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  • Writer's picture Michaela & Ricardo

Lake Chapala, Mexico - Not For Everyone!

Living in Lake Chapala is not for everyone! Different people want different things and no one place in this world is going to be perfect. As Real Estate agents and Relocation Specialists, we meet lots of people coming down to “check out” the Lake Chapala area for future Retirement. Is Lake Chapala everything people say it is? Let's take a look at a few of the things that people tell us they don't like about Ajijic after their first visit.

It's Not on the Ocean.

Although Lake Chapala is Mexico's largest lake, it is by no means a substitute for the the Pacific or Caribbean oceans. The lake is beautiful but does not compare with lakes in Canada or northern areas of the U.S. Fortunately, the Pacific Ocean is only a 2.5+ hours drive on good toll roads and many permanent residents of Ajijic have homes in Cuyatlan, Manzanillo or Puerto Vallarta. The new toll road opening soon from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta is expected to reduce the drive time from 5 ½ hours to 4. This will be a huge attraction for those who want to get away to the beach in the winter.

It is Not a Historic Town.

Ajijic, in my opinion, can best be described a Mexican village. It does not have the historic city feel that you would find in San Migel de Allende (a UNESCO Heritage Site), for example. For the people residing here, it doesn't matter. San Migel de Allende is a great place to visit but at 6200 feet in elevation, I feel it is too cold for too much of the year.

It is Not a Big City which supports Costco's, McDonalds or KFC.

We all like it that way. All those mega stores and fast food restaurants are available in Guadalajara only a 1 hour drive away.

It Has Stray Dogs

Being a small Mexican Village, it also has all the small Mexican village kind of things that one may not like. For instance, there are numerous stay dogs about the village and this leads to “mucho” dog poo spread about the sidewalks and roadways. The best advice I can give is to “watch where you walk”.

It Has Cobblestone Streets.

Much has been written about Ajijic's cobblestone streets. Love'em or hate'em they are here to stay. For some people who are completely out of shape or have difficulty walking, these rough cobblestone streets, high sidewalks, and open holes, supply numerous tripping hazards. Many people I've toured around also tell me that they do not like the cobblestones for driving on. This prompts them to choose housing options directly off the Carretera or Libramiento in gated communities.

It Has Garbage on the Streets.

The fact that it is not hidden away in a container, but rather strewn about anywhere and everywhere in bags can be another deterrent to those contemplating retiring in Ajijic. Although, we have far superior garbage pickup compared to most places in Canada and the U.S., there still prevails the mentality to throw garbage on the street. There is a huge effort underway to educate the population, but it takes time. Compared to most other Central American countries, it is probably no worse or better. Recently we have seen the municipality institute a recycling program which is growing in popularity.

It's Too Noisy

Those who visit and stay Ajijic can sometimes be overwhelmed with the noise level in the village. During times of festivities (which is often!) cohetes (very loud 'shotgun like' blasts) can rattle even the most Zen like person. Fortunately, there are many housing options that are outside the villages and although you will definitely still hear them, they won't be so intrusive.

It's Too Hot/Cold

I always find this one funny. The Lake Chapala area certainly supports one of the best climates on the planet, however, if you are visiting during the months of April/May OR December/January, some might find it too hot or too cold for their liking. Every "body" is different but there is no place in the world that offers such a perfect "year around" climate and weather conditions as Lake Chapala!


These are a few of the top things that people do not like about Ajijic, Lake Chapala, and is a reason why they might decide not to make the move here. Only you can decide if these items are deal breakers or not. If you think that Lake Chapala is right for you then make it easy on yourself and take one of our Retirement Seminars or community tours of the area. We're here to help you in your expat transition to Lake Chapala.

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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