My Life at Lake Chapala- Ajijic: Part 2

January 13, 2015

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Hi Everyone, Welcome back for Part 2. If you somehow missed Part 1 I highly recommend that you check out as well on this website. The 2 parts each can stand on their own legs, but to get the “Whole Meal Deal” to use a popular fast food slogan it’s best to read both.

Now, before you read further I hope you have a few minutes, because this post is filled to the brim with solid “insider knowledge” and it is longer than most of my posts. So, please read it enjoy it, take notes, ask me questions that come to mind by e mail to and I’ll follow up right away. OK, Fasten your seat belt for the rest of “My Life at Lake Chapala-Ajijic: Part 2!

OK, with that short disclaimer let me continue with more of “Why I Live at Lake Chapala – Ajijic, Mexico”

I get to save on all sorts of things like not having to buy home owner insurance which up North can cost an increasingly large chunk of money each year.

I have ZERO home owner insurance because We just don’t need it here (my opinion). Since there’s not a tort lawyer hiding behind every tree here we don’t carry any form of liability insurance on our home.

Homes here are basically fireproof made of non combustibles like brick, stone, tile and steel with cement or clay tile roofs. So a small spray extinguisher in the kitchen just in case of a grease fire gives peace of mine.

Almost 100% non flammable materials are used throughout in home construction here.

They come with steel frame doors and windows and dead bolt locks and some come with “pick proof” security locks even to prevent entry from even the
most artful burglar to foil any break in attempts.

We’re also glad to know that the response time by the local Police Patrol force is under 3 minutes for an emergency call with two officers per car.

If you ask your beat patrol car they will even provide you with the cell number assigned to the patrol car for your area. Speeds any possible response time by cutting out the telephone operator.

I do have an extensive security system (Alarms, Cameras etc.) Remember I was a former police officer, but have chosen to self insure for break ins.

Insurance for theft and burglary is available if you feel you need it. MOst people do not see the need.

With good quality fresh from the farm produce, fruits and meats we eat well and healthier than North of the border, so cold is a very rare event for me. As I write this I can’t recall ever having more than a slight sniffle that never even got to the “cold” stage.

I do admit to being a vitamin nut so do take daily supplements, but my wife is not a vitamin nut and mostly just eats nutritious food and does her daily exercise routine and stays healthy naturally.

We each are covered by the Mexican government’s IMSS health care system.
My premium is about $300 USD a year for total coverage and her’s is even less being younger.

I even can afford to have both a housekeeper and a gardener who’s glad to earn a little extra doing light maintenance, washing our cars, or even giving our little dog his bath as needed.

You likely could afford to have domestic help as well since the going rate as I write this is less than $4 USD an hour.

I admit it took me a while to get used to “having servants”, but it definitely grows on you. Of course I treat them with great respect and practice my Spanish with them.

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My gardener has been of particular value over the years since he knows where
to go for the best prices on almost everything. He’s glad to share because
that enhances his reputation with the vendors and repair people he recommends. Mexican people believe in repairing things if at all possible rather than replacing them.

Most North Americans these days find it less expensive to throw away the broken item and buy a new one at a big box discount store. This i snot the Mexican way and if you’re savvy, you will quickly find that at least here in
Mexico “Their Way” is “The Best Way”.

The cost of labor here is so low that most of the time it’s less expensive
to have something fixed rather than to replace the item. This especially applies to car parts, lawn mowers, and even to quality shoes.

The local shoe shop has repaired and made like new my shoes here that were
rejected by shoe repair places in Texas as “not repairable”. The place I use has even sewed up gaping slits in the toe area of my expensive all leather shoes where over the years the perspiration finally caused the leather to deteriorate and crack wide open.

The shoe repair man used extremely fine black nylon threat and sewed the slit closed so expertly that to see the stitches you had to get your eye
very close to the area and it was still almost impossible to see the stitches. If you eye is more than a foot away you can’t even begin to see the stitches.

So, expensive shoes I used to have to throw away in Texas as un-repairable are easily repaired here… and for a very small amount of money.

Basically anything that would be labor intensive in the USA or Canada like car repairs (both mechanical and body work) are SUPER BARGAINS.

I’m still driving my 1997 Ford Explorer with 200,000 miles on it with about
half of those miles being put on the vehicle here.

I have three great local mechanics. All three stay busy most of the time and all three have almost exclusively Mexican clients. Speaking some basic Spanish and not being put off by the appearance of the shops lack of cleanliness and safety features for the workers brings me very large savings
in my car repairs. It can do the same for you.

But if not, you can find Bilingual spic and span shop, where there’s a clean cut Mexican guy who greets you with a smile wearing a clean uniform and speaks to you in near perfect English. You will not be allowed to look over the mechanics shoulder, but will have a fairly comfortable waiting area and may even be offered a cup of coffee while you wait and amuse yourself reading
a Mexican magazine several months old… AND You will likely still save over
what you would have paid in the USA or Canada, but you also will not be bragging about the super savings that I get at my shops.

Ok, Let’s wrap up.

Are there less expensive places South of the US Border to live than Lake Chapala. Sure there are, but not with perpetual spring like weather with mostly sunny days, great restaurants and lots of English speaking friends.

Add with great local health at low prices where the doctors still make house calls, friendly local people (many of which are bi lingual) and the fact that we’re welcomed and respected as their guests and not thought of as “The Ugly Americans”.

Our economic impact is substantial on the local community and it’s definitely appreciated. And, we’re more than just a meal ticket to them.

We also give of ourselves through volunteer work, fund raisers for local charities, teaching free English classes, sponsoring worthy students even for college level studies etc. etc.

Plus they’ve adapted to North Americans since we have been coming to Lake Chapala for “The Good Life” for well over half a century. So. When are you coming?

Let me know far enough in advance and I’ll even pick you up at the airport.

I can also refer you to great local B and B’s in the area. (no kick backs from any of them.)

My Bi Lingual Mexican wife also does tours to Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque, Tonala, and More.

So, you can make it a fact finding & vacation trip rolled into one.

Let us know when You want your introduction to the closest thing I’ve found so far, to paradise on this Earth.

All for now, Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • CeeZee

    Great read, Sid. You are certainly an asset to the community.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Thanks for your kind words CeeZee,

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