Is Chapala, Mexico the Place for You?

Native in front of mural, Ajijic, Mexico

Native in front of mural, Ajijic, Mexico

Hello Billy and Akaisha ~

I purchased your online Adventurer’s Guide to Chapala Living a few months ago and it has become my ‘bible’ for my visit to Lake Chapala from Sept. 19th to 30th. I will be spending the first and last weekends with friends in Ajijic, and the week between by myself in Chapala.  The trip is being made to convince me – or not – that this is THE place for me to live on a permanent basis. I am very optimistic and enthusiastic that Chapala will become my new home in 2014.

While my version of your Guide is a few years old, I’m assuming not much will have changed in the past three years.  I’ve spent considerable time on Google doing additional research and there’s been lots of email going to and from with friends answering my many questions.  I will also visit with a friend of a friend who lives in Chapala.  I plan to live in Chapala and be amongst the Mexican people where I will also learn to speak Spanish.

Thinking/planning on moving to Chapala and the idea of moving my favourite – and basic – pieces of furniture and household effect as I will want to live in an unfurnished apartment.  That’s the one aspect I have not been able to find much information about.  All units seem to be furnished. Question: is that a realistic expectation?  That I’ll be able to rent a 1 or 2 bedroom  ground floor ‘apartment’ – unfurnished except for the appliances.  I do not need/want a full house or a parking stall; access to the outdoors, as with a patio,would be ideal.

Any additional advice you can offer regarding unfurnished accommodation is appreciated.


Chapala Plaza, central Chapala

Chapala Plaza, central Chapala

Hi Gail,

Thanks for taking the time to write. We are happy that our book on Chapala has been of use to you!

Re: furnished and unfurnished apartments — I would suggest taking your time to look around for a place to rent. You may find that after you locate, you might want to re-locate. It sort of comes with the territory. Reason I say this, is that nothing replaces actually spending time in a location to find out the subtleties. — or not so subtle. You might like the apartment or casita, but perhaps there will be a neighboring dog that is annoying, or it might be “too far” to your favorite new haunts or to the bus line. Your shower may not give enough water or there could be an annoying leak or the kitchen just doesn’t have enough counter space. It’s possible there could be someone in the complex who is grumpy or vexing and there is no way to know of these things until one actually lives in a location for a while. (We once rented a beautiful place – spacious, sunny, all new appliances and fit our every need — except one of the neighbors had a yelping uncontrolled dog and she fed 15 feral cats… which made living there very uncomfortable!)

Life is an adventure, follow your dreams. 

Also, if you find a location that you like, I believe you can make arrangements to have the landlord put furniture put into storage. But again, I would wait until you know for sure that this is the location you would like to live in before you ship your heavy items here.  If you don’t and if you choose to ship them prematurely, then you will box yourself in to a situation that could be stressful.

Beautiful Lake Chapala

Beautiful Lake Chapala

There is also the chance that you might prefer a town other than Chapala. There are towns like San Antonio, Riberas, Mirasol, La Floresta, etc. all between Chapala and Ajijic — and they are worth looking into. You might even choose a place farther away like Jocotepec — and again, the only way you will know what you like is to stay for a length of time and feel it out.

If you are concerned one way or the other you could always house sit in various places to get a feel for the neighborhoods, or rent a casita from someone who has a larger home.

I don’t know your style of living, but I would still recommend taking your time before investing too much money and making a huge commitment. It is far cheaper to put your favored items in storage in Canada until you are sure that you need them, than to incur emotional stress by having them here and then not be able to get up and go if you find the place to be unsuitable.

I hope you find this information useful to you, and we wish you every good thing in your move to Chapala.

Congratulations on your retirement and feel free to write anytime.

Best regards,


About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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