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Saturday December 16 2017
Chapala: A Little Mexican Paradise Treasured by Expats
Coco Wonchee

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The deep silence of the night is broken by the shy, sweet chirp of the sparrows. There are many types of birds including humming in Chapala Lake including hummingbirds, pelicans, and herons.

The lake is covered by a golden mist, and the wind blows a soft and crisp breeze, an-nouncing the coming of the autumn. The leaves on the trees are trembling and they whisper a delightful sound. This is the atmosphere that has inspired not only bright in-tellectuals and writers like André Breton and D.H. Lawrence but also Americans and Canadians to move to Chapala. Even expats from Britain, Germany, Australia, Spain, New Zealand, India and Nepal have moved to Lake Chapala Riviera in Jalisco, Mexico over the last decade. Unlike other destinations, this little paradise still keeps its in-timacy, and only twelve to eighteen thousand expats live here.

There is green everywhere and the mature trees do not rest. The citrus trees have flow-ers, green mini fruits and ripe, large, ready to be cut fruits. The nature cycles here, where the weather averages 27°, make everything abundant and seems as though it doesn’t want to stop the production cycle.

That’s why the Lake Chapala area has been catalogued as one of the best climates in the world, according to National Geographic and has been recognized as a RAMSAR site, which was formed to conserve the use of wetlands and their resources.

Behind each village, the majestic and massive mountains protect and provide a subtle but strong energy - local traditions say it is magnetism. People who suffer chronic pains from old injuries, illnesses related to arthritis, or simply advanced age, find great physical and mental relief here. Rich mountain currents flow from these moun-tains, creating hot springs, and the largest inland body of water in Mexico. No wonder visitors sleep so well and keep saying how their mind and spirit becomes restful.

Life in these small villages is different from the lifestyles expats used to have in their home countries in terms of development, culture, and education. However, there are a combination of factors that make Lake Chapala one of the best retirement destinations in the world including: 1) Climate, 2) Safe and stress-free environment, 3) Low cost of living (50% less than in the US), 3) Ready-made infrastructure, 4) Excellent restaurants, and 5) Multi-cultural activities, and 6) Beautiful landscapes

Every day at noon, it becomes “La hora del amigo” or the “Friendly Hour.” At this time friends usually meet to have one or two drinks. Tequila is usually the popular choice, as it is sometimes used as a remedy for aging, colds, arthritis, mental illness, and sadness.

Is Lake Chapala - with its idyllic villages such as Ajijic, Chapala, San Antonio, San Juan Cosala, and El Chante - the ideal place to retire? Most of the eighteen thousand expats her will answer yes, as they always have something to do and never seem bored. They are realizing most of their retirement dreams here, developing dormant artistic talents, staying busy, and giving back to the community which warningly hosts them.

Residents of Chapala can also enjoy the benefits of being close to Guadalajara, the sec-ond largest city in Mexico. With an international airport, fashionable malls, state of the art hospitals and clinics, and banks, Guadalajara offers the conveniences of any modern city. The proximity to the city is yet another reason why residents in Chapala often feel they are living in paradise.


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