Dedicated to providing you with credible information about living overseas
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroad

Questions & Answers

Q & A Menu Q & A BY TOPIC
To navigate, use menu bar to the left
Chuck Bolotin of Best Mexico Movers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Jocotepec to Chapala, including Ajijic, Jalisco MexicoThe relevant, overall Lake Chapala area has about 120,000 total residents, 85% or more of whom are Mexican.  Although Lake Chapala is the largest lake in Mexico, the areas most expats are interested in, from Jocotepec to the town of Chapala, is only about 30 kilometers (18 miles) apart.  Locals will call this area “Lakeside”.  Lakeside is located on the far northwest side of the lake.  Sprinkled among the areas I describe below are lots of smaller housing developments, some on the lake, and some in the mountains.  Some of these houses are weekend houses for wealthy Guadalajarans, some are used part of the year by expat snowbirds or sweatbirds, and some are full time residences.  We'll travel west to east.
 
Jocotepec (story about Jocotepec here) is a town centered around providing services to the farms surrounding it.  Other than the town of Chapala, it would probably be the most inhabited area at Lakeside.  As a percentage, there are very few expats living in Jocotepec, but there are some.  Jocotepec has a beautiful malecon (boardwalk along the beach), and a very nice, vibrant, good-sized plaza with a mercado (central market) with lots of fresh fruit and vegetable stores, butchers and general food stores.  It also has lots of clothing stores and a good amount of restaurants specializing in the food Jocotepec is famous for (other than its fresh berries, just picked fresh from the surrounding fields): birria, which is a spicy stew usually made of goat, which is the real deal.  The retail will cater to the local clientele, which are local residents and vacationing people from Guadalajara.

San Juan Cosala.  There are very few expats in the actual town of San Juan Cosala, which is almost entirely comprised of working class local Mexicans.  In the hills above San Juan Cosala, however, there are several fraccionamientos (housing developments) where lots of expats live, in houses that can range from simple two bedroom, to 6,000 square foot mansions and more.  There are several hotels and spas featuring the natural hot springs, which brings in visitors from throughout Mexico. Just adjacent to San Juan Cosala are about a dozen restaurants on the lake, collectively called the “Touristic Zone”.
 
Ajijic.  The center of Ajijic contains the plaza and the town.  Here you will find narrow, cobblestone streets, lots of expats and lots of restaurants and other amenities to serve the expats.  (Stories about Ajijic start here.) You can get by with zero Spanish and live quite easily.  The center of Ajijic is only six very short blocks from the main road to the lake. In concentric circles radiating out from Ajijic, you will get successively less noise, culture, amenities, and prices.  In my view, Ajijic has the best expat center I’ve ever even read about, the Lake Chapala Society (Lake Chapala Society story here), and classes, groups, organizations, etc., to suit any reasonable needs.  Ajijic is very welcoming and has great community.  Towards the eastern edge of Ajijic, you will find La Floresta, which has wider streets, more spacious homes, and a feel from 1960s US suburbia, Mexican style.  At the very east edge of La Floresta is Wal-Mart, which faces the Libramiento (the main north-south road leading towards Guadalajara).
 
Best Mexico Movers
 
Communities around the Libramiento.  Essentially bisecting the east-west road of Lakeside is the Libramiento, which would in 40 minutes or so, take you to the Guadalajara airport.  The Libramiento rises up and over the mountains.  On the lakeside portion, you will find several communities, some brand new with spectacular homes and some that have been around for many decades, many with great mountain views.
 
San Antonio.  Just to the east of Wal-mart is the vibrant expat community of San Antonio, which is similar to Ajijic in many respects, but for slightly less money and with slightly less amenities.  There are, however, lots of restaurants, a butcher, a store to buy fish, and a supermarket catering specifically to expats, all right on the main road.
 
Chula Vista / Riberas.  Upper (mountainside) Chula Vista has a nice golf course, with lots of nice houses surrounding it, some with spectacular views.  Lower Chula Vista (on the lake side, across the main road) is much less pricey and has fewer amenities than San Antonio.
 
Chapala.  The main road from Jocotepec essentially stops in downtown Chapala, where it intersects into a large, tree-lined boulevard with two lanes going in each direction, north and south.  There are several larger, historic buildings, a permanent, large outdoor retail area, lots of Mexican restaurants, a yacht club and a long malecon.  There aren’t a lot of expats in Chapala, but there are a few.  Like Jocotepec, it is mainly Mexican, with Mexican amenities.  Especially on the weekends, there are lots of Guadalajarans visiting.
 
Moving to Mexico?  Check out Best Mexico Movers.
Marvin Golden of Lake Chapala Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Home with mountain and lake views and a casita with a full kitchen, Chula Vista, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingOne of the best builders here is Desherman Group, which have done six or seven developments in the Chapala and Ajijic area and they have it down pat pretty well.  They have a development in the $250,000 range, and there is another one in $150,000, and another one from $250,000 to $300,000 range, and another one that is $500,000 to $800,000. They basically have off-white floors, light brown cupboards, and so on. That is the standard that they do in over 90% of their buildings and people are very happy with that. They bring in their own decorative items and fix it up how they want. You could have them do custom things for you. They can add a room or take a room off or do those kinds of things. Occasionally, somebody will come in and say, “I want black cupboards and I want red tile on the floor,” and they will do that. So once in a while, when you go to one of the houses that they built, you will see that it’s obviously been customized. Desherman is a very popular developer, but there are also many other developers with different qualities and different price ranges.
 
There are also older neighborhoods, like La Floresta, Chula Vista, and Villa Nova, which are developments that were started in the 1950s, just after the Second World War. Over the years, more and more houses have been built but they still have a number of empty lots. Mexicans hold empty lots like we hold money in the bank. They are afraid of the banks but if they have a piece of land, they know that in the long term, it’s going to appreciate in value and it’s not going to go anywhere. When they need money, then they will sell off a lot. Still, there are a lot of opportunities to get into those old neighborhoods if you are willing to pay the price for the land and build what you want. 
 
Jocotepec is right at the end of Lake Chapala. It is an agricultural area where most of the people who live there are Mexicans and some gringos. Just a little bit farther than Jocotepec, just around the other end of the lake and starting to go to the south side, is a development called Roca Azul (Blue Rock). There were plans a number of years ago to have an airport there, a couple of big pools, a big community area, sports fields, and so on and so forth but the developer died and the plans died with him. But there are a lot of little homes out there that are very reasonably priced and the whole thing is kept well-maintained, whereas in some areas you go, it is full of bushes and garbage. They maintain the empty lots and keep the grass cut so it is quite pleasant. But it is just like a little town in isolation.
 
If you want a really good deal, then you could go to Jocotepec, where they have a wonderful development going up the mountain called Las Fuentes (The Chimneys). There are a couple of lower streets without a view but as you go up, you will get better and better views and some very nice houses up there. 
 
The next development is El Limon and a couple of developments there that are not so much developments but rural areas that have had homes built. There are some developers that have gone in and built six to twelve homes. Many times, they are just lots; some are big and some are small, and people have also built homes there over the years.
 
Next, you get to San Juan Cosala, which is another village that has village homes. They are not generally what gringos want, because it is an old Mexican town. San Juan Cosala is the oldest town here on Lake Chapala because that is where the thermal waters are located. I didn’t realize until a few years ago, after I was here, how valuable thermal water could be to you before there was electricity and before we had all the modern conveniences. They had water bathing, washing, and even for cooking because the water comes out of the ground at 139 degrees so it helps the food preparation and all kinds of things. You had to cool it down before you water your grass or you will fry your grass. A lot of people in San Juan Cosala have Jacuzzis because they use the thermal water mixed with cooler water and they don’t have to heat the water for the Jacuzzi and they can get fresh water whenever they want.
 
As you keep coming east, there are other developments along other roads that come to the lake. As you go down the road, there will be a little bit of houses and then there will be a side gate that has about eight to ten houses in a little development until you get down to the lake. Most of the lakeshore is populated with fairly large mansion-style homes that Mexicans over the years have owned. So there is not a lot of lake-front properties available but every now and then, a lake-front lot will come up for sale. 
 
Continuing east, this brings you on to Ajijic, which is a village surrounded by Villa Nova, Las Salvias above Ajijic, and then on the other side is La Floresta. Las Salvias is the premier development area here because they have good views, big lots, big houses, and they are right next to Ajijic. From there continuing east, Ajijic goes to La Floresta, which runs right up to San Antonio. La Floresta has a few little developments with four or six homes that cost around $150,000 to $175,000. Then after that, they are generally good-sized lots and homes are priced from $200,000 to over a million dollars.
 
Then further east, you come to San Antonio. San Antonio has a development that used to be the old army barracks for the war that they have converted into houses. Some of them were fixed up and some are not so fixed up. Some houses in San Antonio cost $50,000 to $60,000 and others cost $100,000 to $120,000. You have to be careful, though, when you buy a property in Villa Formosa because Villa Formosa does not allow pets. I have taken people there who were so excited about the house and they say, “Our dogs would love it here.” And I say, “No they won’t, because they are not allowed.”
 
Right next to Villa Formosa is a little development in which I sold twenty houses that has a common area and a pool. They are traditionally three-bedroom houses, with one bedroom on the main floor, two bedrooms on the second floor, with the second being a master suite with its own walk-in closet and a walk-out terrace. Then on the third floor, there is a mirador (balcony), which often has a lake view. Houses there were running at $169,000 when I was selling them. There was recently one there for sale for $159,000 which is furnished so it’s about $20,000 less than what it was five years ago when I first sold it. 
 
Then you get into downtown San Antonio where they have little houses, and little lots in a busy Mexican village. When you go up the bypass north towards Guadalajara (which is out going to Chapala), you will find Cielo Vista, which is a development of about 200 houses with two pools and two community centers. There is going to be four phases and they are on the second phase now.
 
Next to San Antonio is Vista Alegre, which will also have about 120 houses when it is finished. The views in Vista Alegre are not so good because it is more flat so you would see lots of cupolas blocking your view. But they are still expensive lots in a really good location because across the street there is Laguna Magna, which is a new big shopping center or mall and there is Interlago Plaza. As you go up the bypass farther, you’re going to hit El Dorado on the right side, which has seventy houses and then two 5-story condos. They have some 2-story penthouses that cost over a million dollars on the top of the condos, too. The cost of properties in El Dorado is generally from $200,000 to $400,000. Then you have Birds of Paradise on the same side.
 
Back on the lakeside, going through San Antonio, on the north side of the highway is Chula Vista, which is where I live. It is quite a nice development and it is one of the old ones. There is Lower Chula Vista, where I live, and a little farther east going up the mountain, there is Upper Chula Vista, which has some really nice houses that cost up to a million dollars or more. It is an amazing development that is quite steep, but with very good views. There is a small golf course there and a couple of tennis courts for which you can pay $3 an hour to play tennis. Mission Chula Vista is another development with fourteen houses and that pretty well winds you out. After that, you are out in the country taking a shortcut to get to Guadalajara. 
 
When you go back down from San Antonio, going east towards Chapala, the first development you’ll hit is Mirasol. Mirasol is about four or five blocks each way with a couple of hundred houses. I call it a blue collar or kind of a bread and butter community. The old condos were done in row houses. So they have six houses in a row that are all attached to each other. So I say to people, “If you’re going to cut the grass, you’re going to bring the lawn mower in the front door, down the hall, and out the back. A few years ago, they got little wiser and they said, “We’re going to have a walkway on one side of your house so your gardener doesn’t have to come through your house when you go away,” because people don’t like a gardener going through their home when they’re not home.
 
The cheaper ones will start at around $120,000 to $140,000 and higher ones would cost about $150,000 to $200,000. There are also some quite nice houses in there at around $300,000. There is one in there, for example, that they advertised in a Swiss magazine and asked $750,000 for it. When I heard that it was in Mirasol, my jaw dropped. But they did; they took a house and they made that house absolutely gorgeous but it’s in Mirasol. It finally sold for $350,000, coming down from $750,000. They were hoping that they would catch a wealthy European who would buy it without coming to see where it was located.
 
After Mirasol, then you get Riberas Del Pilar, which is a country area between San Antonio and Chapala. There is quite a bit of land there. There are 1,600 building lots and there is probably 1,200 houses built. Most of the churches are in that area because they could get the land cheaper so they have a big parking lot for the church and so on and it is conveniently located between Chapala and Ajijic. There are still some really good buys for houses that cost between $120,000 and $175,000 and of course some are for more. Riberas is a good place for people with dogs, for example, because the houses have a decent-sized yard with a wall around it so the dogs see out and don’t go nuts at barking at everybody. Then, after Riberas continuing east takes you to Chapala.
 
Chapala is a town that is mostly Mexican with small houses. There are also some large homes and grand estates. There is the downtown area and some areas out of Chapala that are kind of commercial and grubby for the most part. It is depressing to live there, but prices are good.
 
After Chapala, there are a couple of small developments and then 15 minutes east of Chapala, you get to Vista de Lago, which is the big golf course. It is still only a 9-hole course but they have three sets of pins and you can use a golf cart there. They have a nice clubhouse, a driving range, a restaurant, and so on. I know realtors who would pick up somebody at the airport and take them into Vista de Lago and sell them a house because out there, they could have a big house on a big lot. But 6 months later, the homeowners would say, “What the hell am I doing out here? Everything is a half an hour away!” If you want to go to dinner in Ajijic, it is a half an hour drive and when they come back after having a couple of drinks and it’s dark, and there are horses, rocks, and broken down trucks on the road, so they wish that someone could have told you about it so they could have made an advised decision before jumping into something quickly. That is one of the reasons why I do an orientation tour from Ajijic through Riberas, to San Antonio and Chapala, and up around. Then I will point to Vista de Lago because it is great if you are a golfer, it is great if you are an artist, it is great if you are a hermit type of person, but if you like to be social and you like to do a lot of activities, beware of this half an hour drive. Every activity would require you to come into town.
 
After that going east around the lake, there are some Mexican towns farther east that are pretty much non-entities as far as the gringos are concerned. There are a few gringos that go out there and there are some people that want to go into a really Mexican community, learn Spanish, live like a Mexican, and have Mexican friends. There is certainly a lot of that opportunity there as well. 
 
From Chapala heading towards Guadalajara, you continue up the highway a couple of kilometers and on the right side is Chapala Haciendas. Chapala Haciendas has about 400 houses and some lots. On the other side of the highway is Brisas, which has a couple hundred houses and many lots for sale. It is a good buy and if you want to get to Guadalajara, it is just 40 minutes away, and only 20 minutes to the airport.  It is nice for people who travel a lot or who work in the city.  Using the bypass, you can be in Ajijic within 7 to 8 minutes. It is only five minutes to Chapala where there is a Soriana, which is a big box store like Walmart.
 
When you go over the mountain, you will get to the village of Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos.  (A membrillo is a little yellow fruit that is very pungent and very tasty that also goes by the name “quince”). Ixtlahuacan has membrillos at the entrance and a shrine to the membrillos. On the other side of the highway, you would see around ten fruit stalls all in a row. And on the other side is Agua Escondida, which means hidden water. At one time they had a big waterfall coming from the mountain all the way down. In the 1990s when the peso was devalued, the developer took off with the money and everything just went in the toilet. They are still recovering from that.  Farther on is Buena Vista.  Then you are in the countryside, where you can buy acreage where you can have horses, cows, and sheep.
 
The first year we came here, we were getting 16% interest on our pesos because Mexico had gone through a devaluation and they had issues that they had to resolve. This was in 2000. Normal for us now is 3.5%, which is still a lot more than in Canada and the United States.
 
(Home with mountain and lake views and a casita with a full kitchen, Chula Vista, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Francisco Araiza of interlago realestate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
An Interlago home in the hills above Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI’ll start from the city of Chapala, which was established many years ago. Chapala has a lot of history.  Most of the houses in Chapala are older, since it was the first area to be developed. Chapala has big houses and you would notice that it is a bit different than the rest of the developments in the area. Chapala is mostly Mexican.
 
Next going west along Lake Chapala is Chula Vista, which is a development up on the mountains. Chula Vista means a “beautiful view.” There, you will find big and beautiful houses up in the mountains. It is a beautiful area but it is fairly steep. Some of the houses in Chula Vista have big yards and some don’t. Most of them are around Chula Vista Golf Course.
 
The next area gong west is Riberas Del Pilar, which is a flat area. Riberas has different kinds of houses. It is open so it is not a gated community. You will see houses in Riberas that have been built in the 80s and 90s but there are still a lot of empty lots there. It has a mix of expats and local residents, too. 
 
Then, continuing west, we’ll cross another little village called San Antonio. San Antonio is another area where mostly Mexicans live. They have big houses close to the lake that are used any times just as weekend homes, as well as the village of the people who live there full time.
 
San Antonio is mostly Mexican but there are expats who live there, too. Like a lot of places in this area, you will see a very average looking square in San Antonio and then maybe you will see a very expensive restaurant like Adelita’s, which is next to the church. There are some communities within San Antonio as well. There is one gated community there called El Parque, where about 95% of its residents are expats. It is a strong community of people from different countries.
 
After San Antonio going west, you will reach the plaza, then, Wal-Mart, and then you will end up in La Floresta.  La Floresta is a very nice area that was created in the 1970s. From the 70s to the 90s, different developers starting putting up complexes like condominiums and it was going very well. La Floresta has a lot of trees.  There were developments that are located in the villages and some are in town. Both of them are doing very well because there are people who prefer to live in the villages and there are those who prefer living in town. La Floresta just kept growing because it is close to Guadalajara so people love the fact that they could be in a quiet place to live but at the same time, they are able to go to a nice, big city within just 45 minutes. 
 
Then we’ll end up in the town of Ajijic. The village in Ajijic is nice and full of color. You can go to different kinds of restaurants there and we have a big church. Ajijic is very famous for having lots of foreigners. The streets of Ajijic are filled with foreigners from November till April. They are everywhere. 
 
As you go further west of Ajijic, towards Jocotepec, you will find our development, which is Interlago. We have developments on the mountain side of the carretera (main road) and on the lake side. We also have La Reserva, which is also a new development. This is a gate-guarded community with privately owned individual homes. It is separate from the condominiums, though it has the same entrance. We have a nautical club that you can join if you want to. This club is in the lake and it offers a lot of activities such as motorboat riding, and other water activities on the lake. This is something new for the people who live here because the last club that was opened here was 40 years ago. The people who live in La Reserva East are a part of the club, too.
 
As you go further west, there are some properties on the lake and some on the mountains all the way to San Juan Cosala, which is the next village. San Juan Cosala is famous because of the hot springs. There are a lot of spas there. San Juan Cosala also has a big, gate-guarded community called the Racquet Club, which is up in the mountains. You can find both big homes and small homes there. 
 
After San Juan Cosala, you get to Jocotepec, which is now probably one of the most important cities in Mexico because of their production of berries. It is growing a lot and we have expats who live there, too. 
 
We expect more growth in the Lake Chapala area. Since 2007, a lot of foreigners have been coming to live here. Some of them are here for just half of the year; we call them the snowbirds. Some stay longer.
 
(An Interlago home in the hills above Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
David Truly of Dr. David Truly Ph. D. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
David Truly and friend lighting fireworks in Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are a lot of different areas in Chapala and Ajijic but the more significant ones are the Chapala area, which is a little bit cheaper and a little more Mexican. It is a Mexican vacation spot for Guadalajarans who come down. They have a Malecon, which is a pier or a boardwalk, and attracts weekend visitors.
 
The municipality of Chapala includes Ajijic and some other communities like San Antonio and Riberas. There is a fraccionamiento (or subdivision) called Chula Vista that is located in that region. Each of these places are a little different from the other.  San Antonio is more Mexican and more tranquil. Riberas is a little further away from Ajijic and Chula Vista is up in the mountains. Ajijic is probably where you will find the most amounts of foreigners because there are more services and restaurants there. The Lake Chapala Society, considered the world’s oldest and largest expat organization, is also there. Ajijic is really home to a lot more foreigners.
 
As you move west, you get into more farmland areas but there are scattered developments along the water and on the mountainside for people that love the lake view and want to pay a little more. When you get to San Juan Cosala, which is a very Mexican town, you will find a more traditional Mexican village and while it is foreigner-friendly, it is not as developed for foreigners like Ajijic. There is however, a large expat development there called the Racquet Club that has a lot of Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans who live there.
 
As you go further west you will find a growing number of smaller developments as you approach Jocotepec, which is located on the northwestern corner of Lake Chapala. This has become a popular place for some foreigners who like a more Mexican community and lower prices. 
 
Past Jocotepec and around to the south shore of the lake, you will find acres and acres of raspberries, blueberries, and berry farms. There are some foreigners who like to live on the southern shore further away from the foreigner influences and prices are lower.
 
(David Truly and friend lighting fireworks in Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Rosa Elia Cepeda of Charter Club Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Park in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe town of Chapala is more Mexican. There are not too many tourists there. However, some expats live in Chapala because they want to live in a more Mexican area than a touristy place like Ajijic. The cost of living in Chapala is lower than the cost of living in Ajijic because Ajijic is considered a tourist area.
 
There is a subdivision in Chapala called Nuevo Chapala, which is an open area where the population is half foreigners and half locals. Even the stores in Chapala have more local goods that Mexicans use on a day-to-day basis compared to the stores in Ajijic. As Mexicans, there are times when we need something here in Ajijic but we couldn’t find what we needed so we go to Chapala to buy it. The stores here in Ajijic cater more to foreigners. 
 
When you go west of the lake from Chapala there are lots of communities such as Riberas del Pilar, which is the first little village after Chapala. The next is Mirasol, San Antonio Tlayacapan, which is the biggest town between Chapala and Ajijic. There are several gated communities in San Antonio like Lower Chulavista and Upper Chulavista. Upper Chulavista has beautiful views and the houses there are expensive. Lower Chulavista has bigger houses that were built in the 60s and the 70s so they have big spaces, which is very nice. There are also lots of new gated communities in San Antonio where there are small houses. 
 
The next town going west towards Ajijic is La Floresta, which is not considered part of Ajijic but it is attached to Ajijic. It was an orchard that was developed around the 60s or the 70s. It’s an open area and a very traditional subdivision. La Floresta and Ajijic are divided by a street, which is where the tianguis (street market) happens every Wednesday.
 
When you get to La Floresta, you’ll notice the weather change, as it is cooler. It is a very nice area because it feels fresher due to all the vegetation around it. There are lots of springs in La Floresta as well so there is more humidity. It is a very classic neighborhood. There are lots of fruit trees everywhere. You will see nice gardens in very nice homes, which are mostly owned by foreigners. This area was developed by Mexicans but when the foreigners started coming, the Mexicans started selling their properties to the foreigners so now there are lots of foreigners in La Floresta. There are also weekend homes in La Floresta that are owned by wealthy Mexicans from Guadalajara.
 
One of the other differences between La Floresta and the other areas is that the streets in La Floresta are wide cobblestone streets and there are no retail stores here. There are some restaurants on the main avenue but you will not find any businesses in the main neighborhood. Some people who live by the highway have restaurants. There is also a theater, a church, and a very fancy hotel there. One of the nicest hotels here in Ajijic is located in La Floresta, next to the lake. The hotel is owned by Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara (Autonomous University of Guadalajara).
 
The next area is Ajijic.  I like Ajijic a lot and I don’t want Ajijic to change because I would like for it to maintain its charm. In the last few years, we’ve seen lots of people coming into Ajijic; not only expats but also Mexicans from other parts of Mexico. Ajijic is very famous because of the weather and because of its charm. It has something really special.
 
Ajijic is a small village on the side of the hill. Some people tell us that Ajijic is somewhat similar to Honolulu because of all the flowers and the mountains on one side of Ajijic. Ajijic is in a volcanic region so it has volcanic soil. It has narrow streets because it is very old. We have cobblestone streets, a nice plaza, and a very old church. Most people think that the oldest church here is the big one but it is actually a small chapel by the plaza in Ajijic. Ajijic also has a nice malecon (boardwalk) where people go to walk, jog, or even walk their dogs and watch the sunsets. May is the hottest month here but when you go to the boardwalk, you won’t feel the heat because the wind is always blowing. You would also see families celebrate their kids’ birthdays on the boardwalk. Many people call it “the beach.”
 
We get many tourists over the weekend who come here to enjoy the restaurants in Ajijic. There are lots of restaurants in Guadalajara, but many people come all the way to Ajijic because of the quality of food in the restaurants here.
 
There are some other neighborhoods between Chapala and Ajijic like Villa Nova and Rancho del Oro, La Canacintra, Las Palmas, Arroyo Alto, etc. There are also several gated communities between Ajijic and the next town, which is San Juan Cosala. There is a tourist zone where there is a bunch of restaurants primarily on the lakeside, close to the main highway. One of the famous restaurants there is called Piedra Barrenada.
 
The next town from Ajijic going west is San Juan Cosala, which is still a poor village even if they have lots of tourists coming to the restaurants that are just before you arrive in town. Tourists go to San Juan Cosala for the thermal water springs they have there. San Juan Cosala is a nice place but the communities are still very poor. In the hills, passing the restaurant area, you will find the entrance to a very fancy gated community called the Racquet Club. The Racquet Club has really nice expensive homes but it is a huge contrast. It is gate guarded and it is situated on a steep hill with the best views of Lake Chapala. San Juan Cosala is one of the oldest communities in this area of Mexico. It was built during the pre-Hispanic times. The Racquet Club, on the other hand, was built around the 60s or the 70s.
 
Going further west from San Juan Cosala, there are small communities that have houses that were mostly built for workers so these are very inexpensive constructions. After that there is a little town called El Chante. Next to El Chante, is Jocotepec, which is a farming community. The economy in Jocotepec is very good because most of the production of the raspberries from October to April is exported from there to the States and Canada. Other than raspberries, they also grow other produce like artichoke, lime, zucchini, zucchini flower, jalapeño pepper, onions, and many other kinds of crops. Jocotepec has a mostly Mexican community though there are some expats living there, too. There is a famous bed and breakfast there called Los Dos that is owned by George Rauch and Phyllis Rauch.
 
(Park in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Spencer McMullen of Chapala Law – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
San Juan Cosala, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLet’s talk about Chapala first. In Chapala, there is the downtown and the malecon area, which is the lakefront. The big area coming into town is called Chapala Haciendas, which have a lot of homes with views. As you come down the hill when you come into the city you go the downtown Chapala area.
 
East of Chapala is the Chapala country club and Vista Del Lago, which has lots of foreigners who live there. It’s a gated community about 10 to 15 minutes outside of Chapala with staffed guard shack and golf course.  
 
From Chapala going towards Ajijic (west) about a 5 minute drive, there’s an area called Riberas del Pilar, which is an area where there are a lot of newer built homes.  They tend to be in the range of two to three bedrooms, maybe 1,500 square feet and priced in the mid to low $100,000 range. This is an area where a lot of people are purchasing because they can get a brand new house for what most North Americans would consider to be a very low price.
 
Going further west towards Ajijic, there is San Antonio, which is not a little community. There’s a Wal-Mart there and another plaza. In this area, there is good access to roads.  In this area there are five or six gated communities.
 
Going towards Ajijic you have La Floresta, which is a nicer, more preferred subdivision. There’s no gate but there are larger homes tree-line streets. Then you get into Ajijic.  On the left side towards the lake is the downtown area and then as you go further on the right you’re going to have more of the fraccionamientos, which are clusters of homes into small communities. As you get further west towards the border of Jocotepec (the next municipality), there are more gated communities on both sides of highway.
 
In San Juan Cosala, there are natural hot springs and a waterpark.  When you pass through that, on the right side of the hill you have the racket club, which has tennis courts and a community pool, which are part of a gated community with a lot of homes on the mountainside with views. They’re a little closer to Jocotepec, which is about 10 to 15 minutes down the road and which is the next downtown city on the lakeside.
 
Between San Juan Cosala Racket Club and Jocotepec, there is a lot of recent construction in some gated communities to build perhaps 400 – 500 two bedroom homes that are one right next to the other, almost like row houses.  
 
(San Juan Cosala with a view of Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)

Go Here Next

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Our Pledge To You

Best Places will present information from the Community in a transparent way, unedited, except to conform with our Conditions of Use.

You can trust that Best Places does not manipulate content to sell you anything. All opinions in the Community Q & A and Expat Stories are those of its authors, not Best Places.

Get Known To The Community

Those who contribute to the Best Places Community are our heroes! And being a Best Places hero is fast, fun, and easy. Just go to Questions & Answers, find your first question to answer, click on it, and then click the Contribute Your Answer To This Question Button. If you’d rather enter a Story, go to Expat Stories and click the Contribute Your Story Button".

Contact/Support

Please contact us. We would love to hear from you! Customer Service
Technical Support
Business Development
Suggestions
Press
Phone: (US) 520-940-0481