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Does the dream still exist?


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Hola my friends, I am currently in the pre-retirement phase of my life and for the past few years I have been researching many areas of this planet, to call my future home. 

Time after time my research always brings me back to Lake Chapala. It seems to fit my requirements perfectly. Low cost of living, beautiful location, nice people, quality of life, not overcrowded and peaceful. Just what I'm looking for.

At least that's what my research was telling me.

Recently my research has been starting to show me a different picture, and I am starting wonder if the dream still exists.

I'm starting to notice that everything I mentioned above about Lake Chapala, appears to be attracting more than just my attention. The region seems to be experiencing an increase in population, which in-turn is being reflected by higher rental and cost of living prices.

I am still hopeful, but I would greatly appreciate some feedback from the group. 

I look forward to hearing from you and gaining your perspective. I am seeking a better life and hopefully your knowledge and guidance can help me attain it.

Thank you,

Dante 

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Dante:

In 17 yrs here I have seen many changes....I live in Jocotepec and very few expats have joined us....things are still somewhat uncrowded...but costs have gone up and rentals are few. My cost of living is still very low and my taxes are pocket change. The people are still friendly and very helpful. 

Good luck

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Thanks for the encouraging feedback Fred. I have actually been looking at Jocotepec, and it seems like a very nice place. My biggest concern is my lack of Spanish. I have been practicing, but feel a bit embarrassed and unprepared. 

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Driscoll Berry co is the largest employer in the area and many of their management people speak english...many of my Mexican neighbors are somewhat able to understand english.....most vendors speak english......I am fully able to exist with my marginal language ability.......Jocotepec, in my opinion, is better and more welcoming because of the lack of ex-pats. Learn the customs, be polite, don't tell people how you would do anything better than them and you are going to have that dream you think is here.

There are some very uniformed folks that live here and some real, real negative ones.....they don't and won't have the quality of life that is waiting to be lived. Come visit.....

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I completely understand what you mean. I  consider myself to be pretty low key, and I try to get along with everyone. I lived in Europe for 10+ years and I learned to to just go with the flow of the locals. I am not one to force my opinion on others, which is one of the reasons why I am migrating from the US.

I believe in staying positive and thoroughly enjoying immersing myself in the culture of wherever I find myself.

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I offer it openly, in case anyone else wants to join in about this part of the lake.  habachtfred@gmail.com    Please note that there is a friendly and open group here called the WestEnders...all messages and info has been in english. They usually share rental information and answer, usually, without delay any questions about the area. I  also have a USA telephone number. You won't be alone unless you want to be.

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I lived in Jocotepec for over 15 years. If I had to go back I would return to Jocotepec. I avoid Chapala and Ajijic like the plague.  When I moved to Ajijic about 20 years ago completely different. I now live in San Carlos in the state of Sonora. Nice expat community but in the summer it is hot. Check it out. Plus 6 hours from Tucson when I have to have my fix for a real taco from Taco Bell. Here also they do not change the clocks. 

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Generally speaking, folks around here who complain about costs going up are in a bit of a bubble.  Costs are going up everywhere...simple as that.  You can now sell your home in anyplace in the US or Canada for probably four times what you paid for it just a few years ago.  That's good but the home you could have bought in this area five years ago now costs double that amount.  As to the costs for basics here , it is the same as anyplace else in Mexico.  Less that at beach resorts and more than less desirable places.  Just like in our home state of Colorado.  You can sell your home in Boulder for over a million and buy a similar place in Sterling for about 1/3rd of that...but then what do you have?  A home in a town that has very little appeal for the average person from Boulder.  Same around here.  Even a town like Jocotepec, which is only thirty minutes from Chapala, has very few rentals and very few amenities compared to Ajijic, San Antonio, or Chapala.  As a result some things are a little cheaper.  Workers, if you can find them, will work for less.  A home to buy in Joco proper will be a little less if you can find one.  But things like utilities, gas, taxes, clothes, restaurants, building materials, etc. are the same cost and choices are fewer.  What we consider to be the biggest impact on quality of life is the increase in traffic.  Some (maybe most) of the increase in traffic is being driven by folks from Guadalajara who have begun to buy weekend homes, just visit for weekends, or have moved here permanently.  Bad traffic here is nothing like the real city traffic and since Guadalajara is spreading south at an amazing rate, folks can live here and get to many places in the city easier than driving across town in Guad.  And like everywhere, folks can now work from home in many cases so many are doing just that...even gringos, who are not the traditional retirees, are coming here because of that ability.

Still an amazing place and you'll find people here who have lived in San Miguel de Allende, coastal resorts, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, on boats, etc.  There must be a reason.

Alan

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Only the OP knows what they want their future life to be. I have friends who live in Jocotepec up on the mountainside. They have peace, quiet and an incredible view. They also have to drive everywhere and are often stuck in traffic both coming east and going home to the west. I've got better things to do than spend my time in a car going from point A to point B. I moved east of Ajijic but west of Chapala because I was always over here most days anyway. Everything I want and need is within 10 minutes. YMMV. 

Like learning Spanish, finding the place which suits your needs the best is a process and takes time. Enjoy the journey.

 

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1945578093_June2007008.thumb.jpg.95f68cbd4391a49d3bf69f236ab16e5b.jpgDanteNXS

Twenty-one years we spent in El Parque, on the mountainside, a development very close to Walmart, across from super lake, a grocery/novelty store, in the town of San Antonio Tlayacapan.

    There was one stoplight, little or no traffic when we first arrived, and El Parque was once a motor home park, one of the best in Mexico. It eventually became a 114 unit home development. Very peaceful.
     As the years progressed, so did the traffic on the two-lane road, along with the prices, a little more crime, and the peacefulness started to diminish.
    A few months ago, because of medical problems, we sold our home in one day and returned to the chaos of the United States. We miss Mexico and envy your decision to think about a move.

 

 

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Before retiring to Mexico around 17 years ago, my spouse and I liked living in places like Santa Cruz, on the coast of California.  That was very pleasant until "Silicon Valley" happened and the well paid techies could make the commute from Santa Cruz to the San Jose area in much less than an hour. Shortly, prices for rent or home sale went through the moon.  We decided to cash out and move to Mexico.  First, we tried San Miguel de Allende, but were disappointed on a number of levels.  The Lake Chapala area, which we then visited, seemed to be a better choice.  We looked all over the area for a house to buy and finally settled on a seriously needy ancient fixer upper in Ajijic Centro. That was over twelve years and many pesos ago, but we never regretted doing it.  For one thing, (and that is very important) nearly all of our needs are within walking distance.  We are in a expat/Mexican mixed neighborhood where our minimal Spanish skills suffice.

Yes, it's true that traffic has greatly increased, but the "baby boomer" generation often need an affordable place to retire, so it's not surprising that they're coming here in large numbers.

In other words, have patience, anyone.  Those of us who have survived "big city traffic" such as Los Angeles, can't help but wonder what's to complain about here!!🙃

 

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2 hours ago, vetteforron said:

I lived in Jocotepec for over 15 years. If I had to go back I would return to Jocotepec. I avoid Chapala and Ajijic like the plague.  When I moved to Ajijic about 20 years ago completely different. I now live in San Carlos in the state of Sonora. Nice expat community but in the summer it is hot. Check it out. Plus 6 hours from Tucson when I have to have my fix for a real taco from Taco Bell. Here also they do not change the clocks. 

We lived in San Carlos for 9 years.  We moved here almost 15 years ago as the cost of running room air conditioners was way too high for our budget.  Beautiful area but simply too humid for us in the long run.  The weather lakeside is perfect and we only use our ceiling fans about 2 months a year.    We did like not having to change our clocks though,  since we moved to MX from Arizona.  FYI We lived way up on the mountain in Ranchitos - incredible view.

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I think one can still come here and find a reasonably priced and convenient option, it just takes a bit more patience and legwork.  It certainly isn't nearly as cheap as it was when we arrived here 14 years ago by a long shot.  Restaurant prices have really gone up, for example.

We live just a few blocks east of Gringal, bought at the same time and like her still enjoy the walkability of Ajijic.  However I would say these days Chapala offers that without the ridiculous price of RE in Ajijic.  If you are looking for a small town but walkable with pretty much everything you need close at hand and more reasonable RE prices, I'd start there.

If you have a big housing budget and looking for more upscale definitely start with Ajijic/La Floresta.  If you want to remain close to those and the big shopping corner, look in San Antonio/Mirasol/Riberas.  If you want the security and maintenance of a gated fracc, there are quite a number of them on either side of Ajijic.

Jocotepec has the advantage of relatively fast access to the best side of GDL where most of the more U.S. style shopping is located.  However as far as local shopping there is concerned it is still pretty limited.  I'm a little surprised given the size of the local population in and around Jocotepec that Soriana or a bigger Walmart hasn't shown up there.  It certainly has a pretty good sized population.

Traffic is much, much worse primarily due to the fact we are now, in effect, a 'burb of GDL plus the local government is incredibly inept at handling it.  Because of that it is important to locate where this will be less of a problem for you. 

Also be very conscious about evaluating noise and traffic levels in your chosen location and your tolerance for it.  The closer you are to the carretera, the more noise, particularly on the uphill side of it (noise travels upwards more than downwards).

More than a few of the newcomers are from GDL but more visible is the high weekend traffic coming into town from there these days.  We generally avoid going out on weekends now for that reason.

As Alan alluded to, desirable vacation or retirement places are being flooded with people all over, not just here.

I'd try to make several exploratory vacation trips here to get a feel for the place.  I also wouldn't rule out the south side of the lake these days.

 

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I greatly appreciate all of the feedback and information. So many different experiences, and yet the overall consensus still seems to suggest that the area still maintains most of its charm and affordability.

This is a big decision to make, as all of you are aware and I am just trying to ensure that I take everything into consideration.

I have made plans to visit the area in a couple of weeks, to gain a better perspective and hopefully find an affordable place to live.  If any of you have a good resource for rentals, please let me know.

I'm excited and nervous about this opportunity, but looking forward it.

Thanks 

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I think the key is to discover all the things you want to do, to participate in, favorite restaurants, etc. Then determine the *frequency* and time of day and day of the week for those things. This will determine how often and how far you will need to travel depending on where you live. You can then determine how often you will need transportation. Ideally you will live where you can walk to most things and bus or drive to the rest. We have lived in Chapala Haciendas, west Ajijic and Ajijic centro over the years. We now live in San Antonio Tlay. Each location has had pros and cons.

We recently test-drove a friend's car to run some errands. Parked a few places in centro, drove Ocampo, drove the Carratera. Yesterday we rented a couple of bicycles and rode from Centro to San Antonio and back. The ciclopista seemed much more pleasant than sitting in traffic, assuming that you have a bicycle that is well-maintained. And electric. Or maybe we just needed more gears, but GEEZE these hills are tough.

Any way, we highly value daily walks. We were averaging less than three miles/day back in the states but jumped to an average just under five miles/day as soon as we returned to lakeside. We don't want to lose that level of activity, but walking to Chapala or halfway to San Juan takes SO. LONG. At this point I think we're just going to give in to the trend and grab some electric bikes like all of our fellow gringos. 

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