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Chuck Bolotin of Best Mexico Movers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Live music in Ajijic"Standard of living” is a bit hard to define, because the elements of it are different for different people.  For example, if you are not happy unless they have the feel and excitement of a large city, the Ajijic / Lake Chapala area is not for you.  Likewise, if you need to see first run Broadway plays (on Broadway) or if you need to purchase the newest fashions, the Ajijic / Lake Chapala area is not for you.
 
Here are the elements of standard of living that, if they closely match how you would define the term, you will like the Lake Chapala / Ajijic area:
  • Moderate, nice weather.
  • Great views of the lake, volcano and mountains.
  • Hiking all year round.
  • Able to be outside all year round.
  • Compared to the US or Canada, a cost of living about 60% less.
  • Very good selection of restaurants.
  • Community theater.
  • A good amount of live music, like in the picture above.
  • Clubs for almost any imaginable interest, from yoga to ukulele.
  • Friendly, open, expats and friendly, open locals.
  • If you choose to, wonderful volunteer organizations that allow you to see the results of your work first hand and immediately.
  • Interesting friends, from almost all over the world.
  • An active lifestyle and an active social life.
Here’s an article on how so many expats raised their standard of living (at least in my estimation) by moving here.
 
Interested in moving to Mexico?  Visit Best Mexico Movers.
Karen Herrtwich of S&S Auto – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Jet Metier and neighbor Maria pose in front of her Russian husband's samovar in their beautiful – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe standard of living in Chapala and Ajijic is excellent. I feel very safe here. There are a great number of restaurants to choose from, the proximity of Guadalajara adds to your options of things to do. Apart from snow skiing, you can pretty much do anything you want in this area. 
 
You can also volunteer in a number of organizations to help animals, children, or older people. The beach is only a few hours away. Chapala and Ajijic are in a great central location where there's a real mix of people, which would be the perfect place if you are from Europe and you wanted to meet people who speak French or German, for example. 
 
Mexicans are extremely friendly. They watch out for each other, and that’s why I feel very safe. I really don't worry about being mugged or anything like that. The air is great, and the climate is outstanding. Even on a bad day, it's a great day. It could be raining all day and anybody who lives here will say, "What a beautiful day." It's awesome. It's a very high standard of living.
 
The feeling of being at ease is in part a result of knowing that it’s not going to cost you a lot of money to enjoy yourself when you’re in Chapala and Ajijic. Your quality of life depends on your standard of living, but being in Chapala, it’s going to be cheaper no matter what. You can raise your standard of living and be "off the charts" if you want to.
 
(Jet Metier of Best Places in the World to Retire and neighbor Maria pose in front of her Russian husband's samovar in their beautiful custom home overlooking Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Andrew McFarlane of Muebles NOMAD (Nomad Furniture) – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Roof terrace, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe standard of living in Chapala and Ajijic varies depending on the type of income you have. There are many people here who live very well on their Social Security from the States. They can rent a nice place with one or two bedrooms and sometimes with a pool. There are also various options for visitors who need a larger space or more bedrooms. Some of the properties are quite fabulous and you can rent by the month or week as well.  
 
A two-bedroom house for me, for example, is US $500 a month and includes a garage, garden and roof terraces. 
 
(Roof terrace, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Amaranta Santos of Eager & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Graphic for Ukulele Adventures, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPersonally, I love theater because I am a theater person. I love music. There is always music here in Chapala and Ajijic. There is always a jazz group playing somewhere. There is always a play or a comedian doing something somewhere here and that’s what I like. If you want to find talent, you will find talent here. There are a lot of people in the arts who come down here who used to do it in their home country as their main source of living. They come here to retire and they start doing it again. They come to either direct or act here and it’s great.
 
Sometimes people come to Chapala and Ajijic to come and do what they did all their lives and they couldn’t quit doing it. Or it could be something that they have always wished to do but they never had the chance but when they got here, they have the opportunity to do what they wanted.
 
There is a ukulele club here in Chapala and Ajijic. We have writers, too. People come here and they start writing. We have a writers club so if you want to write, you are in good company. If you want to sing, you’re in good company. If you want to act, you’re in good company. If you want to quilt, that is possible. If you want to just sit and be a couch potato that is okay, too! There is something for everybody here in Chapala and Ajijic.
 
(Graphic for Ukulele Adventures, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Michael Kavanaugh of Continental Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Steak dinner at Tango restaurant in Ajijic – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe standard of living in Ajijic is probably better than it is in Chapala, even though the local government seat is Chapala.  There are fewer Americans and Canadians living in Chapala as opposed to Ajijic. The standard of living is better because there are more amenities provided where there are more Americans and Canadians. 
 
In order to compare the standard of living in Ajijic and Chapala with something an American would be familiar with, it’s just a question of expectations. Everybody’s lives are different. For example, personally, my wife and I rarely go out to eat. We cook seven days a week generally and every once in a while we’ll go to Guadalajara for lunch at some fabulous restaurant. But there are other people who live here who go out to eat two meals a day or more. My wife and I don’t go to the theatre, even though they have a fabulous live auditorium here for ballets and folkloricos and there are international musicians who come here to Ajijic.  Even though it’s absolutely wonderful, we never go. It’s just not a thing that we do or enjoy, but a lot of people do, and they’re extremely popular. We’re homebodies, even though there’s a lot of culture here. 
 
If you want to go to restaurants, you can eat for 60% to 70% off.  For example, you can go to a restaurant called Tango, in Ajijic, and have a fabulous steak dinner for two people and a bottle of wine, and it would cost you 400 pesos (US $22) or maybe 500 pesos (US $28). In the US that same meal would probably cost you $150 at the same quality restaurant. 
 
You can get a housekeeper for 40 to 50 pesos (US $2-3) an hour.  Normally in the US, if you can’t afford a housekeeper you’re doing your own housekeeping. But over here, instead of doing housekeeping you can have someone else do it for a very reasonable amount and you’re free to enjoy other things.
 
Also, there’s not better weather anywhere in the world, except in a certain part of Kenya, and very few people want to live there.  
 
(Steak dinner at Tango restaurant, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Anne Dyer of Casita Montana – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Shopping in the open market, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe standard of living in Chapala and Ajijic is excellent. We have people from all walks of life here. We have people who have traveled all over the world, have all the money in the world and have homes that are more than a million dollars. We also have people who are living on Social Security and are living on US $1,300 a month.
 
Your cost of living here in Chapala and Ajijic would vary depending on how you shop and live but the quality of living at all budget levels is very good. The cost of living here is less than the cost of living if I were still in Tulsa, Oklahoma where I came from. People here in Chapala and Ajijic could go out every night to eat if they want to or they can stay home and cook. 
 
As an example, honestly, we can’t spend $4,000 a month. You don’t need $4,000 in Chapala. I know lots of people who live on $1,200 a month. When I came down here 29 years ago, I read a book titled “Live Comfortably in Chapala and Ajijic for $200 a Month.” You can’t do that any more but you can live economically certainly on any income.
 
Our area is an older community and as a general rule it is more of a senior citizen area. The nursing homes and the assisted living homes cost so much less here than in the US. Everybody tells me that in the States and in Canada, the assisted living runs from $6,000 to $8,000 a month but here in Chapala and Ajijic it costs only around $1,200 to $2,500 a month for full care offered 24 hours a day with nurses and everything else that one needs. Assisted living costs much less here as well.
 
Many times people are retiring a little bit younger, in their 50s and early 60s but had their parents living in the States. They don’t necessarily want their parents to come live with them and their parents do not necessarily want to live with them either, so they come here and look for assisted living. They find wonderful care here and it is so much less.  
 
(Shopping in the open market, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Greg Custer – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Painting of a cat in a hammock – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI've been living in a neighborhood called Riveras del Pilar, right smack dab between Chapala and the more renowned village of Ajijic. Like anywhere, the area you pick to reside in will determine things like view, density, type of housing, cost, neighbors. Living IN the village can have its advantages and drawbacks. In Riveras we appreciate the the non-commercial, quiet, no traffic advantages and yet can ride bikes into Ajijic or Chapala in 10 minutes. All towns in Mexico come with certain urban challenges, even the small ones: buses, bad sidewalks, fireworks, liter, stray dogs, lack of zoning, overhead wires, speed bumps. etc.
 
So be ready for this. I like to ask myself (when my pesky Gabacho-- foreigner personality rears up) 'is this really a 'First World' problem?" (defined as it's pretty meaningless in the bigger scope of things), and move on. The right attitude is everything. Most who don't make it here are too tightly wound and want to 'fix' things. Get a hamaca (hammock) and breath deeeeeply.
Mark O'Neill – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Arts theater, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe standard of living in Ajijic is what I consider to be really high for what I had envisioned would be typical in Mexico, particularly within a relatively small village of 13,000 people.
 
A large part of the economy of Ajijic is based upon the community where 50% are US and Canadian expats who have moved there for the quality of the climate as well as Ajijic being a very economically sound place to retire, and to have a good lifestyle.
 
There are a variety of communities in Ajijic, from very simple apartments and condominiums to beautiful homes on the mountainside by the lake with their own country clubs, tennis clubs, etc. that allow a huge variety of environments in which to live. If you’re just looking for a simple one-person retirement home, they have condominiums and retirement environments that cater directly towards retirees, particularly those who need help with their meals and day-to-day operations. You can also get as grandiose a home as you might desire, all at about a third to a quarter of the price that you would pay in the United States.
 
What I’ve seen so far is that Ajijic itself is somewhat of an artist community. The main part of the village is still old and very traditional, which is the bulk of the village. It has great shops and a wonderful town plaza, a beautiful cathedral, and little churches.
 
Ajijic is a very safe place. When I was down there initially, I would join friends for a meal or drinks in the evening and walk home by myself on a foreign street. I just had to be careful not to step on the small children on the roads, but I never felt intimidated or felt any form of danger.
 
For the locals, Ajijic is a very family-oriented city, with the charm and the character of a village. It has beautiful artwork on the walls. It has cobblestone streets, which brings character to the village and yet there are wonderful facilities. Within two miles of the downtown of the village is a major Walmart so one never feels like you are completely, totally, and utterly removed from society as we know it in the United States; there are things of familiarity.
 
Ajijic has its own little 400-person theater for performing arts. It has a little casino. It has sort of an international flare to some of the restaurants, as there are people from all over America and nationalities from all over the world that have retired there.
 
(Arts theater, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)

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