Lake Chapala, the largest fresh water lake in Mexico, is located just 30 mles south of Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico. Guadalajara is quite cosmopolitan and features first class cultural facilities, night life, shopping and medical facilities. and is served by an International airport with direct service to many cities in North America. For a change of pace, Puerto Vallarta is four hours to the west, and Mexico City is five hours to the east. Best of all, the Lake Chapala area has some of the best weather in the world. It is one of the handful of locales that boast a perpetual spring like climate; it never freezes, and it rarely gets above 90 degress F. The communities around the lake have attracted a large expatriate community over the years. This community makes living at Lake Chapala even that much more attractive--great climate, very reasonable cost of living, and camaraderie with like people from the U.S. and Canada. For more information on Lake Chapala check outwww.chapala.comandhttp://www.focusonmexico.com/articles.php
WHY LAKE CHAPALA?
Are you tired of cold winters, hot-humid summers and high taxes? Are you considering retirement in Mexico? If so, you might want to consider the handful of towns on the north shore of Lake Chapala.
Commonly referred to as just Lake Chapala or Lakeside, these quiet communities are in an area where you really can stretch your retirement income and find a comfortable lifestyle on about half of what it costs to live in the United States. You have probably heard about this place and wondered if it's somewhere you could live. Many gringos do. In fact, the largest contingent of expatriates in the world, roughly 15,000, live in the Lake Chapala area, and the majority of these folks are originally from the U.S. and Canada. Life here is mellow, but there is plenty to do, and the coast (Puerto Vallarta) is only 4 hours away by car.
Yes, the climate is mild (summer may be the best time to visit when the rains come early in the day, clear out by noon, and leave the area clean and green), and there are banks, restaurants, hotels, boating clubs and almost everything else you will find at home (almost). But there is still a lot of Old Mexico to be found. It is not a resort area, and that must be kept in mind, it is a place to live---very nicely. Intrigued? Consider these facts:
Lake Chapala offers:
A lower cost-of-living (generally 1/2 of that in the U.S.)
Very low property taxes, no income tax
Cool lake breezes
High quality medical care
Plentiful recreation, from golf to book clubs
Beautiful scenery, tropical vegetation and Lake views
Easy air access to the United States
English-speaking residents and a strong expatriate network
Lake Chapala, located 30 miles south of Guadalajara, is Mexico's largest lake, roughly 55 miles long and 15 miles wide. This area was settled by a Spanish priest in the early 1500s, and it became known as an expatriate retirement spot shortly after WWII. Today, Lake Chapala beckons to retirees, artists and craftsmen.
Several small towns make up the area surrounding the Lake. Ajijic, a town of about 5,000 people, is the area's centerpiece. Cobblestone streets and spectacular gardens hidden behind hand-carved wooden gates and colorful walls contribute to its charm. This is where most gringos choose to live, and although it is a laid-back place, there's nightlife, lots of restaurants and adequate shopping (for serious shopping, Guadalajara, just a short taxi or bus ride away, you'll find Walmart, Costco, Target, Home Depot, plus local stores of all variety). English is spoken by many locals, making adapting to this new home easier than in other parts of Mexico. Some books and guides will tell you that it's possible for a couple to live on $1200 a month in Mexico, and we suppose that is true if corners are cuts and sacrifices are made. We have found, however, that $3,000 per couple is about what one would need for a comfortable (but not elaborate) lifestyle in Chapala. It is possible to spend much more! Some average prices of goods and services:
Landline Telephone...$14/month (Most have dropped their land line and strictly go with cells)
Cell service: $20 to 40/month depending upon plan
Dental cleaning....$20 to $50
Doctor's visit and EKG....$25 to 30
Men's haircut....$6 to 8
Electricity...$15/month (if you don't use a lot)
Maid for one day....$8-12
Coca-Cola (1.5 lt.)....$1.25
THE WEATHEROverall, the climate in Lake Chapala is said to be one of the nicest and the most moderate in the world. The humidity is quite low, increasing somewhat during the rainy season, which runs June through October. Although the rainy season often brings welcome showers at night, the days are usually sunny and pleasant. Keep in mind that the higher the elevation the cooler and less humid the air.