Thoughts after a year living at Lake Chapala

June 7, 2019


We are coming up on our one year anniversary of moving to the Lake Chapala area.  I thought you might like to hear my thoughts on living here – nowhere is perfect but we are happy and adjusting.

Because the area has been an expat magnet for many years it seems to attract people who are new to México and are just “trying it out.”  That can be a bit frustrating as we overhear thoughtless comments or clueless interactions as we do our business around town.  But not everyone here is a newbie, not at all!  There are lots of people here who have made their homes Lakeside for many years and are active contributing members of the community. 

One of the main criticisms of the area is that there are so many expats that it’s somehow less Mexican.  I don’t agree.  The town we live in – San Antonio – is a tiny Mexican village similar to others of the same size anywhere in the country.  There are probably  more people who speak English here than other places but if you speak Spanish they are happy to speak Spanish, too.  

I do miss many things about Mazatlán, especially the easy access to cultural events in Centro but we are figuring it out here.  There is lots of live music and the local celebrations are different and fun.  I had expected to leave banda behind in Mazatlán – but oh, no – it is here in full force!  Right now the fiestas patronales are on in San Antonio – running from June 5 to 16… a different banda every night in the plaza and fun and rides for everyone. That’s the music schedule, above.

The weather here is so wonderful, we really love it.  Even the hot months of April, May, and June are mild since the humidity is low.  The nights are cool and the days sunny and warm.  Year round.  

As a health nut I love being able to buy organic produce easily.  I am happy that there are stores that sell lots of organic products, soy meats, probiotic foods, and more all within an easy walk of home.  I buy honey from a neighbor, and if I wanted I could go milk a cow for fresh milk every day just at the end of the road. 

Below you can watch Coco do some training at “school” and Henry watching her go.  The squeaking in the audio is a doggie treadmill some of the pups use.


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Our days are pretty full.  We joined a gym. (OMG, you couldn’t dream up a more funky gym!) Paul and I are tutoring a young dentist who wants to learn English. I joined a book group. The dogs go to “school” every morning now, and love playing with their friends.  I am making kombucha, kefir, and sourdough again.  I bought a sewing machine and have been making clothes and things for the house.  Paul had his cataracts removed and is enjoying not wearing glasses for the first time since he was ten years old.  And my eyes have improved to where I only need glasses now for reading!  That is cool!

Over the years we have seesawed back and forth between city and country living and I am sure happy now to be living a more rural life.  There are lots of people riding horses, cows being herded down to the lake for water, wonderful birds and of course trees and the beautiful lake, too.  We go to Guadalajara frequently for our city fix but are happy to return to our little country home.

The video below was taken at the end of our street and is the most common cause of traffic backups here. 🙂


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We are going to be signing a lease for another year – we like our little six house cota and have renovated the kitchen in exchange for being able to furnish the house ourselves.  So for now we are settled and enjoying our lakeside home.

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

      1. Hi Jennifer, Yes, living lakeside has been a good choice for us right now. It isn’t paradise (as some say) or a horrible place full of crabby old expats (as others say) it is just a comfortable place that suits us for now, we are taking it a year at a time. Thanks for commenting.

    1. Always love to hear how you are doing. Thanks for the update. Joe and I met many friends in Mazatlán because of your hook ups and our countdown to Mexico is October 1, 2019! We have a rental in Mazatlán to start and are busy working on emptying our house in Renton. I am sure you can relate. Wish us much luck!!

      1. Congratulations! Ans so happy that I had a little something to contribute! Good luck on the move! Nancy

    1. Can’t believe it’s been a whole year! So glad that you are settled and happy. And able to get your urban fix so easily when you need it. All the best, amigos!

      1. Judith, I know, a year went fast! All the best to you and Ken, too. xoxo

    1. I love having you and Paul here. It’s wonderful to be in the same place again. I’m happy here too for many of the same reasons. The weather, the beauty and real friends. Thanks for sharing! Much love, Jan

      1. Jan, I pinch myself every day! So happy to be in the same place, too… you and Zoey are our besties! xoxo

    1. Definitely happy to hear you signed another lease! See you soon!

      1. Mary, Yes,, we are happy, too! Looks like you’ve had a great European adventure! see you soon

    1. I love reading about your life in San Antonio. So different from Mazatlan; it’s nice to get a POV of another place.

      1. Thanks, Christine! We are enjoying it here, but do miss some of our good friends in Maz. Saludos!

    1. You have found a wonderful new home. It appears to agree with you all. I can’t believe that your fur babies are in school. How fun! Keep enjoying each day to the fullest.

      1. Hi Contessa, Yes, we are enjoying it here – all of us! I have been enjoying reading about your adventures! xoxo

    1. You seem to have settled in beautifully. Really happy for you! You are missed here in Mazatlan, but new adventures are always calling! Hugs to both of you!

      1. Hi Kathi! We are settling in, the lifestyle here is different and we miss Maz a lot but it is fun to explore a new place and meet new people. xoxox Hugs to you guys, too!

    1. I am very happy to read this summary of your first year. I know how much you and Paul enjoyed being near the ocean. But I guess the lake is a good Washington substitute.

      Your comments mirror a thought I had the other day. When I moved down here, I did not have Chapala on my options list. I wanted to live somewhere in “real” Mexico. It has taken me some time to come to the conclusion that every town in Mexico is the “real” Mexico because it is in Mexico. Like any country, Mexico has a lot of different personalities in its locales. Finding the one where we feel content is the trick.

      I started down this path because the increase in tourism (both northern and Mexican) has changed the character of the little fishing village that drew me here. And I am reconciling myself to the fact that every place changes — and if there are places that do not, they are most likely dying.

      So, thanks again for your thoughts. Your blog was one of those that attracted me to Mexico and now keeps me content with that decision.

      1. That’s funny you say that about Chapala, Steve, because I have been holding in a rant about people who either don’t give a place a chance or who think gringos contaminate it (even though they are gringos). And don’t get me started on people who speak barely basic spanish criticizing a place because there’s too much english spoken.

        I am with you on embracing change, that is a good thing. Saludos!

    1. A year already! I’m so glad you are happily ensconced in a nice place. I too love country living, though I’m not at this time of my life.
      I’m intrigued by “Evento Surpresa” in June. Hope to see you in the coming year.

      1. Hey Michael! I do hope we get to see you next winter, but I am happy that I can keep up a bit on your adventures through Facebook. Enjoy your summer! xoxo Nancy

    1. Wow! A year! Congratulations! I know you have a lovely place there, probably one of the nicest possible setups lakeside. Sure, it could be bigger, more plush, etc. But you have an amazing yard right on the lake, lots of beautiful birds, and an amazing amount of peace and quiet, yet you’re still very close to all the benefits of town.

      The only thing you’re lacking is flaming hoops for the dogs to jump through.


      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where it’s nice to be home again, even if I have to return once more to the West Coast.

      1. HI Kim, I guess you haven’t been around, hope all is going well for you too. Saludos!

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