Q & A's About Living In Lake Chapala
Questions, questions! I get lots of great questions from all of you wonderful people exploring the possibility if living in Lake Chapala is right for you. So what are some people asking and are they questions that you were wondering about too? Let's find out.
Q. Where are the markets and when do they take place? A. There are markets on Monday through Thursday.
The Monday market is a small one with many prepared food vendors located in the Sunrise Restaurant on the carretera in San Antonio. Open 10-12
The Tuesday Organic Market is in West Ajijic located in the La Huerta Hall. The vendors are certified organic and there is a host of foods and health related products to buy. Free parking is available on the street or 10 pesos in the parking lot. Open 10-12:30
The Wednesday 'Tianguis' Farmers market is the biggest market in Ajijic. Located on Revolution Street between Ajijic and La Floresta, You can buy anything at this market and is THE place to shop for your weekly fruits and vegetables. Parking is available in limited supply along the carretera, the lateral, along La Floresta streets, or on El Camino Real and enter from the south end of the market.
This same Farmers Market is located in Chapala on Mondays on Calle Obregon which is located on the West side of the carretera across from Soriana and the Pemex Gas Station, and in Jocotepec on Thursdays right near the main plaza.
Q. Can I buy some of the specialty items I am used to getting in the U.S.?
A. There is everything available to buy/use in the Lake Chapala/Guadalajara area, just that some less commonly used items and imported items can cost way more than in the USA. More and more companies from Amazon are shipping to Mexico and Amazon.com.mx is increasing the number of items they carry.
Q. Will I be able to make friends? Are there people like ME there?
A. What is particularly true of the Lakeside area is that there are enough English speaking people here, that you can find "YOUR people". Put another way, there is enough of a population that you can find a niche or a sliver of a niche that matches anything from your political views, to your ethnic background, nationality, level of education, or desire to engage in a given activity (from yoga to cooking classes to computer clubs and charitable groups.
Q. Will I be bored living there?
A. I truly don't think I've ever heard anyone say that they were bored, or couldn't find anything to do here. Actually quite the opposite. More frequently I find that people get so involved that they have to cut back on their commitments.
Note that socializing will take up MUCH more of your time than it has at any other time in your life. In our working years, we had less time to socialize. Now we have tons more friends and much more of a social calendar just because it fits within our lives.
I'd suggest that you think about what you might like to do here and share that information on Facebook. If you're a "horse person" for example, by saying so you might get referred to other "horse people" or ways to meet them. If you are really into cooking, you might take in the monthly meeting of CASA (the Culinary Arts Association of Ajijc). If you are a devoted pet owner, there are certainly a lot of your kindred spirits here too, particularly involved in animal-related charities.
What do you like to do? Do you like live music, dancing, people watching, or shopping? Are you able to walk distances? Chatting with expats won't be a problem. They are very friendly and love talking about their piece of paradise. The malecon in Chapala is very nice for restaurants and people watching and there are lots of little shops to check out. You can kayak on the lake, go hiking, singing, or dancing. So let me know what you want so I can give you some ideas.
Q. I have heard that there are only old people living in Ajijic. I am young. How will I fit in?
A. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many young people here but as a percentage, obviously, there as less, so you don't see them as often. There are young gringos who have moved here with children in private schools, then there are also those who I'd describe as being on the young side of retirement (roughly 45-55) and childless. The largest group is a little older but still very active (60-75) and our senior-senior population (85+) whom you see less of simply because they stay home more. Age classes mix freely together. My partner and I are in our 50's but we have many friends that we do things with who are in their 70's and even 80's! You're only as old as you feel.
Q. My budget for living down there will be 2000.00 USD a month if I rent. Can I live on that?
A. At this time, living here on your budget is still very do-able. See my Cost of Living Blog 2017.
While rental costs have gone up recently with real estate values, it now appears that the market is slowing and prices are falling. More homes have recently been built along with this 'downturn' so it should be easier to find more affordable rentals.
If you are more particular about bugs, it might be better for you to buy and fix a place the way you want it (eg. aluminum or PVC doors and windows vs. iron) instead of renting and fixing up someone else's house to meet your needs. In addition, Mexican owners tend to rent a place "as is" and think nothing of terminating your contract with one month notice, which is not so nice after you put your own money into it to improve their space.
Q. I hear that prices have risen in Lake Chapala. I don't have very much money. What can I buy for under $150,000 USD?
A. For under $150,000 right now you could purchase a small 2-bedroom (about 900sq ft) newly built condo in West Ajijic. Or a small house in Chapala or San Juan Cosala that needs renos. Previously owned 1 bedroom/1 bath condos can be had starting around $70,000 USD in the Ajijic area. Again, it all depends on the area you'd like to live in and the extent of renovations you are willing to take on. Keep those questions coming! I love to hear from you! Contact me through this website or through my Facebook Page and thanks for reading!