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The Lakefront Promenade in Lake Chapala, Mexico

Retire in Lake Chapala, Mexico

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: What is it like to retire in Lake Chapala, Mexico? DATASENTENCE Retirees share their experiences living in Lake Chapala.

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What is it like to retire in Lake Chapala?

"Lake Chapala has a very active retirement community. Many people are learning and experimenting with new skills such as writing, acting, learning Spanish, signing, painting... Additionally, the expat community is extremely philanthropic. Organizations help orphans, poverty-stricken communities, abandoned dogs and cats, the environment, etc. Guadalajara -- an hour away -- has world-class music, dance and art programs," said another retiree in Lake Chapala.

"There is a large expat community in Ajijic. Lots of things to do here," commented one retiree living in Ajijic and Chapala, Mexico.

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What advice do overseas retirees have for others considering retiring abroad?

"I highly recommend you housesit -- where you can "live like a local" while caring for someone's pets and home -- in the country and community where you are thinking of retiring to. You can learn a lot more living in a neighborhood than visiting in a hotel," remarked another retiree in Lake Chapala.

"Lake Chapala is an inexpensive place to live and has a large expat community from all over the the wolrld with near perfect year around weather and lots of activities for retirees to take advantage of," said a retiree who moved to Ajijic and Chapala, Mexico.

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What are the most challenging aspects of retiring in Lake Chapala?

"Getting mail! The mail system in Mexico is not great, or secure, so I need to rely on friends coming from the States to bring mail and packages. Receiving mail in other countries where I've lived has also posed a challenge in that forwarding mail is often quite expensive," remarked another retiree in Lake Chapala.

"So far everything has moved right along except at a slower pace... We used the services of a recommended local attorney and we have a property manager. Between the two we have taken care of buying a home, car and paying the bills... If we had to do this alone it would take more time and probably peg the frustration meter...We will eventually take over the bill paying etc but for now this has proven to be a worth while expenditure," said a retiree who moved to Ajijic, Mexico.

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What are the most rewarding aspects of retiring in Lake Chapala?

"I love having a more international perspective on the US. I appreciate the different cultures I live in and I like the challenge of adapting to different customs. And I really love the expats I meet overseas. They are often quite adventurous people," said another retiree in living in Lake Chapala, Mexico.

"Every day is an adventure... Shopping is fun as we try new products each week... Some are not as good but many are as good or better than NOB (North of the Border). The cost of living allows us to eat out more and the dining selection here is excellent.," explained a retiree in Ajijic.

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What are healthcare services like in Lake Chapala?

We asked retirees if they have access to good medical care in Lake Chapala. They wrote:

"A few weeks ago I used my GEHA (government employees health association) insurance at Hospital San Antonio. Well I should say I tried to use it. At first the staff at Hospital San Antonio said that my entire emergency would be covered but they charged my $25000 USD UP Front and I had to pay it or the administrative staff there told me they would send me to a public hospital in the worst part of Guadalajara. They bullied me and I felt so uncomfortable but I was not in a position to fight. I paid the up front fee and then on discharge they just deducted it from the bill which I still had to pay and they gave me a bill with codes to submit to my insurer for reimbursement...such lies and thieves trying to trick people about accepting insurances. I will never go back to Hospital San Antonio in Tlyacapan," said another retiree in Lake Chapala.

"Yes, but the quality is not uniform. However, as this area is growing in population (both Mexican and expat), new medical facilities are being built that should improve the quality, access and expense," commented one retiree living in Lake Chapala, Mexico.

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How do I meet people in Lake Chapala?

When we asked people living in Lake Chapala about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Ajijic Writers Group, Ajijic Society for the Arts, Rotary Club, Democrats Abroad, St. Andrews Church, Lake Chapala Society ...and many more," said another retiree in living in Ajijic, Mexico, Mexico.

"The Lake Chapala Society, tennis, swimming, gyms, volleyball, tennis, golf, pubs, restaurants," explained a retiree in Lake Chapala.

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What is life like in Lake Chapala?

When we asked people living in Lake Chapala what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Lives revolve around socializing. The expat community is primarily retired Canadians and Americans. There are many philanthropic activities for newcomers to join. Because people are always coming and going, newcomers are quite welcomed," remarked another retiree in Ajijic, Mexico.

"Of course, the local folks thrive on the family life, fiestas for any reason at all and the all popular soccer games," said a retiree who moved to Lake Chapala, Mexico.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What do I need to know before retiring in Lake Chapala?

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

"A big plus for Ajijic: It's less than an hour's drive to Guadalajara -- with its international airport and vibrant cultural scene," remarked another retiree in Ajijic, Mexico.

"Don't let the media scare you away. If you are not involved in the drug business, you most likely will not be in trouble. There is a presence of police and military here, but we're also hosting the Pan Am games this year," said a retiree who moved to Lake Chapala, Mexico.

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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.

The Lakefront Promenade in Lake Chapala, Mexico

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