Situated about one-hour south of Guadalajara – which happens to be Mexico’s second-largest city – in what is approximately the middle of the country, Lake Chapala is Mexico’s biggest freshwater lake and the surrounding community is one of the world’s most popular expat havens, reported writers Susan Haskins and Dan Prescher of the Huffington Post.
“One of the most accommodating and charming places we’ve lived in our years abroad is the north shore of Lake Chapala,” wrote Haskins and Prescher. “In Mexico’s Central Highlands, this area is the most popular overseas retirement destination for U.S. and Canadian expats, and it’s been so for nearly 100 years.”
Just 30 minutes from the Guadalajara International Airport, the community of Lake Chapala offers easy direct flights to at least 14 U.S. cities, along with 21 other cities in Mexico and a variety of other destinations. This easy connectivity is a huge bonus for retirees and expats of all ages who plan to travel back and forth from their home country from time to time.
“Both American Airlines and Mexico’s budget Volaris Airlines offer direct, low-cost roundtrip fares to/from Phoenix and more,” wrote the couple, who say they traveled from Guadalajara to Phoenix this January in less than two hours. It’s also possible to drive to the U.S. border in Nuevo Leon or Laredo in about 11 hours.
The climate in Lake Chapala is also amazing, thanks to sharing its latitude with Hawaii and its elevation with the city of Denver.
“You’ll be hard-pressed to find better weather anywhere in the world.”
If you’re considering a visit to Lake Chapala, January is the coolest month, with temps hovering at 7- degrees Fahrenheit or higher during the day and cooling off in the evening and nighttime to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. By contrast,May is generally the warmest in the area, with highs reaching into the mid-80s and lows hovering at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Overall, the humidity in Lake Chapala is low, with February averaging the driest month of the year and July the wettest.
“This part of Mexico has been an expat haven for generations,” wrote the Huffington Post. “It’s estimated that around 30,000 foreigners live in the small towns and villages that dot the north side of the lake – the closest proximity to the big-city services of Guadalajara.”
Similar to other expat havens in Mexico, such as San Miguel de Allende, Playa del Carmen,Puerto Vallarta and Tulum, Lake Chapala is also a naturally beautiful destination. In recent years, the lake itself has been the center of attention, having achieved fully member status in the Global Nature Fund’s Living Lakes Network, which is dedicated to saving the most important World Heritage lakes.
“Ajijic, Chapala, Jocotepec, San Antonio and San Juan Cosala are some of the most popular communities along the north shoreline", reveal Haskins and Prescher. “The town of Chapala itself is the largest community, and you’ll find all sorts of cafes, shops and restaurants here.”
Lake Chapala has also long served as a popular destination for artists, writers, musicians and other creative types, so the community has a wide variety of annual events, music, art shows, writers clubs and other happenings. Foodies will also be pleased to note that the area has developed an amazing array of eclectic restaurants.
As for safety in Lake Chapala, expats and locals alike will tell you they feel very safe – much safer, in fact, than many did back “home” in places like Los Angeles,Chicago,New York,Miami and other big cities. In addition, the quality of medical care in Lake Chapala is top-notch, thanks to the area’s well-established status as a thriving expat community.
“You can step right into expat life here with hardly any bumps along the way,” wrote Haskins and Prescher. “If you’re looking for a low-cost but top-quality destination, it doesn’t get much better than this.”
When are you coming for a tour of Lake Chapala, Mexico?
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