Can I Live on My Pension at Lake Chapala Ajijic?

May 19, 2010

Can I Live on My Pension at Lake Chapala Ajijic? Great Question!  Here’s a letter from a client who wrote the below letter to her friends who are thinking about coming to Lake Chapala Ajijic for a check out the area trip. She’s gratefully allowed me to share it with you. “Hello to all our Friends, Some of you asked how much it costs to live down here so I'm going to show you our budget! We have owned this house since August. 21st.  (This is the time to buy down here as the Canadian dollar is doing GREAT.) This is based on what it has cost for 8 months. I have converted the Mexican peso to Canadian dollar (at the present time it is 12 to one). (At press time the American and Canadian dollar are on a par) Monthly Costs Phone and Internet              $33 Propane                                        50 Electricity                                  60 Property Taxes                           8 Municipal water                        9 Shaw Satellite TV                    85 $245 Maid & Gardner                     100 Mexican Medical Ins. and FM3                                        75 TOTAL                $420 Eating out?   BBQ Rib Dinner – or – two huge Porkchops, baked potato & vegetables – $7.50  (90 peso) Rib eye steak - rice & veg. or Fajitas   $5.75   (70 peso) The most you will pay for a meal is 120 peso which is $10. Want to go to see a movie – Last week I saw the 3D movie Alice in Wonderland at a beautiful theatre for  $5.80 Popcorn and a drink set me back another $2 This weekend we are going on a trip to two beautiful cities - Guanajuato and Queretaro Luxury_Bus We leave Friday morning on a first class coach. We will stay at a 5 star hotel for two nights, with breakfast and 3 city tours. Then. On Saturday night we’re treated to a live entertainment. The total cost of this trip is $208 each – total! We could have made a similar trip to Puerto Vallarta or Manzanillo  for a similar price.  The buses are luxury class and you get to meet lots of new people. The beautiful weather, wonderful environment and amazing people are worth a million dollars. Now, you know why we decided to sell our house and move here. Let us know when you want to come and visit! Love ya Deanne & Bruce "

  • Ruth

    I am increasingly nervous about coming to Mexico with all the narcoviolence that is going on. I have been reading on Mexconnect about it from lots of people and while it used to be primarily the border towns it seems to have spread thruout Mexico now, even Chapala. Maybe it’s more hype than truth. I’m well aware there is probably just as much right here in some cities but I guess I’m afraid to get out of my comfort zone. I lived and loved Guadalajara for a whole year but wonder if we take the toll roads from the border if we will be safe in our American plated car. Maybe we should just sell everything and fly in with our suitacases.

  • Ruth

    From the looks od Deanne & Bruce’s budget it looks like even paying rent we could live on my husbands Soc Sec and save mine and our pensions. It is so tempting. And so expensive here!!

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi GypsyRuth, Thanks for your nice words. Yes, they live very nicely on very little. Of course there are folks here who spend a lot more and a few who spend less.

    Thanks again, Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Again Gypsyruth and David M.

    The recent violence in Chapala was a shocker to us all. Violence of this type is EXTREMELY rare.

    The last time before the incident with the police officer in Chapala was about 5 years ago in Ls Fuentes in which a man walking was killed which shocked us all then too. Comparatively speaking I think we’re very fortunate here to have so very little violent confrontational crime.

    Now driving here from Texas or Arizona has been in the news recently as well. The few incidents are of course alarming, but really the odds of being a victim of such isolated violence is to me not unlike flying on an airplane.

    I say this from the perspective of a former pilot and former police officer. The vast majority of us will never be a victim of a major crime of violence or involved in an air crash.

    Sure we can check the statistics of cities around the world for crime stats and we can check the various airline safety records.. and Mexico fairs very well by comparision to other countries including the USA and Canada.

    Remember, that in the news business they say, “If it bleeds… it leads.” meaning that they print and report the worst most shocking things they can find.

    My Mexican mother in law will not let my wife and I drive to the USA without first stopping by her house so she can lay hands on us and pray a hedge of protection around us. Can’t hurt, right?

    Why does she do this? Because she loves us and are afraid for us to visit one of the most violent nations on the planet. You see she watches the Mexican nightly news and sees all teh violewnce in the USA (children killing children and teachers, teachers killing students, a soldier going berserk and killing other soldiers, bombing plots in major cities, etc, etc.

    Of course we see these as isolated events, but the rest of the world wonders if we’re a bunch of butchers.

    I’ve had several clients and family members recently drive from Arizona to Lake Chapala without even a hint of an incident as did my wife and I a few months ago. We did see several convoys of Mexican troops to which we gave the thumbs up sign which was returned with smiles and waves of acknowledgment.

    I guess ultimately we all have to make our own choices about what’s best for us.

    Sincerely, Sid

  • Sunny

    Hi Ruth…

    Toward the end of April, I drove, by myself, in a small car from Northern California to Lake Chapala. It took me 5 days of 6-8 hour days of driving. The longest leg was from Pasadena to Nogales. I had made reservations in advance at Motel 6 in Nogales. I didn’t know whether I would make it to Navajoa on my first day in Mexico, so no reservation. But I had one for the second night in Mazatlan. Since my car was packed full of “stuff,” but covered up I booked a hotel with locked off street parking and got to the hotels by 4:30 pm.

    On local advice in Nogales, I took the truck crossing over the border. There were no lines, but a whopper of an obstacle route at the crossing. At this crossing there were no obvious signs for immigration, so nervously, I kept on truckin’, stopping periodically to ask–Ayuda!Donde esta emigracion? Each time I was told to keep going, I couldn’t miss it. About 20 klicks down the road there it was on the right with a parking lot. And arrows. And nice officers. At least they were to me. I asked one if he spoke English. He smiled, shook his head and said, “no hablo– solo French, German, Espanol and Swahili.” Everything was taken care of with smiles–tourist visa and car permit and a place to exchange dollars for pesos (you need to do this to pay the toll on the cuota road).

    I took the cuota road the entire way. There were no bandidos, drug cartels, or fake federales. I didn’t get lost. Well, outside of Culiacan I took the wrong exit and started toward Costa Rica (the town not the country), but with the help of a local policeman, that got sorted out pretty quick and I was on my way again.

    There were always Pemex gas stations entering and exiting towns. I used them rather that ones more isolated. I picked hotels with restaurants in them and ate there and had a margarita every night. I carried my own lunch and bottled water(mostly to save time) which was cheese, fruit and crackers. Worked fine. I didn’t get sick once.

    I left Mazatlan about 8:30 a.m. and pulled into Lake Chapala Realty in Ajijic about 3:30pm to pick up a key.

    I can’t say I was calm all the way down. I had to be alert; more alert than normal. And, sure, I was a bit anxious. It took almost a week for me to wind down and then everything was fine.

    Hope this helps.


  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Sunny,Thanks for sharing your journey here as a single lady traveling alone. Your a can do lady.

    ALl for now, Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Dorothy

    I’m so glad that the intenert allows free info like this!

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Dorthy, Thanks for your nice comment. Tu amigo, Sid

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