The weather at Lake Chapala is one of the two best climates in the world, the other being Kenya. A combination of warm southern latitudes, the Sierra Nevada mountains which keep Pacific humidity at bay, the cooling effect of the 5200 foot altitude, and the tempering influence of 60 mile long Lake Chapala provide warm winters – rarely going below 60 degrees, delightful summer rainy season, and two months of summer – April and May when it sometimes gets into the high 80´s.


One can be as active or “retired” as one chooses. Many expats opt to contribute to their favorite charities benefiting the Mexican people: the aged, the infirm, the poor, the orphans, the sick, the uneducated. Others volunteer in areas in which they have some expertise such as English instruction, medical care, computer instruction and repair, the list goes on and on. Others pursue old hobbies: bridge, chess, fishing, gardening, flower arranging, painting, writing, golfing, para-sailing, travel and culture. All this and more to be found here at Lakeside.


I consider the security situation here at Lakeside to be excellent. That being said, sometimes “bad things happen to good people”, just like anywhere else in the world. Because we are a small community of foreigners in a foreign land bad news travels fast and is sensationalized in the overseas press. Don’t let these news reports sour you on travel to Ajijic. Come see for yourself. Trust me, you are safer here than on the streets of Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Los Angeles, etc. Here are some links to recent articles on the security situation in Mexico.

Living Expenses

Compared to the United States, Canada and Europe, living here is very reasonable. Mortgages are virtually unheard of, once in awhile you might persuade a Seller to hold a note for you for a few years, but for the most part houses are bought on an all cash basis. The cost of maintaining your house once it’s purchased, is very low. Remember, there’s no air conditioning bills, no heating costs, no insurance in many cases, real estate taxes are minimal – depending on the value of your home, usually less than $100 U.S. per $100K of your homes appraised value per year. Labor is inexpensive, maids & gardeners getting about $3.20 per hour at this time.


Currently, the price range for homes is running from $95,000 U.S. up into the hundreds of thousands, some in the millions. Houses with a gorgeous lake view (practically everything here has a mountain view) will cost at least $200,000. Lots can cost anywhere from $20,000 up to $100,000, again depending upon location and view. The majority of home buyers obtain direct deeds as opposed to putting their deeds into bank trusts. The property must be free and clear of all debts and liens prior to the transfer of the deed from the Seller to the new Buyer. The Notarios that close property sales insure that all these requirements are met.We also have property inspectors who will look at your prospective purchase to determine if its structurally sound and/or needs repair of any kind. Rents have risen along with property values and you can expect to pay from $500 U.S. to a $1000, more for a deluxe estate with a pool. Before taking occupancy, you will pay a first and last months’ rent, a security deposit equal to a month’s rent, a telephone deposit of $200 and, if you have a pet, a deposit for it as well – usually $200. The owner will probably pay the water, real estate taxes, homeowner’s association fees, and the gardener. This of course, varies with individual owners.


If you’re going to be in Mexico for a short term, the visa you get at the airport or at the border will be adequate for you up to six months. If you’re coming here to live, then you need to apply for Temporary Residency or Permanent Residency. Immigration Laws have changed radically over the past year and are still in a state of flux. Immigration laws and requirements are fairly complicated and ever changing, so be prepared to find anything you know now to be entirely different at some future date. . If you drive into Mexico, you’ll need to get a permit for your car( you will need the title, proof of insurance and vehicle registration papers ) and pay (with a credit card) a fee. Right now it’s around $400 U.S.

The People & the Culture

The religious and family values in Mexico are strong and binding. These are the first things that all foreigners remark on when they arrive in this country. Mexicans are friendly people, language will probably be the only problem you’ll encounter when dealing with them. You must learn to bargain since its expected on the street and in the local markets, looked upon as sort of social event. Department stores and super markets, of course, have fixed prices, but almost all other shopping calls for diplomatic bargaining. Many Americans and Canadians feel that Mexicans are just like them except for the language. That’s is NOT true, you’re dealing with an entirely different cultural background and legal system. Keep this in mind at all times as you travel throughout the country and enjoy that unique difference.


What type of person retires to Mexico? There are many answers to that questions, but some of the characteristics that are evident: self reliance, love of adventure, resiliency, fearlessness, to name a few. Living in a foreign country is not for everyone and we find that the person that comes to Mexico and is determined that he must change the people and the country to make it more like ¨back home¨ is assuredly not going to be happy here. Come here with the idea of adapting yourself to the culture, both the old and the new, and the rhythm of everyday life, and you should be able to spend many satisfying years in this sunny land of flowers and history.