There are so many exciting places to visit in the world. Many are better to visit than to live but that depends on your critera for a retirement or 2nd home location.
Weather: Typically good weather is a very important aspect. It is not easy to find areas that have exceptional weather throughout the year. Unfortunately, hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, earthquakes, snow & ice, and fog are too prevalent in to many areas.
Ajijic is very fortunate to have (according to the National Geograghic Magazine) the 2nd best weather in the world- the best in the western hemisphere.
Why? The elevation is about 5200 feet above sea level. We are about the same latitude as Hawaii and we are on the shores of Mexico's largest inland lake- Lake Chapala. Humidity and temperature swings are moderate. The weather is so fine that A/C and a heating system in homes is a real rarity. Besides, saving a lot on utility costs, it is just much more pleasant to have fresh air, inside and out- all year, at home, sitting out at restaurants, and during outside activities. Virtually everyday is "shorts" weather. Short sleeves are normal with the addition of a sweater or cardigan in the evening in Jan. and Feb. November to through May offers sunshine and blue skies. June through October is the rainy season where it mostly rains late afternoon or night and the days normally are sunny. No SAD disease here.
Location: One of the biggest reasons we hear, of why people do not buy property outside their home country is because of the "grand kids". Our criteria included "to be able to easily drive back home". From Ajijic it is about a day to 1 1/2 day drive to the US border. It is also a great location for traveling to much of Mexico (3 hours to Mazanillo, 5 to PV, 40 minutes to Guadalajara and 25 to the Guad. Int'l Airport. It is also an excellent point of departure for Latin and South America.
Activities: First timers arrive and are amazed that within a week they need a "social calendar". There are the Culural events mentioned previously. There are about 50 clubs associated with the LCS (Lake Chapala Society)- Camera, Computer, etc etc., golf, tennis, hiking, bird watching, riding, gardening and much more. The LCS, mostly run by volunteers, includes beautiful grounds,a large English library, video library, health and insurance services a coffee shop area, meeting rooms and more.
One of Many Pool Side Parties during the Winter
Dining out at the 50 plus great variety of reasonable restaurants, with in 5 to 10 minutes is also a popular social pastime. Also to help keep fit- for those who like a club atmosphere, there are several active fitness clubs, pilates, spin cycling and the new malecons are installing outdoor fitness machines.
Cost of Living: This obviously depends on ones lifestyle but one can definitely live a good life on less than most home countries. Property Taxes on 200k to 300k USD homes are about $100 USD/ year. No A/C or heating costs, dental about 1/3 US and Canada, Medical also reasonable for private care and the Mexican (IMSS), social medical runs about 300 to 350 USD /yr. Fresh produce and fruit (mostly local and abundant) is reasonable as is food produced in Mexico. (Imports are more expensive but most are not required)
Summary: So when thinking of your criteria for a 2nd home or retirement home, they will probably include, Weather, Location, Activities and Cost of Living. The Lakeside area- Ajijic, Chapala and other small villages on the north shore of Lake Chapala may be well worth considering. Thousands before you have loved it.
Feel free to contact us through this site or www.wrightteammexico.com with any questions.
written by Thomas Hellyer, April 15, 2009