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This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About DocTours
Jeff Smith of DocTours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Ben White of Lake Chapala Society, after interview with Chuck Bolotin, of Best Places in the World to RetireAjijic, on Lake Chapala is in part a retirement community. Because the Americans and Canadians who live there are embarking on a new life, most are intent upon making friends, so it's easy to strike up a conversation, learn the ropes, and be invited to parties.
 
Very few expats work. After a lifetime of it, Gringos are here to play. Given the friendliness, perfect weather, and low prices, play is easy. It's like living a vacation full-time. Happily, being carefree fits right into Mexican culture.
 
Due to low prices, most transplants have a maid and maybe a gardener, which frees up lots of time. A few spend some contemplating what matters. Almost everybody spends lots of time socializing.
 
Thanks to affordable everything and tasty cuisine, many expats dine out with friends, or sometimes at home, taking time to enjoy the meal. They also participate in clubs:
  • art classes (loads of creative galleries in town),
  • garden club (numerous gorgeous lawns),
  • bridge club,
  • writers club,
  • culinary society,
  • French society (overlapping with the gourmets), etc.
Many meet at the Lake Chapala Society, which is like an embassy for expats.
 
Thespians enjoy three theaters; one featured a Grammy winner, another streams performances from around the world.
 
On their own, expats hike the mountain, waterski, kayak the lake, stew in spas, play golf and tennis, ride horses, etc.
 
Many transplants volunteer to support their new community. Winter sends Canadians and Americans southward November through April. Then the town puts on events like the Northern Lights Festival. Charities hold galas to fundraise for:
  • orphanages,
  • student scholarships,
  • medical care,
  • abandoned dogs/cats, etc.
The local Mexican residents set a fine example of friendliness. In the street they greet each other and non-shy Gringos. They show respect for elderly people. Sometimes a task might not be accomplished as quickly as an expat wold be used to, but it's part of the relaxed pace.
 
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(Picture: Ben White of Lake Chapala Society, after interview with Chuck Bolotin, of Best Places in the World to Retire.  Click here to read the interview.)
Tom Leonard of Hotel Perico – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Pool and barbecue terrace at Hotel Perico, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLiving in Chapala and Ajijic is different and takes getting used to, but I like the lifestyle. I have known quite a few people who came to this area and just couldn't make the adjustment because everything is different and things are not as easy. I am from the United States and I expect things to work, such as the Internet, banking system, businesses, and workers.
 
In Chapala and Ajijic, things aren't as easy as how things are in the US. Once you get to know the local people and the way things are, then the lifestyle in Chapala and Ajijic is a lot less stressful and you can enjoy life a little more. 
 
If the Mexican worker doesn’t show up for some reason, there's always tomorrow. If the Internet goes down for a few hours or a day or two, it comes back up eventually. You must flow with things and not let things get to you. If a person can make this adjustment, then he'll find the lifestyle in Chapala and Ajijic very enjoyable and not fast-paced like what he may be used to in the States. 
 
I enjoy life more here in Chapala and Ajijic because I slow down a little bit more. When you're going so fast, you don't have time to enjoy anything. It's like eating a meal fast with no time to enjoy it. Life is that way. Slow down to get to meet people. I enjoy that I meet a lot of people here at our hotel. It's been good and fun to know and talk to people to get their input. 
 
It wouldn't matter to someone who is completely retired if the worker they hired to come fix the roof comes today, tomorrow, or the next day. For me, given that I run a hotel, sometimes it does matter. I might have a booking in two days and if a worker or repairman doesn’t come the next day, I'll miss the window. For me, it can be stressful, but I have learned to adapt and make some changes. Things just have a way of working out.
 
(Pool and barbecue terrace at Hotel Perico, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About Blue Angel So...
Valerie Friesen of Blue Angel Solutions – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Paul Brier sings Ajijic and the Livin' is EasyThe lifestyle in Chapala and Ajijic is very comfortable and quite a bit more relaxed. The pleasant climate is the most mentioned aspect of living. The cost of purchasing food is very economical, whether it's at the grocery store, markets, or the restaurants. Food is fresh. Pollution is basically non-existent.
 
(Click the picture to the right to hear Paul Brier sing "Ajijic and the Livin' is Easy".) 
 
Housing is affordable in Chapala and Ajijic. Most expats in this area, whether living in a condo or a house, would have a maid and there is a gardener in the facility. 
 
The lifestyle is easy in Chapala and Ajijic. There are many beautiful places in Mexico, but Lakeside Chapala is particularly known for the high level of socialization. There are so many clubs, charities, and hobby groups that expats would be hard-pressed not to find something that they would enjoy doing, whether it's hiking in the mountains, rescuing abandoned dogs/cats, or learning how to play a ukulele.
 
Access to a large international airport from Chapala and Ajijic is easy. 
 
One thing I don't like occasionally is that the parties get a little exuberant when it's a long weekend. 
 
I would like to see more activities like composting and separating garbage. On the other hand, there is a lot of solar generated power in homes, churches, and public buildings. If you go along the highways, many of the lamps on the highways are solar-powered, which is wonderful. I think that's the way it should be all over Mexico.
 
(Click the picture above to hear Paul Brier sing "Ajijic and the Livin' is Easy".) 
Magy Carmona of MAKEITCA$H – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
View of the Chula Vista Golf Course from a home's second story loft, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe lifestyle in Chapala and Ajijic is very relaxed- it’s lovely. Chapala has a different pace- it’s where you recover the capacity of contemplation. You have free time because everything in Ajijic and Chapala closes early. The people in Chapala and Ajijic are happy, and some people come here to get a new life after working their whole life. The people who come to Chapala and Ajijic are retired, and now they know what they really want- to be happy. They come to Ajijic to relax and to have fun. You may see people exercising, having fun, and going out.
 
I like it here. In Chapala, I feel like I’m always living in the holidays, even though I’m a hard worker. I wish my parents from the city could come to Ajijic and live here.
 
(View of the Chula Vista Golf Course from a home's second story loft, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About Dr. David Tru...
David Truly of Dr. David Truly Ph. D. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Poster for expat band, The TallBoys Band from Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLiving in Chapala and Ajijic is like living in the United States about 30 years ago. It is a less regulated society. You have more personal accountability. Mexico is not a very litigious society yet but I’m sure that will change over time.
 
Chapala and Ajijic are still Mexican communities so we still have the traditional comidas in the afternoon to take lunch when you will see families getting together for lunch between 2 to 4 PM. We also have a good-sized expat / foreign community so they hold breakfasts for the gringos. They also go to different places from noon to 1 PM to have lunch. Then, the Mexicans come for lunch from 2 PM to 4 PM. It is a really interesting community because it is a real blend of the cultures but it still is predominantly a Mexican culture, which is why many people like it.
 
The pace of life in the Chapala / Ajijic area is based around family. Families are very important here still and you see them together all the time. It is a very gentile and polite society. People in the street say “Buenos dias” and “Buenos tardes.” They hold the door open and there is a certain amount of respect for elderly people that you can see on the streets.
 
The lifestyle of people here is slow compared to the States and other parts of the world and less hectic.   We have a pretty substantial full time community (approximately 10-12,000 foreigners) but there are also distinct seasons as well.
 
During the Snowbird or winter season, you will experience lots of arts and music festivals like the Northern Lights Festival that is sponsored by Scotiabank from Canada. During the winter, there are a lot of part-timers here so the non-profit organizations hold a lot of galas to raise money for orphanages, student scholarships, medical care, etc. There are a lot of activities from November through April here in Chapala and Ajijic.
 
Then after Easter, things slow down until the Sunbird season. When our rainy season starts here in Chapala and Ajijic around mid-June, it cools everything down and you will see a lot of Texans and Floridians, and people from hot climates in the US like Arizona, coming in order to get out of the heat.
 
Chapala and Ajijic is an interesting community and very cyclical. It’s a little seasonal in the sense of activities and the amount of activities but the most important thing about life here is, depending on where you live, whether it is in Ajijic or in a little pueblo like San Antonio, or in Chapala proper, you will find that each one has their own characteristics. Each one has their own vibe and ambiance. Each geographic area is unique in some way, but overall, living in the area is a very relaxed lifestyle. It is the land of mañana so things do not always happen when people say they will. People just need to get used to it because it is part of the lifestyle here. A lot of people adapt to the lifestyle of Chapala and Ajijic quite well and enjoy it.
 
(Pictured: Poster for expat band, The TallBoys Band from Ajijic, Mexico.)
Andrew McFarlane of Muebles NOMAD (Nomad Furniture) – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Embroidery classes offered at the Lake Chapala Society, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe word I would use to describe what it’s like to live in the Chapala area is “quiet.” I have my business and I spend most of my time here. I grew up in Chapala so my friends are here. Guadalajara is an hour away and has everything you find in any large city, great opera, theaters, art shows, and international standard shopping and restaurants.
 
Overall, living on the lake is very quiet. There are many varied and well-run clubs. The American Legion, French society, quilters club, writers club, bridge club, art classes, garden club, culinary society swimming classes, spas, horseback riding, golf, and those are only a few. If you want to get involved in a charity there are many who will gladly welcome your support.
 
The Lake Chapala Society is a good starting point for any new person arriving to town. They are a vibrant expat community club and there are always people around happy to share information or direct you to someone who can. They also have a library.
You can’t get bored here unless you try very hard!
 
(Embroidery classes offered at the Lake Chapala Society, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Steve Cross of Luxury Homes Ajijic – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Amazonas, a house in Rancho del Oro, Ajijic, outside entertaining space – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYour lifestyle here in Ajijic and Lake Chapala can be as active or as inactive as you want it to be, but there is certainly no reason to be bored. Many expats volunteer with local organizations in the day time and at night because of the low cost of good quality food, many expats dine out often meeting up with friends.
 
There is an active theater scene with several venues and an auditorium that features top class visiting entertainment which in the past has often featured Grammy winners etc. and one new development is the Lakeside Little Theater streaming performances on huge screens, of plays, concerts and orchestral recitals from around the world.
 
We are part of a lively cocktail party circuit that is extremely welcoming of new people and often these are in private homes and in fact sometimes it is so active we have to take a few nights off!! Like I said there is definitely no need to be bored.
 
(Pictured: Amazonas, a house in Rancho del Oro, Ajijic, outside entertaining space.)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About Chapala Law
Spencer McMullen of Chapala Law – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lakeside, Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe lifestyle in Chapala and Ajijic depends on what you are, who you are, what you’re doing and how old you are. It also depends on how you socialize.
 
For example, some people in Chapala might be retired military and they are very active with the American legion.  They might walk on the malecon (boardwalk by the lake), they might go out a lot, and hang out in the plaza. In Ajijic, some people might be part of the Lake Chapala Society. They might have a house and have guests over frequently. Others will take Spanish lessons. Younger people might work and go to the gym and be in more social events.
 
There are always a lot of fiestas here in Mexico. Here in the state of Jalisco area, we probably have fiestas almost every month so you’ll always be able to find a municipality or plaza with fireworks and a live band playing at least for about a week out of a month if you want to look for it. To experience the culture and the people and their cultural events, I have seen dances and presentations very frequently in the Chapala and Ajijic area. So there are always things to do and people to see. It depends on how social you are and what you want to do. 
 
If I were to compare LA to Mexico, I would probably compare LA to Guadalajara because Guadalajara has theatres, operas, and concerts but you have our urban sprawl; it’s spread out, and you can spend a lot of time in traffic. In Chapala and Ajijic, in contrast, you’ve got a high concentration of foreigners in a small area so it’s something that you can’t compare to the US. You’ve got a lot of culture and food and art and things that are in really concentrated in a small area.  In Chapala and Ajijic, there are maybe a couple of stop lights and 2 or 3 gas stations versus the 4 lane highways, traffic, urban sprawl, strip malls and shopping centers they have in Guadalajara. Guadalajara is a real city and Chapala still has its small town charm. We have a Wal-Mart and more stores opening up, but it’s still very, very suburban.  The comparison I can make is that the relationship between Guadalajara and Chapala is like the relationship between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
 
(Lakeside, Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)

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