Lakeside in general is very safe. There is some petty theft or burglaries but more serious crime, usually as the result of drug cartel activity and organized crime is in areas close to the US border. Outside of these areas, Mexico is a wonderful and safe country. In fact, looking at criminal death rates around the world, Mexico is pretty low on the scale.
You may walk and drive quite safely around Lake Chapala – of course following the same common safety precautions you would practice back in the US or Canada – such as not flashing a lot of cash or leaving valuable items in your vehicle. Ex-pat surveys have reported most people feel much safer here than in their home cities. We offer a Free Report entitled ‘Is It Safe to Live in Mexico?”
Yes! Absolutely! Foreigners may obtain direct ownership with a direct deed of a property in the interior of Mexico. You can even purchase property on the coast, but it requires a bank trust with different documentation and fees. Check our ’Real Estate in Mexico video series´ for more information.
The benefits of working with a Realtor is the relationship you and your Realtor establish and between the parties involved in the transaction – other brokerages, Notarios, developers and home inspectors. Your Realtor is knowledgeable about the obligations and responsibilities of both parties. Check our ’Real Estate in Mexico video series´ for more information.
A Notario is a highly qualified lawyer with a great deal of legal experience. They are appointed by the State and legally responsible for many necessary types of documents. Realtors work with Notarios in all real estate transactions, helping to prepare or gather all required documents, of which there are many. All the involved parties are looking out for your best interests. We want to ensure that your real estate transaction is safe and legal so you may enjoy not only your Mexican investment but also your new lifestyle here at Lake Chapala!
While you are at the bank getting Mexican pesos, go and talk to your friendly Bank manager. Mention that you may be considering purchasing a home in Mexico and need to know what the Bank’s rules and procedures are for initiating wire transfers. Real estate transactions here require a minimum of a 10% initial payment. Money laundering rules between the USA, Canada & Mexico require full disclosure. Cash and cheques are not accepted. Only a wire transfer will work. Your Bank will not initiate a wire just by you picking up the phone while in Mexico and requesting that funds be sent. Complete a form, or whatever instructions your Bank requires before you leave. Then when you are ready to make an offer, you will be able to contact your Bank and easily complete a wire request. Check our ’Real Estate in Mexico video series´ for more information.
Your lifestyle will dictate the answer to the question of whether you are looking for a house, condo or apartment. Whether you are single, a retired couple, a young working family with school-aged children, here only part-time, or looking for investment property, there is something here to fit your needs. Check our ’Real Estate in Mexico video series´ for more information.
When you choose us as your buyer-agent, we give you our full commitment to provide you with unsurpassed service toward achieving your real estate goals. We make your goals, our goals. First, we sit down with you and find out what you would like to see. We discuss areas that you prefer, features you need and a price range that you can afford. Second, we take you to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) where you can see everything listed here as recently as today. We can search areas, price ranges or specific required features. Then we take you to see the house you have chosen. We try to be as knowledgeable as possible on all the listings. We have years of experience and are happy to share the things we have learned with you. Services for Buyers.
Yes! We love showing people around our little piece of paradise. We have much to offer and so much information to share. Join us on a Courtesy Orientation Tour. Are you ready to start looking at houses? Well then, we design a Custom Home Tour where you see what you want to see. You can print a brochure from either of these links or stop by the office for a hard copy.
There are many new developments being built to supply the demand. Some are built on speculation and others custom built for buyers. You can pick a lot and a plan and have your new home ready in a minimum of 6 months to a year. Some buyers want to build themselves while others are willing to pay for an experienced contractor to manage the build. There are many excellent contractors with hard working crews that do magnificent work. Contact us to discuss what options are best for you.
We calculate approximately 3.5% – 4% of the selling price to cover Notario closing costs. They are an obligatory part of the legal process that allows a buyer to safely obtain property in Mexico. The largest of these fees are the land transfer tax, Notary fees and the appraisal. Keep in mind that this does not include pro-rated calculations for property tax, utilities, bank fees and, if applicable, homeowners fees and an inspection report.
The village of Ajijic is the center of most of the activities of the Expat community. To the east is the village of San Antonio Tlayacapan. Heading west you will find a smaller village, San Juan Cosala. Jocotepec is situated on the west end of the lake. For those who prefer solitude, San Luis Soyatlan is located on the south side. On the north shore of the Lake Chapala is the vibrant city of Chapala, the municipal seat of the various villages. Click each link to discover the different and diverse neighborhoods of each village. Please stop by the office for a map.
Oh sí! Please stop by the office for a free copy of a Lakeside map.
The cost of living in Lake Chapala depends on your lifestyle – size of home, dining out, travel, etc. but is generally to be 20% – 50% less than US or Canada. The comparison will differ depending on your place of origin.
A: Most people use a mail service which is more efficient than the Mexican mail service and they provide mail boxes at a reasonable cost
Shipping services are also available
– Carretera Chapala-Jocotepec Poniente 5B, Ajijic
There is an access point at Lakeside
- iShop mail– Carretera Chapala-Jocotepec 144, San Antonio Tlayacapan
– Aqua Mundo Del Lago – Carretera Poniente 141, Ajijic
– Centro de Copiado Figueroa, Juarez 525, Chapala
There is an access point at Lakeside
- iShop mail– Carretera Chapala-Jocotepec 144, San Antonio Tlayacapan
- Sol y Luna – Plaza Bugambilias #54 Local 4, Ajijic
– Juan Álvarez 71, Ajijic
– Centro,av. Hidalgo No. 224, Chapala
– Several locations in Guadalajara
There are 3 access points at Lakeside
- iShop mail– Carretera Chapala-Jocotepec 144, San Antonio Tlayacapan
- Handy mail– Carretera Chapala-Jocotepec 159C, San Antonio Tlayacapan
- Sol y Luna – Plaza Bugambilias #54 Local 4, Ajijic
There are several cell phone providers here that provide excellent service. It is a good idea to inquire with your own cell phone company before moving as some have long distance solutions that may be applicable, depending on your length of stay in Mexico.
To call Mexico from US or Canada using a US/CDN cell phone = 011+52+1+(Area Code)+(7 digit cell #)
To call Mexico from US or Canada using a US/CDN landline = 011+52+(Area Code)+(7 digit landline #)
To call a local Mexican landline from a local Mexican cell phone = 376+(7 digit landline #)
To call a local Mexican cell phone from a local Mexican landline = 045+(10 digit cell #)
Moving furniture and belongings can be expensive, especially across international borders. You should bring your sentimental items and those pieces that are irreplaceable, but most products and brand names can be found here. As such, the majority of homes here are sold furnished. The new home owners then take the unwanted items to a bazaar for donation or consignment. It’s also fun to hunt through these stores and find a treasure!
If you own property, vehicles, bank accounts, investments and such in Mexico, it is advisable to make a will, otherwise the Mexican government can become involved in the decision making regarding your estate. A Mexican will can be written as to not revoke your home country will, but rather recognize both. It can be quite challenging for your loved ones to deal with your estate if you do not have a Mexican will.
When you purchase a home, there is an opportunity to add direct line beneficiaries to the deed. At the closing, consider having a will prepared as you will receive a discount.
We are fortunate to have access to Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Guadalajara International Airport (GDL) on the south end of the city of Guadalajara, a mere 30 minute drive away. We offer a Free Report with more information on ‘Flying to Guadalajara’.
US Consulate General
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Phone (01-33) 3268-2100
Website: US Embassy in Guadalajara, Mexico
Consulate of Canada in Guadalajara
Av Mariano Otero 1249
Jardines del Bosque
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Ph: (01-33) 1818-4200
Website: Canadian Consulate in Guadalajara
Click here for a list of Other Foreign Embassies or Consulates in Mexico
It is not essential to speak Spanish here, but it will definitely help to at least learn some basic phrases. Because you will hear and see Spanish all around you, it doesn`t take long to pick up the everyday phrases. There are several sources for Spanish lessons from conversational Spanish to greater fluency. You will be able to choose from group or individual lessons and there are many excellent online courses which you could access before you make the move to Lake Chapala.
Hiring staff can be considered a luxury back in the US or Canada, but here in Mexico, it is an opportunity to provide employment. As of this writing, the standard pay rate is $50 pesos per hour and most work only a few days a week. You do the math! You can enjoy the luxury of these services and feel good knowing you are helping someone put their kids in school and keep a roof over their heads.
Yes, this aguinaldo is government mandated for regularly employed part-time and full-time workers in Mexico. . It equals two weeks’ pay and is due no later than December 20. Ensure that your staff sign a receipt of payment.
Your property taxes are due at the beginning of the year, but you have until the end of February to take advantage of discounts granted for prompt full payment. The municipal office for the Lakeside area is in Chapala. You will need to take a copy of last year’s predial. If you have a listing with us, don’t forget to send us a copy of the new year’s paid invoice so that we may properly calculate your closing prorations.
It would be our personal pleasure to make sure your referral is well looked after. Our objective is to make their transition seamless and an enjoyable experience from start to end. We pay a 25% referral fee and you can be assured that your clients will receive first class treatment. We have an amazing team of professional agents and bilingual support staff to serve you.
We’re glad you asked! We have a list of some commonly referred terms to help you.
Common Spanish Real Estate Terms
|Aguinaldo||Christmas Bonus due December 20|
|Aljíbe||In-ground water storage tank|
|Biences Raíces||Real Estate|
|Bóveda||Arched brick ceiling|
|Cantera||Unpolished quarry tile|
|Casita||Detached small guest house|
|CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad)||Electrical Utility Company|
|Colonos||Homeowner Association fees|
|Costos de cierre||Closing costs|
|Cuenta||Bill or Invoice|
|CURP (Clave Única del Registro de Población)||Social Security Number or S.I.N.|
|Hacienda||Estate or large house|
|Inspección de vivienda||Home inspection|
|Mirador||Rooftop viewing area|
|Notario Público||Public Notary|
|Poder||Power of Attorney|
|RFC (Registro Federal de Contribuyentes)||Individual tax number|
|Se Vende||For Sale|
|SIMAPA (Sistema Municipal de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado)||Water Utility Company|
|Telmex||Telephone/Internet Utility Company|
|Tinaco||Rooftop water storage tank|
|Transferencia Bancaria||Wire Transfer|
|Visa Temporal||Temporary Mexican visa|
|Visa Turista||Tourist Mexican visa|
|Visa Permanente||Permanent Mexican visa|
With an abundance of year-round sunshine, solar power is a logical alternative for power in Mexico and Lake Chapala has become known as “the solar capital of Mexico”. Solar energy has become very popular here and is highly accessible as well as affordable. There are several solar panel providers at Lake Chapala as well as Guadalajara.
Mexican driver’s license is not necessary as you can use your US or CDN license, but be sure to check your expiry date. Should your license expire or you wish to get a Mexican driver’s license, you will need to complete and pass a driving and written test. The license is issued by the Secretary of Mobility in Guadalajara.
All of Mexico`s Pemex stations are government owned or franchised. They carry Magna (regular unleaded), Premium (high octane unleaded) and Diesel. All the Pemex stations are full service! You don’t need to pump your own gas or wash the windshield, just let the attendant know which gas you want and how much.
The market is now opening up to allow other gas stations to sell gasoline, with Shell being the first company to break the monopoly.
It isn’t as daunting as you may think. Driving in rush hour traffic in the US or Canada is generally more stressful than the average road in Mexico. With old fashioned common sense, patience and following the rules of the road, you will find it relatively easy. We offer a Free Report on ‘Driving in Mexico’.
Getting around Lakeside without a vehicle is easy thanks to several options.
- Local buses run between all Lakeside communities and the fare is around $9 MXN pesos from one area to another. They run every 20 minutes from early morning to late evening.
- Buses from Chapala to Guadalajara run directly from the Chapala bus station. They are larger and newer versions of the local buses. The buses run 365 days a year and are both frequent and inexpensive – around $70 MXN pesos.
- Cross country buses run to and from the Nueva Central Camionera in Guadalajara. There are a number of bus lines that are luxurious, inexpensive, extremely comfortable, and run to all major area of Mexico and the US.
- These buses travel along the modern toll roads or cuoata to get you to your destination quickly.
- Taxis are plentiful, safe and inexpensive.
- You may also choose the UBER service or English-speaking private drivers.
- There are several car rental agencies offering respectable rates and range of vehicles. Car rental at Guadalajara airport is available and convenient, although more expensive than the local companies.
Lake Chapala, like most of Mexico, is a cash society that does not accept US dollars and very few credit or debit cards. Most people withdraw cash from ATMs. There are several to choose from, just keep in mind there is a daily withdrawal limit of $10,000 MXN pesos. Some ATMs have a limit of $5,000 MXN pesos per daily withdrawal. Cash can also be withdrawn from Mexican or International banks. The withdrawal bank fees range from bank to bank, but the average being around $35 MXN pesos. Exchange rates are easily checked with any of the online currency converters.
Here at Lakeside, there are several Medical clinics that have a wide range of medical specialty services from cardiology to dermatology, and everything in between, as well as general medicine. The Ajijic Clinic (Hospital Clinica, Ajijic) has an emergency room and operating room as well as a radiology dept and laboratory and most staff speak English in the clinics. The Emergency Response System is efficient and the Red Cross clinic in Chapala provides services 24 hours, seven days a week.
Our most recent, exciting news is two new hospitals being built at Lakeside to provide services that are normally done in Guadalajara. Mind you, Lake Chapala is only 45 minutes away from Guadalajara which is reputed to have some of the best hospitals and healthcare in the country and considered to be world class facilities. Medical services are provided at a much lower cost than north of the border and medical insurance is also available.
Dental care is also of a high standard with many dental and orthodontic clinics to choose from.
For the most part, yes. But we recommend you ask your home druggist for specific literature about your medicine prior to leaving home. You may also want to check on the generic name of your drug using Drugs.com.
There are many drug stores and pharmacies around Lakeside. The largest chain store is Farmacia Guadalajara and carry everything you would expect to find in a drug store north of the border – and smaller pharmacies that may not carry the range of items found in the above named stores but still function as drug stores. We offer a Free Report on ‘Prescription Drugs’.
Yes! There are a two main medical supply stores here, one in Ajijic and the other in Chapala. They are well supplied and if they don`t have what you need in stock, will order it for you from Guadalajara – usually at little or no cost for delivery.
This kind of care is very expensive in Canada and the US, but remarkably economical here. First, the year-round temperate climate encourages us all to spend more time outdoors and to exercise. There are affordable cooks, maids and skilled care takers to provide assistance to you and the elderly members of your household. When the time comes there are excellent nursing homes, assisted living facilities and medical facilities at a fraction of the cost. We offer a Free Report on ‘Assisted Care’.
There are several alternative practitioners at Lakeside. Homeopathy is a popular system of medicine here with many homeopaths and homeopathic pharmacies throughout the Lake Chapala area. Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Massage, Bowen and Skenar therapy as well as other practices are also available.
Just as we have clients that decide to care for their aging relatives here, we also have baby boomers with school age children requiring schooling. The Lakeside boasts several diverse, bilingual schools with excellent academic and high moral standards. We offer a Free Report with links to the schools here at Lakeside entitled ‘Schools’.
Almost all food you are familiar with can be found here. The two largest grocery stores found locally are Walmart and Soriana. There are smaller Mexican supermarkets, called abarotes, and vendors. Large outdoor markets (tiangis) are held on Wednesday in Ajijic and Monday in Chapala. Ajijic’s infamous Superlake store is one that caters largely to expats – there‘s a good chance you`ll find most of the items not available in the local stores. Fresh fruit and vegetables are in great supply including organic and vegan foods – we are also the largest berry producing area in the world – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries available all year round! Nearby Guadalajara offers Costco, Fresco, Mega Comercial, Chedraui and more.
Lakeside has an abundance of restaurants and sports bars to suit every culinary taste from burgers to food trucks and food courts to fine dining, for breakfast, lunch and dinner and of many ethnic varieties – Argentinian, Chinese, German, Greek, Japanese, Thai, Vegetarian and yes, even Mexican! There are well over a hundred places from Chapala to Jocotopec, many provide a take-out option as well as delivery service. ¡Buen Provecho!
The states of Sonora and Quintana Roo do not observe daylight savings. The remaining 30 states do, but not all on the same date. Towns that are less than 20 kms from the US border have coordinated their DST with that of those US border towns. Check out the lists below.
April 1st – October 28th
|Aguascalientes||Baja California Sur||Campeche||Chiapas|
|Chihuaua||Ciudad de Mexico||Coahuila||Colima|
|Queretaro||San Luis Potosi||Sinaloa||Tabasco|
March 11th – November 4th
|Baja California||Chihuahua (north)||Coahuila (north)||Nuevo Leon (north)|
The predominant religion in Mexico is Roman Catholic. There are also a good number of other religions, non-denominational churches and spiritual organizations to serve the ex-pat and Mexican community. Here is a sampling:
- Jehovah Witness
- Latter Day Saints
- Seventh Day Adventist
Social life, clubs and events are plentiful. Lake Chapala has the oldest English language community playhouse in Mexico, now celebrating its 50th Golden Jubilee season in 2018, Lakeside Little Theatre. There are several live theatre venues, two movie theatres, a casino as well as a variety of club activities – bridge, chess, ukulele, computer, hiking, dancing, gardening, photography, fitness, writing – to name just a few. There are several organizations such as the British Society, German Club, Canadian Club, Amities Francophone, American & Canadian Legion, Rotary, Hash House Harriers, Red Hat Society, Shriners and many more. There is a wide range of bars and clubs from snug little hangouts to larger places with musical performers or even karaoke if you prefer. Symphony and ballet performances appear locally from time to time and Guadalajara has endless opportunities to attend cultural events. Mexicans love to celebrate and there are many fiestas complete with music, dancing, parades and fireworks throughout the year.
There are many active art groups at Lakeside, some of whom run classes. There are also several private classes available for all facets of the arts – here is a sample:
There are a great variety of platforms to choose from, for every purpose. Here are some to get you started:
There are several Tours and Travel agencies at Lakeside offering excellent guided or non-guided tours both locally and throughout Mexico. There are a myriad of tourist attractions within easy distances from Lake Chapala as well as further afield in Mexico. The travel companies also provide expert service for oversea travel. Private tour guides or drivers are also available, including shopping trips to Guadalajara!
Wow! Guadalajara certainly caters to shopaholics! Some of the major stores you will find in Guadalajara are Costco, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, Sephora, Sears, Liverpool, Niemen Marcus and more… Guadalajara has an abundance of malls that cater to every taste whether you`re looking for souvenirs or designer labels. There are too many to list but here are the top 5:
The opportunities for volunteering here are endless and various. There are several orphanages, children`s homes, animal shelters as well as several groups supporting the arts and culture. Many retirees have the time, skills and desire to volunteer and their service is hugely appreciated.
Yes we do! There are 2 golf courses in the local area. One is in Chula Vista, a small 9-hole challenging course, the other is the Chapala Country Club, a larger, more traditional course located at Vista de Lago. There are several world class courses in and around Guadalajara. We offer a Free Report with a list of ‘Golf & Country Clubs’.
The lake has had its challenges in the past and we`re happy to report that due to renewed clean-up efforts and educational programs, it is now considered safer that many lakes north of the border. There are no natural beaches, howevver Lake Chapala does have two yacht clubs which are open to members only.
Dr.Todd Stong has worked as a volunteer Civil Engineer with the regional governments for the past few years with regards to the Lake and has many articles about the topic to be found online.
You will also find a Pelican bird spectacle in the little pueblos of Petatán and Cojumatlán de Régules at the eastern end of Lake Chapala, in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Thousands of White pelicans fly from Canada and some Northern states to winter at Lake Chapala. It has been said that a pelican will not land on a polluted lake. Thousands of pelicans can’t be wrong!
Si!. Generally, all brands of electronics and services are available here at Lake Chapala or in Guadalajara. Keep in mind, computer keyboards are in Spanish, but there are software applications that allow you to switch back and forth to the language of your choice.
Comisión Federal de Electricidad is the electrical utility service. They bill every two months and you can pay online or at various locations such as OXXO, Soriana, or banks.
This is the telephone/internet utility service. It is a monthly bill that can be paid online or at various locations such as OXXO, Soriana, or banks.
Sistema Municipal de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado is the water utility service Your water and sewage service fees are due at the beginning of the year, but you have until the end of February to take advantage of discounts granted for prompt full payment. These fees are collected at the SIMAPA management office corresponding to your property’s village. If you have a listing with us, don’t forget to send us a copy of the new year’s paid invoice so that we may properly calculate your closing pro-rations.
Yes, most definitely. There are many people who house & pet sit, and a few who will care for your pet in their own home. The fees run an average of $300 pesos a day. There are also companies where sitters register to provide a free service for people looking to have homes and pets cared for while they`re away in exchange for free accommodation. Check out these websites to learn more:
In Mexico, the commission is paid by the seller. We usually charge a commission of 7% on houses with a value up to $300,000 USD. The commission is negotiable on houses above that value. Sellers are also responsible for Capital Gains tax, if applicable. The Notario can help to reduce this cost. We recommend that furniture and vehicles be sold separately so that they are not included in the commission or tax total.
This is a severance pay. When you sell your house, you need to sever any staff you may have hired – maid, gardener and such – and calculate their severance pay based on hourly wage and the years they have worked for you. They are required to sign a letter stating that they have no claims against the seller. This is one of the many services we provide as part of the closing process. We just need the employee’s name, start date and the amount of pesos you pay them per week. We will calculate and prepare all the documents.
Clave Única del Registro de Población. This is similar to the Social Security number for US and the Canadian S.I.N. It is a government issued ID number and is also listed on your driver’s license, Mexican residency visa and bank account. You need a CURP before you can get an RFC.
Registro Federal de Contribuyentes or personal tax number. You require one of these in order to claim exemption on the Capital Gains earned when you sell your home.
There is a fiesta, fair or major happening going on somewhere in Mexico every day of the year. But here is a monthly list of the major dates to mark on your calendar. Those in bold are official national holidays and you’ll find banks, schools, government offices and some businesses shut down on those dates. They may also close for other major local celebrations.Those ítems not bolded are important civic commemorations, religious celebrations and other local events. Those marked with an asterisk (*) change dates from year to year.
Major Holidays in Mexico
Official National Holiday
Important civic commemorations, religious celebrations, local events
* change dates from year to year
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|January 6||Three Kings Day|
|First Monday in February||Constitution Day|
|February 12*||Mardi Gras|
|February 13*||Ash Wednesday|
|February 14||Valentine’s Day|
|Third Monday in March||Birth of Benito Juarez|
|March 24*||Palm Sunday|
|March 29*||Good Friday|
|March 31*||Easter Sunday|
|May 1||Labour Day|
|May 5||Cinco de Mayo|
|May 10||Mother’s Day|
|June 16*||Father’s Day|
|June 24||St. John the Baptist|
|September 13||Day of Heros|
|September 14||Horseman’s Day|
|September 15||Cry of Independence|
|September 16||Independence Day|
|September 28||Public Servant’s Day (Government offices closed)|
|November 1||All Saints Day|
|November 2||All Souls Day|
|Third Monday in November||Revolution Day|
|December 12||Virgin de Guadalupe|
|December 16 – 24||Las Posadas (Christmas season festivities)|
|December 24||Christmas Eve|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
|December 28||Holy Innocents Day (April Fools)|
|December 31||New Year’s Eve|