How To Leave The U.S. For Retirement On Lake Chapala


By Michaela & Ricardo

It might be said that the citizens of the United States are experiencing a huge rise in dissatisfaction with their country. If you are considering leaving the U.S for Lake Chapala then you’ve come to the right place. With over 100 blogs of information on our website, Free Tours, and unlimited access to us for questions, we have you covered. Contact Us at We make expatriating to Lake Chapala easy!

Even with COVID, a lot of people are still looking to leave the U.S for political or economic reasons. And what better place to move to than Lake Chapala? In fact, I’ve recently read that 13% of the U.S population is planning on retirement abroad.

A large part of the desirability of living abroad is economic and if you own your home in Lake Chapala you can live here comfortably on $1000 USD and bank the rest. That’s what a couple of our recent clients have done. They purchased a beautiful home at the top of Ajijic with spellbinding views of the village and lake. The owner, Mark, draws $2100 USD on social security and he comfortably banks half of that per month. Living could never be easier or better and the couple is in love with the area and low cost of living. “We have the money and the time to do anything we want”, Mark says. Days at the spa, hot spring pools, eating out whenever we want, attend live theater or concerts, travel, etc.

Although the pandemic has put a hold on many of these activities they’ve found that living indoors has been easy and beneficial as well. “We get food delivered to our door from Costco or local shops, virtually all local restaurant deliver, we have our maid and gardener come in weekly, and we even have our booze delivered to our door” laughs Mark.

But going out to the stores or restaurants hasn’t been a problem either. “Although we go out only a fraction of the time that we used to, all the safety protocols are in place in the state of Jalisco and everyone wears a mask in stores and restaurants as well as take your temperature and sanitize your hands. They even make you walk through a disinfecting mat to go into any place of business. We feel very safe here.” he says.

Health Care

Health care is at the top of everyone’s minds as we age. The fact that the Lake Chapala area has been a retirement community for over 70 years has led to an established and growing base of health care providers in the area. We now have three full-fledged hospitals in the area and numerous clinics and specialty clinics such as heart care centers. For those requiring more such as cancer clinics, the city of Guadalajara is only 1 hour away and has top-notch facilities.


Deciding upon the right visa is an important decision. For starters stay with a tourist visa which is good for 180 days. If you find you love it here and you want to stay then it’s important to get a Temporary or Permanent Visa. Remember, this is solely a residency visa and is totally separate from your citizenship. Having the right visa will help with decisions about purchasing a car, banking, and possibly healthcare.


You’ll want to set up a local bank account here to keep so money on hand. Bring it down as you need it. It would be unwise to take all your money out of the U.S. Once you are set up, you might bring down 6 months worth at a time. Watch the exchange rate carefully and convert extra if the U.S dollar takes a big jump. We’ve seen the dollar at 25 to 1 for a brief period and those who converted money at that time did very well indeed. Still, your dollar goes a long way here, and over time we’ve continually seen a devaluation in the peso against the U.S buck.

Renting vs Buying

Always rent first, preferably in different areas for a short period of time (3-6 months). If there is an area or neighborhood that particularly appeals, then you can start looking at housing costs in that area. Is the area within your budget?

The Golden Zone of Lake Chapala is a huge area and encompasses 4 significant villages/towns and many smaller villages with rural areas in between. Finding the right area and price bracket is a big decision with many variables.

Renting long term is always an option if you live light and can easily move. Your cost of living will be significantly higher but the ability to “change your mind” is a big benefit for those who aren’t yet sure.

My partner Ricardo and I are always here for your questions so please contact us. We’re here to help you decide if retiring in Lake Chapala is right for you.


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