San Luis Soyatlán is a town on the south side of Lake Chapala, facing the town of Chapala across the waters, in the municipality of Tuxcueca, in the Jalisco state, a region known as Cienega (a region that borders the neighboring state of Michoacan and surrounds Lake Chapala).
The name "San Luis" is a homage to its patron saint Saint Louis of Toulouse. "Soyatlán" (Nauatl) means "place of soyates". Soyate is a material that's used to create hats and mats. Although none of these items are sold in San Luis, it bears this part of its name.
Buses from various transportation companies leave every 20 minutes or so from the old central bus station (la central vieja) in Guadalajara. You may ask for a ticket to San Luis or if boarding a bus from a bus stop, ensure that the bus is in route to Sahuayo, Michoacan. You will reach San Luis mid-route.
From Guadalajara, follow the sings to Colima, Michoacan or Mazamitla, Jalisco using the interstate road Mexico 15 (Mexico 15 Mexico City – Nogales). This road pases right through San Luis. You will start seeying signs to San Luis once outside the metropolitan area but staying on the MX 15 road. Asuming you're in central Guadalajara, it take around an hour and a half to reach San Luis.
San Luis is a common-size town; anyone is able to reach virtually every corner by foot. However, its elongated shape makes people prefer to take quads or vehicles from one end to the other over walking. The town follows the lake lake longwise with the malecon-park in between.
- 1 Main Temple. The town's catholic temple, dedicated to Saint Louis of Toulouse, the most outstanding structure in San Luis. Its bell tower is used as the town's icon.
- 2 Capilla del Señor de la Salud (Chapel of the Lord of the Health). Catholic chapel.
- 3 Park and Malecón. A setting combination of a malecon with parks featuring 3 piers, a kids playground, a workout area, brick tables with seats and grills nearby, 2 basketball courts, 1 volleyball court, 1 soccer field, and an open parking area. There are 2 public restrooms (opened only at certain hours and days) at $2-$5 pesos per person per use. Local liquor stores have restroom service up until midnight on weekends.
- 4 El Mirador viewpoint ("The Viewer"). A hilltop viewpoint of the town and lake, 30 minutes up the nearest hill walking. This spot holds the town's cross. There is also The "Salto" waterfall near here.
- 5 El Salto waterfall ("The Jump") (just a few meters past the "Mirador" viewpoint). A double waterfall on the nearest hill that can be seen from the town. It becomes active during and after heavy rains, mostly lasting a couple days each activity. It's 30 minutes away from the town walking, 15 minutes by vehicle (low cars are not recommended). It can also be climbed up to by following the river up the hill. Because of the river's numerous cascades, it's a wet alternative, but it's the best way to reach the lower taller waterfall.
During New Years celebration all the lake-bordering towns host a array of fireworks. A show that can be seen better from rooftops and malecones.
During the Lent period (the christian 40-day holiday), locally known as Enramadas or Hut Season, many people put huts in the malecón (local government permission required) where they sell various cocktail drinks and snacks.
In honor to the town's patron saint Saint Louise of Toulouse, festivities non as Fiestas Patronales or "Patronal Festivities"are held during the month of August from the 11th to the 19th. In some occasions the dates are moved so the festivities start on a Saturday and end on a Sunday (usually staring on the second Saturday of the month). With food and drink posts, rides, serenades, and dances in and round the town's plaza.
Every weekend from mid-afternoon Saturday and all-day Sunday, the malecón get visited from outsiders. With almost the same ambiance and an August festivity. With music, drinks, food, and a parking area where people usually spend their time.
There are various eateries that open during their own times throughout the day. From Birria and Carnitas served in the morning, to tacos and pizzas in the evening (although not limited to each). Groceries are sold throughout the day from various local stores, including non-perishable items from a commercial quick-stop store.
The "Vampiro" ("Vampire") is the red-colored cocktail drink of which San Luis is most famous for, although its popularity comes from a very few vendors. It's made with sangria, Sprite soda, a couple juices, and the tequila of choice.
Open WiFi can be found in the town's plaza and the temple. There are also some vendors (usually drinks vendors) that will offer their WiFi passcodes, but this is only for seated customers.
GSM signals up to 4G cover San Luis. You might find some spots without signal, however.