Author: Christian Fausto Bernal / Sierra Madre Occidental,

The state of Jalisco is located on the western-pacific mainland of Mexico.  It is mountainous with the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range lending to the array of various and separate ecosystems.

Jalisco is considered one of the most important states in Mexico because of its natural resources.  Its diverse terrain offers forests, beaches, plains and lakes.  Its biodiversity is due to the transition area of the temperate north and the tropical south in which Jalisco is swept between.  This is also one of the most desirable states in which to retire with expats of the United States and Canada, and more recently, foreign investors. The following areas of Jalisco are featured because they offer the retiring baby-boomer some of the most developed areas for what expats seek socially, culturally and recreationally.


The capital city of Jalisco is Guadalajara.  And what a city it is!  Guadalajara is bustling with the old and the new, from the rich historic downtown to the soaring hi-rise architecture, blending history together.  Eclectic Guadalajara is the second most densely populated cities in all of Mexico.

Information technology is one of the largest contributors to the economy.  The other is manufacturing, the more traditional spur in the economy.

In 2007 Guadalajara was named second most economically promising among states listed in North America.   And, Guadalajara is considered the third most business friendly because of the large percentage of young population, low unemployment and recent foreign investment.  The city is host to many conventions and expos, and most recently, the Pan American Games 2011.

Guadalajara is loaded with the arts; culture, fine art, fantastic museums and a melting pot of nationalities.   If you’re looking for an exciting city atmosphere you’ll find it in Guadalajara.

If a slower pace is your desire, then there is always the convenience of nearby living in the more suburban areas of Lake Chapala and Ajijic.


Photo:  Francisco Javier Espinoza Perez / Lake Chapala

The largest retirement population from the United States and Canada is centered in Jalisco’s Lake Chapala and neighboring Ajijic for those who want a more colonial lifestyle.  With close proximity to Guadalajara, Lake Chapala is the largest lake in Mexico.  Ajijic, which is on the northern part of the lake, is surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful mountains, with lush green cascades of vegetation.  The climate in Lake Chapala, Ajijic is temperate all year round, making this one of the most desirable retirement locations in Mexico.  In fact, there is such a large expat community, that they have formed the Lake Chapala Society, specifically catering to the needs of the expat newcomer.  For bicycle enthusiasts, the cyclopista runs between Chapala and Ajijic, then onward toward Jocotopec, providing many miles of paved surface and a lot to explore along the way.

Video by www.lostandfoundinmexico.com


In Ajijic, the sun is warm all year round due to its tropical latitude, yet because of the altitude, never too hot or humid.
                    Ajijic photo by Steven Miller

Ajijic is a fabulous community of indigenous people coexisting with the growing population of expats. It is more colonial and rustic with cobblestone roads to remind you of the old Mexico. Ajijic has a moderate cost of living, is lovely and it’s short distance to the big city of Guadalajara (35 miles).

There are English speaking organizations specifically designed to assist and introduce newcomers and long term residents to the area and its culture. These organizations also provide a great roster of organized social activity. Each organization is available for easing the transition for people arriving in Ajijic from all over the world. If you like quaint, village type living, you’ll really find Ajijic one of the best places to retire in Mexico.


                   Photo:  Puerta Vallarta Residences along the Pacific

Puerta Vallarta is a resort city situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahia de Banderas.  Bahia de Banderas is a bay and a municipality.  This bay is the largest of its kind in Mexico.  Puerta Vallarta is considered a tourist destination located in the bay.

Although Puerta Vallarta is considered a tourist destination, it maintains a small town atmosphere and many of the inhabitants are retired baby-boomers who live the “good life” cohesively among the strips of hotels, restaurants and local entertainment establishments.

The history of Puerta Vallarta makes it one of the more interesting of the tourist towns in Mexico.  It was a thriving village dependent on mining of the Sierra long before it became a thriving tourist destination.
The weather, scenery, tropical beaches and rich cultural history make Puerta Vallarta one of the most sought after places to visit and possibly put down roots.

Although Puerta Vallarta continues to have strong economic sectors in agriculture, industry and commercial business, 50% of its employment is in the tourism business, i.e., hotels, restaurants, transportation and personal services.

In 1993, the land ownership law was amended and allowed fee simple ownership.  This was the beginning of the migration of expats into Puerta Vallarta for investing in property ownership for permanent or vacation residency.


  1. You will find excellent health care in the state of Jalisco with Gudalajara featuring bi-lingual hospital staff.
  2. Outlying areas of Lake Chapala, Ajijic and Puerta Vallarta also offer health care clinics for less serious medical attention.
  3. Many Mexican icons originated in Jalisco, like the sombrero, rodeo, Mexican hat dance and mariachi music.
  4. Jalisco is only slightly smaller than the U.S. state of South Carolina.
  5. The lagoons of San Marcos, Cajititlán, Atotonilco, Zacoalco, and Sayula are also found in Jalisco.
  6. In 2004, Jalisco’s economy ranked third among the Mexican states.
  7. You can find a wealth of information about Lake Chapala by visiting: www.lakechapalasociety.org