Are there legitimate reasons not to move to Lake Chapala? On Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms you’ll find people trying to scare you off from moving to Lake Chapala with all sorts of claims.
There are many reasons for people posting things like this ranging from trying to sell a book to an unfortunate bad experience but the bottom line is that most claims are untrue or greatly exaggerated.
Is living in Lake Chapala for everyone? Of course not. Is it for you? Only you can decide but before you rule it off your list of retirement options based on these opinions you must give yourself an opportunity to experience it for yourself. Otherwise, you are doing yourself a disservice. Here are some of the claims you’ll see touted regularly on social media as verified facts.
Claim: High Crime – Overruled
A common myth is that Mexico is a violent and dangerous place to live in. This may hold true to some degree in border states both in the north and south but does not have much relevance in Lake Chapala. Is there some crime? Of course there are petty crimes and some burglaries. Just like everywhere in the world. As to being shot down in the street you have a better chance being hit by lightning. I recently saw a news article right after the July long weekend 2020 about New York City having 64 shootings over the course of the long weekend resulting in 10 dead and 54 wounded. Now THAT scares me. Yet I do not see any state department warnings about not traveling to New York City!
Claim: Too Many Expats – Overruled
Another often touted saying on Facebook Pages and YouTube videos. There are many claims to how many gringos reside here and it’s true that in Ajijic Village that there are more but overall we are still in the vast minority throughout Lakeside. If you want to live that Mexican lifestyle in a Mexican Village there are many options here for you in Lakeside.
Claim: Too Much Traffic Because (Of All The Gringos) – Overruled
Hand in hand with the above is that there are so many gringos here that the traffic is jammed on the Carretera. Although the ‘highway’ carretera is often busy let us remember that it is a highway and it’s certainly not because of the gringos. One of my favorite activities is to look at the occupants of vehicles and count how many are Mexican and how many are gringo. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell but mostly any random count will show 70-90% Mexican and the balance gringos. Of course, if you come from January to March you’ll see it closer to 70% Mexican but during the rest of the year, it’s closer to 90%. Once you step off the Carretera you’ll find the pace relaxed and slow with horses, cattle, goats also golf carts ruling the road. Most of the time depending on where you are going and where you live you do not even have to go on the highway to get there anyway if you don’t want to.
Claim: The Lake Is Polluted – Overruled
This is a biggie, parroted over and over again. I’m not a scientist but all I’ll say is that this is not a true statement. Am I saying that the lake is the lake not polluted? Well, no, it’s actually somewhere in between. It’s not pristine but it’s not polluted either. Would I drink out of the lake? Of course not but neither will I drink out of any lake in Canada either. Will, the lake kill me if I live here? Of course not. Would I engage in activities on the lake like kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing, booze cruises, fishing, sailing, etc. Definitely, and many people do. Now that it’s summertime we see many water skiers on the lake as well as sports fishermen (and ladies) catching Largemouth bass to 10 lbs.
The best advice over this highly controversial issue is to inform yourself. Research and read as many documents as possible. You’ll find the scientific views regarding pollution in the lake varies widely. Then think, how often am I interacting with the lake? Am I going to be engaged in activities on the lake daily? Will I be eating fish from the lake daily? Weekly? How much does the lake affect me based on my lifestyle?
Claim: Cobblestone Streets – Can’t deny it
Ah, you got me on this one! If you’ve read anything at all about Lake Chapala then I’m sure you’ve read about the infamous cobblestone streets and how difficult it is to navigate on foot. It is indeed true so we recommend good footwear. One silver lining is that not all towns Lakeside are the same. Jocotepec does not have many cobblestone streets and is only ½ hour away by car. Chapala, too, has a large section near the lake that is now all paved.