10 Years Of Living In Lake Chapala - Why I Would Never Go Back To Canada
Updated: Mar 28
This year marks the 10th year anniversary since I have moved to Lake Chapala, Mexico. It has been an incredible journey of self discovery and change in my life, and all for the better. Are there things I miss in Canada? Would I want to go back? How have my thoughts and feelings changed about Lake Chapala during the time I've been here? Continue reading to find out why I would NEVER go back to Canada.
I came to Lake Chapala initially with my brother right after my unexpected divorce. At the time he was researching Lake Chapala as a place for him and his wife to retire to. We spent a month together in a rental in San Antonio, in the heart of the village. During that time, although I found the area interesting, I just couldn't see the appeal to this dusty, dirty, cobblestone lined village.
Fast forward a few months later, I moved into the rental and immediately started meeting people from all over town during my daily activities of gym workouts, yoga, meditation, tennis, pool volleyball, and just plain walking all over town. Within 2 months I had more friends than I ever had in Canada, and an active social calendar. I fell in love!
Why I would NEVER go back to Canada:
Hands down, this is the best weather! The year around climate and the daily constancy is unbelievable. Coming from Vancouver (yes, it is beautiful) I just can't get over (still) how wonderful the weather is. IMO, never too hot and never too cold and you can plan for anything you want during the day as it almost never rains during the day. So if you want to schedule a golf or tennis game a week from now, go ahead. There is no need to check the weather or be worried you won't be playing. Rather than having the weather dictate my life and what I can and cannot do, I am relieved of that burden and just simply enjoy life!
Want to see more of the weather in Lake Chapala? Here is a link to our local weather station with all the statistics.
Cost Of Living
Definitely, a major reason why I could never go back to Canada! My partner and I currently live very comfortably on well under $30000/ year (including owning and maintaining 2 cars and taking local vacations). We live in a large view home and have maids and gardeners and live like kings! The cost of living is approximately 40-50% of what I used to pay in Canada allowing me to actually save money for my retirement. A friend of mine, who just retired, tells me that Canadian Financial Advisors now recommend to have and income of $75,000 CDN (approx. $58,000 USD).
For a complete and accurate account of our cost of living, you can view our Cost Of Living Blog
Cost Of Housing
Along with cost of living, cost of housing is incredibly cheap compared to Canada. Average home sale price in Lake Chapala in 2022 is $297,000 USD. A quick Google search tells me that the average in Canada is $640,000 CDN (approx. $500,000 USD); Vancouver $1,155,000 CDN (approx. $888,000 USD). My home in Canada, which I sold for $370,000 CDN in 2012, was just back on the market at $949,000 CDN (approx. $730,000 USD)
What the heck is this? Isn't Canada free? IMO, no. Canada has so many rules and regulations that I find it stifling. I always joke that half the population is there working on inventing new rules and the other half enforcing them. It's practically a police state. While there are rules here in Mexico, they are not well enforced and the general consensus it to live and let live. Enjoy life! This can obviously have it's downside too but let me tell you, the feeling of being free and doing what you want to do is incredible!
This may come as another surprise. Why would I pick health care in Mexico over Canada? Isn't Canada reputed to have one of the best health care systems in the world? Well, again, no. Canada's system has long been broken. Wait times are in not just months, but years! People have to go to emergency rooms in order to get any immediate care, overwhelming the emergency rooms and continuing to add to the problem.
A more recent problem in Canada is the lack of General Practitioners. Even when I was there 10 years ago and had a family doctor, I still had to wait a full week to see my doctor for a 10 minute consultation! If I didn't (or couldn't) wait to see my doctor and I was very ill, guess what, I had to go to the emergency room. Even my dad was forced to flee Canada and come down to Mexico where I took him to a concierge hospital in Guadalajara to have his hip replacement done .
Here in Lake Chapala, we have an abundance of excellent doctors in all fields along with well equipped hospitals.
Friends and Social Life
Although it's true that you can never have the same types of friendship as you would have with the friends you grew up with and went to school with, I have to say, it is undeniable easier to make friends here in Lake Chapala. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. We really come together here a community and help to support each other. I received so much help during my first years here, it was a huge part of the reason why I started blogging. It was my attempt to help people who were going through the same expat transition that I went through and to reach out and help as many people as possible. As my knowledge and connections increased, I developed this further into Personal and Group Retirement Seminars
offering people like yourselves an opportunity to fast track your transition and make it as easy and carefree as possible to move to Lake Chapala.
Since that time two months into my second visit, I've never looked back. In fact, I have grown even fonder of living in Lake Chapala. The weather continues to be perfect, the restaurants abundant and inexpensive, the social life as busy as I can handle.
Life is easy. Life is good. Lake Chapala has become my forever home.
Michaela & Ricardo are your FULL SERVICE Real Estate Agents. Along with our Retirement Seminars, our over 20 years of combined experience Lakeside, and our network of area Professionals, we help guide you to from beginning to forever in your Retirement Journey to Lake Chapala, Mexico.