Along with the near-perfect weather, low cost of living, rich local cultural, first-world amenities and convenient location, it’s no mystery why so many North Americans are drawn to the dazzling scenery along Lake Chapala. With more than 20,000 Americans and Canadians who have chosen to reside here, the Lakeside area is one of the most popular expat communities in the western hemisphere.
This large concentration of expats has produced a varied and plentiful social life to suit any interest. There are countless cultural activities, a wide range of art galleries, gift shops, live theater, cooking classes, language classes, painting classes, and clubs and organizations. There are also numerous athletic and fitness options including golf, tennis, hiking, horseback riding, gyms, yoga and more – plus theater and music venues and a vast variety of restaurants to enjoy.
The expatriate population consists of those who live here year-round, “snow birds” who spend between one to six months each year, and a growing number of “sweat birds” from southern U.S. regions and the Mexican seacoast who spend the summer months here to escape the heat and humidity – providing ample opportunity to rent your home any time of the year if you plan to visit seasonally.
World Class Healthcare
As a mature expat destination, the quality of healthcare here is unparalleled among other popular destinations. Medical care is about one-fourth of general costs in the U.S., and there are a wide range of insurance options available – all far less expensive than private plans in the U.S. or Canada. There are several 24-hour clinics and a Red Cross clinic, all of which are prepared to handle nearly any type of medical emergency, including transportation to larger hospital facilities in nearby Guadalajara. Many routine doctor visits, including a teeth cleaning and blood work, typically cost less than $20 USD.
Chiropractic, Homeopathic and Naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, Rolfers, and alternative medicine practitioners have practices here. Many healthcare professionals speak English, and many other specialists drive to the lakeside regularly from Guadalajara, well-known internationally for its excellent medical community. There are also several natural fed heated springs throughout the Lakeside area which can be enjoyed year-round.
Year-Round Outdoor Living
Another huge plus is the climate. At about the same latitude as Hawaii, but the same elevation as Denver, it’s hard to imagine better weather anywhere. Besides a few chilly days and evenings between November and February, you can enjoy year-round outdoor living. After the lengthy dry season from October through May, the rainy season brings relief. It lasts from mid-June to mid-October and brings rains many evenings and early mornings, with most afternoons sunny and dry. During this season, the weather is warm yet comfortable, and much less hot and humid than Mexican coast.
Love food? Who doesn’t? You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the large and eclectic selection of very good restaurants featuring an impressive array of options – from local cuisine and American comfort foods, to sophisticated global cuisines, all offered at prices unheard of north of the border.
A Smart Investment
The revitalized Mexican economy has resulted in sustained economic growth over the past few years, including a resurgence of foreign capital investment. Savvy investors, including an increasing number of Europeans and Asians, are taking this opportunity to invest in the Mexican marketplace – not only in business and industry, but in real property as well.
How many times have you heard the common lament: “A few years ago I could have purchased a house at a fraction of the current cost?” Well, there are still values to be found Lakeside in all types of properties, from residential to large parcels of land. While the law of supply and demand is evident in this market, property prices remain significantly lower than many other expat communities – particularly those along the sea coasts. You’ll also enjoy property taxes which are less than $300 USD for most homeowners, and home maintenance costs which are a small fraction of those in the U.S. and Canada.