I decided to live here in Ajijic for the past 8 years because of the standard of living here. You get what you could mostly get in a large city. There are some things that you couldn’t get in this town but those are things that just some people crave for such as high-end shows or very specific food like Vietnamese food or expensive Japanese food. Those are available in Guadalajara, which is only about an hour away from Ajijic. Most of the things that you could get in big cities, you could also get here in Chapala and Ajijic for half the price in a large city in Mexico. Compared to the US, the prices here would be a quarter of what you get there.
You could get nice rentals in Chapala and Ajijic that are affordable. Food is crazy affordable. Also, once you get familiar to the area, you would go to the local markets instead of the supermarkets, which are even cheaper. Medical services here, most especially by expat standards, are insanely cheap.
When they first move here, many expats can’t believe that they’re being charged in pesos. I had to make this clear with some clients that they are being charged in pesos and not dollars. They say, “Oh, so it’s $200.” And I say, “No, it’s 200 pesos (US $11).” It’s crazy because when you go to a doctor, you pay 200 to 300 pesos ($11 to $17) for the consultation. If, for example, you have a very bad cough and you get lots of medicines like antibiotics, it would cost around 700 pesos ($39).
We have all kinds of medications here. You can find almost any medication you want as long as you have a doctor to prescribe it. You don’t have to get it brought into Mexico from somewhere else or smuggle medicines into the country because we do have them here. This is one reason why many people come here. They come either to live here or to get medical attention. Dental care is probably a 10th of what you would pay in the US.
As an example, I had a full crown on a molar and it cost me a total of 3,500 pesos ($190) for everything, including a root canal and the crown. The same would have cost me around $1,500 to $2,000 in the US. It’s less than 10% here.
If you have a three-bedroom house with a pool and a casita, your electric bill would be around 5,300 pesos ($290) every 2 months. For us Mexicans this is extremely high but every time I talk to people from the United States or Canada, they say, “Well, it’s too high compared to other bills in Mexico, but not for us.” You also have access to solar panels if that’s what you want. If you want to live here and you don’t want to pay 5,300 pesos ($290) for your electric bill every 2 months, you have access to solar panels to reduce your electric bill.
If you need a gardener or a maid, you could get a maid for about 50 pesos ($3) an hour and a gardener would be around 70 pesos ($4) an hour. You could have the maid come 4 hours a week and pay 200 pesos ($11) a week for cleaning. Gardeners always cost a little more because the weather is so nice here, the plants grow quickly. If the plants grow a little crazy, then you need to have your gardener come a little more often. You could pay your gardener 700 pesos ($39) a week then.
Propane gas costs 7.86 pesos (less than 50 cents) a liter and it lasts depending on what kind of heater you have. If you have a 200 liter tank and you are a regular user without those big fancy heaters and you take a regular one hot shower a day, it your tank could last you about 2 months. (Total charge for gas for two months in this example: less than $87.) This varies depending on how often you cook and how many people live in the house, how hot you like your water, and how often you take showers.
The cost of housing differs depending on the area. Being that Ajijic is the epicenter, the closer you get to Ajijic, the higher the price. You have to consider how close you want to be to the Ajijic Village. There are many people, who, after living in the village, say, “I want to live 6 or 7 kilometers away from the village. Thank you.” Another significant determinant to price is you want a view or if you want to be closer to the Lake Chapala (which usually don’t have the views, unless you are on the lake, because the land is flatter towards the lake). A view would definitely raise your price.
A three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 300 square meter (about 3,200 square feet) house in a nice, safe area in the village with only a partial view would rent for around $1,500 per month on a long term rental and it would be furnished. Utilities are not included.
The price also depends on how long you want to rent, but we have all kinds of options. The shorter the period you are renting, the higher the price. If you take the same house and move it out by about 5 kilometers from Ajijic, it would cost about $1,200 per month to rent. If you move it out by about 10 kilometers, which is around San Juan Cosala, which is a more Mexican area, the same house would cost about $800 per month to rent and your landlord would be Mexican. Mexicans usually charge in pesos so it is lower.
(Home with solar panels, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)