We wanted to take a short trip to check out all of the systems in the motorhome, before heading out to the Pacific coast, hopefully next month. There were several small problems, but I think we have them identified, some remedied, and a plan for the others.
Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest lake, and the north shore, between the city of Chapala and Jocotepec, at the west end of the lake, is the location of the largest expat community in Mexico. This area boasts the second best climate in the world. Spring-like weather year round. I thought that there would be many choices for RV Camping in this area, but as far as I can tell, there is only one. Roca Azul.
Roca Azul is much, much more than a RV Campground. It is also a “private club” and event center for sporting activities. There are hot springs located on the property, and there are two swimming pools. One is heated by the thermal springs, the other is not. There are steam baths, and thermal showers.
There is a huge soccer field, tennis courts, basketball courts, both hard and sand volley ball courts, tether ball rings, playground for the kids, restaurant, live entertainment, all located on several acres of well manicured land at the west end of the lake.
There are lake views from several locations on the property. There is a walkway out toward the lake, with an old pier and lighthouse. The lake level must have been a bit higher in the past, because the pier is now land locked, however the lake level is currently very low.
There seem to be 5 – 7 men working at all times, very unobtrusively, maintaining the grounds. This is a huge property, obviously built many years ago, in a very grand style. It appears to have gone through a period of disrepair, but is now trying to be brought back to its previous splendor. They seem to be making good headway.
Further to the west from the restaurant is a huge pool, steam rooms, showers, and cabins for rent around the pool. There are many architecturally interesting columns, fountains, gardens, etc. scattered around the property.
Teodoro (Theodore) is the day manager, and was most gracious. He checked with us several times during our stay to make sure that everything was good. It is obvious that the management staff here are trying very hard to make for everyone to have a enjoyable stay.
There are also many full time residents in the RV areas. We met one man, Ron, who said that he has been here for 12 years.
All that said, actually finding and getting to Roca Azul was a bit challenging. It is located at the west end of the lake. The entrance is on Highway 15, just southeast of Jocotepec. There is a narrow cobblestone divided road, which runs through a large agricultural area, and a old subdivision which has seen better times. Then through another narrow gate and another subdivision, which better than the last, has also seen better days. It sort of reminds me of places like Cape Coral, Florida, where there are many large subdivisions which never really filled up, so there are many vacant lots, a few nice houses here and there, and a few really run down, or deserted houses. But it is not the sort of place that made me nervous in any way. It is just sort of sad.
There are other places in this area to live in your RV, more or less full time, or seasonally, but they are located within the cities, three to five RVs on a city lot. They are not the sort of place that you could drive into the area, and find a place to spend the night or a few days or a few weeks. Roca Azul is just about your only option. There is a “back way” to get to Jocotepec, if you just need to run in for supplies, but not in your motorhome. There is a small store in the restaurant at Roca Azul, but it is only open on the weekend, and is very lightly stocked. We were told that they would have charcoal there for the grills, but they did not.