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Thinking about moving to Lake Chapala for retirement- from San Diego

I am living in San Diego and looking forward to retirement.  I am seriously thinking about mexico.  I used to cross the border back in my youth when things were so much different.  Spent a few vacations in Puerto Vallarta.  I want simple and happy life with less stress.  I am thinking about Lake Chapala area but am open.  I would be moving as a single woman.

welcome blondee  i am new here too :) would be pleasure to talk ,

Hello blondee and welcome on board Expat.com

Kindly note that a new thread has been created as from your post on the Mexico forum to help you get better interactions.

Regards
Kenjee
Expat.com Team

I have not lived there but have traveled there and elsewhere in Mexico for many years. I would choose San Miguel de Allende over Chapala. But it is a matter of personal taste. Point is, you should check out a number of places before making a final decision. Best bet is to rent for awhile and see how you feel about the place before committing a lot of money to a house or condo.

Come to think of it, I might  choose the city of Guanajuato because it has a more Mexican "flavor" because there are not so many expats there.  Sometimes on the square in San Miguel it seems there are more expats than Mixicans living there....not true in reality, of course.

hi

bossdryer :

hi

How can we help you ??

Do you have information about Lake Chapala that may be of interest to members ??

Hello Blondee;

I live in Chapala at Lake Chapala and I was raised in SD.  I go back to SD once or twice a year to visit a friend there and get my shot of USA.  I will tell you what I know and you can always get ahold of me personally for any questions you may have.  I originally moved to the Puerto Vallarta area because I love the ocean, and I was there for 3 years.  But the heat and humidity really wrecked havoc on my life and I was miserable.  So I spent a summer in Ajijic and loved it.  Even the summer weather was better than the West Coast of Mexico in my opinion.  The really hot time here is now before the rainy season starts, but it is so much more tolerable for me.  It is a peaceful, low key area for retirement.  Most Gringas and Gringos are living in the Ajijic location, but the area is full of North Americans.  I chose Chapala because it is more Mexican and it is cheaper.  It is beautiful here!  San Miguel is also nice, but pricier.  Choose based on what is important to you.  Weather is a biggee!

One year in Ajijic and now 7 in SMA. Personally prefer the latter.

saludos

Sonia

My wife and I lived in San Nicolas de Ibarra for two years.  Chapala is a couple of miles away.  We have visited
San Miguel de Allende.  If you want the real Mexico, move to Chapala.  If you want to live with a lot of other Gringos, then go to San Miguel.  Prices in San Miguel will be noticeably higher than Chapala.  We have visited 50 cities in Mexico.  If I were to move back, I would move to Chapala.       Ken

kengwin :

We have visited 50 cities in Mexico.  If I were to move back, I would move to Chapala.       Ken

Any knowledge or thoughts on Xalapa or Coatepec?

Have not visited those two places.   Ken

There is a monthly magazine called El Ojo Del Lago that is online and it is free.  It has some really good articles on the Lakeside area.  (Ajijic, Chapala and environs)

I hadn't thought to ask, but I would appreciate if an current residents could guesstimate how much it would cost to live in the Chapala area per month renting a furnished two bedroom apartment, utilities, food and having someone come in 1 day a week to clean and do the laundry for 1 person.

Thanks in advance.

1 or 2 of you?  Will you have a car, or are you going to bus it?

kengwin :

1 or 2 of you?  Will you have a car, or are you going to bus it?

If that was directed at me:
1 person
Bus or taxi.
Thanks

$1500 per month.  That would be cost of apartment, utilities, food, entertainment, taxis and buses, maid, smart phone  and misc. This cost of living is for a $500 per month rental.  Ken

kengwin :

$1500 per month.  That would be cost of apartment, utilities, food, entertainment, taxis and buses, maid, smart phone  and misc. This cost of living is for a $500 per month rental.  Ken

My rent here in Zac. is only $240 right now.

I should have asked for costs in pesos.  But, no matter. I can do the conversions.

Many thanks.

You can find a place in Chapala for $240.  I was giving you an average rent on an average apartment.  If you are thrifty, figure $1000 per month total.  Good luck!

kengwin :

You can find a place in Chapala for $240.  I was giving you an average rent on an average apartment.  If you are thrifty, figure $1000 per month total.  Good luck!

Great!  Thanks again!

Coatepec is next on my list because it's a bit lower and a bit cooler.  Checking it out mid June.
I may check out the market in Chapala and area in July

Hello, my name is Simona. I am easygoing, vivious and young at heart. I am a bit siily, REAL but savvy. I want to move to Lake Chapala or other with my horse. Is there anyone who is around my age 45 and thinks we maybe compatible to see if we can be good friends and move together? My monthly income is1800. Together we could rent a beautiful house with lots of fruit trees and an acre or a real nice villa/condo with stable nearby If you would like to talk, please call me at 916/708-9100 or email me at Simonavanecek[at]gmail.com. =] ~ Simona. Girl or boy as long as you have good character, intentions and positive qualities to be good friends. =] ~Simona

You might do research about living in the whole area as there are probably a lot cheaper places to live than Chapala.  Parts of Chapala are called by other expats "gringo ghetto" because there are so many gringos in the area.  The formula for living in Mexico is: the more expats that live in an area (such as SMA) the more expensive to live.  So I would do a lot of research esp. if you haven't visited the areas in question.  There are several Chapala forums you can find on Google.  This forum is limited compared to others so you need to research several of them rather than relying on just one or two to get sufficient research.

Mexico cost of living only big variable is housing. Gasoline, electricity, telephone, cell phone, propane, Internet vary littl. In any town or city if you shop at local markets for food, clothes, etc you will find low prices. Here in San Miguel we can buy food at Mega and Soriana or go to the many markets including the Tuesday market with hundreds of vendors and pay much less. You go to the Ajijic weekly market or the Chapala market which is noticeably less.

Buen Fin
Sonia
soniadiaz.mx

Would Chapala be appropriate for living car-free (bicycles only)?

Do you live in or near Lake Chapala?
I must admit that I like Grngo living here in Mexico... meaning excellent Internet, American TV, a toilet that flushes, and above all, not having to be HOT! For me, living on the Riviera Maya, that means a LOT of indoor time with the A/C on. Not 100% desirable.

In this area, there are thousands of Gringo condos, so finding these features is not hard.
I'm NOT into 'delux' living, and I'm not rich, but those amenities are important to me.

So..... are there areas near Lake Chapala that have some semi-upscale living?
My condo and utilities here is $1100 US/month... so I imagine anywhere else will be cheaper.

And what's the weather like there?

Thanks for your help.

Yes you can ride a bike but remember a lot of your riding will be up steep hills. I personally became bored in SMA because it is not near the ocean. In my opinion Puerto Vallarta is a better choice because you have all the coastal towns to visit when you need a change. SMA is beautiful but there is not much else around it. Like anything. How much you like the place depends a lot on who you meet.

Of all the places you could chose. Chapala is the one city you would definitely need a car because it is so spread out and has the least amount of bus service.

Yes, many people get by without cars.  Some even have golf carts to get around.
Very good bus system, and there are SOME bike lanes.
Have a friend who bikes most mornings from East of Ajijic - to Jocotopec! 
Also have a friend who has biked a unicycle from Chapala to Ajijic and back! (amazing).
Cheers,
Michael

952craig20 :

Of all the places you could chose. Chapala is the one city you would definitely need a car because it is so spread out and has the least amount of bus service.

Thanks.  We lived in Playa del Carmen car-free and got around just fine by bikes and on foot, but it doesn't sound like that is as easy as do in Chapala.  I sure like the sounds of the climate there, though!

Michael108 :

Yes, many people get by without cars.  Some even have golf carts to get around.
Very good bus system, and there are SOME bike lanes.
Have a friend who bikes most mornings from East of Ajijic - to Jocotopec! 
Also have a friend who has biked a unicycle from Chapala to Ajijic and back! (amazing).
Cheers,
Michael

Hmm, it appears we have a difference of opinion here!  Thanks, Michael.  My husband and I ride bikes many places where no one else would think to; we are avid cyclists in every sense of the word.  We have bikes that can handle racks and panniers and baskets for grocery shopping, etc.  So if it's even possible to bike there, we would probably attempt it.  We've lived car-free in Belize and Playa del Carmen.  Mexico's bus system is 1000% better than Belize's, yet we rode chicken buses all over Belize too!  We are a bit loco, I guess. ;-)

Totally agree with you about the weather!  Beach locations are fabulous but I know I would never make it through the summer at any of them.  I am looking at the higher country.....in the mountains of Mexico because I do well in a cooler climate.  I love trees!  I have been watching the temperature in Ajijic for about six months now and it is in the 70s right now.  In New Mexico I am suffering through 100 degree plus weather and hating it. 

Ajijic is a pretty cool location also because of the artists there.  It is more expensive and there are plenty of expats there, which is not necessarily a bad thing.....you will find lots of accommodations of the expats.  It all depends on what you are looking for.....

I am really leaning towards Patzcuaro......again because I really love mountains and trees.....but I am definitely planning on spending several years looking around and finding my perfect "spot".

I have never had the pleasure of visiting this part of Mexico, other than a short trip to San Cristobal de las Casas a few years back.  It was chilly, especially at night, but the trip was in December.  My husband loves the heat and humidity of the Mayan Riviera, but I am not as enamored of that much heat and humidity.  I like warmth, but not the intense humidity!  I got very tired of pouring sweat all the time in both Belize (Ambergris Caye, another beach destination) and Playa.  I love looking at the ocean but am not really a "beach" person, whatever that means. I enjoy vacationing at the beach but don't need to live at one, don't care for all the tourists and party people beaches tend to attract, and don't really like all the sand and bugs.  I really prefer forests too!

Mountain towns? Take a look at Coatepec, Veracruz. Close to Xalapa but not too close, 4000 feet, and the climate is delightful. We grow coffee and orchids. Rjight now it's mango season. Always something going on here or in the surrounding small towns--participate or not. Just the right number of expats, nice restaurants, music every Friday night at the symphony in Xalapa.

Very green, not very expensive with a good English book exchange if you're a reader.

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