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Aijic or Chapala?


Margo
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 Greetings! 

 I am moving to the Lake Chapala area with my aunt who will be moving into a nursing home. I am a single woman with a very large white Maine coon cat who plans to ditch her car...  ahhhhhhh.

I have noticed that apartments are cheaper and seem to be larger in Chapala than in Aijic. I am a very social person and anticipate wanting to spend a lot of time at the lake Chapala society .

My question is this would it be practical and safe to bike from Chapala to Aijic? Is it even possible to find  route where traffic isn’t life threatening? l would be most concerned about this in the darker months as I might be limited to doing things that end before sunset and that is quite a limitation.

Have any of you tried living in Chapala or have you spoken with anyone who has done this? What were the pros and cons for you/them?

 We spent eight days in Aijic and of course absolutely loved it! In contrast, we were only in Chapala for a few hours on a Sunday when there was a lot of family activity. The Malecon seems really nice but when we went back into the plaza, I did not particularly like the sight  of the police with what appeared to be machine guns outside the bank. I don’t remember seeing that in Aijic. Perhaps this is not as significant as l think but my general impression of Chapala wasn’t all that positive.

What are your views?

Thanks!

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37 minutes ago, Margo said:

My question is this would it be practical and safe to bike from Chapala to Aijic? Is it even possible to find  route where traffic isn’t life threatening? l would be most concerned about this in the darker months as I might be limited to doing things that end before sunset and that is quite a limitation.

NO!

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1 hour ago, Margo said:

I did not particularly like the sight  of the police with what appeared to be machine guns outside the bank. I don’t remember seeing that in Aijic. 

You were not at any bank in Ajijic at the right time. If machine guns bother you, this might not be the place for you.

mexico-drug-war-young-police-chief.jpg

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Have to agree with Angus. If the image in the above photo disturbs you, then you will not be happy lakeside. It is not seen only in Chapala. That is a regular occurance everywhere here, just a part of the backdrop.

If you plan to spend most of your time in Ajijic and not have a car, it is not at all practical to live in Chapala. It would be neither practical nor safe to ride a bicycle back and forth. 

I do live in Chapala. It is a delightful place. But it sounds as though you should plan on living in Ajijic. 

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Thank you so much for your replies. I guess I need to go back to Chapala and look it over a little bit more but I do have a feeling that Aijic would be better, especially since my aunt will be in a nursing home there.

Thanks for letting me know that a bicycle now would not be safe. 

I have lived in some pretty tough places with a very strong police presence. It would’ve been nice to get away from it but I can certainly deal with it. I’m probably romanticizing Aijic.

Thanks again!

 

 

 

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"I’m probably romanticizing Aijic."

I can pretty much guarantee that you are. Reality will hit you soon enough. Then you either will laugh at how silly you were and fall in love with the actual place you find yourself in or you will hate Ajijic for failing to be what you imagined it to be. The fewer expectations you arrive with the easier it will be for you. 

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For a place that "wears off" LCS is sure busy these days.  After 10 years it hasn't worn off with quite a number of us it seems.  If access to a library is important, LCS has one of the largest english libraries in Latin America.  We don't go as much as we used to but are really enjoying some of the musical and artistic events there these days.

It all depends on what you want.  The majority of the restaurants expats frequent are in or near Ajijic.  It is smaller than Chapala.  Chapala has better shopping and less "gringo" pricing.  Ajijic is definitely an expat oriented town, Chapala is much more Mexican.

Ajijjic is more expensive.  Much of it is greener.  Much of it is quieter but if quiet is important, stay out of both towns.  If I had someone in a nursing home I'd want to be closer if possible.  You may get tired of riding the bus as frequently as you would want to visit.

Best bet is to spend time in both and find your own best fit.  It is not uncommon here for people to try a number of locations until they find one that works for them.  There is a really big variety in living environments here, ranging from pretty urban to pretty rural.

As for biking, the problem with that is that the bike lane is between the towns but not really in either although they are trying to create one through Ajijic.  The other thing is that unless your origin and destination are such the bike riding will be almost all on the paved bike path, riding a bike on cobblestones or in town traffic is really not practical.

Don't rule out places between the two towns as you might find a location that works for both.

 

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Okay, so that picture makes it look like Ajijic is the kind of town you see in "third-world" news reports, where the military and police apparently run rampant, 24/7. It's just not like that here; not at all. They need to show a more fearsome presence than we need back home, that's all. And they often wear facemasks: why? Not to threaten us, but to hide their identities from would-be bad guys. Mostly what you will see here are traffic cops, transitos, who seem to do nothing but try to collect bribes. You get used to dealing with them, too.

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One of my first "uh-oh" moments in Mexico was driving the cuota to the beach and seeing Feds with semi-automatic weapons hanging out at the toll booths.  Then, going to a big mall in Guadalajara and witnessing armed guards with sawed-off shotguns. Wowzer.

Later, roaming  and armed army guys in downtown Guad at tourist sites, but by this time I had discovered most were more than happy to make funny faces and get in group photos with my tourists friends.

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