Deciding between Ajijic and SMDA

My wife and I plan to move from the central coast of CA, to live October to April in Mexico. We are deciding between Ajijic and SMDA. I spent time in Ajijic and like it a great deal, though with a some concern about the expat community. It largely is retired and, perhaps this isn't fair, seems to lack a certain grounded-ness. I've not yet visited San Miguel de Allende.  Do you know if there is much difference? Does SMDA attract more people who are 1) younger and more professionally active 2) less anti-American and 3) more clear-eyed and grounded?  That said, there are wonderful people in Ajijic and perhaps it isn't fair to generalize, especially as I've not spent a lot of time there.

Any comments would be helpful.  Thank you.

Wow I can tell you have spent time in Ajijic. Yes at 49 and retired me and my wife feel like unicorns because we are so rare. And yes some of the local old retirees have to us to our face we don't belong here.... Lol.




Also there are non liberals who live here. I'm a libertarian and the local magazine written by local liberals is a hate filled rag that gives me and my wife great comedy once a month. The local message boards are filled with hateful old liberals too. But I have met tons of great normal x pats too. It's just that the hate filled liberals just stand out more.




We have made friends with a lot of locals over the past year and they have opened up with us and let us know they would love more of our type here. Heck a old liberal ran over a local dog walker while he was on the bike path and all the hateful libs defended her. She saw no penalty for straight out running him over and then they had the gal to ask other x pats to cover the poor man's medical bills because the old liberal didn't have the money too. She should of at min been deported.




But there are a lot of us non liberals here and the locals love us. And more and more of us Gen x types will be filling spots here to. I know we retired really early here but we love it. The people (locals) are awesome and most of the xpats are great to live with you just have to learn to ignore and laugh at the old liberals and how much hate they spew

@jonathan49

I grew up in the lake Chapala area. My dad retired there. I have done research on the retiring community.

https://jewlscholar.mtsu.edu/items/85d0 … dce06cb56f

I also have family in San Miguel who owns businesses. Both areas share similarities, they both have attracted retirees for decades . Still, they are different in several way, for example, weather, cost of living, etc.

It sounds like you are younger than the average retiree, perhaps a coastal area like Puerto Vallarta or a city like Guadalajara or even Mexico City might offer more activities for you.

Good luck

Thank you!

@S Mqz  Can you expand upon your weather, cost of living comment, thanks.

SMA: Vibrant

Ajijic 💤

I lived in Guadalajara for 6 years way back in the 80s.  Will be relocating back to Mexico in the next several months.  I speak a conversational Spanish.


Standard Gringo Question (with some qualifiers) Can any one give a down and dirty rental comparison between the Lake Chapala area and SMA on a 1 bedroom "simple but clean" apartment - either furnished or not -- in in a relatively "safe" neighborhood that is located (1) 5-8 minute walk from "center" and (2) 10-15 minute bus ride from town.


THANKS

SMA: Vibrant
Ajijic 💤
-@CasaNaranja

Yes and that is why I live in Ajijic.  Its not hip and noisy with so many night clubs they had to close a street off because the rich who went to those clubs had there drivers sitting out on the packed streets all night.


So please if you want Vibrant.... IE party town please go to SMA.  Your not really a good fit for Ajijic anyways.  And Im not even 50 yet and retired here because it is a nice quite place to LIVE.  If you want to party you can go into Guad and have so much more then SMA.


Nothing wrong with either life style.  We who live in Ajijic/Lake Chapala enjoy our quite life. We moved to Mexico 1.5 years ago and looked at all of the places.  SMA didn't fit the bill for us because of the disney land feel of the town.  You have the whole northern part of the lake and even some smaller towns on the southern part to make home.  And if your looking for a great spot to just live its great.  Sure we take off to see things but that is what Air BnB is for.  But we love coming home to our quite lake in the mountains where we can just enjoy life.

I lived in Guadalajara for 6 years way back in the 80s. Will be relocating back to Mexico in the next several months. I speak a conversational Spanish.

Standard Gringo Question (with some qualifiers) Can any one give a down and dirty rental comparison between the Lake Chapala area and SMA on a 1 bedroom "simple but clean" apartment - either furnished or not -- in in a relatively "safe" neighborhood that is located (1) 5-8 minute walk from "center" and (2) 10-15 minute bus ride from town.
THANKS
-@Johnny Earl

Tons of good rental sites for Lake Chapala online, most are real estate agents.  We rented from https://www.accesslakechapala.com they have a lot of stuff but there are at least 4 or 5 more you can look thru. Prices are cheaper in Jocotepec or San Juan Cosala.  1 Bedrooms can be had for 500 ish USD a month.  Now getting a view with one of those is super hard.  We wanted a Lake and Mountain view so ended up in a 3 bed 2.5 bath in western Ajijic out of the tight bunching of houses in more of a suburb (for American example) area on the mountain side.  We rented for $1100 a month 2 story with roof mirador.


https://photos.app.goo.gl/JAAQQ5sEaf17BkNu7


So unless your really just looking for cheap then going up some you might have to deal with more room then  you need but you get a view to drink coffee or a margarita from! 


https://sanmiguelrealestate.com/real-es … erm?sort=2


That is what I found in less than a min in SMA. From what I see holy crap the prices have went up in the last 1.5 years when we were looking.

@MexicoAfterlife Thanks

Have not been but researched Ajijic. Not sure what you mean by "grounded" but if you mean redneck/ultra-conservative, a couple I've known for years, who I would describe as the most redneck imaginable, loved and felt completely at home in Ajijic. YMMV

Have not been but researched Ajijic. Not sure what you mean by "grounded" but if you mean redneck/ultra-conservative, a couple I've known for years, who I would describe as the most redneck imaginable, loved and felt completely at home in Ajijic. YMMV
-@hbjulie

LOL there are tons of super liberals here. They print a monthly magazine we read for the comedy. The most hateful stuff is said in it

So bad it is pure comedy.  And you can see them in public because they are the ones alone in their car with masks on... Lol.


This place is not red neck heaven. But like I said a great place to live and retire if you don't feel the need to be in party central. That is a taxi ride away in Guadalajara.

We were living in Los Osos before coming to Mexico. 


We started out in San Miguel de Allende in Sep 2022 and planned to spend a year there and possibly buy a home.   After six months we went for a visit to Ajijic - fell in love with the area and decided to relocate there right away.  I think SMA is a great place...but Ajijic is the right spot for us.   


You will find lots of strong opinions from the expats in both locations as to which is best.   I'd recommend you spend some time in each to see what appeals to you. 


We prefer being by the water and the natural beauty of the Chapala area.   There is more than enough social and cultural things to keep us engaged and we really like the smaller "village" feel of being here.   It's a lake town and has that relaxed vibe that goes along with it.   


A loose comparison might be that Ajijic is more like Morro Bay/Los Osos and SMA is more like San Luis Obispo or Arroyo Grande.


Hope that helps!

Dave


we spent 2 weeks in SMA last year and are coming back for the summer this year (June-Oct) to try it on. Lake Chapala is also on my potentials list and we are going to make a trip there during this time. Being from Ventura, and having a daughter living in SLO your review hit all the comps for me. The two things you listed: being near water and green space/nature are the things I thought SMA was a little short on. I guess we will see.

thanks for the review and we'd love to touch base with you in Ajijic for more info.


Bob and Anastasia

@rginnca Definitely! Feel free to reach out and we'll meet up for lunch when you come to visit!


We are still newbies but so far we are really pleased we made the change - both to Mexico and now to Ajijic.  I don't think you can wrong with either SMA or Ajijic.  They are both quite welcoming with lots of services and support to help you get situated.


If you know you are going to live regularly in Mexico it's good to get the residency, etc.  We have found it worth the money to hire "facilitators" to help us get assistance with things (residency, RFC, CURP, etc.)  It's tempting to just do it on your own (and feasible especially if you speak Spanish) but it's also pretty cheap to use some of the services and avoid a lot of stress!  Get the Mexico Relocation Guide as well. It's well done and we still find ourselves turning to it for guidance.

@MexicoAfterlife

It's  not a party town!  Plenty of places outside of Centro to live and avoid weekend nights in Centro.  Was going to live in Ajijic but glad I picked SMA.  Totally magical!