Okay. I have written a lot of glossy blogs expounding the virtues and the wonders of living in Lake Chapala but what is the real truth? Is any place in the world absolutely perfect? How does your town compare? Your state or province? Your country?
This blog was inspired by a thread on a local discussion board and I was curious as to what local expats had to say about living Lakeside. So going through all the posts, I have wrapped up for you in a nutshell (this blog) what's so great and what's not about living in Lake Chapala, Mexico.
A clear winner: Weather!
The climate here is incredible! With an average year around temperature of 72 degrees F (22 degrees C) and lots and lots of sunshine and with only rain at night (mostly), what's not to like?
We had a tie for second place: Community and the friendly Mexicans and Mexican Culture! The ex-pat community has been established here for decades and with the help of the internet, has created a community second to none. Every club and service group is represented and there is lots to do no matter your interests or means.
The Mexican people are friendly and inviting. I am constantly amazed at how polite and helpful they always are.
The Mexican culture is still alive and well with many parades, fiestas and carnival. s You only need to step outside your doorstep to enjoy the Mexican culture.
No surprise for third place: Cost of Living!
The cost of living here Lakeside is about half to a third of what you would spend in Canada or the U.S. Read my cost of living blog I wrote and you will get an idea of the what the typical items cost.
Honorable mentions for fourth and fifth place: Restaurants and Proximity to an International Airport
Great and inexpensive restaurants abound here representing every ethnic origin possible.
The Guadalajara International Airport is an easy 30 minute drive on highway roads.
No sugar coating here: The Cobblestone Streets
While most saw this as a con, there was one person who saw the cobblestone streets as a beautiful thing. But rough and tough on cars and the body they are. Always wear good foot gear and drive slowly.
There was a three way tie for second place: Creepy Crawlys, Theft, and the Slow Pace of Life
Many complained of the bugs, spiders, ants, cockroaches and mosquitoes. All this exist here and without some maintenance can be a problem depending on the area.
Theft can still a problem too. Sometimes it is just petty theft and sometimes home robbery's. Any place in the world where you have rich and poor living together, theft is an issue. I don't think that the Lake Chapala are is any better or worse than anywhere else in the world.
The Slower Pace of Life. While one person mentioned this as a con, it bothers some people when things are not done right away. This has improved significantly at Lakeside with the many foreigners living here but.... this is still Mexico!
A two way tie for third place: Municipal Services and Police
Municipal services are not great but then again the average tax rate on a home is in the neighborhood of $100-300 USD per year so what can you expect. That is part of the reason why many expats are here.
The police have been and continue to be highly criticized for their services and actions. Unfortunately they are poorly paid and the system is still broken.
Honorable mention for forth and fifth place: Traffic and Stray Dogs
Unfortunately, Ajijic is the creator of its own demise. So many people love Ajijic that the traffic can become very heavy through the winter snowbird season of November through April. Add to the fact that the middle class is growing rapidly throughout Mexico and Guadalajara and you simply have too many cars on old highways built decades ago. But is this any different then any other large North American city?
Dogs are still an issue in Mexico. Mexicans and Gringos alike love dogs and there are an abundance of strays. Due to the large number of roaming dogs, they often hear the call of nature on every sidewalk and roadway making for slippery and dangerous walking, so be careful where you step. Fortunately, there are several very active and supportive community groups and shelters helping to control the problem. But the fact remains, dogs always have been and will continue to be a fact of life here in Mexico.
So there you have it. The best and the worst of living in Lake Chapala. It's not for everyone but so many come down here and fall in love with the place at first sight. Is is for you? Come and decide for yourself.
If you have any questions about living in Lake Chapala, please feel free to contact me and thanks for reading.