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Lake Chapala: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Stray dog and high sidewalk in Ajijic

Future expats want the simple truth about living in Lake Chapala. So I will be frank and lay it all on the line. Read on to find out more about what's hot, and what's not, in Lake Chapala.

The Good

Climate – One one of the best in the world. Enjoy sun almost every day of the year

Cost of Living – You can still live very well for $1000 USD/month

Very Low Propery Taxes – Only $100-400 USD per year!

Beauty – Gorgeous scenery, hummingbirds and butterflies are always around you

Things To Do – Well over a hundred organizations and activities to keep you busy

Close to a Major International Airport – Guadalajara Airport is only 30 minutes away

The People – Mexican people are warm, kind and family orientated

The Expat Community – One of the biggest and oldest communities in the world

Restaurants – Lots of great restaurants for such a small town

Entertainment – There is a ton of nightly entertainment and dancing as well as live theaters. Put on your dancing shoes and live it up!

Guadalajara – Only one hour to a major city

Excellent Inexpensive Health Care and Dentistry – Both in Ajijic and Guadalajara

The Bad

Traffic – With the aging baby boomer population, problems in the U.S. and a steadily increasing middle class from Guadalajara, Lake Chapala has become a mecca for retirement and vacationing people from Guadalajara.

Cobblestones – Tough and dangerous to walk on!

High Sidewalks – Many so high you can't open your car door but keeps you in shape.

Garbage – It's is still common for people to leave their garbage on the street for pickup and although there is garbage pickup 2-6 days a week (depending on area) the garbage is often for the dogs.

Litter – In general, I think it can be said that most Mexicans discard their trash out their window or just drop it on the street. There is lots of litter but there are also Mexican organizations doing regular trash pick up on the weekends and trying to combat and educate about this problem.

Firecrackers – If you have not spent any time in Mexico yet, be prepared. The firecrackers, called cohetes, are loud enough to wake the dead and give your pets a coronary. These can commonly go off at any time of the day or night but recent noise bylaws have helped.

Burning of Fields and Hillsides – This occurs mainly in the dry months of April and May and it can be smoky. Recent regulations have clamped down on this making it illegal.

Power Outages – Not an uncommon occurrence Lakeside

Theft – Petty theft can be a bit of a problem so keep things out of sight and/or locked

Bugs – Not as bad as coastal areas in my opinion but this can bother some people who come from the frozen north. Just remember, they were here first.

Police – Generally untrustworthy and often no help.

Dogs – Lots of stray dogs even with all the organizations trying to reduce the problem with spay and neuter clinics and helping to find homes for them. This means lots of barking dogs too.

Do Not flush! – The toilet paper that is. This bothers many people used to growing up north of the border.

The Ugly

Poor Treatment of Pets and Livestock – Mexico has a poor appreciation for animals and this can be grizzly for some people to see

Dog Poop – Watch where you step!!

For more down to earth, honest appraisals of Lake Chapala be sure to subscribe and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me. See you soon!

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.

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