Cost of Living in Chapala, Mexico
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Our readers have written to us asking how much it costs to live in Chapala, Mexico. While much depends on your particular style of living, your housing needs and how you dine out or entertain yourself and your friends, below is a sample list of commonly purchased items to give you an idea of the money it takes to live in this charming town. This list is by no means exhaustive.
At the time this list was published, the Peso was trading at 18.92 = $1 USD. You can use the above conversion site to see today's rate.
Most ExPats choose to have their own car for their transport needs, however, Chapala is an easy town in which to be car free. Local buses run every few minutes on a daily basis.
Airport taxi to Chapala 450 Pesos, Chapala to airport 400 Pesos
Chapala taxi to "new bus station" 500 Pesos
Bus from bus station to Soriana's 3 Pesos
Taxi from Chapala to Plaza Maskaras 50 Pesos
Taxi from Chapala to Ajijic, 80 Pesos, from Chapala to Chula Vista, 60 Pesos
First class bus ticket to Guadalajara 58 Pesos
Bus from Chapala to Ajijic, 8-9 Pesos
4 days 3 nights bus tour to Patzcuaro, Morelia & Uruapan 6,500 Pesos
6 days 5 nights bus tour to Puebla 14,000 Pesos
Sunsets on Lake Chapala are popular with Everyone
Housing is a large expense for anyone in any location. Depending on your needs and if you live alone or have a roommate, housing prices can run the gamut. Prices in Ajijic are considerably higher, and San Antonio is about comparable to Chapala. Maid service in Ajijic is substantially higher than in Chapala. You may also need to pay for bus fare for the maid to come to your home.
Rent - small apartment in Chapala, 6,000 Pesos/month from a local. Some medium sized upscale apartments can run 9,000 Pesos+. Small apartment through another Gringo, can run 9,000 Pesos to 13,000 Pesos. If you go through a real estate agent to rent a place, most likely your price will be listed in Dollars and it will be these higher prices. Try to rent from a local Mexican and pay your rent in Pesos.
Some Mexicans want to rent to you in USD. We say make the most of their cultural inclination to bargain. Most Mexicans simply want the income without the bother, so if you are proactive (paying rent in advance to get a discount, offer to pay for some improvement or purchase something for the house or apartment in exchange for less rent, etc.) they will get the sense of partnership and will want to work with you. We know people who have repainted their places, put in extensive gardens and such, and the Mexican landlords were so happy, they took the amount of improvement off the rent.
Check to be sure what your rent includes: Utilities? Cable TV? Internet? Also ask them to recommend a maid or gardener to you.
Cell phone through TelCel, 200 Pesos, unlimited text and phone calls to the States and Canada, for 30 days.
Laundry 19 Pesos per Kilo pressed and folded
Maid Service 3-4 hours once per week approximately 80-100 Pesos for the time period
Pantene 400ml & conditioner 200ml 65 Pesos for package of both
Simple bath towels for bathroom 119 Pesos, Kitchen towel 40 Pesos each
Large bottle of Vaseline Intensive care body cream 48 Pesos, Toothpaste, sensitive, .75ml 46 Pesos, Head and Shoulders shampoo 58 Pesos
Dust bin 12 Pesos
Two hours of computer repair work, 500 Pesos
You can spend as little or as much as you like to entertain yourself here. Chapala has excellent weather, so walking around taking part in local activities provides a good deal of fun for free. There always seems to be a fiesta, a festival or a saint's day. You can meet friends at a restaurant, or hire your maid to do the cooking for you in your home.