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Hi Folks,

My wife and I will be visiting in Feb. for about 4-6 days with an eye toward the possibility of moving long term. What kind of things should we make sure to do during this visit? Should we get an AirBnB or a B&B or...? Should we stay in Ajijic or Lake Chapala or ....? How can we avoid common mistakes?  How many folks decide to move, then a year or two later realize they made a mistake? Any other questions we should be asking :-)?  Currently living in Seattle, WA.

 

Thanks!

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That will be a very short visit. A couple of weeks can even seem short.

Chapala is a city, but also the municipal seat of government, and includes Ajijic and other neighborhoods or villages very close by. Ajijic and Chapala centers are only 5 miles apart along the north shore of Lake Chapala.

Very, very few have thought that they made a mistake. We came, went back and sold out, returned & bought a house in Ajijic two weeks later.  Sold it a few years later, in favor of a larger one in Chapala, where we stayed for the next decade, until health/insurance issues forced us back north in our dotage for VA & Medicare coverage.  If not for that, we would still be in Mexico.

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There are city people, there are country people, there are suburban people. Figure out your comfort zone and then go from there. But there are no rules, and all lifestyles are possible here. I have lived all three flavours in my lifetime - but I can't tell you which is best. If you are looking for urban liberal, intellectual elite -that is not on offer here. If you are looking for party hearty all night crowd -that is not on offer here. But there are always cool vacations available!

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Try a B&B, but this is high season and you may need to check a few places for your target date.

You may not yet know what you want, but what you think you want may not be what you really want, either. My advice: prepare by making a list of goals and questions, talk to a variety of people, then do what feels right without committing to anything you can't get out of. Some people find exactly what they want right away; others decide their needs, hobbies, interests, and activities change and move based on them. Many rentals are available so you can decide what's right. Each of the many villages around the lake have a different personality as well as geographic points: close to the lake, in the village, mountainside, farther out, closer to golf or tennis...there are advantages to each. If you are interested in social or other activities in Guadalajara, perhaps allow some time to visit there: many people Lakeside take advantage of the many offerings of the city. A driver recommended by your B&B can help you there. Locally, you can walk, take a taxi or local bus.

Bring sunglasses, good walking shoes, a light jacket, a few debit cards (in case the machine eats one; we are mainly cash transactions here) and all your meds and personal needs for your short stay (checking the list of prohibited items, such as Sudafed, which has landed some people in jail). Make photocopies of your passport, emergency contacts and cards just in case and put away for safekeeping. Pretty much everything else you can replace here without much hassle. We are fairly casual in dress and attitude, so leave flashy jewelry, high heels and a NOB attitude at home and you'll have a comfortable stay. There's a lot to love about the area, but it is not for everyone and that's OK. Enjoy your time here! For many, it's magical.

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I am new to the area, but I have found that Chapala and Ajijic have very different vibes. Ajijic is quaint and lively, and entertainment, galleries, restaurants are packed together everywhere on narrow busy streets. The central plaza is very pretty, and there is a lakefront area where you can relax and find little places to eat. It feels more artsy, and is a lot of fun. Chapala feels more "businesslike" in my opinion as an extended visitor and has a wider main boulevard with lots of places to dine and some shops, though the side streets are also narrow with lots of businesses. The Malecon at the lakefront in Chapala is a great place to people watch, and there are market stalls all along the lakefront park there. You might consider staying three days in one, and three days in the other. My first three trips here I stayed at an AirBNB at the Raquet Club, about ten minutes from Ajijic. The views were lovely, and it was laid back, but you need to drive everywhere. There is a main road that runs all the way between the two towns, and you will fins so much to see and do along that road.There is something to like no matter where you are. I hope you have a wonderful visit. I will be moving here permanently in the fall.

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I would recommend staying in Ajijic if you don't speak Spanish.  Most places you go to, there are English speaking employees.  Not so much in Chapala.  It has much more Mexican Spanish speaking people.

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14 hours ago, CHILLIN said:

 If you are looking for party hearty all night crowd -that is not on offer here.

It certainly is on offer here and not just by Mexicans.

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15 hours ago, rnew said:

Hi Folks,

My wife and I will be visiting in Feb. for about 4-6 days with an eye toward the possibility of moving long term. What kind of things should we make sure to do during this visit? Should we get an AirBnB or a B&B or...? Should we stay in Ajijic or Lake Chapala or ....? How can we avoid common mistakes?  How many folks decide to move, then a year or two later realize they made a mistake? Any other questions we should be asking :-)?  Currently living in Seattle, WA.

 

Thanks!

I highly recommend a seminar since you are only here for a few days and want the most information you can get during that time. We were very happy with this seminar and now live here full time because of the information we received.

http://www.retiringlakesideinmexico.com/index.html

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All good advice here.... I would suggest a longer stay if possible... We spent a month here looking around, viewing available homes and getting a general feel for the area... Staying in Ajijic for a week or so will give you a feel for the village... Be sure to enquire as to internet availability and strength as it varies from area to area... As mentioned above, bring comfortable walking shoes... What are called cobblestone streets are really rocks, so be aware.  Happy to pass on new comer advice if you PM me.

Welcome!

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I spent a week here , never having been here before and not speaking Spanish, looked at houses for a 5 days , bought a house moved here 6 months later and that was 16 years ago. Eveveryone is different.

Three tears later I spoke Spanish and wanted something different so went travelling bought a house in CHiapas and now we live in both places.. You cannot beat the climate here..

I knew exactly what we wanted. which was being able to manage without a car if we wanted too, I wanted a flat place, no stairs, thinking of later on in life, big yard close to the lake, close to a big city but not in it, Close to good doctors and airport. Good public transportation and on and on. Got it all. I think it helps if you know what kind of life you want before arriving otherwise the choices can be overwhelming.

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22 minutes ago, ned small said:

It certainly is on offer here and not just by Mexicans.

That's right Ned it is available here.. Tonight will be one such night... 

The Tallboys Reunion at El Barco . They are going to rock this town tonight... 

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11 minutes ago, bmh said:

...God help us ..and  protect us from the old folks partying..

Why would you assume that it's all old folks partying and besides you are probably well protected,not going out late.

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17 minutes ago, bmh said:

...God help us ..and  protect us from the old folks partying..

It's called "humor" Ned.

We still party, we just tend to fall asleep around 9PM. :D

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Somewhere along the post line, it was claimed that neither urban intellectual types or party hearty types were on offer.  Not so.  I know quite a few of the former who retired from the big cities. There is a writers group with an annual conference, book clubs with challenging reading lists and a number of interest based clubs.  A person just has to look.  Plenty of party hearty things going on as well, and what's the matter with old folks partying?  I don't, but I see others happily going for it.  They may look kind of silly, but they're clearly having a good time. Party on.

RE those damn cobblestones streets:  Mexican ladies are born with a special balance gene and can walk confidently in 5 inch heels.  The rest of us are seriously challenged by those stones and we have many "fallen women" as a result.  I've had my share of falls and have finally taken to carrying a walking stick, so "bring comfortable shoes is good advice".  Oh, and don't rent anything too close to the main Catholic churches, where the noise makers are set off regularly for any occasion.

Buen Suerte!

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This isn't like Leisure World.  I've yet to see anyone with a spam key out there rolling up the sidewalks at dark.

:D

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7 minutes ago, rnew said:

Thanks, everyone! Very helpful.

What you need to do is come here and see for yourself,. Don't listen to what a lot of the old fuddy duddy's try to tell you on here... Make your own choices based on what is important to you....

I am constantly at odds with the ten posters of this board.. They want to roll up the carpet and lock the doors at 9pm.  

There are many of us in the area who are still young enough to enjoy a night (and I mean night) of dancing.. We don't want to stop the music at 9.. 

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Rnew, glad you find the input you requested helpful to you. Also see you are wise enough to ignore the humor impaired and self-absorbed. You will do just fine down here. Good luck and have fun.

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Best be home before 9 - there are no taxis after that, and the drinking/driving laws here are now some of the strictest around.

Besides after an early evening dancing the hooterville hop, trying to keep up with young party studs like Pedro and Telz, you will be exhausted anyways.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBD2vZtuxwU

 

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Considering some of the Spanish of the Chapala posters here , do not worry if you are a new comer  yo will be able to manage anywhere in the area..Sign language and hand gestures even the wrong ones are well understood around here. Come on down and have a good time..even if the old coots are a little noisy late you do not have a hotel around so they can enjoy themselves without waking up the tourists.

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(edited by moderator because there was nothing in this post except insults for other members here.  You are on moderator review until I determine you've learned how to post without the rudeness.)

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