Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Month in Mexico - Expatriate Refuge

Imagine a 25-mile wide lake dominating the landscape like an inland sea with quaint Mexican villages clustering on its shores and velvety green mountains circling it all in an embrace.  Add an almost-perfect climate, where air conditioning and heating are unnecessary, and a low cost of living, and you can see why the Lake Chapala area is one of the most popular retirement destinations
in the world.
                 One of the LCS Pools
Still, as welcoming as the geography, climate and people are, expatriates crave the amenities they left behind.  The Lake Chapala Society, known locally as LCS, is here to answer that need.

Founded in 1955 by Neill James, an adventurous woman who circled the globe before eventually settling on an estate bordering Lake Chapala's shore, the Society has three goals.  "To help the local Mexican community, especially in education; to assist expatriates...to adjust to living in Mexico; and to provide recreational, social health and educational services primarily for expatriates."

Neill James's former hacienda provides a beautiful garden setting for a variety of activities such as Spanish classes, lectures, and discussion groups. Information regarding Mexican immigration rules, driving regulations, and health insurance is available, too. 

The Society also helps keep you healthy with skin cancer screening, blood pressure checks, and hearing and eye exams.  
One of the LCS garden paths.  Photo above left is the gazebo where discussion groups meet.  Photo above right is the entrance to the art classes building.

If you need entertainment,  a 28,000 volume English lending library plus a video rental library keep you happy.  
              LCS video lending library
And, if you simply want to connect with other expats and enjoy a cup of coffee, there's a snack bar to fill the bill.

Practicalities -

Click here for the Lake Chapala Society website.  

A range of dues, from an annual membership to a one-month associate membership, is available at reasonable cost.  

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