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Cost of Living Analysis - Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico

An analysis of living expenses in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala area


People say you can expect twice the lifestyle in Mexico for half of the price. Let's look at the numbers...


We are all aware that Florida has become the hot zone for American and Canadian retirees, but many boomers now believe they have found an even better, less-expensive option. Ajijic (pronounced Ah-Hee-Heek) is one of the better-known towns that has sprung up on the shores of the serene Lake Chapala and at the top of many "best places to retire" lists. In this article, we are going to compare the cost of living in North American cities with what it costs to live in the Lake Chapala area. 

Ajijic lies between the Sierra Madre Mountains and Lake Chapala,

treating you to a gorgeous daily view, without extreme weather,

but the major attraction of the area, however, is its cost. Mexico

is a less expensive country to live in than the United States or

Canada and you are going to see substantial savings in carrying

costs when it comes to property taxes, heating and air

conditioning bills, utilities, cell phone and cable bills and

health care.

Property taxes are a fraction of the cost compared to the US or

Canada, taxes amount to somewhere between $150 and $250

per year or 0.275% to 1.350% depending on where you live. I

know that number doesn’t sound real, but it is - and that is

perhaps one of the most valuable reasons to retire to Mexico.

We pay $10 per month for our cell phone packages which provide unlimited calls to Canada, US and Mexico with 3 Gb of data. You won't need central air or heating as the weather is so mild. You can get a full dinner at a restaurant for $6, you can get your haircut for $4, and you can hire landscapers for $3 per hour. Grocery items are much, much cheaper in Mexico than in the States, with a pound of chicken costing no more than $4, a dozen eggs costing under $2, 2 pounds of potatoes costing $1, and a high-quality bottle of wine costing around $10. 


Tip: Keep your money in US or Canadian funds as they hold their value at a much higher rate.

This chart shows us that the Mexican Pesos is only worth half of what it was 10 years ago. 


Doctor’s visits are also going to be a lot cheaper in Mexico, with a short visit to a private physician costing no more than $40, without insurance. Movie tickets, coffee, beer, and toiletries are all just a few dollars. 


The cost of purchasing a home in Ajijic or the neighbouring villages varies dramatically. The residence of the area are quite eclectic and so are the homes. Prices vary greatly depending on location, view etc. You can sometimes find a very basic condo for as little as $100,000 USD  gorgeous estates for over a million dollars or more. The average home is going to be around $250,000 USD. Now, if being directly in the village isn’t as important to you, the cost of purchasing a home close to, but outside, of the villages, can be less expensive. ​​

And if all you want is an apartment or a condo, you can purchase a comfortably sized one for around, or under, $100,000. Utilities for either option will be around $160 per month.  

It is important to remember that these numbers are generic averages. Your own specific cost of living will depend entirely on the lifestyle you choose to lead; one of extravagance is going to be a lot more expensive than one of more average comfort. But in Ajijic, the concept of extravagance is much more accessible; money can be stretched a lot further in Mexico. 

Just to provide a point of comparison, let’s look at Florida, one of the most popular retiree hotspots in the states. 

There are tons of beach-side cities that have sprung up all across the state, most with populations of around 70,000, which is approximately the population of Ajijic and Chapala combined. 


The biggest attraction of Florida cities are their beaches, which attracts tourists, and locals around the clock. 

Most of Florida can boast high temperatures virtually all the time, with ranges, in the summer of consistent high 90s, which falls, in the peak of winter, to low 60s. It’s a hot, humid, sticky place, with a constantly immense crowd of tourists. 

In terms of cost of living in Florida, the average home costs close to $400,000 to purchase, with utilities costing several hundred a month. Doctors visits, like in most places in the United States, are incredibly expensive, with a short visit costing at least a hundred dollars, and any antibiotics or medication costing, at a minimum, several hundred dollars. Not to mention there is no need for hurricane insurance in Ajijic. 

In Florida, lunch at a restaurant is going to be at least $13-15. Haircuts will cost somewhere between $15 and $20, a dozen eggs will be around $4, two movie tickets will be around $30, the cost of a landscaper will be between $45 and $75, and the cost of a dinner for two will probably be somewhere between $40 and $60. 

Lake Chapala is a beautiful location, and the perfect destination for retirement. It is rich in culture, surrounded by gorgeous views, and rests in a charming part of nature, between the mountains and the lake, making the weather more than ideal for anyone who can stand neither extreme heat nor extreme cold. And you can live in this picturesque paradise for so much less than it costs to live anywhere else in North America.

Bottom line, Ajijic offers a better lifestyle for a lot less money.

Article by:


Conner Collins

Director of Sales at Collins Real Estate

20 year resident and trusted realtor in the Lake Chapala area.​​

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