Friday, June 3, 2016

Retirement in San Miguel de Allende? Maybe Jocotepec on Lake Chapala?

Evaluating Two More of Our Favorite Cities in Mexico

La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel in the Background
 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
     For years we traveled around Mexico and never imagined we would consider retiring in San Miguel de Allende. We had the mistaken belief that it had been overrun by foreigners, that the charm of the once small town had been ruined. Some even liken it to Disneyland, just another tourist attraction, painted and enhanced until it is picture-perfect. We wanted to live in real Mexico.
     Then, we visited San Miguel de Allende and fell in love with it like so many North Americans have. Though the town has grown since Tony Cohan described it in his book, “On Mexican Time”, published in 2000, the Spanish colonial architecture of the central town has been well-preserved. The majestic cathedrals, the attractive, colorful centuries-old homes and hotels along narrow cobblestone roads, the beautifully landscaped parks, and the lively festivals are just a few of the things that make this city special. 
     We began to envision ourselves living in San Miguel de Allende. No one was more surprised than we were that we would even think about living in this tourist town. We started listing our “Pros and Cons” of moving to this amazingly gorgeous city.

Here are some of the things we like about San Miguel de Allende:
1.      We are drawn to the Spanish colonial architecture. We could spend hours each day walking down cobblestone roads exploring the town, fascinated with the old world beauty. This city is even more beautiful than Old Town Mazatlán, another of our favorite historic areas in Mexico.
2. Plenty of great restaurants.... To Read more, click on this link: 
Retirement Before the Age of 59: Retirement in San Miguel de Allende? Maybe Jocotepec on Lake Chapala?

Jocotepec, Jalisco on Lake Chapala
Pretty Zócalo in Jocotepec

     Jocotepec is one of three cities along the shores of Lake Chapala that are popular retirement homes for expats from the United States and Canada. The towns of Chapala and Ajijic have a larger percentage of gringos living there than Jocotepec. We chose to stay in Jocotepec when we were living and traveling in our motorhome, simply because it was the only town on the lake with an RV Park. Roca Azul is more than just an RV Park—it is also a sports park with a wonderful swimming pool, a mineral pool, a tennis court, volleyball courts, an event center, 24 hour security, and more. With the nearly perfect weather, the view of the lake and surrounding mountains, walking trails, bird watching, close proximity to downtown, and the friendly people, we could see why there were quite a few expats from the U.S. and Canada who live at Roca Azul year around.

      Jocotepec is a very Mexican town with a pretty Zócalo, a traditional central plaza with an ornate gazebo, benches for social gatherings, and well-maintained landscaping. When we dined at one of the restaurants on the perimeter of the Zócalo, we could watch the activity at the two churches, the couples strolling through, and the children playing. We noticed a few gringos in the plaza, people watching like we were, but most of the people in this town are Mexican. This would be a place to immerse ourselves in Mexican life, learning Spanish more quickly since few residents here speak English.
     Jocotepec is an old city, founded in the year 1529. Most of the buildings in centro (the downtown area) were constructed of adobe and many have been resurfaced with stucco and paint to freshen the appearance. Some buildings have old, peeling plaster and paint, revealing the original adobe brick and mortar underneath, giving the town a somewhat worn look. Jocotepec is not a tourist town so it is less polished than San Miguel de Allende, but just as clean. It was obvious to us that the residents here take pride in their town.

Here are some of the things we like about Jocotepec:
       1.   Jocotepec is a very Mexican town, where the people are friendly and relaxed. It is a small city with a population of about 38,000, so it felt more peaceful with less hustle and bustle of a large city such as Mazatlán. We considered living at Roca Azul in our motorhome or maybe a fifth wheel with a bit more space. The property is large, overlooking Lake Chapala and the mountains, with plenty of sports activities to keep us from getting too lazy.
      2.  The mixture of people who lived at and visited Roca Azul was unique and pleasant, unlike any other place we had lived during our travels in Mexico. Our neighbors were friendly and enjoyable. The park is large and spread out with plenty of elbow room for everyone. To read more click this link: