Evaluating Lake Chapala,Mexico for Retirement

June 22, 2011

I hope this article helps you decide if Lake Chapala is right for your retirement.
Get To Know Yourself. What's Important to you.
There are a dozens of good reasons to think about living or retiring at Lake Chapala either full or part time.
Just be sure you’re moving for the right reasons. Make an honest assessment (of course in consultation with your significant other).
What's most important to you? Photobucket Cost of living?
There are many places even less expensive than Lake Chapala in the world to live, but we fair very well given the good infrastructure, shopping, banking, internet, quality restaurants and a functioning Multiple Listing Service for real estate.
Is it the weather?  This is one of our best lures. We enjoy spring-like weather all year long. We’re unbeatable in this department.
Is it accessibility to North America, so you can visit your grandkids or have them to visit you?
The Guadalajara International airport is under half an hour away and is just over 2 hours from Dallas by air.
Inexpensive and easy to use video conferencing helps to see the grand kids and for them to see you. Reliable high-speed internet  is available here at Lake Chapala.
Health care is important as we enter our golden years, especially if you have an ongoing health concerns. We have great local doctors who are bi lingual and 2 clinics here at Lake Chapala.


Nearby Guadalajara has state of the art inexpensive (compared to North America) hospitals …
and the government Health Care program covers everything except pre exiting conditions for under $350.00 USD a year here.
Are you willing to learn a foreign language? Here at Lake Chapala you can get by with just very basic Spanish, but more is better even though most professionals speak basic to excellent English, so this is less of a concern if you choose Lake Chapala.
What are you willing to give up or to live without? In most Ex Pat Retirement havens, you usually must give something up. Here at Lake Chapala about all I can think of that you will have to give up can be summarized in one word. Stress!


You have to learn “not sweat the small stuff”, remember you’re not on the clock anymore.
Learn to go with the local flow. Whatever you wanted yesterday, but would settle for today may not be available or happen until “Manana” due to the overall slower pace of life here.
Consider each of the following factors
  • Cost of Living
  • Cost of Real Estate
  • Health Care
  • Infrastructure
  • Accessibility To North America
  • Language
  • Taxes
  • Safety
  • Special Benefits (or lack thereof) For Foreign Residents
  • Education and Schools (if you're moving with children)
  • Climate
  • Culture, Recreation, And Entertainment
On balance, Lake Chapala stacks up very well in all categories.
Please let me know which ones of these you really would like to know more about:
Just send me an e mail with your telephone number and the best time to call you Central Standard time between 6 and 9 p.m.
I get literally hundreds of e-mails each day so help me to give your e mail priority attention, because I want to get right back to you, by making subject line:
”Questions for Sid:” and I’ll take it from there.
Don’t delay, because I truly expect this gratis consultation will be very popular and I’m just one guy so get your spot locked in as soon as you can.
I look forward to helping you to connect the dots.
Good health care…affordable cost of living…lots of sunshine, easy visa process and car importing, great health care, great proximity to the USA and Canada etc. It’s all here waiting for you.
All for now,     Tu amigo,


  • Nonnie Wilson

    Love your articles…..could you tell us if the rain in July is during the days…ie not much sun for swimming, kayaking, etc. or is it more at night. We live in Portland Oregon where it rains almost every day and we are not sure we need any more rust! We are sun starved! We were planning on coming from the 18th of July until Aug. 3 but have not made final plans yet.

    Thanks so much,


  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Nonnie, Thanks for your kind words. You will love it here in July. You will have almost everyday full of sun with rains at night.

    Then, the next morning you get to get up to a freshly washed morning and enjoy the sun again.

    Many of my clients come from the Pacific and they all love it here… like the rest of us.

    Tu amigo, Sid

  • Ryan

    Well well well. All this talk of retiring in Chapala is beginning to look grim nowadays. Dont you think? When i visited the lake area 4 years ago i must admit i thought it was nice, and could very well see the attraction of living there. Well , having paid a few more visits, couple of weekends here and there, few times for food and basicly just a nice drive around the lake area, its becoming clear for all to see surely, that this once calm and sparsely populated area is now just another place full of traffic and chaos. Look at the building work going on. Look at the traffic , look at the seriously inflated real estate prices, look at the sheer amount of lil american rich kiddies flyin around in daddys truck, not forgetting their friends in the back who i imagine have never tasted alchohol before and hence go nuts when they do, this to me now looks like a playground for americans who think they have money, showing absolutely zero respect for this country and its people and its way of life. Granted, you lot are not all of the same ilk,thank god, but where one american goes , more will certainly follow. And yup, its happening, and this place is being ruined. To retire here, one must come to terms with mucho traffico, just trying to imagine my granny trying to drive to the lovely newish walmart on a “quiet weekend”, heres me thinking you all wanted to get away from it all, no? You must have plenty of cash to buy a home here. No? As for renting, wheres the peace of mind in that in your late years? ooh i could go on all day. Tell you, its a good job there are people like yourselves who are helping others here, imagine a newcomer to mexican life having to adjust to all the beaurocratic crap of even such menial things as paying a phone bill or electric bill, ya, opening a bank account, not to mention the paperwork and many return visits to the visa office in guadalajarabad to get a proper visa. Its no wonder theres help for americans, but again, at a cost. I know it aint all bad, i love living in the countryside here, a good 50 mins from the lake, owning my own 2500sq mtr lot with lovely views, bought very very cheaply, my home built with my own hands very very cheaply, feels like ive retired, at 35yrs old, ya, lovely people here, no building inspectors, no trouble, no a..holes, no drugs, only cows and calves walking the road, no yank tanks full of aforementioned kiddies learning about booze, real mexican food blah blah blah. My point being, your once lovely lake town is fast becoming a chaotic, overrun lil mexican pueblo full of foreigners looking for something which is fast becoming extinct. Looking at my own family back home in their retirement, all they have to really put up with is the crappy weather. I really dont think at retirement age , they would want a complete lifestyle change, learning another language in your 70´s may appeal to some tho, along with driving on mexicos crazy roads, not to mention the insecurity of having a corrupt police and justice system, oh man.

    I love Mexico, but just can´t be bothered with Chapala any more. My last visit a few weeks ago resulted in a dire meal at one of those lakeside so called restaurants. I was dining with my mexican family and we were all very disappointed with the food, the clientele, the traffic, the prices and also the service. Is America really that bad that you have to come here and sample this guff disguised as a fancy eaterie? I´ll take the tacos from my local stand any night of the week without the high prices and traffic chaos. I don´t think we´ll be back to Chapala any time soon. It´s just not mexico any more, and it´s real sad whats happening. Hope i don´t offend anyone by saying life in Jalisco is really great, as long as you stay away from Chapala and Ajijic. And just to let you know, the first of the americans are building just down the road from me. Miles from a lake. respect! But as i said, where one goes, more will follow, and i sure hope not too many follow here and ruin my little piece of paradise too. Gracias and adios!

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for expressing your opinion about Chapala and Ajijic.

    North Americans have been coming to Ajijic for over 58 years. Obviously the North shoire of Lake Chapala is not for you.

    Glad you’re happy on the South side. The vast number of retirees from North America obviously prefer the North shore and in particular Ajijic or something near Ajijic like San Antonio Tlayacapan including the more well to do Mexican people.

    The Tapatios (Mexican people from Guadalajara) come on the weekends to enjoy the Lakeside area with their families and they seem to love the string of restaurants
    that you don’t like just East of San Juan Cosala between Ajijic and San Juan Cosala.

    So, it seems you really just prefer very small town pueblo life and are sad that Chapala and Ajijic have changed over the years. Change is inevitable.

    Thanks again for sharing your views, but I doubt many share them. I understand them, but I personally believe that those of us who have chosen the North Shore have the best of both worlds side by side.

    The small pueblo life, but with modern conveniences like high speed internet, first class inexpensive restaurants (Have you tried Ajijic Tango), regular visits of the Ballet Folklorico, Symphony from Guadalajara, and more practical considerations like excellent doctors, ambulance service, fire rescue services and other practical conveniences/necessities not found currently on the The South side.

    One last point. Homes prices and cost of living overall on the North Shore are still just a fraction of of what they are in North America. Yes, compared to much of the South side they are higher, but I think we strike a nice balance on the North side between cost of living and infrastructure/modern conveniences.

    Thanks again for telling us your point of view. Sid

  • Tim Justice

    Hi there Sid,
    You are truly the champion of information on Lake Chapala, and your insight is really helping myself and my wife make the decision to come join all the fun at Lakeside.

    I have just retired at 61 and we have been searching the world for the right set of circumstances for retirement living. I think we have found them at Lake Chapala.

    We have visited almost all of the resorts in Mexico, including Mexico City and have, I’m sorry to say, become ill from some source while dining out.

    Is this a problem where you live? I have other questions that I would love to ask you and if your offer to call still stands, my number is xxxxxxxxxx.

    We live in the pacific time zone so 8:30 your time would be great. Again, thank you for your commitment to educating those of us who are considering coming down.

    Best Regards, Tim Justice

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Tim. Sorry to be a little slow on answering your post. We’re visiting family and so I’m a bit behind.

    First, thanks for your very kind words for me. I appreciate it very much.

    Now, let me earn my keep and answer your questions. In our area of Mexico we have good quality ground water from deep wells so we start off with a good water. Not many gringos drink the water, Most of us use bottled water or have our own purification systems on our homes which run about $500 up installed for a whole house system.

    In over 16 years of eating restaurant food in the Lake Chapala area I’ve only been mildly sick twice (no doctor visits involved) and I attribute each time to one particular restaurant I’ll share with you personally,but not in this public forum. Libel and slander laws are taken very seriously in Mexico.

    I hope others share their experiences with us on this forum, but I’ve only heard of a few such incidents of all my family, friends, and client friends in all these many years at Lake Chapala. So, my conclusion is that food poisoning is no more prevalent in our area of Mexico than in the USA or Canada.

    My the way, I’ll be giving you a call very soon to chat in person. I xxxxxx out your number for the post so you would not get unwanted calls, but I have it. Thanks. I look forward to a more personal telephone chat very soon.

    Thanks again for your nice words for me. All for now. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

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