapala Home Tour
One of the attractions of Mexican architecture is homes here are individual, each with their own style and personality, not so much mass produced where they all look the same. In fact, it is interesting to note that in the Mexican Universities that instruct on architecture, they are teaching architects to design homes around their client's personality and lifestyle, not just their needs.
We take you on a real estate tour where you'll have the chance to see 'behind the walls,' inside homes and developments in various locations so you can get a feel for the different styles of construction and types of neighborhoods as well as an idea of values and prices. We'll point out which areas are more popular and which are not so popular, and why. You'll see older homes in established neighborhoods and new homes being built. You'll get a broad perspective of single family homes in the villages (tour of homes from $100,000 to $400,000USD) and newer homes in gated communities. View preview of Los Sabinos Gated Community. You'll also see a new development with a Yacht club chock full of amenities ranging in price from $220,000 to $350,000 USD. Another great investment opportunity has new homes starting at $155,000 USD. And of course, for those that want a more exclusive lifestyle, we have larger lots with custom homes starting just under $500,000 USD.
You'll see the construction process and learn how different it is from north of the border. We'll escort you through the villages that lie along Lake Chapala so you can compare the differences.
We give you a presentation on construction and architecture so you can understand and appreciate the differences and we point out things you need to watch for. Things are different in Mexico, and it is important for you to know these differences before you purchase real estate. The information you’ll learn from our Real Estate Seminar could save you money and a lot of frustration as well. Our program, in all aspects, is designed to keep you out of trouble. Then for those who are more serious about real estate, we arrange for appointments to take you out one-on-one to show you properties specific to your needs. During the program you'll get a good idea of real estate values and neighborhoods so you'll be able to make a good investment decision, when the time is right for you. (Some people who come on a Focus program are ready to buy during the program and move within the year. Others can be a year or two away and just at the planning stage.) We'll be there to help you through the process whenever you are ready. As we mentioned, there is zero pressure from our part. We know everyone has their own time-line for their retirement plan.
You’ll learn about rentals – availability and cost, things to do and why you absolutely must insist on a Rental Lease Agreement in English.
As we said, our program is designed to keep you out of trouble and enjoy your new life lakeside.
Prices and Dates