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Magy Carmona of Magy Carmona at Lake Chapala Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Cow on a trail in the mountains above Ajijic – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhen it comes to natural disasters, Chapala and Ajijic are protected by the hills. In every rainy season, water coming down through the hills can cause damage to the streets, so we just have to respect nature to avoid such disasters by not building in these areas, which are well known. 
 
For example, at my house in Ajijic, there’s a river down the terrace, which is more like a small seasonal creek. Instead of trying to cover it or build a pipe to drain it, what we do is we enjoy it, and we build a life around that creek. In the rainy season, we have a river in the yard and it’s beautiful, and we celebrate it. 
 
We don’t have hurricanes in Chapala and Ajijic because we have the hills and the mountains and we’re more than a three hour drive from the ocean. They happen in Colima, but not here in Ajijic. 
 
There are fires at the La Prima Vera forest, which is close but not close enough to mean danger for people. These fires happen in the dry season- two weeks before the rain starts. 
 
We don’t have earthquakes in Ajijic and Chapala. Guadalajara has had an earthquake, and so has Mexico City. You may feel something in Ajijic, but not that much.  
 
(Pictured: cow on a trail in the mountains above Ajijic.)
Roberto Millan of Roberto Millan Design and Construction – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Rain clouds coming into Raquet Club, San Juan Cosala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAs for natural disasters like flooding, earthquakes, fire, or hurricanes in Chapala and Ajijic, I have been living in Ajijic for 19 years and in that time, I've only seen one disaster maybe 12 years ago when there was a surge of water from the hills that came down to the Raquet Club. The street going up to the Raquet Club was filled with mud about one meter (three feet) high and big rocks came down from the mountains. A few houses, maybe three or four, in Raquet Club were destroyed, but it was a miracle that there were no deaths. Some streets and a bridge on San Juan Cosala were also affected by the influx of mud and rocks.
 
Another one that I did not witness, but happened 18 years ago was a similar incident in El Limón where big rocks destroyed some houses. This happened because of continuous heavy rains for one hour.  Water accumulated in the hills, and there was a sudden surge of water. 
 
I don't think they have solved this problem at the Raquet Club. When you are next to a big mountain, you are taking a risk because that's nature.
 
In terms of earthquakes, there was one in Chapala, Ajijic, and Guadalajara maybe five or six months ago, but there were no big damages.  When I build a house, I can build it earthquake-proof if the client wants that, but I need to hire an engineer. It's not my field and I don't specialize in earthquake safety construction. There are international norms for earthquake safety construction and only an engineer who is specialized in that field can give the structural design against earthquakes.
 
For my house, I would prefer to pay 20,000 pesos (US $1,060) to make it earthquake-safe. For this extra cost, the engineers would charge 60 pesos per square meter ($0.30 per square foot) for the structural design. I give them the files of the architectural design and they calculate everything. They give me back the structural drawings with all the rebar, beams, foundation, and everything else. The extra cost to build an earthquake-proof house would not be too much; about a 10% increase.
 
There are always fires here in Ajijic and they never get out of control. In California, you'll have wildfires because you have pine trees in the forests. Here in Ajijic, the plants are low. 
 
There are also no hurricanes here in Chapala and Ajijic because we're hundreds of miles from the ocean. Sometimes we have strong winds from the lake, but doesn't cause too much damage.  
 
(Rain clouds coming into Raquet Club, San Juan Cosala, Mexico, pictured.)
Joan Silver – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Pool overlooking Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn 2004 there was an earthquake where the epicenter was a hundred miles away that shook everything for 52 seconds. There were a couple of small cracks in the swimming pools here, but that’s about it.  We have only experienced 2 tremors over the years in Chapala and Ajijic.
 
Chapala and Ajijic is not in a hurricane or tornado alley. We have some heavy rainstorms that can cause a flood that is a foot high because of water from the creek coming down the street after the rain, which is why the curbs on the streets of Chapala and Ajijic running north to south are higher than anywhere else. There was a week of heavy rainstorms 5 or 6 years ago in San Juan Cosala when a couple of arroyos (creeks) had rocks and trees washed down and in through town, which was the worst flooding we've had in all the time that we've been here in Chapala and Ajijic.
 
There are no wildfires in Chapala and Ajijic. However, we have man-made fires during April and May to get rid of dead plants that grew like crazy in the rainy season. There's a common saying in Chapala and Ajijic that if you stick a toothpick in the ground, it too will root.  Some of the man-made fires in Chapala and Ajijic can go out of control because of the wind that comes from Lake Chapala that pushes the fire up. What people do is water bomb the fire that’s on the mountainside between here and Jocotepec.
 
(Pool overlooking Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Francisco Araiza of interlago realestate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Brick domed ceiling in a living room at Interlago development, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe last time we had flooding in the area of Chapala and Ajijic was around 2006 when we had flooding in San Juan Cosala. We haven’t had any big flooding after that. 
 
We haven’t experienced an earthquake recently. The last big earthquake that happened here happened in Guadalajara in October 19th, 1985. It affected Guadalajara the most but it didn’t make a huge impact in Chapala and Ajijic. Ajijic has many churches that are over a hundred years old so they were not built to seismic standards but you will still see them standing. Having an earthquake not a major thing that we worry about here in Chapala and Ajijic. 
 
Relevant to fires, sometimes you would see fires up in the mountains but those are controlled fires and they are man-made. We don’t have wild fires like the ones they have in California. The fires here are done on purpose in order to clean up the area.
 
We don’t have hurricanes either because we are not the area that is usually affected by hurricanes.  
 
(Brick domed ceiling in a living room at Interlago development, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Richard Tingen of Coldwell Banker Chapala Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Cover of Richard Tingen's magazine El Ojo del Lago, pictured – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe don’t get any hurricanes in Chapala and Ajijic. We are four hours from the Pacific by car.  At times, we can get the tail end of hurricanes that may blow in from the gulf or may come in from the Pacific. Perhaps they can produce 3 to 5 inches of rain, but no significant winds that you would associate with a hurricane. 
 
I don’t know of any flooding.
 
We do get very mild earthquakes.  Some of the earthquakes here you don’t know that you had until the next day when they announce it on the TV or radio. The whole state of Jalisco is practically earthquake free in that the subsoil in the state of Jalisco is the material of volcanic ash that we call “Jal”, which is like a pumice stone and acts as a shock absorber. As a result, if there is a slight tremor, it doesn’t knock down buildings. We’re very fortunate. 
 
During the dry season when the growth on the mountains is brown the local farmers who have a little plot of land up there will burn them off to plant their corn. We don’t get wildfires.
 
(Cover of Richard Tingen's magazine El Ojo del Lago, pictured.)
Rosa Elia Cepeda of Charter Club Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Waterspout of Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI have experienced earthquakes in Chapala and Ajijic because we are on a fault. I can remember one earthquake that happened in Jocotepec just recently. However, it is not a cause of worry because the earthquakes here are just small earthquakes that cause zero damage.
 
We also have las culebras, which are tornadoes that pull water from the lake and drop it in other places. Usually the water falls in the mountains, which cause mudslides. It happened 10 years ago in the Racquet Club and it was a disaster. Nobody lost their lives but they lost houses and cars.
 
Brush fires also happen in the mountains when it’s very dry and hot, especially in the month of May. We don’t worry about fires in the residential areas because the construction materials used in houses and buildings here are not the same as in the US. Buildings and houses here are solid and are usually made of cement and bricks. Even if the fire starts from inside your house, for example, because of a faulty wiring, the fire won’t consume your whole house because your house is most likely made out of bricks.
 
We have flooding in the mountains but not in areas where people live. Ajijic means “a place where water spills over.“  We live in La Floresta, just adjacent to Ajijic and our location is on the outskirts of the mountain. If you go to La Floresta from the lake, you will be walking uphill so water doesn’t stay where we are, as all the water drains down to the lake. The worst thing that can happen during a heavy downpour is that you couldn’t cross the street because it could be like a river with all the water streaming down. However, that doesn’t create any damages to the houses and it doesn’t pull people down to the lake.
 
Another reason why the streets of Ajijic are made of cobblestones and not paved because it is more ecological. If we pave the streets the water won’t drain and the aquifers won’t fill up with rainwater because if the streets are paved, the water will wash down the pavement. The only street that has concrete is the main street, but all the others are cobblestone.
 
(Waterspout of Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Anne Dyer of Casita Montana – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere aren’t any significant natural disasters in the Ajijic – Chapala area. In the 29 years I’ve lived here, a couple of times we’ve had a really light earthquakes but you can hardly feel them. 
 
There was a flash flood a few years ago that came down from the mountain in the rainy season but we don’t have terrible flooding like we’ve seen in other places in the world.
 
Sometimes there are fires in the hills when it is dry season. The bush gets dry and brown and they burn sometimes but there was none of that this year. When it does happen, it is usually not that bad. Chapala and Ajijic are very tranquil places.  
 
(Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Santiago Hernandez of Chapala Med – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Home in Chapala Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are no hurricanes in Chapala or Ajijic because we are located inland. Flooding has occurred on the streets but it is nothing that goes over your knees. However, the flood tends to be a nuisance because you cannot drive. 
 
We experience earthquakes from time to time and we get some pretty significant earthquakes here. Here in Chapala and Ajijic, you wouldn’t worry about dying in an earthquake because most the buildings here are not more than two stories. I would be more concerned if I were in Guadalajara and there is an earthquake because there are more high-rise buildings over there. But in general, earthquakes have not caused that much of a problem here. 
 
Relative to fire, the homes here in Mexico are not built like the homes in the US where there are a lot of materials that can burn. Most of the homes here are built with concrete. I haven’t seen many fires here in Chapala and Ajijic. In my observation, for every house fire the firefighters tend to five or six are car fires and they are also the ones who take care of animal control issues. 
 
Overall, I have known of only two fires in Chapala since I have been here in 3 years. I don’t know of any brush fires here. What people might need a little getting used to initially, are the fires that farmers set to the bush and things around their fields. You could be driving along the highway, and no more than 5 to 10 feet away from the road, you will see a fire on the field, but it is a controlled fire, and nothing to be concerned about.
 
(Home with a rooftop patio and tile roof in Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)

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