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How to use public transportation in Chapala and Ajijic

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How to use public transportation in Chapala and Ajijic Empty How to use public transportation in Chapala and Ajijic

Post by skydancer on Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:07 pm

I'm arriving in Chapala in a couple of weeks and will be staying for 7 weeks. It has been 3 years since my last visit. I am going to be without a car. I know where the main bus depot is in Chapala and I've seen people line up for the bus on Madero. I will be staying at Nuevo Chapala, now known as Campuestre Chapala, and can walk to downtown Chapala but a relative that will be staying with me for 2 weeks can't walk that far. I have seen people waiting for the bus on Zaragoza but don't know the details. Is there a bus schedule posted somewhere or does the bus come at regular intervals? Are there designated bus stops? When I get on the bus do I need to tell the bus driver where I am going? Can the bus driver make change? I don't mean from large bills. Does anyone know what the fare is from say downtown Chapala to someplace in Ajijic that I can remember the name of, like the plaza Bugambilias? Do I pull a cord to make the bus stop at any cross street or will it only stop at the next regular stop? Where are the safest places to cross the street in Ajijic. I don't want to become road kill. How do I get a bus from Ajijic back to Chapala? Someone told me to stand on any street corner and wave as the bus gets close. I seem to remember she told me to use a special style of wave, arm out, palm down and move my arm up and down. Is that correct? I don't want to look like an idiot doing arm exercises if that isn't what I'm supposed to do. I've tried to learn Spanish but it is just won't stay in my head. Most of what I've learned I mispronounce. I'd like to know some phrases to use on the bus and I'll write them down and practice. Any tips on buses, stops, fares and bus etiquette would be appreciated.

Taxis - I've always lived in the suburbs and have very limited taxi experience. I've only ridden in a taxi once in the US and that was from an airport. In Mexico I've only used a taxi to get from the Guadalajara airport to Chapala. How do I use a taxi while staying in Chapala? How do I get a taxi when I am at a restaurant or another public place? Do I ask one of the staff to call a taxi and pay them a tip? How much of a tip? How do I arrange a taxi to return me to the airport? I will be house-sitting for a friend so I will have use of a phone, but, again, my Spanish is limited with very poor pronunciation. Are the prices pretty standard for trips from Chapala to from Ajijic? What is the range so that I know if I am being taken? What is the range of prices from Chapala to the airport? Do you negotiate a price before you get in the taxi? Guess you can't do that if you call a taxi unless you want it to drive away. Can someone recommend a taxi driver that speaks English, that is based in Chapala? I have limited funds so can't afford to use a taxi very often. Any suggestions about using taxis would be appreciated.

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Post by juanrey on Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:29 pm

Bus fare from Ajijic to Chapala around 8 pesos. Driver can make change.

Bus stops typically have a bench and a slight roof, look for them.

Bus will stop at predesignated intersections but if you pull the cord will also stop.

Search Francisco on this board for name and contact info of driver locally, his son Luis does airport runs, speaks English and is good. Prices are predefined so no negotiating but reasonable.
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Post by skydancer on Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:44 pm

juanrey wrote:Bus fare from Ajijic to Chapala around 8 pesos. Driver can make change.

Bus stops typically have a bench and a slight roof, look for them.

Bus will stop at predesignated intersections but if you pull the cord will also stop.

Search Francisco on this board for name and contact info of driver locally, his son Luis does airport runs, speaks English and is good. Prices are predefined so no negotiating but reasonable.

Thank you for your answers. Still hoping to find out how frequently the bus runs, more often during certain hours? How about at night or on the weekend? What about that special wave? I'll search for the name "Francisco" for taxi service. How do I get a taxi when I'm at a public place (I don't have a cell) and how much to tip the person who helps me?

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Post by CanuckBob on Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:05 pm

While not using the bus system myself it seems to me the buses run about every 15 minutes or so during the day. I'm not sure what time they run until at night but it's not very late. You can get a taxi during the day at either of the plazas in Chapala or Ajijic. This is where they hang out until just after dinner or so. Getting a taxi at night you will need a number and access to a telephone. They don't cruise around looking for fares. I would suggest you purchase a cheap prepaid cellphone once arrive.
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Post by simpsca on Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:31 pm

Buses run frequently during the day - every 15 to 20 minutes. They become scarce in the evening and stop around 9 to 10pm - I wouldn't take one past 7pm. Taxis are reasonable, especially if you have several people sharing one - around 50 pesos from Chapala to downtown Ajijic - there is a taxi stand in front of the town plaza in Chapala so you can ask how much to the destination you want. If you go out at night make sure you arrange in advance for someone to pick you up - like Francisco mentioned above. Taxis are scarce in the evenings.
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Post by borderreiver on Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:49 pm

The buses are good. You'll notice some will have fibreglass seats and some upholstered (these are a bonus). For a nice day trip and a bit of a splurge hop on a Ajijic bus and stay on till the end of the line, San Juan Cosala, where the bus does a U turn and returns to Chapala. You can stay on or get off and walk the short distance to Viva Mexico for a memorable lunch. Occasionally the big buses will stop for you. It's worth the wave. Same price for comparative luxury.
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Post by sparks on Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:14 pm

Chapala buses go to Jocotepec with a real station there (beyond San Juan Cosala). Another place to walk around tho it's about 10 blocks to the plaza and market
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Post by skydancer on Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:20 pm

borderreiver wrote:The buses are good. You'll notice some will have fibreglass seats and some upholstered (these are a bonus). For a nice day trip and a bit of a splurge hop on a Ajijic bus and stay on till the end of the line, San Juan Cosala, where the bus does a U turn and returns to Chapala. You can stay on or get off and walk the short distance to Viva Mexico for a memorable lunch. Occasionally the big buses will stop for you. It's worth the wave. Same price for comparative luxury.
You mentioned the "wave". Did I describe it correctly? It that really how you are supposed to get a bus to stop? Where is Viva Mexico in relationship to the stop in San Juan Cosala? That trips sounds like fun.

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Post by skydancer on Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:28 pm

Thank you all for providing me with answers to my endless questions. The information you have shared with me is greatly appreciated. I feel much more prepared to enjoy Lakeside without a vehicle.

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Post by Gamina on Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:57 pm

skydancer wrote:Thank you all for providing me with answers to my endless questions. The information you have shared with me is greatly appreciated. I feel much more prepared to enjoy Lakeside without a vehicle.

The "wave" to get a bus to stop that I have seen most frequently used is, hold your arm out straight at about a 45 degree angle with your index finger pointed up. Even if there are 6 people waiting for a bus it will not stop if no one signals. You can catch a bus anywhere along it's route even if there is no designated stop. The little buses with yellow writing are more "local" and go down through the villages. The larger buses with red writing on the side stay on the carretera. If the sign in the front window says Joco then it goes all the way there. Otherwise it turns around at San Juan Cosala.
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Post by simpsca on Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:20 am

skydancer wrote:
borderreiver wrote:The buses are good. You'll notice some will have fibreglass seats and some upholstered (these are a bonus). For a nice day trip and a bit of a splurge hop on a Ajijic bus and stay on till the end of the line, San Juan Cosala, where the bus does a U turn and returns to Chapala. You can stay on or get off and walk the short distance to Viva Mexico for a memorable lunch. Occasionally the big buses will stop for you. It's worth the wave. Same price for comparative luxury.
You mentioned the "wave". Did I describe it correctly? It that really how you are supposed to get a bus to stop? Where is Viva Mexico in relationship to the stop in San Juan Cosala? That trips sounds like fun.

Viva Mexico is Closed and reopens Friday. The owner has been remodeling so it should be really nice now. Great food good prices. The bus usually leaves you off on the carraterra near the church. When you get off head toward the lake, go one block and make a right. You should be at the church and accross from it the plaza. If you have time, there is a tiny museum in the center of the plaza. It is surrounded by glass walls so if not open you can still see the ancient artifacts mostly found in the lake with a little history of the area. It's a nice collection of prehispanic art. Turn right on this street, Porfirio Diaz and go 1 1/2 blocks and on the right with a sign over the restaurant is Viva Mexico. He is open every day from 12 noon to 8pm or 10pm if he has enough business.
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Post by skydancer on Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:23 pm

OK, I now know how to do the "wave" to get a bus to stop. Drivers make change. I can get off other than designated stops. There is a bus that turns around at San Juan Cosala and another that goes all the way to Joco. Service is frequent during the day but I should take a taxi after 7. And for a fun day trip I have directions to Viva Mexico.

I will contact Francisco to take me to the airport but for short trips I can locate taxis in front of the bus depot in Chapala and at the plaza in Ajijic, except in the evening/night, when I should arrange for a pick-up in advance or be prepared to call.

This is a friendly and information board. I have placed your wonderful suggestions into a document and have placed it in my travel folder.

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Post by CanuckBob on Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:46 pm

There are also many taxis at the plaza in Chapala. Should be no need to walk up to the bus depot unless of course your coming from that direction. Hope you enjoy your visit.

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Post by mikey1953 on Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:55 pm

Francisco is great
766-1142


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Post by juanrey on Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:18 pm

Here's an email for Franciso.
miramontes-transfer@hotmail.com
His son Luis does most of the airport runs and if you email him he has an iphone and replies fairly quickly.
If you email him with your flight info he will pick you up at the Burger King which is right outside the Customs exit.
His father does most of the local runs, plus they have additional drivers if you call.

Good luck

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Post by saege007 on Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:26 pm

The buses do not have "pulls" to stop them. Some of the buses have buttons you can push that are towards the back doors of the bus. Some don't. If your stop is coming up and there is nothing to push, then say to the driver "proxima parada, por favor" (next stop, please) or whatever street name followed by por favor. If you push the button and the bus does not stop, or if you can't get to the front before it wants to leave the stop, yell "bajan!"

The drivers also can and do make change from larger bills if that is all you have ($50s, $100s and $200s)

The smaller buses go through the villages, which helps you figure out where a lot of stuff is along the way. They take longer, but sometimes, if the big buses are full, it can be very hard to get to the front of the bus to get let off. The big buses very often do not have buttons to push to signal a stop. Also, the big buses cost a couple pesos more than the small ones.
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Post by gringomojado on Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:27 pm

Before my company gave me a car, I would take the bus from Chapala and get off at Parque Agua Azul,then hoof it, as the plant was in the old industrial zone then. Had to go to the old bus terminal to get back to Chapala. Busses used to play video cassettes then, but the ride would end before the movie did, but drivers could be convinced to start in the middle. These were Primera Plus" busses.
Now the plant is by the new industrial park (Air Base). I enjoyed life more using public transportation,taxis,busses and for longer trips.ETN and Flecha Amarilla busses at the new bus center. They all give you a ham sandwich
(with a slice of Jalapeño) and can of pop as you get on.
Public transportation is the way to go and also see things!
gm
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