If you’re anything like me you love to research potential places to live in Mexico. And by now you’ve undoubtedly heard expats rave about Ajijic!
Located on the shores of Lake Chapala in the state of Jalisco, this beautiful town is revered for its beautiful scenery, comfortable climate, and slower pace of living. Lake Chapala is the largest freshwater lake in all of Mexico. So, even though Ajijic isn’t on the coast, it still offers beautiful water views and the opportunity to stroll along the waterfront malecón!
As a bonus, Ajijic is located about an hour from Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara. So residents have access to big-city amenities like an international airport, excellent hospitals, and more without the hassle of living in the city.
Ajijic is also just 7 miles from the neighboring town of Chapala, with 50,000 residents, that also sits on the shore of the lake. It’s not nearly as big as Guadalajara, but it offers additional shopping options and medical amenities if those in Ajijic don’t suffice.
Ajijic is a very walkable town with beautiful street art, charming cobblestone streets, and plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops to enjoy. Thanks to the fantastic climate, residents enjoy outdoor activities like golf, gardening, and hiking all year long.
If you’re thinking about retiring in Ajijic, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the climate, cost of living, and lifestyle in Ajijic, Mexico.
Let’s Get Started!
Climate and Weather in Ajijic
Ajijic is renowned for its great weather, and it boasts a spring-like climate all year round. The hottest months of the year are April, May, and June, when the highs hover in the high 80s.
During the coolest months of the year, December and January, the average highs are comfortably within the mid-70s. Lows can dip into the mid-40s during these months, though, so a space heater or a cozy blanket may be in order.
Ajijic’s wet season lasts from June through October, with July being the wettest month. However, the average precipitation in July is just 166 mm for the whole month, an average of 5mm per day, which is pretty minor compared to many other parts of the country.
If you’re looking for a warm, moderate climate, Ajijic definitely fits the bill!
How Many Expats Live in Ajijic?
Ajijic has a population of approximately 11,500 residents, and it’s estimated that between 20 and 40% of the residents are expats. This town is a popular snowbird destination, so the expat community expands during the winter months.
Since the expat community in Ajijic is so well established, you’ll have no problem connecting with others who share your experience. There are many social groups, volunteer opportunities, and even Spanish conversation groups you can join to help you make friends and integrate into the community.
Historically, Ajijic has had a reputation as a destination for people over 70, but that demographic is changing! And according to a long-term resident, Ajijic is home to expats of all ages! And naturally, you can expect that when the demographics change so will the town. You can expect more and more activities and infrastructure to be available for kids, and more nightlife to start making a wave through this once sleepy town.
Cost of Living in Ajijic, Mexico?
The cost of living in Ajijic can be higher than in many other popular expat destinations in Mexico, including the neighboring city of Chapala. However, your overall expenses are still likely to be much lower than what you’re accustomed to back home.
As in any other city in Mexico, your average costs will vary depending on your lifestyle. The more you embrace a Mexican style of living by residing in a local neighborhood, cooking with local Mexican ingredients, and even learning to grocery shop like a local, the lower your cost of living will be.
Here’s a breakdown of what your basic living expenses will cost in Ajijic.
Because Ajijic is such a small town and happens to be very popular among expats and snowbirds, rentals can be hard to find at certain times of the year. For the best chance of finding a rental at a competitive price, visit during the low season (March through October).
Here’s what you can expect to pay for a rental in Ajijic:
- 2 bed, 2 bath house – $20,000 MXN or $1,000 USD/month
- 2 bedroom apartment near the city center – $17,500 MXN or $900 USD/month
- 1 Bed 1 Bath Casita- $17,000 MXN or about $640 USD /month
If you’re looking for a long-term rental (as opposed to a seasonal one), consider working with a local rental agent who can help you find the best option for your budget and lifestyle. There are many reputable suggestions within the Mexico Relocation Guide.
- Water – $300 MXN or $15 USD
- Gas – $300 MXN or $15 USD
- Electricity – $300 MXN or $15 USD
- Cell Phone – $400 MXN or $20 USD for a data plan for one person
- Internet – $500 MXN or $25 USD
Ajijic’s spring-like climate means that you won’t need to rely on an air conditioning unit during the summer as you might in many other Mexican cities. In fact, many homes don’t even have them! This means your electricity expenses will be lower than in cities that experience wide temperature fluctuations.
There is no shortage of excellent restaurants and cafes in Ajijic, and there are options to suit every budget. Here is an idea of what it costs to eat out around town.
- Mid-range restaurant, 3-course dinner for two – $600 MXN or $30 USD
- Budget meal for two – $300 MXN or $15 USD
- Latte at a local coffee shop – $68 MXN or $3.50 USD
- Pint of domestic beer – $30 MXN or $1.50 USD
Ajijic is home to a few small supermarkets and many abarrotes stores (independent corner stores) that sell everything you need to get by. There is a Walmart just outside of town where you can stock up on grocery and household items, including your favorite imported products.
You will also find plenty of independent shops, such as panaderías, tortillerías, and butchers, where you can purchase select items from local vendors. There are also many street markets (tianguis) where you can pick up fresh food items. There are different markets almost every day of the week!
The Lake Chapala Farmer’s Market is a great place to pick up niche items from independent vendors as well. You will find everything from German sausages and homemade peanut butter to fruits and vegetables.
If you prefer to buy products in bulk, make the 1-hour trek into Guadalajara to stock up at Costco or Soriana. Some residents opt to purchase products on Amazon Mexico to avoid the hassle of leaving town!
Overall, the cost of groceries in Ajijic is very affordable. Expect to spend about $350 per month on groceries for two people. That number might be slightly higher if you purchase many imported food items.
Ajijic is very walkable, with charming cobblestone streets and lots of street art to enjoy as you stroll. You can use buses or taxis to get around to destinations outside of walking distance.
Here’s an idea of what the different transportation options will cost:
- Local bus fare: Approximately $8 MXN or $0.40 USD each way
- Bus to Chapala: Approximately $12 MXN or $0.61 USD each way
- Bus to Guadalajara: Approximately $60 MXN or $3 USD each way
- Taxi: About $50 – $90 MXN or $2.55 to $4.60 USD, depending on the distance
You certainly don’t need a vehicle to live in Ajijic, though many expats like to keep a car to facilitate shopping trips or explore other parts of Mexico.
Lifestyle and Culture in Ajijic
The established expat community is one of the reasons so many people are inclined to retire in Ajijic. The Lake Chapala Society is a bit part of this. It is an organization run by expats and locals within Ajijic that aims to help new residents integrate and become involved in the local community.
They run programs, workshops, and meetups to help expats learn about every aspect of life in Mexico. You can learn to cook Mexican food, how to open a bank account in Mexico, practice your Spanish skills, and so much more. They even run bus trips to Costco and Home Depot in Guadalajara to facilitate shopping! The Lake Chapala Society also has a fantastic facility which includes a library, pottery studio, extensive gardens, and more.
Ajijic’s wonderful climate makes it easy to spend time outdoors. Many residents enjoy activities like golf, hiking, or outdoor fitness classes. There are exercise classes for things like yoga and aquafit available around town.
Gardening is also a popular pastime for many residents. Ajijic’s climate is conducive to growing a wide variety of different plants, including fruits and vegetables!
To give you a better idea of what it’s like living in Ajijic, check out my interviews with long-term residents:
- Sheree has lived in Ajijic for over 10 years
- Pat and Russ retired in Ajijic over 10 years ago
- Annette and her husband retired early to Ajijic
Ultimately, Ajijic is a wonderful place to retire in Mexico, especially for those who appreciate the support system of an established expat community. Two people can live comfortably in Ajijic on a budget of $1,800 to $2,000 per month.
Preparing for your move to Mexico
If you’re ready to take the next step in planning your move to Ajijic, consider joining one of our private relocation tours led by a local expert. Tours are fully customizable based on your interests and can last 1 to 3 days. This is the perfect opportunity to check out the city and ask your guide any questions you have about what it’s like to live there full-time. Click here to learn more!
In the meantime, I’ve created several other resources to assist you with your move to Mexico.
- To learn more about the Mexico residency process, check out my Complete Residency Guide.
- For information on the financial solvency requirements at different Mexican consulates throughout North America, click here.
- Click here to purchase the Mexico Relocation Guide, a step-by-step plan teaching you how to move to Mexico the right way. That also includes a complete directory of trusted contacts throughout the country. These include immigration experts, real estate companies, health insurance companies, pet transport, and more.