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Moving to Lake Chapala, Mexico | Expat Exchange
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Ajijic Boardwalk, Lake Chapala

Moving to Lake Chapala, Mexico

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Apr 22, 2023

Summary: Expatriates move to Lake Chapala, Mexico for its year-round temperate climate, low cost of living, and vibrant culture. The area is known for its friendly locals, excellent healthcare, and easy access to nearby cities and attractions. Expats also appreciate the area's natural beauty, with its lush vegetation, stunning mountain views, and picturesque lake. Additionally, the area offers a wide variety of activities, from outdoor sports to cultural events, making it an ideal destination for those looking for a relaxed lifestyle in a beautiful setting.

Welcome Home Mexico
Welcome Home Mexico
Welcome Home Mexico
Welcome Home Mexico

What do I need to know before moving to Lake Chapala?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Lake Chapala, they said:

"Expatriates should learn at least basic Spanish before moving to Lake Chapala, as English is not widely spoken. Mexico has different immigration laws than other countries and expatriates should research the necessary documents required to live and work in the area. Climate can be a factor for relocation and Lake Chapala has semi-tropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. Before relocating to this area, expatriates should also research the cost of living, infrastructure, available healthcare and recreational activities in the area. Mexico also has community organizations specifically for expatriates which provide helpful information and regular activities," said one expat in Lake Chapala.

"Do your research. Figure out what is really important to you. There is so much to do here and lots of people who speak English. The locals are very friendly. There are always exceptions but we have been very happy. It is a noisy country and there is dust. Bill is a musician and does sound for many of the productions and I am a quilter. There is a theater group, a community choir, an art society and a multitude of clubs, restaurants, live music that you will recognize. Medical care is good and you will find alternative as well as traditional medicine. You will see donkey carts and BMWs sharing the road. Working is a problem since jobs are reserved for the citizens so planning on working here may not happen," said one expat who made the move to Lake Chapala.

"Rent your first house for a 2-3 month period while you look over the entire area and decide where you really want to rent, then go for a long term lease at a reduced rate. Use every resource available to you in your new area. Don't think you can learn it on your own. We thought we could and suffered for it. Take the help that others want to give," explained one expat living in Lake Chapala, Mexico.

"Since realtors are not regulated here in Mexico one should hire an attorney just to be on the safe side... We did and it was worth every peso... Cheap insurance. Do your due diligence on line and stay for a month or more... If one has not lived abroad and in similar locales there might be a bit of a culture shock... How I explain this in simple terms: 'If in the morning you have water for your shower.... It is a good day.' and 'If the water is hot... It is GREAT DAY!' Living here is an adventure... One needs to be flexible, have a sense of humor, and accept the fact that things here move at a different pace. The Mexican people are warm and friendly, the expats are willing to help get you settled, and the weather is outstanding... What is not to like?," said one in Ajijic .

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Ajijic Boardwalk, Lake Chapala

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