Cost of Living Information for Lake Chapala, Mexico

A Top Retirement Destination

Many people wonder about cost-of-living in Mexico. For retirees, cost-of-living is often a crucial part of their decision process.

There are, of course, a wide range of budgets and lifestyles available anywhere, and living in Mexico is no exception.

I live in Lake Chapala, a more expensive area of Mexico. While Lake Chapala has a higher cost-of-living than other parts of the country, there are also more amenities, more bilingual speakers, and a solid infrastructure.

Home prices here start around $65,000. Average home prices for an expat range from $120,000 to $300,000, and there are also a few very high-end homes on the market. Property taxes are only several hundred dollars per year.

Rental prices in Lake Chapala and Mexico, like anywhere, also vary. The last home I rented in Lake Chapala cost $850 per month. It was a 2700 sq. ft. home on a large lot. The home was older, furnished, and had a nice view. The rent included water and weekly gardening and maid services. As the tenant, I paid electricity, gas, internet, and phone. The electricity cost approximately $55 per month, the gas cost approximately $30 per month, and the phone and high-speed Internet was $90 per month at current exchange rates.

Rental homes can cost up to $1500 for a very nice home in a gated community with a spectacular view.

Currently, I rent a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment. It is older and could use a renovation. The bathroom fixtures and tile are outdated and worn, as is the floor tile throughout the apartment. Otherwise, it is fine and adequate for my needs. I have a large terrace, a nice view of the mountains, and a glimpse of Lake Chapala.

I share the  property with five other apartments. The yard is large, the gardens are pretty, there are numerous fruit trees and roses, and it has a pool. I pay $325 and that includes electricity, gas, water, and pool and yard service. I am responsible for the Internet and phone. I have a particularly good deal, and the low cost allows me to keep the cost of my services low to help more people and provides me with time freedom.

The average rental price for a middle-class, one-bedroom home is about $450. This would usually include a weekly gardener and water. The average price for a nice two-bedroom home is $550-$700, also including gardening service and water.

Basic groceries here are much less expensive than in the United States. Three days ago, I bought a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of zucchini, a kilogram of carrots, and a medium-sized head of broccoli for under $2. This was at a local produce stand. Supermarket prices are a bit higher. Numerous locally-made cheeses and local fresh fruit and vegetables help keep the cost-of-living on food items low. Imported food items are available in Lake Chapala and are much more expensive luxuries.

Restaurant costs vary according to menu and ambiance, as they do everywhere. An inexpensive meal can be purchased for $2.50, including tip. An expensive meal with several courses and wine would cost an average of $25 per person. The average meal with a glass of wine tends to run 412-$14 with tip. Lake Chapala boasts 120 different restaurants so there is something for every taste and budget.

Taxis and busses are numerous and inexpensive, as is owning a foreign-plated car. A Mexican-plated car costs more to insure.

In Lake Chapala, luxuries like massage and exercise classes are plentiful. Massages are $20-$25 and yoga, spinning, and other similar classes are $3-$4.

A few areas in Mexico are more expensive than Lake Chapala and most of the country is less expensive. Cost-of-living in Mexico can be as much or as little as one desires to spend. In many ways, it is a very desirable destination for its cost-of-living, lifestyle, and easy access to the Unites States and Canada.