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Post by CanuckBob on Wed May 14, 2014 7:52 pm

We just spent 3 days, 2 nights at Lago Santa Maria del Oro. It was an easy 3 hour drive from Ajijic. About 45 minutes past Tequila, take the Santa Maria del Oro exit right off the 15D. The town of Santa Maria del Oro is about 10 km's off the highway and the lake is another 8 km further.

The town is very quaint. About the size of Chapala.

The lake is very pristine and beautiful. I didn't realize that lakes this clean and clear even existed in Mexico. It is about 3 km round and apparently over 150 meters deep. The water is clear enough to see about 10 feet down and the lake is teaming with fish. It's like looking into an aquarium. We saw both perch and bass although we didn't have much luck catching any. The water was about 86F and perfect for swimming and water sports. You can rent boats to take tours around the lake or go water skiing/tubing/wake boarding, etc.

There are many resorts around the lake ranging from $500 pesos per night to well over $3000 pesos per night. Some of them are pretty swank places. We stayed at a place called Bungalows Koala. This lakefront property was awesome however the facilities and "bungalows" were in very poor condition and run down. We felt that $700 pesos per night was way too much for a place in this condition. I have stayed at places like this on the coast for half the price. We probably wouldn't stay at this one again.

We learned that this lake is really a weekend hotspot and was quite dead during the week. On Monday most places were closed. I would recommend going there from Tuesday thru Friday if you want peace and quiet. It is well worth checking out and I don't think you will be disappointed if lakeside "fun in the sun" is your bag. I understand Lydia & Noe's Tours will be doing another tour there in July and they apparently get a deal at one of these swank resorts. We plan on going back again on that tour.

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Post by Rosa Venus on Wed May 14, 2014 8:31 pm

That lake is especially pretty after the rains come and everything is lush. It's such a volcano crater, like God said, "Okay....we could use a lake here....BOOM!"

Agree about the condition of Koala's Bungalows, which is a shame because the property itself is so perfect. Definitely a playground on weekends, so avoid that scene unless it sounds like fun.
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Post by CanuckBob on Thu May 15, 2014 8:05 am

Yes, I imagine it is even more beautiful during the rainy season. It looks like the lake rises about 10 feet too as we could see the high waterline mark. We are looking forward to going back in July.

What I found interesting was there were absolutely no fishing boats on the lake nor any locals "squatting" along the shoreline. I am wondering if this lake may be a private affair and not under the Federal Zone control.
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Post by borderreiver on Thu May 15, 2014 11:27 am

Thanks for the good info Bob. Did you happen to eat at the Koala resto ?
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Post by viajero on Thu May 15, 2014 12:41 pm

Jacques Cousteau Jr. explored the lake and according to the locals I talked to was unable to determine it's depth.

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Post by CanuckBob on Thu May 15, 2014 12:54 pm

borderreiver wrote:Thanks for the good info Bob. Did you happen to eat at the Koala resto ?

That restaurant was closed the whole time we were there (as were most of the other ones around that lake). Apparently they only open it on the weekends. It would have been nice if they told us that when we booked. This place is really quite quiet during the week. Most of the little stores and the few restaurants that did open during the week were only opened very limited hours.
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Post by CanuckBob on Thu May 15, 2014 12:55 pm

viajero wrote:Jacques Cousteau Jr. explored the lake and according to the locals I talked to was unable to determine it's depth.

I had heard that, but one of the locals told us they did recently discover the depth at around 150 meters. Don't know why JCJ wouldn't have discovered that since it is not that deep (if true).
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Post by viajero on Thu May 15, 2014 1:28 pm

CanuckBob wrote:
viajero wrote:Jacques Cousteau Jr. explored the lake and according to the locals I talked to was unable to determine it's depth.

I had heard that, but one of the locals told us they did recently discover the depth at around 150 meters. Don't know why JCJ wouldn't have discovered that since it is not that deep (if true).
I think it's one of those local legends,they also advised me not to swim in it because of the "remolinos",LOL.

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Post by CanuckBob on Thu May 15, 2014 1:40 pm

Jaja.....the lake was beautiful for swimming. It did get a little choppy in the afternoon when the wind blew up but not bad enough to cause problems.
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Post by CanuckBob on Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:39 am

For those that want to check out this beautiful lake you can come along on Lydia's Tour, July 7 to 9.

We will be staying at the Santa Maria resort. It is a very nice place.

http://lydiastours.webs.com/santa-maria-july-7-to-9

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Post by somewhereinmexico on Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:43 pm

I have visited santa maria over 30 times and its one of my favorites. I suggest having lunch at "la selva" restaurant thats next to the hotel lago escondido. That hotel is the newest and its quite a place. Bring some bubble bath soap for your private jacuzzi/bathtub on your balcony. My favorite dish at la selva is the breaded shrimp that comes with beans,rice and salad. (Camarones empanisados) the local dish is the fried fish thats called "pescado chicharon"

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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:28 pm

There is a group of us heading there again with Lydia's Tours on July 7/14. They may have one or two rooms left for anyone interested.

http://lydiastours.webs.com/
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Post by juanrey on Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:17 pm

Sure was glad to read your report and it is the main reason we're going on Noe's tour July 7 - 9.
Love Noe's tours, small enough groups, very friendly folks, looking forward to it a lot.
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Post by Pedro on Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:41 pm

let us know what the fishing is like por favor
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Post by somewhereinmexico on Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:32 pm

my suggestion is to arrange a panga boat to pick you up at the hotel and take you to "la selva" restaurant and then come back in a cuople of hours.
dont forget the traditional ice cream that is located once you make it down the mountain and the lake is straight in front of you... when you make a right turn is on your right....

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Post by juanrey on Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:58 am

Saw this post on FB and thought I'd share.  In case you might not be aware of Noe & Lydia's tours, they are awesome.  Like going on a trip with your friends and family.  

Today I gave a Tour to a couple of friends from Hawai to the Piramides of Guachimontones and
Tequila Jalisco, and a Lady named Rosy from AJIJIc..who works at Chárter Club Tours ofended me in front of my friends and told me that Im an ilegal Tour guide. Im not a Tour guide I just organize Tours..We always hire profesional Tour guides for our friends clients,plus we went to the Secretaría de Turismo..and they told us that is no problem if we do Tours (one every month.). But unfornately there is people who don't like that,specially does who are in the same Tour business... I think they dont like that we charge less money. than them and also we offer our personal atention in a first class service, plus live music in our Tours.. Anyway I wanted to share this..just in case that you hear it by Rosy..
We are working legal
.
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Post by twelveoaks on Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:50 am

John.
I usually don't get involved in the threads but after thinking about this for a while I have the following to offer:
CBob started this thread to inform the public about the beauty of the place and to make people aware of the pending Lydia tour. Your thread that also praised Lydia's tours did not need the facebook posting from Lyidia. Your positive comments would have sufficed. I have taken several tours from both companies and have found that there are many differences and the traveller can determine which company is best for them. The statement by Lydia that they charge less could be a result of many of her trips being 3 day 2 night and CC being 4 day 3 night. Also, CC seems to use better hotels and never has cancelled a trip at the last minute.

Anyway, don't see what the purpose of posting Lidia's facebook rant was.

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Post by CanuckBob on Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:59 am

It was actually Noe who posted that on Face Book, not Lydia..........just to set the record straight. I believe Juanrey posted it in case this Rosey is telling people that Noe is working illegally, which he is not.
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Post by juanrey on Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:43 pm

CanuckBob wrote:It was actually Noe who posted that on Face Book, not Lydia..........just to set the record straight. I believe Juanrey posted it in case this Rosey is telling people that Noe is working illegally, which he is not.

You are correct Bob. Looking forward to the trip.
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Post by CanuckBob on Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:17 am

Our second trip to Santa Maria Del Oro was even better. The accommodations, Santa Maria Resorts, was very nice.

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Post by juanrey on Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:12 am

Bob and Sharon told us that the lake was beautiful, so we joined in on the trip and had a great time.  Truly one of the most scenic lakes I have been to and the accommodations were great.  Lydia and Noe put together a real nice trip and it was a ton of fun.

Link to my blog update about our trip:
https://sites.google.com/site/ouradventureinchapala/home/2014---our-third-year/2014-07---julio/07-10---sta-maria

Link to the picture album of our trip https://picasaweb.google.com/109815088072841204982/SantaMariaDelOro?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJaIlN3z8smwXA&feat=directlink
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Post by Pedro on Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:26 am

nice! but no fishing report?
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Post by juanrey on Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:45 am

Ahhhh, lo siento Sr Pedro.
We asked and the lake cannot be fished except for residents, and is for their consumption only.
So, not a good lake for a fishing trip.

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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:18 am

No, it is OK for tourists to fish there too. We fished there the first time through. There is just no "commercial fishing" allowed.
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Post by SunFan on Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:21 am

We could see lots of fingerings ( looked like Bass) along the shore so there must be larger ones as well.
I was nice to see clear water again after Lago Chapala and Ague Milpa.

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