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  • Writer's picture Michaela & Ricardo

How To Leave The U.S. (For Lake Chapala)

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

It might be said that the citizens of United States are experiencing a huge rise in dissatisfaction about their country. If you are considering leaving the U.S for Lake Chapala then you've come to the right place. With over 130 blogs of information on our website, and unlimited access to us for questions, we are your information resource!

Contact Us at We make expatriating to Lake Chapala easy!

And what better place to move to than Lake Chapala? In fact, I've recently read that 13% of the U.S population is planning on retirement abroad, and moving to Lake Chapala makes good economic and strategic sense due to it's low cost of living and easy access via Guadalajara International Airport.

A large part of the desirability of living abroad is economic and if you own your home in Lake Chapala you can live here comfortably on $1100 USD and bank the rest. That's what a couple of our recent clients have done. They purchased a beautiful home at the top of Ajijic with spellbinding views of the village and lake. The owner, Mark, draws $2100 USD on social security and he banks half of that per month. Living could never be easier or better and the couple are in love with the area and low cost of living. “We have the money and the time to do anything we want”, Mark says. Days at the spa, hot spring pools, eating out whenever we want, attend live theater or concerts, travel, etc.

“We get food delivered to our door from Costco or local shops, virtually all local restaurant deliver, we have our maid and gardener come in weekly, and we even have our booze delivered to our door” laughs Mark. "Live couldn't be easier!"

Health Care

Health care is at the top of everyone's minds as we age. The fact that the Lake Chapala area has been a retirement community for over 70 years has led to an established and growing base of health care providers in the area. We now have three full fledged hospitals in the area and numerous clinics and specialty clinics such as heart care centers. For those requiring more such as cancer clinics, the city of Guadalajara is only 1 hour away and has top notch facilities.


Deciding upon the right visa is an important decision. For starters stay with a tourist visa which is good for 180 days. If you find you love it here and you want to stay then it's important to get a Temporary or Permanent Visa. Remember, this is solely a residency visa and is totally separate from your citizenship. Having the right visa will help with decisions about purchasing a car, banking, and possibly healthcare.


You'll want to set up a local bank account here to keep so money on hand. Bring it down as you need it. It would be unwise to take all your money out of the U.S. Once you are set up, you might bring down 6 months worth at a time. Watch the exchange rate carefully and convert extra if the U.S dollar takes a big jump. We've seen the dollar at 25 to 1 for a brief period and those who converted money at that time did very well indeed. Still, your dollar goes a long way here!

Renting vs Buying

Always rent first, preferably in different areas for a short period of time (3-6 months). If there is an area or neighborhood that particularly appeals, then you can start looking at housing costs in that area. Is the area within your budget?

The Golden Zone of Lake Chapala is a huge area and encompasses 4 significant villages/towns and many smaller villages with rural areas in between. Finding the right area and price bracket is a big decision with many variables.

Renting long term is always an option if you live light and can easily move. Your cost of living will be significantly higher but the ability to “change your mind” is a big benefit for those who aren't yet sure.

My partner Ricardo and I are always here for your questions so please contact us. We're here to help you decide if retiring in Lake Chapala is right for you.

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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