Welcome to Chapala Club!
The Lake Chapala area basically consists of Chapala and 5 surrounding villages and a number of subdivisions with independent homeowners’ groups.
Although the area has been inhabited for thousands of years in the last few decades it has seen an influx of artists, writers, and retirees from all over the world.
On the surface the lakeside villages are not unlike many others in Mexico. They have the cobblestone streets, Spanish tiled roofs, and relaxed atmosphere: however a closer look reveals some distinct differences.
Language: With so many North American retirees in residence it’s natural that the area has many English – speaking shopkeepers, waiters, doctors, etc. In fact there are more than 75 English language organizations and churches. We even have a local English language newspaper and two monthly English language magazines that serve our area.
Conveniences: The Chapala area has all the modern conveniences, There are fine medical facilities, well stocked super markets, cable and satellite TV and High Speed Internet,
At over 5,000 feet above sea level the area is verdant, with semi tropical and tropical plants, with mostly sunny days.
Bargain Prices: Your pension or investment income will go a long way here. The cost of living in Mexico is significantly lower than that of many countries including the USA and Canada.
Are there other places cheaper? Of course there are, but not with the infrastructure and accessibility to North America that we have. (Chapala is only 20 minutes from an International airport with direct flights from many gateway cities in North America.
For example, Dallas, Texas is approx. 3 hours away via American Airline. Currently there are 3 daily flights from Dallas via American Airlines.
Some of the best values in our area are food, medical care, housing, utility bills, and domestic help.
Electricity – Under $35 a month typical usage 2 persons in 2000 sq. ft. house.
Maid or Gardener per hour – About $3.00 USD.
Housing Example: An attractive brand new 2 bedroom , 2 bath home in a convenient location close to shopping, with potable water, fruit trees, covered terrace, laundry room, two car carport, mountain views, range, and refrigerator ready to move in are listed in July 2008 for under $130,000 USD.
Dinner at a good restaurant – $10 and up. A good meal at a Mom and Pop type place is about $3.
Avocados – If you don’t have a tree in your yard you can buy 3 for a $1.
First run movie – $3.00
Shopping: Our area is a shoppers dream come true. At the colorful open air markets called “Tianguis” (tee – an – geeze) you can find everything from fresh fruits and veggies to clothing, hardware items, auto parts, sun glasses, jewelry, watches, and household items. Some tianguis specialize in crafts, hand blown glass, pottery, dishes, art objects made of silver, wood, leather and Paper Mache, and even furniture.
A new WalMart Super Center is under construction now in the Lake Chapala area and Guadalajara has Sam’s Wholesale, Price Club, Costco, Home Depot, Office Depot, Radio Shack and a number of upscale malls to choose from if you get homesick for malls or familiar stores.
Tourist Destinations: While we have many fun things to do right here in our area it’s sometimes fun to take in a change of scenery. There are a number of areas just a half day drive away including beautiful tropical beaches only 4.5 hours or less away by car. (Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo)
Medical Services: In the Guadalajara – Chapala area you’ll find compassionate, well trained doctors and dentists, at very reasonable prices most of whom speak excellent English and many of whom have received training in the USA.
Prescription and over the counter drugs, are often lower priced here than is the USA.
Plastic surgery of the highest quality is also available at substantially less cost than in the USA.
Government sponsored Health Care: IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Suguro Social) permits foreign residents to join the system for an almost unbelievably low cost … approx. $300 per year. The first year of coverage not many services are covered, the second year more services are included , but by the 3rd year all services are included with no (zero) deductible.
And, many hospitals here will accept your US health plan insurance and often without a deductible.
Quality of Life: The Mexican lifestyle seems to me to be conducive to good health. We learn to live a more relaxed lifestyle here. With the great weather you likely will find that you spend a good bit more time outdoors and in general just being more physically active. A 365 day a year growing season allows lush foliage like that around the pool shown above.
With the combination of more exercise and a healthier diet many people find that they actually lose weight without really trying (No guarantees, OK?)
Feel like being pampered, how about a manicure or a pedicure or even a full body massage (under $25 for an hour long relaxation massage).
Many people reinvent themselves here. They find a creative spirit within themselves that may have been lying dormant for some time. Some enjoy painting or sculpting. Others try their hand at writing (we have a writers club for accomplished and aspiring writers by the way.)
Some enjoy learning a foreign language. There are many different Spanish language classes at all levels at very low rates. Do you have to learn Spanish? The answer is “Not really”. Will you pick up some along the way? “Of course you will.”
If you study the language and then practice it, even with the shopkeepers etc. who speak English, you will be rewarded with broad smiles of encouragement and a growing sense of achievement. Soon you will be at survival level. So you can shop anywhere even if no one speaks English.
Most folks find that they can get to basic survival level very quickly. This allows you to more fully enjoy the country and all it has to offer.
Finally, we have room for almost everyone here. If you are a bigoted, totally self centered, obnoxiously opinionated know it all… please stay at home.
If on the other hand you are like most of us… willing to experience a different culture without giving up your own, understand that not everyone everywhere has to think just like we do, that perhaps we can learn something new from our host country and perhaps teach them something new as well, then you’re just the type of person who will blend right in here and can benefit greatly from the cross pollination of cultures you will find in our area, and not just from the Mexican culture, but from all the different culture represented in this truly international retirement community.
I almost hate to use the word retirement. In some circles this means “ out to pasture, in active, in the twilight years, etc.” BUT, I think of retirement as retired from stress, retired from work I don’t want to do, retired from the burdens of too much ice and too much snow, or too much heat and too much yard work, But not retired from living a full and vigorous life doing the things that fulfill me (This need not be self centered as there are many fulfilling things to do here that bless others greatly.)
No, to me, retirement means having the time, money, and energy to do all those self fulfilling, helpful things that I have always wanted to do, but either didn’t have the time, or the resources to do. Here I have the time and the favorable exchange rate gives me the money to live my dreams.
Dare to Dream: Why not think “out of the box” a bit more. You’ve already begun by reading this information. Now take the next step and give me a call or e mail me with any questions you may have.
One of the things that’s self actualizing and fulfilling for me is to help others to “Make Their Dreams Come True”.
I truly enjoy introducing people from all over the world to our lovely area. I look forward to hearing from you. I want to help make your dreams come true too !
Siempre tu amigo (Always your friend),