Most of the locals in Chapala are blue-collar workers. There are lots of army and military veterans in Chapala as well. Expats tend to relocate to Chapala because the cost of living is cheaper there. What makes Chapala very beautiful is the lake itself, and the malecon, which is the boardwalk along the lake.
Ajijic, which is a town on Lake Chapala, is more artistic and very picturesque than the town of Chapals. A lot of it has to do with the nature of the people who come to live there. There are lots of people in Ajijic who are semi-retired, who are writers, sculptors, etc. They help by focusing on the beautification and maintenance of the magical and artistic vibe of Ajijic.
So overall, your neighbors in Ajijic would mostly be people who have retired from white-collar jobs while your neighbors in Chapala would be people who are in the service industries and those who have retired from blue-collar jobs. The locals are basically the same in both Chapala and Ajijic.
There are some pockets of local people who live on the poverty line in both Chapala and Ajijic, which consequently creates a good opportunity for expats to be philanthropic. I see that a lot of the expats that relocate here become involved in certain types of community service or being philanthropic in any way, shape, or form.
On a personal level, I belong to the Rotary Club of Ajijic and we do a lot of philanthropic events and a lot of community service projects. As much as 60% of the expats here participate in these charitable events.
The difference in wealth is very evident here. About half a mile behind my office building up to the hills, there is poor community called the Tepehua community. I often donate my time to do clinic duty at the community center. The comparison is almost like night and day between that hill and the building where I have my office. The building where my office is located is very modern and very spacious. We have a koi pond and it’s very peaceful.
It is mainly expats who started the community service projects at the Tepehua community and we just carried on from there. I have seen other expats who may not opt to help people but they tend to rescue dogs. There is a large dog rescue organization here. They are frequently out spaying and neutering cats and dogs. There are definitely a lot of opportunities for people to get involved to leave this world better than how we found it.