Saturday, June 9, 2012
Picking a spot
If you are thinking about retiring on a small island you don't have to worry about differing climates; what you see in one part of the island is what you get all over. Not so in Mexico. Mexico is a big country with mountains as high as 18,000 feet and coastal communities right at sea level. There are deserts, farmland, forest/jungle, etc. I had to decide what I wanted and then look to see where I might find it.
I have always enjoyed being around water. It is relaxing, cooling and (most often) peaceful, and that is why I found islands so appealing. Mexico has some well known oceanside towns: Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco and more. It made sense to check them out first so I did, but while browsing the net I stumbled upon Lake Chapala--the largest lake in Mexico. At ten miles wide and fifty long it is plenty big enough, and at an elevation of about one mile above sea level it is quite a bit cooler than the coastlands; National Geographic rated it one of the healthiest climates in the world! It sounded intriguing so I dug in and checked it out in earnest. Here is what I found . . .
There are a number of small towns along the northern edge of the lake (Chapala, Ajijic and San Juan Cosala, etc.) that together have a large ex-pat community. Most estimates give 3,000-4,000 as the number of U.S. citizens living there full time. So many live there that they have formed the Lake Chapala Society which provides a multitude of services and activities for members. Visit click here to check it out. You'll be impressed with all that is available.
There are also MANY utube videos: just search Lake Chapala Mexico and you can watch until your eyes glaze over. Here is one link to get started ... click here, and another . . . click here. By all means visit , the site mentioned in the second video for a wealth of information on Ajijic (pronounced Ah-ha-heek). click here
To make a long story short--I thought the area sounded terrific and that I needed to dig even deeper. I'll cover some more of that process and list a few more links in the next post.