As a frequent viewer of social media such as Facebook, I come across a lot of information that is misleading if not outright false about Ajijic. In this blog I hope to dispel some of the rumors and set the truth straight so that others looking at Lake Chapala as a retirement destination are not misled.
I recently read a discussion that set my hackles up on end and I felt I just had to write about it. I don't feel that the posters are deliberately trying to mislead, only that they have not spent enough time here to see beyond the obvious.
There is a sentiment that Ajijic is filled only with gringos and that the Mexican culture is lost. True or False? IMO nothing could be further from the truth. If you were to show up during the peak snowbird season of Nov-March, didn't travel outside of Ajijic, and happened to be here during a period of no festivals, it could have been easy to make that assumption. However, there is lots more to Lake Chapala than just Ajijic. The area that we call Lakeside is actually very large and stretches from east of Chapala to Jocotopec. If you were to travel to San Juan Cosala, which is only 10 minutes from the main intersection in Ajijic, you would find yourself completely enveloped in Mexican culture and living. We have friends who live there and we have house sat for them many times in the past. The roosters start at 4 am and the dogs can bark all night. Children play outside the gate and barrel fires are started in the street for cooking of the evening meal. Entering or leaving the home often takes a few extra minutes as everyone clears out of the way and allows for a rare car to pass. Remember that this is only 10 minutes from downtown Ajijic!
There also seems to be a sentiment that gringos are “loud mouthed” and disrespectful of Mexicans. True or false? While there are always some in the crowd, for the most part, people here in Ajijic, live and often times work, alongside Mexicans. We help out in the community and are neighbors with the Mexican people. This is totally different than most beach areas such as Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, etc. While those areas have a tremendous influx of gringos during the winter months, very few stay and live year around as it is too hot during the summer. Because of the tremendous amount of 'vacationers', I would say that in general there is more “loud mouthed gringos” in those places than there is in Ajijic.
A final misconception that I would like to address is that there are only old people moving to Ajijic. True or false? Definitely false, and I am trying hard to change this perception. I moved to Ajijic at age 47 as did my partner separate from me. I meet many, many younger people in their 40's and even mid 30's (some with children) who have chosen to live here. If you are a visitor and only go out to the restaurants in Ajijic during your weeks visit, you won't normally see these people and can easily come to the incorrect conclusion that Ajijic is filled with only old people. It is true that as a percentage, there are more people here who are in their 70's vs 40's but that only makes sense. More and more younger people are moving here every day and realizing that they can have an exciting life in Mexico at a third of the cost of living in the U.S. or Canada.
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