Cost of Living in Chapala, Mexico

Can you please tell me when the prices etc. were updated in your Adventurer’s Guide to Chapala Living? I would love to buy another one if it has been updated recently.

Thank you.


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Hi Gwen,

Thank you for taking the time to write and ask us your questions.

The Chapala Guide was written in January of 2010. The link to the prices in Chapala was last updated June of 2010.

We have no book that is more recent than this one, but I do want to share a little story with you to give you some insight about the Cost of Living here at Lakeside.

Our book is about Chapala — living in Chapala, renting in Chapala, shopping in Chapala, eating in Chapala and so on.

Sometimes people who live Lakeside who live in one of the various neighborhoods outside of Chapala, own a car and don’t take public transport, have several dogs (some have as many as 8 and more), have their maids and gardeners come 3-5 times a week instead of once weekly, and — very importantly — shop in the “Gringo stores” for food will contest our figures of what it costs to live in this area.

I just recently (2 days ago) went to one of these “Gringo stores” to do some food shopping. The prices were high, the quality of produce wasn’t as good, there was a good selection of North of the Border brands of foods with the matching high prices, and all the meats and fish were cellophaned instead of having a butcher cut it to order.

To their credit, beer, wine and hard spirits were very good prices.

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Not only was I disoriented in trying to find things, there was less of a personal touch and I didn’t like the looks of the meat and fish.

I purchased some items and went to check out. My total was 550 Pesos – which, ok was only about $42 — but my 550 Pesos did not include any meat, cheese or fresh roasted chicken. Nor did it include the $7 pint of ice cream that was offered in the freezer section. I could have gotten more of what I wanted and needed, fresher, better, and with more social contact had I purchased in Chapala.

Sure it’s convenient to park one’s car and do a one stop shop and go home instead of walking place to place with bags in one’s hand. Women from North of the Border don’t generally like to do their shopping this way, and so they consistently and continuously pay more for everything. Everything. All the time.

It adds up. Prices in general for everything are higher in Ajijic than in Chapala. People say to me: “It’s only a dollar or it’s only a little bit more etc. etc.” but it makes a difference.

They eat at Gringo restaurants, shop in Gringo stores, buy Gringo brands, drive everywhere and rent from Gringos with the matching Gringo price. They pay their maids 450 Pesos or more a week (plus their gardener), every single week (which equals to about half the amount of rent we pay) and just can’t figure out why they are always over budget.

Correspondingly, they can’t figure out how Billy and I find amazingly good lamb, excellent tenderloins, outstanding local cheeses, fresh yogurt, tasty chorizo, and sweet fruits, etc. and live so well on the cheap. They spend their time trying to find parking spaces for their cars, curse the traffic, refuse to walk anywhere, won’t be seen DEAD with a day pack to carry anything, and the only Mexicans they know are their maids and gardeners.

“There’s no one to practice Spanish with” they say.

Everyone has the right to live as they wish and there are many styles available.

Cost of Living is a personal choice. Just because one lives well on less doesn’t mean they live in a lesser manner.

I hope this gives you some insight into the area, and I encourage you to feel free to write any time.


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Thank you for responding so quickly.

I stay in the Chapala area January and February,  then July and August every year. I went there originally because of your book.  I am unable to retire because of family reasons, however, my life is great – 8 months here and 4 months there works out great.

I was just curious to see if you had any new information.  I do not take a car – buses are easy and walking is great.  I am one of those carrying a bag from store to store…

Thank you for everything including saving my life.  The need to get away is big sometimes, and the Chapala area is perfect for my budget

Will appreciate you forever.


Hi Gwen,


Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words!! They are quite humbling to us and we appreciate you dearly for saying them.

Please do give yourself some credit also because you have the courage to make a change and the personal and emotional flexibility to adapt in a foreign country.

All the best to you and in every way.

Thank you for staying in touch.
Akaisha and Billy

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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