Impressions of Ajijic

posted in: Ajijic Mexico 2019, Real Journeys | 3

I’m conflicted

I have been struggling to come up with words that will accurately reflect the various conflicted feelings I am having. When I think of uprooting myself from my life in Seattle and the USA and moving to a foreign country where I don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language (yet), my brain does somersaults.

Ajijic is delightful. It is about 50/50 Mexicans and gringos. My impression is that there are more Canadians than USAers. But the village feels 100% Mexican: cobbled streets, narrow sidewalks, lots of dogs roaming all over, street vendors everywhere, and a central plaza filled with people just enjoying life.

And that’s what I am looking for. I don’t want to live in a place that’s resort‐like. I don’t want to live in a gated community. (There are many in the area, and on my real estate tour the other day I saw a spectacular house in a gated community very close to the village that is a steal. It is tempting to consider adjusting my expectations. But even though the price is ridiculous, it’s significantly more than I was hoping to spend. Though I could swing it if I wanted to.)

I also found a charming house in the village that could use some love but has so many of the qualities that make my heart beat faster. And it’s in my price range. I was thinking if I decided to come live here I would rent first and then decide later about buying. But if I buy this place, I could rent it out until I’m ready to move down here.

I’m very conflicted. And if I’m conflicted, maybe it’s foolish to commit to this now.

But will I ever know for sure?

I’m charmed

Ajijic is one of a long stretch of villages in an area called Lakeside, along the north shore of Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico. Though Ajijic is the center of the gringo community here, expats have settled everywhere from Jocotepec, 18 km west of here, to Chapala, 10 km east. A reliable public bus runs all the way through all the villages. There’s also regular bus service to Guadalajara, 55 km north.

Here in Ajijic is the Lake Chapala Society. This organization has been around since 1955 and serves the expat community. Yesterday I dropped into what I thought was their office and discovered it is a gorgeous facility with a cafe, library, garden complete with gazebo and koi pond, and various areas for social gatherings and activities. I played in a game of “Bridge for Fun” with 8 tables on an outdoor patio, while a yoga class was going on in the gazebo. (There’s also a duplicate bridge club, but that’s not within walking distance.)

But the village itself is filled with all the delights I could hope for.

The plaza
Lots of colorful murals
The Malécon
Parroquia San Andres Apostol, with some of the prettiest sounding church bells I’ve ever heard

So… Do I want to live here?

I’ve met many expats in my time here so far, and every one of them says they absolutely love it here. Is that a good enough recommendation?

3 Responses

  1. M

    Buy the sweet place and rent it out (through reliable broker). Worst case you decide not to move to A, then continue renting it out or sell. Most tough decisions are gambles, go with the bridge player within.

  2. Sheila Bartle

    If you don’t take any action at all regarding Ajijic — i.e. if you go home and just remember your trip, taking out your photos and rereading what you’ve written — will you be disappointed?

  3. LeeAnnette Fortier

    Some dear friends of mine moved there from Wenatchee about a year ago and 💜 it — I can put you in touch with them if you are interested. They are in late 70s. They have told me it is 80% Canadian.

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