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An Expat Talks about Moving to Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico


What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Ajijic, Lake Chapala

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

We moved to Mexico from a retirement motorhome, not a house,and brought everything in two trips in an SUV. Whatever one doesn't want can be put on consignment here and whatever you forgot will eventually be found to be available; just ask around.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Do your homework, then come for a preliminary visit. Talk to local expats, visit the Lake Chapala Society & other venues to meet them. Walk the town for a few days and enjoy the evenings in our great restaurants. Once you decide to make the move, your new friends will be able to give you priceless advice suiting your circumstances. Mine is: Travel light, bring your car but not furniture or major appliances. Bring your computer fall/spring clothing only. Frankly, I don't like the "gated communities". If you are moving to Mexico, live in Mexico, not the "suburbs" you left behind. Oh, learn some Spanish, learn to relax & enjoy this beautiful place and its wonderful people.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

We live on a principal street in Ajijic, convenient to everything in the village. It is a new house of two bedrooms (one up, one down), 2 1/2 baths, a "mirador" with a view of the lake and mountains, and is light & bright and fully modern. We have satellite TV, phone, computer, etc. The price was under $100,000 USD unfurnished and we had fun furnishing and decorating. The house is modest in size, like a townhouse, but the location allows us to walk, rather than drive; good for the health

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

We had visited months before, staying in a local hotel. When we sold the motorhome and moved down, three months later, we stayed with friends for two weeks and then bought a house. It was a private sale, without realtor, so was closed by a local attorney/notario in a matter of days.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

The housing costs here are much less than in the US. Taxes and utilities are very, very reasonable and there is no need for A/C or a Furnace since the climate is perfect. Upkeep is simple masonry, plaster & paint with labor costs being very reasonable. This house would rent for $550-600/month, but we recently rented a very nice older house for friends at $450/month for a winter visit. Those are hard to find!

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Comments about this Report

Sep 8, 2010 15:11

Great Report, I lived at Lake Chapala for 10 years now and can't imagine living anywhere else on the planet. If anyone reading this post would like more information about living, working, or playing in our little slice of paradise just drop me an e mail to elsidmx@yahoo.com. Sid

Sep 8, 2010 15:13

A very sensible post. Very good information. I live and work here at Lake Chapala and if anyone reading this post would like to pick my brain send me an email to elsidmx@yahoo.com. Sid

Aug 25, 2011 12:22

we are thinking of moving to mexico in the next couple of years...maybe sooner. have been looking on line at homes in Jalisco and Nayarit and Lake Chapala looks best ot me at this time, especially the La Florista area of Ajijic. recently read of some cartel activity on the hiway to Guadalajara. any thoughts on cartel activity in the area and safety of driving to Guadalajara??? also will be bringing a street rod down with us, probably driving it down. am concerned about getting stopped along the way and getting it stolen by ?????..any advice is soooo appreciated..thanks..J

Jan 22, 2012 00:58

Some places around Mexico have communities for retired US senior citizens, room, tv laundry and cooking provided, Its better for some people. Narcos have not messed up with eldery or american citizens, its bad for bussines, remmber what happened after they killed 2 US border patrol agents in Queretaro?

Feb 20, 2012 13:28


Mar 7, 2012 21:43

I am looking for a job I just arrived 2 weeks ago in Guadalaljara, How do I go about looking, and I do speak English and spanish. I lived in the US just about all my life... I'm an advid golfer,would love to get a job at a Golf Course... Send me your suggestions...thanks

Apr 4, 2012 12:16

There are two ways to move down here. You can sell everything and come down in your car or on a plane. Or you can bring it all. We chose the latter since my husband and I are collectors of stuff. There is a 90 day window after you receive your residency visa to bring bring down your personal items without importation fees. They do still look at your things, looking for large quantities of like things that you might sell in Mexico. Bill had 25 guitars and I had a 20 year collection of fabric and we didn't pay anything. We also brought our pro audio stuff and my quilting machine. Since we bought our home, we knew we wouldn't be moving around. It was expensive but I had allowed for it in my budget. We live in El Chante, a small village on the west end of the lake near Jocotepec in a neighborhood that is mixed with expats and locals. This area is a piece of paradise and I have never regretted our descision to move here and bring it all. Kitt

Apr 16, 2012 22:48

these people have it together. We did much the same and are loving Mexico. You have to remember that Mexico is full of Mexicans and they are the most wonderful people, as a whole, we have ever met. We are renting in a gated community at this time but, it will not last long. This is not Mexico. We have a lot of time, what will be will be. Thats what is so wonderful about being here. Don't sweat the small stuff and most of it is. Me encanta Mexico

Aug 6, 2012 12:49

Just a comment since I don't see the date this was posted. I've lived in the Lake Chapala area for over eight years now. Regarding computers, if you want to have a laptop, yes, bring it with you, because it will have a English operating system. If you want a desktop, don't bring it. The prices for desktops are comparable to the US and you can have an English operating system. Also, I know you probably need your car to bring your 'stuff' in, but, again, new cars are just as cheap here and it's nice to have a Mexican-plated car.

Jan 3, 2014 00:15

are you still living in Ajijic? Did you import your vehicle? did you find that difficult to do?

Feb 20, 2017 13:05

We are planning a move to the Chapala area in the next few months. In the interim we will visit the area in early April and hope to get many questions answered....rentals, transportation, lifestyle and practical living issues. Are there good places to meet and talk to US Expats Pats. We would love to spend some of our time taking to those who have made the "leap".

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