Lake Chapala and Aiijic : Mexico


What It Is Like to Retire in Lake Chapala and Aiijic

Lake Chapala is the largest fresh water lake in Mexico (about 50 miles long). The views around it are breathtaking. There are 2 towns on the lake that have become the most popular retirement communities for adventurous retirees (estimated at about 40,000) from the United States and Canada. The lake is about 28 miles from nearby Guadalajara – many of whose citizens come here for a weekend retreat.

The town of Chapala (also called Lakeside) on the lake’s north shore is more authentic Mexican; generally Mexicans and U.S. expatriates live here side by side. According to the 1990 census, its population is 15,664. Ajijic (pronounce it as ah-hee-heek), about 5 miles away from Chapala, has many gated communities made up of mostly of folks from the U.S. and Canada. About 15,000 people live in Ajijic. Most of the Americans tend to live here only in winter. Both towns have charming plazas and churches. The narrow cobblestone streets go past homes hidden by stone or brick walls. There are many hotels, B & Bs, and restaurants catering to the expatriate community.

Perhaps the biggest reason Americans retire in Mexico and the Lake Chapala region is its low cost of living. You can rent a nice house for $1000 a month and hire a maid for $20 a day. Beautiful houses are about half the cost of U.S. equivalents. Americans can purchase property here although there are some restrictions. Taxes are low and the temperate climate requires little energy for heat or cooling. Americans can live here on a social security check, or they can spend more and live extravagantly. Photo from space from NASA in the public domain, map of lake area courtesy of Asybaris01 and NASA in the public domain .

Where to Retire in Lake Chapala and Aiijic and Home Prices

There are many small towns around Lake Chapala to choose from. Chapala is the municipality and towns such as Ajijic, San Antonio Tlayacapan, Chula Vista, Riberas del Pilar and Mirasol are towns within the municipality. Jocotepec is another municipality just west of Ajijic and many expats choose Jocotepec and San Juan Cosala (town within the municipality of Jocotepc) due to the cost of Living be much less. A recent review of listings showed small homes from $73,000 US to almost $800,000 for a 7 bedroom home.


What Is Special about Lake Chapala and Aiijic

The lake is also a critical habitat for several species of migratory birds, such as the White Pelican. Cobblestone streets. Beautiful homes and spacious grounds. Your choice of living in a gated community or side by side with Mexicans. Considerable charm and great beauty. Safety in numbers. Great climate and low cost.

What Is Not Special about Lake Chapala and Aiijic

Unfortunately Lake Chapala is polluted and the source not cleaned up yet. Uncertainty and danger of living in the 3rd world far from home. Not well connected with the rest of the U.S.

Who Will Like Retirement in Lake Chapala and Aiijic

Adventurous people who are looking for a bargain and an interesting non-U.S. experience

Local Economy Is Driven by

Construction, tourism, Americans

Climate and Physical Environment

The year round average temperature near Chapala Lake is about 72 degrees. It ranges from a low of about 50 degrees in winter months to about 90 degrees in summer. The rainy season runs from June through October. Chapala is about 28 miles southeast of Guadalajara, Jalisco and stands at 1,524 meters (close to 5000’) above sea level. It is a shallow lake.
Weather in Lake Chapala

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There is amateur theater, October concerts and ballet, and an opera season. Among the area's cultural attractions is mariachi music, for which the state of Jalisco is particularly known.
Tripadvisor Reports on Restaurants in Chapala
List of Popular Restaurants in Chapala and Ajijic


Lake Chapala Ajijic Lakeside Crime Watch

Medical Facilities

There are some facilities near the lake but Guadalajara has all the medical services of a large city


Guadalajara has a major airport. Driving to Chapala from the U.S. is not for the feint of heart.

Valuable Links

AARP Magazine article on Chapala
Wikipedia article on Lake Chapala
Wikipedia article on Ajijic near Chapala
Article on town of Chapala
Rent Ajijic Apartments in El Castillo
Reviews of other retirement communities
What You Need to Know about Retiring in Mexico
Information on Real Estate and Retirement in Lake Chapala

What people are saying about Lake Chapala and Aiijic

Aiijic is a nice place to live right now
Ajijic, Mexico if you have not considered Mexico before you might want to now. With the peso now 21 to the dollar, prices are close to half of those in the US. This is an international community where everyone speaks English, the weather is better than Hawaii, always Spring, and there is a club, The Chapala Society on the 50 mile lake where you can new people, borrow books and tapes, attend lectures and meet friends for lunch . Taxes are $50 a year and you can find housing for $600 a month or under $100,000. Tom
Posted by admin on April 15, 2017
driving in mexico
i asked around and some of the people familiar with Mexico said: what's the problem? They drive long distances without incident. THey recommend not driving at night, and being cautious about being "befriended" by people. With flying, they say, you will still end up having to rent a car. And lastly, they recommend the toll roads - expensive, but fast and safe.
Posted by bogeyman on September 21, 2007
I don't specifically know about driving in Mexico (except that drivers are very aggressive). But as far as crime goes in Mexico there is a diversity of opinion. I love this quote I found on another Forum: "I lived in Mexico for the first 26 years of my life and never had a crime problem. There are cases everywhere. So it is more of a personal opinion and decision if people go or not." But other people mention high profile cases of tourists missing or murdered and they are alarmed. Several expressed caution about large cities, particularly Monterrey. Maybe some one else could fill us in about the driving issue.
Posted by ctyankee on September 19, 2007

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