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Relocation Info

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Thank you for requesting Information Guide. This guide is provided to help you in your decision to make the move to the Lake Chapala area. We have tried to give you as much information as possible in areas that are the most confusing.

1. Climate:

Lake Chapala is located well inland, and not recommended for swimming nor water sports for the gringos, though many Mexicans use the lake for this very purpose. We are also a mile high nestled into the Sierra Madre mountains.

As you are in the mountains, you have the benefit of cool night air, and you are protected from hurricanes that pound the coasts. The worse you will see will be cloudy and misty days when the hurricanes hit the coast.

Daytime averages 25C, (77F) nighttime averages 15C (59F). May is our warmest month with temperatures ranging from 30c (86F), however we have very little humidity. Our coolest months are December and January when the temps can dip down to 9C (48F) so me nights, but the days are relatively warm.
Days are almost always sunny. Our rainy season is from June though September, and the rain usually falls at night.
At our altitude, the lake area offers semitropical growth and the entire region is lush with forests, mountains, lakes and hot mineral springs.

2. Language:

With so many North Americans (Americans and Canadians) in residence, it is only natural that the area abounds with English speaking waiters, shop keepers, doctors and the like. It is not necessary to speak Spanish, though there are many organizations who offer Spanish courses for a very small fee. English churches, newspapers, clubs and organizations and charities flourish in this area.

3. Amenities:

The LakeChapala area offers modern facilities such as well-stocked super markets, cable and satellite TV, golf courses, numerous art galleries, a very busy community theater, bus and taxis services, fax/telephone service, ATM banking, a wide variety of charities and clubs as well as
some of the best restaurants anywhere. We even have lst-Run Movie theaters in English.

4. Medical

In the Guadalajara-Lake Chapala area, compassionate and very competent medical and dental care is excellent, and the doctors will even make house calls in an emergency. Many of the doctors and dentists are U.S. trained. We do have a national administered health care program (IMSS) which is also available to Mexicans and gringos alike. The cost of this program is approximately $475 per family per year, however the price may raise periodically. Enrollment entitles one to non-deductible ambulance service, hospitalization, medications, doctor's services, dental and eye exams. Other plans are also available through various Ins. Companies as well as the Lake Chapala Society, which is an organization here to help and inform gringos. One big plus for health in this area is the low-cost prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

5. Shopping:

Guadalajara is only an hour away with many giant shopping malls, with names we are familiar with such as: Wal-Mart, Costco, Office Max and Depot, Home Depot, Radio Shack, Sams Club, Applebee’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, The Outback and Sears just to name a few.

Our colorful open-air markets, offer you everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to fish, meats, toiletries, clothing and hardware items. There is also an assortment of decorative handcrafted items such as wood, pottery, brass, silver, glass and
copper, plus many, many more Items.

6. Cost of Living:

The cost of living in México is significantly lower than in the states or Canada. Retired residents and tourists are finding their monies go much further here than at home. Examples of pricing here are as follows (in U.S. dollars):

a. Electricity $25.00 per month (Approx.)
b. Gas (home) $20.00 per month (Approx.)
c. Telephone $18.00 per month (Approx.)
d. Television $250.00 per year (Approx.)
e. Maid. $200.00 per month (full time)
f. 6-Pack of Beer $4.00
g. Tomatoes 35 cents/Ib
h. Avocados 45 cents/Ib
i. Dinner at a good restaurant. $8.00 and up

You can live comfortably here for approximately $2,000 USD per month, and this includes entertaining, food, eating out, plus taking trips and much more. However, costs are higher here than books and articles lead you to believe.

7. Close to Everything:

From the Lake area, you are close to lst class shopping, the arts, entertainment, such as the Vienna Boys Choir, 5-star restaurants plus only a 5 hour drive to one of Mexico's beautiful beaches such as Puerto Vallarta.

An InternationalAirport is only 45 minutes away. What more could one want?

8. Easy Living:

Over the past few years, many retirees and baby boomers are finding a haven in the LakeChapala area. The cobble-stoned streets, red-tiled roofs, Mexican charm and low cost of living are luring more and more to our area. Unwinding from the normal stress of our times, the chemical free vegetables and fruit plus the mild climate make the Mexican way of life exactly what leads to an easy way of living.


CAR: You are allowed to bring your car across the border. There are a few rules you need to follow. You must register your car at the Mexican border, one car registered per person. In Nuevo Laredo, you must register there. In other border towns, the registration is about 20 minutes inside México. You will need a certified copy of your car title or a certified letter from the lien holder that you have permission to cross into México. You will also need Mexican car insurance and your passport. You can find many insurance companies in the US border towns such as Laredo, Texas. You will need a credit card and your driver’s license. The small registration fee must be paid with a credit card. A sticker will be placed on your windshield and you will receive a tourist visa, (request that it be valid for 6 months), unless you have obtained an FM-2 or FM-3. Failure to comply with Mexican laws governing imported vehicles can result in vehicle confiscation and/or fines.

You will go through the border check where you will have a red/green light. If you receive the red light, you must stop for inspection. Be prepared to pay a duty tax on any electronic equipment you bring, Computers are a big question. Laptops are acceptable. New computers in their boxes are "said" to be acceptable, but you will pay tax. Please be patient and under-standing when dealing with the locals, and especially any border or checkpoint official. The fastest way to slow a Mexican down is to raise your voice.

You are allowed to bring pets into the country provided you have a health certificate signed by a vet 10 days prior to your crossing the border.

PLANE: You will go through customs at Guadalajara airport. Some flights go through México City, and you will go through customs there instead. You will have a passport/visa check prior to entering the baggage area. After you receive your bags, you will receive a red/green light to push. If you receive the red light, a customs official will examine your luggage. NEVER bring illegal drugs, guns, ammunition or liquor into México. You will be placed in jail first, and questions asked later. To enter by plane, you will need your passport or birth certificate, and photo identification such as a driver’s license. You will receive an FM-T tourist visa on the plane, unless you have an FM-2 or FM-3. Request that the FM-t be issued for a 6-month period. If you plan to get an FM-3 to purchase a home, bring your marriage certificate if you are married. Keep your FM-T because you must present it when you leave México. If you buy property in México, The Notary will need a copy the FM-T stamped if you do not have the FM-3, you should make a copy of it and keep the copy with your other documents.

Our Century21 AccessMex sales team is professionally trained to advise our clients, feel free to ask us any doubts you may have, we will be happy to assist you.