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Aussie looking to move to Lake Chapala area


Bill Hely
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I will probably draw heat on this, it is off topic from your original post, and this board is supported by a local real estate company. BUT, if you are a single hetrosexual man, I would definitely check out Colombia. The ancient Carribean beach cities seem to be pristine, fantastic cuisines. Barranquilla has a 400 year old history, a lot of the black slaves found shelter and prosperity there. Cartegena has an annual "Carnivale" which is second to Brazil's. The city of Medillin is clean, safe, well run, and has a public transport system which is the envy of the world. By all means check out Chapala, but I am guessing that you "sinks drains counter clockwise" people would feel more comfortable in your skin, south of the equator.

Plus the freighter thing, to read a collection of vintage science fiction "space ship" stories by Bertam Chandler and Andre Norton would be incredible.

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Not far fetched at all.

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/articles/2016-04-21/a-top-retirement-haven-no-one-is-talking-about

I've never seen the Board's sponsor interfere or censor any discussions here about alternative places.  Columbia is definitely becoming a retirement hot spot.

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Bill 

 

I live in Ajijic and San Cristobal de las Casas and I am leaving tomorrow for Chiapas so I am a little busy as well. ..I will get you my friend´s number and her e-mail in Brisbane so you can have a talk with her. 

Do not listen to people who tell you Lakeside is the real Mexico versus Puerto Vallarta, Cancun.. or wherever. It is all the real Mexico but each area is different. If many expats is the criterium to say it is not the real Mexico , Lakeside or San Miguel are not the real Mexico either but there are Mexicans in all of those areas and the majority is Mexican..it all depends on the lifestyle you choose.

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1 hour ago, CHILLIN said:

I will probably draw heat on this, it is off topic from your original post, and this board is supported by a local real estate company. BUT, if you are a single hetrosexual man, I would definitely check out Colombia. The ancient Carribean beach cities seem to be pristine, fantastic cuisines. Barranquilla has a 400 year old history, a lot of the black slaves found shelter and prosperity there. Cartegena has an annual "Carnivale" which is second to Brazil's. The city of Medillin is clean, safe, well run, and has a public transport system which is the envy of the world. By all means check out Chapala, but I am guessing that you "sinks drains counter clockwise" people would feel more comfortable in your skin, south of the equator.

Plus the freighter thing, to read a collection of vintage science fiction "space ship" stories by Bertam Chandler and Andre Norton would be incredible.

Colombia is north of the equator except for a small corner of jungle in the southeast.  A Texan friend of mine is in Medellin right now checking it out for 2 months and loves it.  His issue would be flying back to the US for urgent, not emergency medical care, using his Medicare.  Miami is only one hour farther away than Dallas is from Guadalajara.  This doesn't impact our Aussie poster but the relative proximity to the US from Colombia was something I hadn't considered before.

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And in case you hear how dangerous Colombia is, ask them how come the President of Colombia just won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, negotiating a settlement with the FARC guerillas. Colombia is what Mexico will become, once they cut out the cancer of cartel drug violence. They used to export cocaine, but now are one the largest worldwide exporters of fresh cut flowers. PS. The answer to the obvious question, Ms. Chillin is saying we ain't moving to Colombia. I haven't told her that they have a strong Amazon there. The online store, not the jungle.

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of course you have read that the agreement between FARC and the government was rejected by the people..They still export cocaine, the time of the big cartel is gone but the small groups are going strong and rivers in the Amazon are being totally contaminated by the local cocaine labs..So the coke business is alive and well there it is just way more discreet.

I heard there was a lot of fog and chipi chipi in Medellin this is why the flowers like it so much.

 

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I don't know what expat life would be like in Colombia, but I do know that it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world to travel through.  The beautiful Andes run right through the country, with most of the larger cities high in the sierra minus the coastal and low jungle cities in the Amazon.  I think the Amazon region is where the FARC mostly operate from, so if you stay clear of that region and probably a couple others you will be fine (kind of like Mexico in that sense.)  Cartagena is gorgeous but miserably hot and humid.  If you prefer the Sierra and cooler climes, check out Medellin, Popayan, or Pasto would be my choices.  The people are beautiful and extremely friendly.  

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Well if you're looking for cheap and the same climate as Chapala I recommend Guadalajara, and about 100 other LA locations.

I've been in Mexico for 30 years.  I came here as a grad student and never left.  I'm here for the people, language, culture, not the weather, not the cheap.  I wouldn't think of living in a country were I had no interest in the nation's language, history and customs. 

I'm from Los Angeles CA.  I consider Chapala to be about as Mexican as East Los Angeles.

Because you're changing countries and cultures you will notice huge differences upon your arrival in Chapala.  And if you like to leave your home and go about discovering your local surroundings you won't, IMO, find Mexico.   The Mexican society and economy in Chapala, IMO, is based in the expat's presence. I doubt any Mexican will offend you.

I don't know if I'm older or younger than you.  I don't know if your health is better or worse than mine.  But the Chapalas of the World are not for me.

Costa Rica is the most beautiful land I've ever seen.  And the people are great.  Panama is cheap and they are much more welcoming to residential expats than Mexico.  But the humidity is horrific.

Al final, if you have little or no interest in Mexico, the culture and language; if your health isn't the best. Chapala is perfect for you.

 

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Well, to start with GDL has a significantly wider temperature span, high to low, than Lakeside.  This is simply because the lake attenuates the temperatures here.  It also has pretty awful air pollution most of which the mountains between here and there block.  You will notice that most places in GDL will have some heat and cooling whereas few do here.  That is not because Lakeside is primitive, that is because it doesn't get as hot or as cold as GDL.

GDL is a real city with the advantages and warts.  Traffic is horrible, I wouldn't own a car if I lived there.  Not sure if Modeeper is referring to the village of Chapala or the larger grouping of villages along Lake Chapala.  If the former, Chapala isn't a big city but it is a very typical smaller Mexican town with a large Mexican tourist presence from Guadalajara.

One can certainly live cheaper in other places, indeed one can do so on the southside of the Lake.  However, when I compare what the people I know who rent there versus those who rent in GDL, Chapala village is definitely cheaper.  But one should recognize the entire north side of the lake is touristy and probably getting more so.  We are hardly unique in that regard and far less so than a place like San Cristobal which I visited this summer.  We won't even bring up PV or Cancun in that regard.

The economy in Chapala village is little affected by the expats, it is all about the locals and the Tapatios there.  Most certainly Ajijic is the opposite but people tend to forget the town is still majority Mexican.  It also attracts affluent GDL people who have second home or who can afford to stay in the more expensive lodgings there.  And of course it has a big snowbird visitation annually and it seems a steady flow of new permanent residents.  We get the feeling that the growing disgust with the mess NOB is motivating more folks to live here full time.

You get to chose how Mexican you want to be and it seems no matter what the choice the people here are very welcoming and very helpful.  Indeed I'd say the people and the walking lifestyle if one chooses to live in a village are important positives along with the amazing climate.

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5 hours ago, Mainecoons said:

 

Well done.  Just a few points (I didn't quote you post cause I hate it when people do that)  Trying to avoid over-stating the obvious probably most people know about city heat, it actually has a name, urban heat island, or the cement island.

Anyone knowing the population of GDL should already know the air isn't the best.  Same for traffic.  BTW, I wouldn't own a car either, I drive a motorscooter.  I would lose my mind if if had to wait at those stops.

There are plenty of communities very near GDL where you can live above the grey-brown mist, El Pinar de La Venta, Rancho Contento, and too many others to mention.

Sure, the Mexican population is greater than the expats around Chapala.  But it is nowhere near the ratio of Los Angeles.  What is it .. 8 million Latinos to 3 million Anglo? 

I lived in CSL and La Paz BCS before I came here.  Tourists have found another destination it seems.  Do tourists still go there?

In the "bars" will you find musicians who travel about and have signed on for a short term in Ajijic?  Or is it the same ol' local guys playing the same ol' songs on the same ol' nights?

I would guess one of the biggest attractions with Chapala for travelers these days is that it's a safe place and it's in Mexico .. not a safe place.

In Chapala there won't be any war stories to email home about but we can always make them up.

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The social scene here is pretty sedate. There is a large pool of single senior women here, many times more than single senior men. Many of them very beautiful, entertaining and interesting. They enjoy to go out dancing, dining, companionship, maybe even hot, funky sex (I don't know!) etc. But one of them writes, that if a new, single male starts dating Mexicanas, especially younger ones, they are immediately "B" listed. This is a very small town, which likes their gossip as you can see on this board -travels like lightning.

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1 hour ago, CHILLIN said:

The social scene here is pretty sedate. There is a large pool of single senior women here, many times more than single senior men. Many of them very beautiful, entertaining and interesting. They enjoy to go out dancing, dining, companionship, maybe even hot, funky sex (I don't know!) etc. But one of them writes, that if a new, single male starts dating Mexicanas, especially younger ones, they are immediately "B" listed. This is a very small town, which likes their gossip as you can see on this board -travels like lightning.

Maybe if I change my avatar to a pix of Groucho Marx it'd attract one of those aging beauties right into my web.  Thanks or the tip.

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55 minutes ago, modeeper said:

Maybe if I change my avatar to a pix of Groucho Marx it'd attract one of those aging beauties right into my web.  Thanks or the tip.

Ha Ha - that would breaking internet protocol, which is - find a photo of yourself at least ten years old, photoshop in some tan, touchup any skin blemishes.

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7 minutes ago, modeeper said:

It's all in the questions they'll ask you.  That's how I filter them.  And most likely how they filter me.  As for photos, my handsome man pix are all sepia tone with crinkly edges.

You clearly have a sense of humor.....the worthwhile ladies of all ages find that appealing.

We all hear different stories:  for instance, I've heard that the bugs in Panama are horrendous.:ph34r:

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Hi Bill

I'm an Aussie living in Ajijic. There is an increasing number of us here.  I know of about 6 - 7. (I'm sure there's more).  A store attendant recently told me that he is meeting an increasing numbers of Australians - both visitors and people looking to live here.

I also lived in Brissy most of my adult life so understand exactly where you are coming from.

Some answers/clarifications for you.

1.  Where to live.  If you sell a house in Brisbane, you should have plenty to purchase here - although that depends on your equity. As for the area to live in, you should wait until you come here and explore for yourself.  For me, it would be Ajijic or San Antonio. I dont like Chapala. Mezcala - forget it.  Too far out.  Much will depend on whether you have a car or not.  Most shops are in Ajijic/San Antonio. Yes, I think you should rent first. 

2. Weather - considerably drier/less humid than Brisbane.  Very temperate for most of the year.  Gets pretty hot around May and the rainy season starts mid June. However, most of the rain/storms are at night.  This year we've had an extraordinary amount of rain but the mountains look so green/beautiful and the lake is full so its not all bad.  If you're hankering for a bit of tropical weather, the coast is a mere 3.5 hour drive away.  For a Queenslander, you'll find it very cold in January/early Feb.  We leave and go to the Pacific Coast or this year, we are fleeing to Costa Rica. Outside its low 20s and sunny  - nice -- but the houses are built to keep you cool so its akin to living in a fridge.  Night time temps can fall as low as 4 deg C.  The houses are generally hard to heat effectively as well so bring some woollies - although as a Queenslander you are probably light on for these.. :-).  Warm socks, trackie daks, jumper and a polar fleece + some warm jarmies should get you through this brief chilly period.

3. "Outages".  Power - rare.  We've had 1 -2 brownouts in last 3 years that I have been here. Water - never. (but some areas do have issues).  Internet  - its fairly fast (but not NBN speed), and fairly reliable but there are outages although usually they dont last long - usually hours.  Worst was 8 days but that was after a huge storm and Telmex gave us a refund for the days we had no internet / telephone service.  Dont laugh but our phone/internet bill is 389 pesos per month - $AUD26.  This includes all calls within Mexico, calls to USA and Canada + broadband internet - (around 5 mbps in West Ajijic where we live).

4. That brings me to cost of living compared to Oz.  Utilities are very much cheaper. Most food costs 30 - 40% of what it costs in Australia.  Mexican produce is excellent quality (you've no doubt seen some in Coles & Woolies). In the Lakeside area, we are spoilt for choice - multiple food markets, a Walmart, Sorianna, two Mexican supermarkets - El Torito and Superlake.  The latter is oriented towards the American populace and sells USA brands at nosebleed prices.  However when you are totally desperate for a particular item you'll often find it at Superlake and have to suck it up at the checkout!   Additionally, there is a plethora of small local owned stores which are excellent. There are things you either cant buy or cost an arm and two legs here.  One is lamb. You can find it occasionally but unless it is imported NZ or Aussie lamb, its probably going to be as tough as old boots so forget your lamb chops on the barbie.  They'll be a thing of the past.  On the other hand, prawns are good and plentiful - about $14 - $15 a kilo.

Guadalaraja is only 40 - 50 minutes away and there you have 2 Costcos, Sams Club (a down market Costco) a supermarket chain called Mega (which is excellent), shopping malls, an outlet mall and interesting local shopping areas such as Tonala, Tlaqapaque,  the fabric district etc and the giant Abastos Market.

5. There is plenty to do lakeside. Lots of opportunities to volunteer, special interest groups, events, sports, theatre, arts and crafts etc..  The Lake Chapala Society is a great starting point for a newcomer.  Apart from Canadians and Americans, there are are wide variety of nationalities living here.

Overall, I love living here - the climate, the convenience (small village less than an hour from an international airport and Mexico's second largest city), the people are warm and friendly.  Mexico is awesome - we travel extensively by road and the scenery, architecture, history and differing cultures are nothing short of amazing. I feel as safe here as I would in any Australian city.  Here at Lakeside, the expat community has a good relationship with the locals which is not the case in some other areas in Mexico. 

My biggest bug bear is "snowbird season" when the area is literally invaded by people escaping the extreme cold in USA and Canada.  The markets turn into war zones, the prices go up, there are traffic jams, and some of the snowbirds are the rudest people I have ever encountered -- no manners whatsoever (basics like "please" and "thank you" are just not in their vocabulary)  - loud, pushy, demanding and treat the Mexicans badly.

As for getting here, I regularly find great fares for my Aussie friends who want to visit.  I also go home 3 x per year to see my Dad.  If you PM me your dates, happy to see what I can find for you.  The most expensive fare was $1600 return but she flew into Mexico City and then out of Guadalaraja. I'm a Qantas Frequent Flyer and that works here as you can use your points on American as well who fly in/out of Mexico.  Skyteam is the other airline Alliance which is worthwhile as it includes Delta and Aero Mexico.  I NEVER spend a $ on travel unless I get something back in a loyalty program!!!

If you'd like to have a chat when you get here, feel free to PM me.  My fiance is a Canadian who has lived in Ajijic since 2000 so I'm sure would have valuable insights for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/12/2016 at 5:49 AM, SmartTraveller said:

Hi Bill

I'm an Aussie living in Ajijic. There is an increasing number of us here.  I know of about 6 - 7. (I'm sure there's more).  A store attendant recently told me that he is meeting an increasing numbers of Australians - both visitors and people looking to live here.

I also lived in Brissy most of my adult life so understand exactly where you are coming from.

Some answers/clarifications for you...

Great info SmartTraveller, and of particular interest as we have similar backgrounds. Thanks for taking the trouble.

I've spent a bit of time in various parts of Southeast Asia, so people often ask me why I'm not heading over there instead of to a completely different culture on the other side of the planet. Places like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand are cheap and very popular with Australian expats. Fact is, while there is very little that I specifically dislike about the Asian lifestyle, there are a few things that would make it difficult for me in the long term. Silly things like smell, that others might not even notice, but to me most of Asia has a very distinctive odour – not necessarily unpleasant, but just distinctive. I could list several other rather trivial little things like that, and they mean nothing to thousands of expats, but combined they get to me after a while and I look forward to getting out for a spell. I think you've gotta take notice of your individual foibles.

My house is on Brisbane's near north side. It's completely unencumbered – no mortgage – but it's very old and not in a great state of repair, so it's not terribly attractive for anyone looking for a house to live in. However, this is an area that developers are always interested in, so here's hoping.

Anyway, none of your minor downsides turn me off. I can't say that I eat much lamb now, so I'm unlikely to miss it. Not a fussy eater and got no allergies so I can pretty much get by anywhere foodwise. To be honest, the quicker I can get out from under the nanny state the better.

I didn't realise about the cold in January/February. I thought the Lake area was pretty much steady temperatures all year round. I'm a product of the tropics – don't like the cold too much at all. 

Again, thanks for your valuable input.

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On 10/14/2016 at 11:10 PM, the walkers said:

this week at round trip airfare was posted by AirNewZealand of 995USD from SF or LA. its an easy shot down here on Volaris....

When I did my first airfare search – and it was a very quick and cursory one – I was quoting travel times in what would be the peak period down here, as that's about when I'll be free to take off. Once I can be more specific with my travel times I can take more care.

 

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9 hours ago, Bill Hely said:

 

I didn't realise about the cold in January/February. I thought the Lake area was pretty much steady temperatures all year round. I'm a product of the tropics – don't like the cold too much at all. 

Again, thanks for your valuable input.

The "cold" is probably not what you're thinking.  In all the years we've lived here, we have never turned on the gas fireplaces.  The houses seem to hold onto the cold but when you go outside the sun is warm and you will be quite comfortable.  The cool nights make for great sleeping.  We have never required more than a sweater.

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