In central Mexico are two of the most popular spots for expats to move: the Lake Chapala area and San Miguel de Allende. Both places have large gringo populations – large enough to affect the local economy.
San Miguel de Allende has been around a long time, but after its colonial architecture was discovered in the 1930s, it blossomed into an “art community,” and that is what it is today. Gringos have been moving into San Miguel, buying up the old colonial buildings and remodeling in a big way. It is blessed with very agreeable weather all year long, beautiful mountain vistas and gorgeous architecture.
In the Lake Chapala area, the weather is about as perfect as it gets. National Geographic, which knows the planet pretty well, designated the weather #2 in the world (but, the residents all know it’s the best). With a large lake surrounded by mountains, at about 5,000 feet above sea level, you have a home that’s “easy on the eyes and gentle on the body.” And, the Lake Chapala area is home to the largest community of North American expats in the world.
The majority of expats at “Lakeside,” the local name for the area, live on the lake’s north shore. Surrounding the lake is a string of villages with names like Chapala, Ajijic, and San Antonio. Because of the well-established expat community in Ajijic, you’ll find many shops selling familiar U.S. and Canadian items, familiar retail outlets like Costco, Home Depot, McDonald’s and Starbuck, and even English-language movies at the local Cineplex. There are many social groups offering a plethora of foci including theater, music appreciation, and everything from line dancing to creative writing. You will not be bored living at Lake Chapala!