What if you wanted a place where there were no hurricanes, had warm weather, a view of mountains and water and was affordable? You thought I was talking about California or Florida, but I wasn’t. I was talking about Ajijic, Mexico.
With all the different lists bouncing around the internet about what cities to retire to, we thought we’d go off the beaten path. Almost every publication from Forbes.com to Wallethub is going to crown Florida the winner. However, what if you wanted to be near the water but minus the high cost of living (with insurance)
Welcome to Ajijic where you can buy a home with roughly 4,000 square feet for half of what they cost in Florida. “We have a lot of snow birds that come down from Canada that are considering Mexico,” says Reilly McGregor on Marco Island, FL, “they are attracted by the low cost of living. Once they get medicare, they just fly back and forth.”
Ajijic feels like San Diego, California with a nearly perpetual spring, getting a good breeze off of Lake Chapala. At 5000 feet, on the largest lake in Mexico, with the Sierra Madre mountains behind you…it’s a micro-climate. It’s no wonder it gets mentioned repeated on our retiring to Mexico guide.
With the exchange rate being what it is, you could eat out every night and enjoy nightly walks. The taxes on a nearly 4000 sq. ft. house (with large solar heated pool and a separate casita) are equivalent of $300 USD per year.
What About Medical Facilities?
US medical facilities are only a few hours away via flight. Additionally, the medical care is also very good in Guadalajara (an hour drive away). This is due in large part because the medical schools are also located here.
It is hard for people to imagine life in Mexico. There are lots of fears floating around in the world about the dangers of Mexico. Sure there are beaches to see and mountains to admire but what does a person do when they retire to Mexico, aside from taking mid-afternoon siestas?
Enjoy a night of fun Mexican music in the plaza of Ajijic or enjoy a stroll along the Lake Chapala path. Visit the colorful markets and enjoy the culture, or relax and enjoy lunch and a beautiful view by the pier.
What About Things To Do For Grandkids?
Lake Chapala is beautiful but you won’t find too many folks swimming in it. Whether it’s because of what might flow into the lake or the fact that the locals don’t really “go swimming” the matter is still left up in the air. However, many of the homes either have pools or you can go to the public pools in the area.
It reminds me of a famous lake from my home town, called Lake Lanier in Georgia. Lots of people do swim in that lake, but so many people drown and the run off isn’t great so I wouldn’t want to swim in too many lakes as it is. Whether people swim or not in the lake, it didn’t stop people from building mansions next to it and Lake Chapala is no different.
If your grandkids are with you, take them to Christiania Park. There’s a huge lawn to play in or better yet take a day trip to the Casacadas de Agua, a favorite spot to spend with family. There are waterfalls to climb and places to swim in at the base of the falls.
Lake Chapala Society
The Lake Chapala society meets in an open garden area and is one the first places and expat (people who’ve moved from other countries) should visit. They have a bulletin board with expat rentals and a small community there to help.
The grounds open a little after nine in the morning and stay open until around five in the evening. Every Sunday there is a different lecture at the Open Circle. The first half an hour is for coffee, snacks and visiting. New people are always welcomed at the beginning of the lecture. After the lecture is over, the gates close again until Monday morning. Each week there is a new speaker with a different topic. There are many highly educated and interesting people living here and some of them like to talk to large groups. – Evelyn