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Come to Lake Chapala for the Adventure

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Flowering trees at Lake Chapala, Mexico
Credit: Judy King

There are probably almost as many reasons for moving to Mexico as there are expats in the Republic, but most come to Lake Chapala for the adventure.

The top two reasons most often mentioned by visitors considering a move to Lake Chapala in west-central Mexico are the climate and the economy. They both hold valid benefits for residents, but neither is the best foundation for making the decision to move.

It’s true; the weather at Lake Chapala is usually great with moderate temperatures, low humidity and gentle breezes. The area is even protected from threats of tropical storms and hurricanes by the beautiful ancient mountain range, the Sierra Madres. The climate of the nearby city of Guadalajara and our lakeside villages are touted as “eternal spring.” There’s even an elusive, perhaps mythical, report from National Geographic magazine that Lake Chapala sported the second best climate in the world, following on the heels of Johannesburg, South Africa.

The problem is that weather patterns change and there could be a hotter than normal April and May “hot season” instead of our usual afternoon highs of 85 to 95 F with nighttime lows in the 60s and very low humidity. There could be a longer or wetter or drier mid-June to mid-October rainy season. Even now there’s pathetic lament when a tropical storm on the coast pushes that warm, wet air up and over the mountains creating rain, God forbid, in daylight hours.

Economics is the other reason often cited for moving to Lake Chapala. The Mexican economy, peso/dollar exchange and cost of living can be just as fickle. Those who based their move on living cheap in Mexico and planned their budgets when each U.S. dollar could be exchanged for 20 or more pesos are shocked when the Mexican economy strengthens (or the U.S. dollar weakens) and they get fewer pesos per dollar. Oh, and yes, prices for goods and services go up, even in Mexico, just like everywhere else.

So, what is the best reason to move to Mexico? The Adventure!

Living a new life, surrounded by exotic terrain, experiencing diverse customs, colorful holidays and exciting and unusual foods, provides unending days of wonder and joy for those who are ready for adventure and who learn to see it.

Our Lake Chapala area is surrounded by adventure. From the riotous mounds of vividly flowering trees and hedges to the brisk and bright tunes of the bandas, the romantic ballads of the trios, to the jazz and rock and roll drifting from clubs and restaurants, there is always opportunity for new experiences, sights and smells.

Exploring a vast array of events, clubs, groups and sports, learning a bit of Spanish, and meeting the intriguing diverse population of both expats and locals with rich life experiences so unlike our own, are all sources of the adventure that is Mexico.

All that adventure can be jarring at first for those of us raised on white bread in small towns across the rest of North America. I know, I grew up in Iowa, part of the sixth generation of Iowa families. Iowa is a wonderful place to be from with beautiful vistas, kind people, and stability…no diversity, few exciting activities, but lots and lots of staid stability.

Living at Lake Chapala fed my hungry soul’s need for color, music, diversity and joy that I’d only tasted during a seven-year stint in San Diego and Orange County, California.

There were no helpful Internet websites or blogs in 1990. Life was both simpler and oddly bulky to manage, strangely complex. With rosy lenses focused on adventure, I learned to see the joy, the color and beauty of my new world. In time I realized a little-known truth: every event, even the momentarily insurmountable crises, morph into a part of the adventure – as soon as I share it as an amusing anecdote.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Judy is a wonderful and very informative expat and lady here at Lake Chapala. She was the ‘door’ that opened for Catherine and I to select Ajijic as our retirement home. For around 20 years now we have tapped her knowledge and experiences of Lakeside and regarded her as a friend.

  2. Thanks for the article. But 85 to 95 average high temps April-May? I read mid 80’s average. I’m curious where you got this info.

    • Hi Paul. Actually the problem here is in the sloppy way I phrased it…Evidently my fingers got ahead of my mind. DAYTIME temps regularly hit highs of 85-95 in April and May. Nighttime lows are in the 70s. When articles quote Eternal Spring and an average of 72 — they are considering a year-round, 24 hour temperature average– For real living, we look at comfort (which of course varies from person to person.). It is quite comfortable living here, without AC or Heat, most of the year. In Nov-January, I use a propane heater a little, on the nights when the temp drops into the 40s. In late March-June, I use both ceiling fans and a box fan in the window to exhaust the heat from the bedroom and then pull the cool night air into the house.

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