Friday, October 9, 2015


A TUS ORDENES...My pleasure to serve you, I am all yours! Notaria Publica in Ajijic, municipio de Chapala, Jalisco was done on 12/30/09 by attorney Luis Enrique Ramos Bustillos for a fee of $200.00 USD. Senor Bustillos opened his office especially to notarize my Power of Attorney required for an absentee owner to close my real estate transaction. Senor Bustillos can be contacted toll free at 713-429-4719. Email: The state of Jalisco offer's an annual discount on preparing a Mexican will in September for a fee of $100 USD. Kristina Morgan from FOM welcomed me into Jalisco by immersing me into the warmth of her family on Christmas day. My dream has always been to have a view of mountains and access to a lake with mild temps that include a season of cool breezes that lead me to cuddle by a fire. My focus on Mexico, has brought me peace knowing that where I shall retire will be among such beautiful people. Like minded, and interesting folks from around the globe share my enthusiasm for Lake Chapala. Gracia-Alicia Bake will move into her new casa in Ajijic from Toronto in February 2010. Grace worked in Mexico City as a journalist who once interviewed Juan Carlos, the future King of Spain in 1967. Her daughter Michelle works in radio in Toronto and will marry her soul mate Chris Murphy in May at the church in Ajijic. Grace, Michelle and I created a NEW BEGINNING together singing Feliz Anyo Nueva while dancing with the best Mariachi band in all of Lake Chapala. Knowing that Chapala is my final nesting destination is like finding a pot of gold at the rainbow's end! With a forest nearby and a daily spin about the lake, living within a culture of people who are where they want to be, I will enjoy being active in LOVE IN ACTION. An orphnage where 60 kids aged birth to 17 are loved and taught English, dance, painting, arts, crafts. Boys in their teens go to Hope House in Ixtlahuacan where Kristina's family lives. Another special group home called Villa Infantil de Nuestra Senorea de Guadalupe y San Jose is located on the south shore within the boundaries of Jocotepec. Madre Maria de Jesus Mendez is the woman who heads up this facility with a purpose of building faith, hope and love in the children of Lake Chapala. In a relaxed village, with good friends enjoying pot lucks at LA CASA DE LA LUZ -- I will help others while enjoying maids, gardeners, and a host of delightful local Mavericks! Don and Linda Wright wait to serve you out of their office located directly next to Wal-Mart as you enter town. With a team you can trust, the Hernandez Realty Group also provides property management services. Contact Don and Linda toll free at 877-807-4934. Regardless of my immigration status, I now have title to a beautiful casa, and beginning in 2011, I will invite family and friends to visit. I took this photo of a small corner shop in San Antonio. Larger grocery stores exist in most lakeside towns with a full sized Soriana supermarket in Chapala. Fresh vegetables can be purchased at a lower cost at the street market every Wednesday in Ajijic at the corner of Constitucion and Revolution. Monday in Chapala, and Thursday in Jocotepec. Guadalajara has very large food stores such as Sam's, Costco, Wal-Mart and many large Mexican chain supermarkets. SOCIAL ACTIVITIES - There are daily luncheons, cocktail parties and fiestas in private homes attuned to a Jimmy Buffet, Tall Boys, SALSA y RAGGAE beat. LIFE in MEXICO, just hours to any number of white sandy beaches including a secret jungle beach that I visited on February 14th 2007! Cathy Roberts and I will revisit this sacred Shangri-La together in my retired future! BEACHES - From Guadalajara, a 4 hour drive in a luxury ETN bus to PV or Manzanillo. TRAVEL link click ETN. It is a 10 hour drive to Mazatlán or many other smaller beaches. RESTAURANTS: Lakeside eateries range from fine restaurants to cozy small sidewalk cafes. Nice dinners are about $10-15 US and up. My favorites in Ajijic is Ninette, Number Four (jazz piano) located on Donato Guerra near the lake side grace of La Nueva Posada for the best steak! Los Telares in the center of Ajijic on Morelos offers a fantastic all you can eat buffet that I enjoyed with a group of lively expats on Wednesday. Only $6.00 USD! ENTERTAINMENT - Salsa dance lessons are each Wed in Ajijic near the weekly market at La Bodega. There is good live music most nights of the week: music from 40's and 50's, rock 'n roll, karaoke, jazz, country, and dancing. Also at Lakeside there is a three-screen movie theater showing the latest popular movies; usually 2 of the 3 movies are in English. In Guadalajara there are state and city bands and orchestras, choral groups, ballet and theater groups, sports stadiums, as well as movie theaters. Lake Chapala also is the home of the famous Tall Boys and PsychQstasia. Top-flight local music and dance groups can be booked for your private parties. Click on any photo in any post to enlarge.Pictured here is Kristina Morgan, her husband Joel of the Tall Boys (youtube) and her brother David of Psychqstasia (youtube)and her best friend Tyler who house sits. Check links on the LEFT and enjoy your visit to LAKE CHAPALA.


  1. MEXICAN DRIVERS LICENSE: Tramites (paperwork) keep your passport with you always, a copy of FM3, and apply for drivers license. Bien educado means be prepared for delays and frustrations. Dress properly to go to government office. Carry a COMPROBANTE (paid water bill, electric or phone bill) with your name on it when applying for drivers license. Departamento de Transito will issue a Mexican drivers license without a test to those who maintain current USA license. NEED: Original USA drivers license; picture page of FM3; a copy of water bill with your name on it. NEED: "infantil" size photo in black and white or color for application form. NEED: Blood test from local LABORATORIO at a cost of $5.00 USA. You will receive your license the same day with a photo, your thubprint, blood type at a cost of $45.00. The license is good for 3 years. If you let your license lapse, you must take a SPANISH WRITTEN test.

    DRIVING DISTANCES FROM GUADALAJARA - Pacific Coast Cities are about 4 hours west, San Miguel de Allende about 5 hours east, Mexico City 7 hours east, Tijuana 1,700 miles, Laredo 12 hours. Guad is only 45 minutes from Ajijic.

    BANKS - Banca Santander-Serfin, Banamex, Bital, and Bancomer at Lakeside are full service banks. Chapala has four banks, Ajijic one, and Jocotepec one. Non-banks offering financial services include investment firms such as Lloyd (Chapala and Ajijic) and Multivalores (Ajijic) where you can exchange and cash travelers checks. ATM'S - All banks have ATM's with inter-bank service. A few lakeside places have ATMS: Farmacia Guadalajara in Ajijic and Superlake Grocery in San Antonio, and the airport in GUAD has ATM's. In Mexico your ATM PIN must be four digits and numeric.

    EXCHANGE RATE - Currently about 11 Pesos to the US dollar. (January 2009) EXCHANGING MONEY - US cash is easiest to exchange to pesos. Passport is needed to cash travelers checks. Foreign personal checks are very difficult to cash, even if you have a Mexican bank account. Credit cards are not accepted in most places.

    FMT (Tourist): These documents are issued for up to six months and can only be renewed by exiting and re-entering Mexico and securing more documentation. The w004 fee is $210 pesos or $2o USD each visit. Application for FMT is done at points of Mexico entry. Extensions can be granted for a total stay of up to 6 months, but only if the FMT granted upon entry is valid for less than 6 months. No working privileges.

    FM-3 (Visitante Rentista): This is a five year period for foreigners to live in Mexico, drive their foreign plated car, have multiple entry privileges, and have a one time duty free import of a household shipment of personal effects. Annually you must apply for an FM-3 renewal. The FM-3 status is the stepping stone for those who want to work in Mexico. And for some it's the natural prelude to applying for FM-2 status (see below), after holding an FM-3 for 5 years. Cost for FM-3 is $1431 pesos or $145 USD initially and then $1038 pesos or $110 USD for annual renewal per person. Documentation of minimum income is required and must be provided at time of application. By owning a residence in Mexico the income requirement is significantly reduced. Note that fees and income requirements are subject to annual change. There is no minimum age requirement for an FM-3. Can be applied for within Mexico or at Mexican consulate abroad nearest your residence.

    FM-2 (Inmigrante): The requirements for the FM-2 are the same as the FM-3, except that the income requirements are significantly higher and you cannot leave the country more than 18 months total over the 5 year period. The advantage of having an FM-2 over an FM-3 is that at the end of the five year period one can apply for Inmigrado status. As with the FM-3 status, one can apply for a work permit with an FM-2. Cost for FM-2 is $2783 pesos initially and then $2247 pesos renewal per person per year - 2004 prices, without work permit. Note that fees and income requirements are subject to annual change. Typically one applies for FM-2 status after having an FM-3 for 5 years.

    INMIGRADO: Applied for after holding an FM-2 for 5 years. There are no annual fees or paperwork. You may not drive your foreign plated car in Mexico. One can go into most businesses open to a Mexican national or work as an employee without applying for permits for foreigners. There is no minimum age requirement for Inmigrado status. Can be applied for only within Mexico. Note that Inmigrado status can be ideal for "younger" full time residents; there can be significant monetary savings (compared to having FM-3 status for many years) in the long run because there are no annual fees to pay, and there are no annual paperwork or income requirements.

  3. SECURITY - Crime is minimal. Several housing areas have roving security and gated entrances. Villages are relatively safe as neighbors watch out for each other. Most houses are walled and fenced with lawns inside where it is more private, have wrought iron grillwork on windows and doors. This security deters break-ins.

    PLUMBING - All the modern conveniences - indoor plumbing. Common enhancements are water purification and pressure systems. Some subdivisions have community water purification but this is the exception. Many people drink bottled water delivered to the home at very reasonable cost.

    HEATING AND COOLING - Usually not cold enough to warrant additional heating. Some use supplemental heat on a few "winter" days: fireplaces, or small gas or electric heaters. Not hot enough for air conditioning although fans are widely used for the warm dry time of mid-April to mid-June. But air conditioners are available for purchase in Guadalajara.

    UTILITIES - Electric approximately $40 US monthly. Gas approximately $20 monthly. Telephone about $18 US per month for basic service. Long distance telephone calls without a callback service are expensive by US standards. With a callback service, calls to the USA are about 20-30 cents per minute.

  4. FURNISHINGS - Many residences for sale or rent come fully or partly furnished. Economical rustico (functional heavy pine) and lightweight equipale (wood lattice covered with leather) furniture of all sorts are manufactured locally at Lakeside and can be custom made or shop in Guadalajara - with much of the styling comparable to in the USA. The same is true for appliances; some at Lakeside with more choice in Guadalajara. Resale shops at Lakeside have a wide variety of all kinds of used merchandise for the home - big and small, elegant or basic. There are a few upscale import furniture stores scattered around Lakeside and in Guadalajara.

    BEDS - Mexican beds are mattresses on a wooden or concrete platform. This arrangement is comfortable as long as a better quality mattress is used and these are readily available locally. Box springs are of limited availability locally. The Mexican double bed (matrimonial) is smaller than an American double. Queen beds and bedding are available but king size is much more popular. King size is very popular and often a single king mattress rests on two side-by side twin platforms.

    WASHER, DRYER, DETERGENT - Most homes have modern washers and dryers as well as a “Mexican washing machine” which is a rinse tub and scrub surface. Some homes do not have dryers. Detergent of all makes are available in the stores.

    MAIDS AND GARDENERS - Cost about $2-3 US an hour. They work from 1 day a week for four hours to six days a week for eight hours each day. Live in maids are also available. Maids here do wonderful cleaning, washing, ironing, cooking, and more.

    SOAKING PRODUCE - Anything cooked is fine. Raw vegetables and fruits that you peel are fine. Produce such as lettuce and tomatoes should be soaked for 20 minutes in a gallon of water mixed with readily available disinfectant liquid.

    DRINKING WATER - Unless the neighborhood or home has a purification system, drink bottled water which is about $1.20 US per 5 gallon bottle delivered to the home. Smaller bottles of drinking water are available all over from the smallest corner stores. Any ice purchased in bags is made from purified water. Restaurants serve purified water and ice made from purified water.

    COMPUTERS - Bring your computer - laptops are easier to "casually" import than desktops. There are computers sales here at lakeside, as well as repair service, Internet access, clubs.

  5. MEDICAL - Numerous private English speaking doctors, dentists, optometrists in the area. A good clinic is located in Ajijic, another in Riberas del Pilar with specialists coming from Guadalajara every week: urologist, cardiologist, dermatologist, endocrinologist among others. The Red Cross in Chapala is available for 24 emergency care in the clinic - ambulances also there on call for any kind of emergency. Guadalajara has many modern hospitals for all types of care. Dentists are up to date, and are generally much less expensive than in the U.S.

    US MEDICARE - The United States government does not honor Medicare in Mexico.

    PRIVATE MED INSURANCE - Many US ins companies/policies are honored in Mexico.

    IMSS (MEXICAN MEDICAL) - Many foreign residents of Mexico are not aware that the Social Security System of Mexico (IMSS) medical coverage is available to all. Guadalajara's IMSS hospitals are well equipped with many staff doctors known for their practices in private hospitals. All residents of Mexico are eligible without exception, other than those who suffer from chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease. Requirements for proof of birth date, nationality, etc. can be satisfied with a current passport. Doctors at the clinic can conduct the necessary examination and determine eligibility. Age is not a consideration. Upon acceptance, cost is per person per year and according to age: as much as 2568 pesos for age 60+ to as low as 977 pesos for age 19 and under (these rates are for March 2004). The cost is subject to change from year to year.

    PHARMACIES - There are many small pharmacies at Lake Chapala. The larger Farmacia Guadalajara on the Carretera in Ajijic is well stocked, open 24/7 and also has food, a "swiper" ATM, and photo development. Except for controlled substances, all drugs are available over the counter in Mexico without a prescription. Some drugs are cheaper in Mexico. Newer drugs might be unavailable or more expensive than in the USA. There are also several drugstores selling cheaper generic drugs.

    AIR TRAVEL - Guadalajara International Airport is a 30-45 minute drive from Lakeside, all rural and village driving mostly on a four lane highway. There is very reasonable short term parking right at the terminal. Good taxi service is always available. There is no bus service from the terminal. Many non-stop flights to USA and Mexican destinations. There is an international class hotel at one end of the terminal, an easy walk.

    BUS SERVICE - Mexico has excellent bus service from regular local runs on the main highway to the first-class Mercedes buses with television and bathrooms for touring. TAXIS - Operate from stands in plazas of main villages such as Ajijic and Chapala. Taxis also can be called by telephone. TRAINS - Almost no passenger train service is left in Mexico. An exception is a tour from Guadalajara to Tequila.