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Living in San Luis Soyatlan

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Hello - my wife and I are entertaining the idea of living over in San Luis Soyatlan.  We have been down in the Ajijic/San Antonio area for roughly 20 months cumulatively over 5 years.  Love the area, but also note the increasing crowdedness and prices.  Our Spanish is alright and we enjoy speaking Spanish.  We are mid 40s.

I am looking for comments on the following:

Boat docking in San Luis Soyatlan & Boat docking in Ajijic or San Antonio. -Our gut feeling is that we would rather not have a car, and prefer bringing down a small boat..would rather run errands on weekly basis in Ajijic (rather than Jocotopec)if possible.   We have lived on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in the past (and enjoyed the boat rides...when the waves weren't coming over the front of the boat :) . )

Internet speed and reliability - we need the internet for work.  Is iLox laying cable on that side of the lake as well?  Are Telecable or Telmex available?  I have heard that there is Telcel service - is this just a rumor? If anyone has speediest.net data, that is very helpful.  As would reliability.  

Telcel Service - Is it decent?

Property sales - Here in Ajijic and S.A., I notice that properties are sold both by realtors and direct sale (though my observation would tell me that there has been a decline in trato directo signs). In SLS, are most sales Trato Directo (this is fine, we don’t mind navigating the system)?  We are not necessarily looking for a Fraccionamiento….but would not rule it out either.

Any other experiential or anecdotes welcome.  We are aware that the town has a more Mexican feel, not to rely on English…etc.

Thanks in advance.

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Boating back and forth is doable. Best be a bigger boat to handle the frequent squalls that pop up from time to time or just the stiff breezes which kick up sizable waves. ILOX supposedly has cable running along the southside, as they are head quartered on the SE part of the lake. You could call them. chapalamls.net might show some listings. If you buy over there, plan on holding it for a long time as there are no buyers. You might be the only one. 

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Be very careful about property on the south side.  For years there have been stories of illegal sales because the property has no clear title.  Rent first, of course.  I have lived in SAT for 8.5 years and am moving out further because of the traffic and constant building up of the village.

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43 minutes ago, Chop said:

Hello - my wife and I are entertaining the idea of living over in San Luis Soyatlan.  We have been down in the Ajijic/San Antonio area for roughly 20 months cumulatively over 5 years.  Love the area, but also note the increasing crowdedness and prices.  Our Spanish is alright and we enjoy speaking Spanish.  We are mid 40s.

I am looking for comments on the following:

Boat docking in San Luis Soyatlan & Boat docking in Ajijic or San Antonio. -Our gut feeling is that we would rather not have a car, and prefer bringing down a small boat..would rather run errands on weekly basis in Ajijic (rather than Jocotopec)if possible.   We have lived on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in the past (and enjoyed the boat rides...when the waves weren't coming over the front of the boat :) . )

Internet speed and reliability - we need the internet for work.  Is iLox laying cable on that side of the lake as well?  Are Telecable or Telmex available?  I have heard that there is Telcel service - is this just a rumor? If anyone has speediest.net data, that is very helpful.  As would reliability.  

Telcel Service - Is it decent?

Property sales - Here in Ajijic and S.A., I notice that properties are sold both by realtors and direct sale (though my observation would tell me that there has been a decline in trato directo signs). In SLS, are most sales Trato Directo (this is fine, we don’t mind navigating the system)?  We are not necessarily looking for a Fraccionamiento….but would not rule it out either.

Any other experiential or anecdotes welcome.  We are aware that the town has a more Mexican feel, not to rely on English…etc.

Thanks in advance.

There is too often "a cloud on the title" of much of that property. I have known gringos who have lost their homes after many trials up to the supreme court of Jalisco. The court ruled that since they gringos had built a residence they could live there until they died or moved but then the property went to the pretender who had never paid a centavo of taxes. They seem to come out of the wood work over there. The pretender to the property claimed that the property had belonged to his collective family many years ago and that when it was sold all members of his family had not signed on to the sale. This was several generations ago. We haven't had title companies here in Mexico like in the USA or Canada but several years ago Stewart Title had opened here (Guadalajara). They were actually researching the titles back for many years and if they approved you bought their title insurance. There were many properties they would just not insure. In theory Notarios research the title and insure that it is clear and seller has the right to the property and to the sale. In reality courts often overturn the Notarios decision on the title. I don't know if Stewart Title has survived here. They are really big in Texas. If I couldn't get title insurance I wouldn't play their shell game.

 

 

 

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My wife and I were in San Luis Soyatlan two weeks ago looking at properties.  There were two houses for sale in San Luis overlooking the park and Lake Chapala.  These had for sale signs on them.  I am sure there are more in the area.  There were several nice looking fracctions in the area.  We wound up buying land near San Cristobal another nice little pueblo.  Plans are to build a house in a few years.  At the moment we are building in Riberas but this area is getting to crowded.  Did not see many realtor signs over there.  Most sales were by owners.  I think prices on the south side will really escalate in the next few years and buying property here will be a wise investment.  

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We recently bought directly a lot in Chapala. The secret I think is using a really good Notario who will do the proper title search. Unlike with an agency who will hold payments in escrow it gets a little trickier since the Notario most times will not hold money in escrow. Their solution is that buyer and seller met together at the closing. The seller signed their portion of the sales papers. We then transferred the money and the Notario did not have us sign and complete the transaction until the seller confirmed they had the money. Clever way I thought to protect everyone's interest.

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ILOX: Certainly don't take this as gospel, but....  yes, ILOX has distribution fiber running over on the south side of the lake but to my knowledge it is a 'fiber optic cable ring'  between Guadalajara and Queretaro. It was ONLY because of Tom Kessler et. al. and a ton of potential customers on the north shore, Jocotopec to Chapala, that they even entertained the potential to branch off that cable ring and provide 'to the home' fiber. And even then it was ONLY if 250-300 folks ponied up a year's deposit that they agreed to string fiber onto the north shore. 

I doubt that there is enough potential at this time for the south shore to get the same 'look'.  But, as I say, I don't have any info that says that this is true... just a businessman's hunch.

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Docking a boat can be problematic on both sides of the lake.  Where would you dock it? How would you secure it? How would you get back and forth from stores on the north side to the boat?  There isn´t great shopping on the south side. How stable is the water supply and the electricity?

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I understand that there is a Facebook page for folks living on the West and South shores. I don't know the name but it would probably be worth checking out. You'd get answers from people actually living there.

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There is no coast guard to call like the United States when your in trouble, they have some Navy boats in Chapala not same thing like states.

your motor stalls when you r in the middle of the lake who do you call, make sure you have oars to row back home.

Talk to the local yacht club in La floresta about boating on the lake. they have some stories to tell.

It can work for you if you if you are experienced in boat safety,  The chapala yacht club has  told some stories about el Norteno, the north wind, that comes up quickly and is dangerous for sailors .

 

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I've lived in six locations on the north side; lake front in Ajijic (2), mountain side Ajijic, Ajijic village, San Antonio, and upper Chula Vista, as well as Jocotepec over eight plus years, and now living (happily) lake front near San Luis.

Telmex does have phone and internet here, IF, you can get an available line.  I've been on the waiting list for something like six months.  I don't know the local speed for Telmex, but they commonly offer only a fractional upload speed, compared to the download speed (10Mb dn/perhaps 0.5Mb up). Spyderweb offers internet in many locations here (needs line of sight from their towers and uses wifi frequencies to a local modem) but their prices are quite high comparatively.  However, you can choose your up and download speeds, to a point...  I used them in Joco and here in San Luis, but they aren't exactly a customer oriented company, more like a buyer beware, and I haven't experienced a steady, reliable signal from them. 

Ilox has been here (south shore) for years.  Currently, they say they will only install to "businesses", but the definition is not clear, might be that telling them you have a business is enough.  Yet, I have a neighbor who's had their residential service for a couple of years.  He reported there were some outages from time to time, and, you pay a year in advance.  Speeds can be much higher than Telmex.

When it's working, it's a good service.

Ilox's system was installed at Roca Azul (rv park in Joco) around a year ago, and the residents there report continued, frequent outages of the internet (as well as with the electricity and water) and, it's only provides a 20Mb service for the ALL the RVs, which can number as high as 35 to 40 units when a caravan come in.  One full-timer there uses Spyderweb and generally reports a reasonably steady service, but not without occasional calls to fix problems.

The new options from both AT&T cellular and Telcel, are cell system based internet modems (essentially Hot Spots) are providing much better speed and reliability (so far).  (AT&T less so while they are solving a problem, which might be from overselling their system.  I have a modem from both companies.  Each offers a choice between 5 and 10Mb speeds, same prices, and both throttle speeds down after passing certain monthly bandwidth usage.  These will only work well ( i think), if you are close enough to a cell tower to pick up the 4g service and don't have many buildings between you and the cell tower.  The AT&T office in Joco is buried in the downtown buildings and there he seldom gets much speed from his modem.

For non-imported groceries, you can find a lot in Jocotepec, as well as a number of restaurants, but, they aren't the gringo oriented ones as in Ajijic.  You can also get basic groceries (vegies, breads and meats) in any of the villages.

The need for speaking Spanish is most relevant to how you live.  If you are spending lots of time interacting with the locals (south shore), you'll need more Spanish but, MANY speak at least a little and others speak a lot of English.  At the government offices, less so.

Can't offer much about boat docking.  I plan a boat in the future, but it won't be until I can build a secure boat house, or long (perhaps) rail based access down to the water.  Leaving a nice boat unprotected on the shore is probably a precursor to giving your boat to someone else...  However, if you bought something like one of the old fishing boats here, might be less threat of loss.  (Like having a rusty old bicycle or rust-bucket car that nobody would want to steal.)

One could easily have a trailer sized boat, stored at your home and just get it wet when needed, but if you aren't going to have a car at all, that's more complicated.

NOT having a car over also offers complications.  Walmart (as a point of reference) is 25 miles by road (8 to 10 miles by water) and can sometimes be driven in 40 minutes, if you drive fast where possible, but will normally take an hour, unless you are east of San Luis.  The closet hospital I know of is east of Joco, about 25 minutes by car.  Travel time to Costco (in Guad) is no longer, maybe a little faster than from Ajijic, about 50 minutes (+/_).  You might want to have a plan in place if you need sudden transportation, such as an unplanned trip to the doctor. 

And, if you choose east of San Luis, you will learn to hate the road "through" San luis.  It's about 1 1/2 miles of narrow two lane, with cars randomly parked on the side causing a one lane event with countless car and trucks (and backhoes/farm equipment) trying to get through.

The highway is busy much of the day and night, thus, of you live close to it, means traffic noise, mostly from the countless truck (jake breaks and lost mufflers) and weekend motorcycles (in mass).  Otherwise, this side seems quieter to me.  And, finally, the view looking north (as compared to looking south from the north shore) is really, quite a lot nicer.  One things is seeing the night lights of the far more developed north shore.  Another might be just the difference between the mountain ranges on the north and south sides. And in the dark, you see the 'light' of Guadalajara over the mountain top, but you also see lots of stars overhead.

Fire trucks will come from Joco, which means you should get your hose turned on while you wait...

Real Estate scams and problems can occur anywhere around the lakeside (around Mexico?), caution is obviously needed if you are buying.  Still, lots of gringos have purchased properties along the south shore, many have never had any "title" issues at all.  A long-term lease would remove those specific concerns.

Regarding water and electricity, San Luis appears to pump (pressurize) water (on the west side) three late afternoons each week, Tues., Thur. and Saturday.  This water fills your own tanks, and you draw water from them.  Of course, some scheduled days they might not pump (it happens), and sometimes the pressure could be lower than other times.  If you design a new water storage system here, it might make sense to have a week or more capacity to avoid a possible day or two without water.  If renting, buying a second storage tank is easily affordable.

Electricity seems normal for Mexico.  Voltage (mean voltage target in Mexico is 127v) during the day is commonly lower, and in the evenings/overnight commonly higher.  There are occasional brief (a minute or two) outages, and when there's a break in the power line (storms or auto accidents) power can go out for some hours, which isn't significantly different from the other lakeside locations I've lived.  However, I have a general inclination for installing a proper voltage regulator (boost/reduce functions).  There are many choices and sizes available.  You might find voltage Controllers, as well as true Regulators.  Iso Solabasic offers both such systems.  Both can function with input from about 90 volts to about 147 volts.  The output is essentially flat with their regulators, but their Correctors output from 102 to 132v.  A 50amp corrector has a retail price around 4,500p and the Regulator is around 8,000p.  I've seen them for less in the big Commercial electrical shops in Guad.

Lots of Gringos have solar panels and many pay next to nothing each month as a result.  Not all include a battery storage system, but having one and a suitably sized inverter can eliminate brown/black outs.  In west Ajijic a few years ago I saw voltage as low as 65 and as high as 160.  That high isn't normal, but lows aren't uncommon.

Also, some will probably have to debate, during the rainy season, I have observed lots more clouds and rain on the north side, then here on the south side.  Perhaps I am delusional, as well as decrepit...

I prefer being on the south, but, if you think about going out to eat more than, perhaps once a week, or participating in any of the countless groups and activities on the north shore, you'll spend a lot of time on the road and probably tire of it fast. 

I suggest you consider keeping (or getting) a car, possibly an small economy type, and use it as sparingly as you like, but, have it for when you need it.  (trips to Costco?)

This side is certainly more peaceful and relaxed and probably represents what the north shore was 30-50 years ago.  I expect property values will climb here, but, who is going to live long enough to enjoy that?

Last, take all dire warnings about anything posted on this webboard, with a load of sale (or maybe BBQ sauce).  There are so many old people here passing on old stories and fears and rumors and guesses, about nearly everything, things can sound a lot worse than they are.  If you crossed north by your little boat, getting a ride to shops would be easy by obtaining the local Taxi stand phone numbers (to call ahead), or by learning some of the private driver's numbers or even using Uber.  In your 40's, walking might be desirable.  If you were ready to motor back south across the lake, and see a big storm, there are plenty of places you could wait it out, possibly with a nice beer or music or just enjoying an art gallery.  And if the wind happened to come up when you are half way back across, it's only four or five miles more which might be 10 minutes travel time, even a modest motor boat will likely get you to shore before any real trouble.  I expect you're an adult and can make reasonable decisions on the fly...

Renting first is one of the best bits of advice for anyone coming here to buy.  It's easy be enamored with this or that location/community or house, but taking the time to learn how close that house is to an Eventos or how many dogs live next door or on the roof, or which house has parties till tomorrow all weekend long, will greatly improve your happiness.  Unless you're deaf, in which case, who cares?

In hunting for a house, be it to purchase or rent, get out of the car and walk and talk to everybody.  You speak Spanish.  Ask.  Most small communities are going to have at least shop that the proprietor will know everybody and (nearly) every opportunity.  Start at the corner grocery and work your way down the street.

You've already spent time lakeside, you already know it can be a great place to live!

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The simple solution to the traffic congestion in SLS upon entry to the town is to bypass the main street.  Turn North for a few short blocks and you can follow the Malecon street at lakeside around town.  Sundays, dia de vampiros, is the worst day by far.  

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LoLoL ... interesting remarks, thank you all 🐵 Just have to laugh at 'gringos' who move someplace else while complaining about overpopulated areas. They themselves caused the overpopulation in the first place and will continue to contribute to increasing population wherever they move to 🐵 Have you ever considered staying and living with the consequences of your own actions? 

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There are lots of bill boards and signs about lots for sale right now.. What is the story?, lots as small as 200 m2 to 1000 meter.2  It is overpopulated right now with raspberry farms but it looks like they are planning to develop somethng big time..

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9 hours ago, Gixellia said:

LoLoL ... interesting remarks, thank you all 🐵 Just have to laugh at 'gringos' who move someplace else while complaining about overpopulated areas. They themselves caused the overpopulation in the first place and will continue to contribute to increasing population wherever they move to 🐵 Have you ever considered staying and living with the consequences of your own actions? 

Do you plan to post your thoughts often? 

Let me get my popcorn ready if you do.

 

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12 hours ago, Gixellia said:

 Have you ever considered staying and living with the consequences of your own actions? 

 

¿ Una pregunta o una sugerencia ?

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A local boat launch place at Piedra Barrenada told me that October is the windiest month-you can't go out on the lake with a boat for weeks sometimes. So depending on a boat to cross to the north side could be problematic.

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On 10/28/2018 at 7:03 AM, Chop said:

Hello - my wife and I are entertaining the idea of living over in San Luis Soyatlan.  We have been down in the Ajijic/San Antonio area for roughly 20 months cumulatively over 5 years.  Love the area, but also note the increasing crowdedness and prices.  Our Spanish is alright and we enjoy speaking Spanish.  We are mid 40s.

 

I personally knew nortenos who lost property or money buying there. There is often a cloud on the title. I think it is beautiful and less crowded over there. I would want Title Insurance on any property there. Unlike the USA where title insurance is only a numbers game, here in Mexico Stewart Title actually does title research and if they declined to insure it, I wouldn't buy it .

Stewart Title here

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We spent a little bit of time on" southside" and the property and the views were absolutely beautiful, ( right on the lake.) I liked it there many times more than anywhere on the north side..... but buying and selling there is another story. Maybe if I plan to die there and do not care what happens to the property afterwards. Otherwise, I most likely would not do that. There were cases that indigenous groups claimed  properties even if people had (supposedly ) title . One can sell,  but only to very new  people that are not aware that "things" in Mexico  are not the same as back home. .  The same on the north side east of Chapala past the golf course...... in Tlachchilco area. We inquired, but it was long time ago, and I do not know how much time has changed.

Be careful and good luck. I wish I would have the courage to do that.

All the best.

 

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On ‎7‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 6:50 AM, Gixellia said:

LoLoL ... interesting remarks, thank you all 🐵 Just have to laugh at 'gringos' who move someplace else while complaining about overpopulated areas. They themselves caused the overpopulation in the first place and will continue to contribute to increasing population wherever they move to 🐵 Have you ever considered staying and living with the consequences of your own actions? 

I understand Gixellia's point. The voice "from the other side." Obviously she is not one of "us" so we can trash her opinion.

I personally love to hear the "other side". We can learn that some of our attitude is not welcomed in Mexico and the resentment is bigger and bigger.  I have a feeling that the people from the north are not as welcomed these days as they were 20 years ago when we first came. People will choose Ajijic because the old timers created the infrastructure where  English only speaking people can exist quite nicely. No need for Spanish. So it is overpopulated and that will only get worse because the area is not "equipped" for new tsunami from North.

Just saying.

 

 

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Gixellia, to just be fair and honest.  The North shore of Lake Chapala is rapidly becoming crowed and over populated just because gringos find the area attractive or because both gringos and Mexicanos find the area attractive, plus people from all over the world?  Honestly, los tapatíos are buying nice houses all over the area here, like crazy.  I live in Chapala, which is the most famous town on the lake and most of the people moving here are Mexicans. Very few gringos live here.  I'm just trying to put things in a more balanced perspective.  And if the South shore is slowly being built up, it's not the gringos doing it, since only a small handfull even live there.

 

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