Having lived in Guadalajara Mexico I can personally tell you it is a great place to retire. The people are welcoming it is very safe with a massive police presence and it also has heaps to keep you occupied. Whether it is food, experiences or just a relaxing lifestyle it is well worth a look.
Guadalajara is the second biggest city in Mexico with a vibrant culture and welcoming people. It has cheap and good quality accommodation, food, entertainment and relaxed lifestyle. It has a large police presence which makes it safe everywhere. There are western quality hospitals and health care.
Here are some reasons you may wish to retire to Guadalajara:
- Great Weather
- Welcoming People
- Great Quality, Variety and Good Quality Food
- Western Healthcare
- Culturally Rich
- Beauty City
- International Airport
- Central Hub for Many Day Trips
- Cheap Shopping
Now let’s take a deeper look and discover if Guadalajara has everything you need to retire and live there.
Is Guadalajara A Good Place To Retire?
Temperature – 9 to 32 deg C / 48 to 90 F
Population – 1.4 million
Tourist Information – https://visitguadalajara.com/
Guadalajara is the third biggest economy in Mexico and the second biggest by population. It is considered one of the best cities for quality of life in the country. This is for the simple reason that this city has managed to host a large number of technology industries which is why it is considered the Silicon Valley of Latin America.
Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco. It has nice warm summers without getting too hot although it can feel a little hot due to it being a little dry. The winters are a nice single doona weather as well which is great for sleeping in. The gastronomy and the nightlife in Guadalajara is very vibrant. Which can start from 2pm and head into the early hours of the next day.
It is good to mention that the whole city is pet friendly so you will have no problems taking your pet to the restaurants. Sundays are a very good day to go out in Guadalajara since most of the main avenues close at a certain time to give way to recreation where you can go for a walk, ride your bike, or roller blades with your pets or friends.
You can also find recreational activities in the different parks of the city. One of them to keep in mind on Sundays is the Parque Revolucion, better known as the red park. There are also artists showing their paintings at the “Jardín Del Arte De La Glorieta Chapalita” every weekend and it is worth a look at and then having lunch while you are there.
How much does it cost to live in Guadalajara Mexico?
For some general costs on monthly living in Guadalajara you can check out the table below that includes most of the things everyone will pay.
|Rent for a 3 bed 2 Bath Flat||From $10,000 pesos ($500 usd)|
|Utilities (Electricity, Gas)||Around $300 pesos ($15 usd)|
|Internet||Around $500 pesos ($25 usd)|
|Mobile phone service package (30 days)||Around $200 pesos ($10 usd)|
|Groceries||Around $2000 pesos ($100 usd per person)|
|Dining out (2 people at mid range restaurants including food and drinks)||$180 pesos ($9 usd per person)|
|Healthcare||Around $500 pesos ($25 usd per person)|
|Transport (Uber, Bus, Train)||Around $1000 pesos ($50 usd)|
NOTE: This was right in the centre of town and assumed two people in unit living. If you are single it will be a lot cheaper for a 2 or 1 bed unit or house. Also depending on the lifestyle you want and if you don’t dine out much or need a maid. You can live way cheaper with shared accomodation starting at $200 usd per month and much more for luxury accomodation.
What Supermarkets Are In Guadalajara?
While the ability to eat out is cheap in Guadalajara you may want to make the occasional meal at home and that means going to a supermarket or grocery store. When searching on google maps look for the following phrases: mecardo, supermercado, hipermercado. The difference is the size of the store where the market (mercado) is the small local store or mini supermarket and goes up from there in size.
So here is a list of the biggest chains in Guadalajara:
TIP: While you can get your fruit and vegetables from your local market you will find on most city blocks a small fruit and veg shop that will often have just as good quality but at better prices. If you search around these local shops you will find one with a lot of local customers and a roaring trade.
Here is an example table of prices for some staples:
|Milk||1 Liter||$ 1.03 USD|
|Bread||Loaf||$ 1.86 USD|
|Eggs||12||$ 1.43 USD|
|Butter||360 grams||$ 3.67 USD|
|Beef Mince||1 kg||$ 8.05 USD|
|Chicken Breast||1 kg||$ 2.51 USD|
|Beer||6 pack||$ 1.84 USD|
|Scotch||1 Liter||$ 17.23 USD|
NOTE: these were only valid at the making of this article and check the websites above for current pricing. You can also find alcohol in all the supermarkets as well as the local corner stores like 7-eleven and the local equivalent OXXO for a very cheap price.
What Is The Food Like In Guadalajara?
Guadalajara has great gastronomic diversity, but it is its traditional cuisine that makes it very special. Something that you cannot miss is trying the famous Birria and Tortas ahogadas. Birria is a stew made in the oven, originally from marinated goat or lamb meat. Torta Ahogada is a birote (bread) stuffed with carnitas bathed “drowned” in tomato sauce of chili peppers and spices.
Here are some popular restaurants and bars you may want to try:
- Birrería las 9 Esquinas
- TOMATE Taquería
- Peter Brown Bar
- Taco Fish La Paz
- Res Pública
- Croissants Alfredo
- PATAN ALE HOUSE
- Yaca Restaurante
- Kabab Cairo comida egipcia
- Santo Coyote
TIP: Some interesting cheap local foods apart from Tacos you should check out are Carnitas and roast chickens and potatoes from the “El Pechugon”. Also, one of the best Japanese restaurants we went to many times was “Little Tokyo”.
What Types Of Transport Are In Guadalajara?
There are plenty of types of transport to get you around Guadalajara. First of all there is the Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport to get to and from the city. While there is a metro train system and bus system too with plenty of services to get you around. There are also uber and taxis as well which you will find quite cheap as well where it will only cost you less than $10 usd to get you from one side of the city to the other.
Here is the list of all the transport options available:
- International Airport
- Bicycle Paths – MiBici
- National Buses – Nueva Central Camionera
- Local Bus System
- Trolebús – Sistema de Tren Eléctrico Urbano
- Train – Tren Ligero
TIP: I recommend using Uber for convenience and safety. Many of the taxis can have very high rates and are not usually very friendly to tourists, especially if they do not speak Spanish. The great thing about Uber is you don’t need to try to explain your destination to a Spanish only speaking driver. You can also watch your progress on the map and know you are going exactly where you want to go. Always amusing when you ask local cab drivers to take you to shopping centres and you end up at their cousin’s shop in India and other places.
What To Do In Guadalajara?
Most tourists come to see the famous town of Tequila but that is not the only thing you can do. Guadalajara has a large number of churches, parks and public places that you can visit such as the Hospicio Cabañas Museum, Plaza de Armas, Mercado Libertad or San Juan de Dios, Mercado Corona, Templo Expiatorio and others.
Here is a great list of the places you should not miss:
- Guadalajara Cathedral Guadalajara
- Expiatory Temple
- Mercado Libertad – San Juan de Dios
- Mercado Corona
- Glorieta La Minerva
- Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres
- Bosque Los Colomos
- Barranca de Oblatos
- Regional Museum of Guadalajara
- Jose Cuervo Express
- Avenida Chapultepec Sur
- Arcos Vallarta
- Museum Cabañas
- Plaza de los Mariachis
- Monument to the Children Heroes
- Puente Matute Remus
- Plaza de Armas
- Plaza Tapatia
- Plaza Andares
- Parque Metropolitano
- Lake Chapala
- Barranca de Oblatos
NOTE: While there are no beaches in Guadalajara other than lake chapala that is full of water hyacinths, they have cleared an area for swimming in the main part of town. So your choices are there less than an hour drive or Puerto Vallarta which is a 5 hour drive for a weekend away. Alternatively there are pools or in Spanish piscina (now don’t laugh) in Guadalajara you can find on google maps.
What Are The Best Suburbs Of Guadalajara?
The best thing about Guadalajara is that it has a lot of suburbs or “Colonias” where you can live comfortably. Finding one that suits your lifestyle will not be a problem in this city. There are many good options that Guadalajara has to offer which I have listed below. Feel free to explore each of them. Remember that you can use the Street View of Google Maps to take a virtual tour of each of these neighborhoods.
The Providencia neighborhood is one of the exclusive, safe, and popular areas of Guadalajara. Its proximity to hospitals, clinics, shopping centers, and an excellent range of restaurants make it one of the most desired neighborhoods. Providencia has modern buildings and a laid-back lifestyle. Without a doubt one of the best options if you like golf with the Guadalajara Country Club close by. There are many golf clubs in Guadalajara and most of the good ones are on this side of town.
The American neighborhood is classified as one of the best areas of Guadalajara. It is popular due to its new buildings and proximity to the city center make it one of the most desired neighborhoods. In addition, it has a large boulevard full of restaurants, bars, cafes, and the Parque Revolución, better known as the red park. This is one of the most well known shopping and restaurant streets and with its wide boulevard where it has weekend markets and permanent police presence it is a great place to stay.
Chapalita y Ciudad del Sol
These two neighborhoods are located almost next to each other but they share the same thing, an excellent neighborhood consisting mostly of houses, proximity to shopping centers, and some good restaurants. Both Chapalita and Ciudad del Sol are the options most sought after by families due to their tranquility and proximity to the city center.
La Estancia is a quiet neighborhood very close to the Metropolitan Park and one of the most popular shopping centers in Guadalajara. This residential area has sports centers, restaurants, cafes, and a pleasant atmosphere which makes it one of the options to keep in mind when looking for properties in Guadalajara.
This neighborhood located on the outskirts of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area (ZMG) offers an incredible panoramic view of the city and is a very quiet neighborhood no more than 30 minutes by car from downtown Guadalajara. I recommend you take a walk around this great neighborhood full of tranquility.
About 60 minutes from downtown Guadalajara we have the Chapala and Ajijic neighborhoods. Both are located in front of Lake Chapala, one of the largest lakes in Mexico. They are one of the most popular locations for retirees. The tranquility and thriving art scene makes them a good option. These two neighborhoods offer a good selection of restaurants being a tourist place without being too crowded.
From the center of Guadalajara, you can take some tours that take you to Chapala and Ajijic. We recommend you take one of them or go on your own for a couple of days so that you know a little more about these colonies.
This well designed neighbourhood is popular for those that want to be central to all the western amenities. In one direction you have Walmart and Americano and on the other side you have the city centre or centro. It has heaps of restaurants and it also has a local cinema (cine in Spanish) attached to the shopping centre called Centro Magno which also has a cheap little food court upstairs.
How To Rent Or Buy In Guadalajara
Whether you are buying or renting there are options for all budgets in Guadalajara.. If you are looking for something really cheap then you can go to facebook marketplace. Change your filter to Guadalajara and then click on Property Rentals or House Sales. Remember prices will be in local Peso.
While you will find places to buy there you will be dealing directly with the homeowner. As with buying any property in any country make sure you get the right legal advice prior to purchase to make sure the paperwork is in order.
It is always safer for buying or long term leases to go through a real estate agent instead and I have taken the liberty to list a few for you to look at below. They will tell you about local laws and fees and taxes that may be involved.
Top Real Estates To Look At In Guadalajara:
You can also walk or drive between the different neighborhoods and find houses or apartments marked for rent or sale by the same owners. Look specifically for the signs for rent or “En Renta” or to buy “En Venta” if you like being able to haggle on price but again be careful for both that you make sure they are the real owner especially before purchase. As before, always get local legal advice on any sale.
TIP: I generally use Airbnb for the first month with their large discounts on stays over 28 days to get me started and then look for local property. Just be careful for those long stays you have to cancel or change 1 month out or you are stuck with it.
What is the Language in Guadalajara Mexico?
Spanish is the language of Mexico and all of north, central and south american so a very handy language to learn. How can you learn Spanish? There are literally thousands of courses, software, youtube videos, podcasts, audio books and real books (old school television) that you have to choose from.
You can download the DuoLingo App on your phone available in iTunes and Google Play or you can use it on your computer with the web browser. Use this for a few months and get a couple of levels up doing at least 2 to 3 lessons a day or more.
In Guadalajara part of the population speaks English also, there are a few expat groups with meeting activities where you can practice your Spanish and get to know new friends too. This is the main expat group in Guadalajara that you can check out.
Security in Guadalajara is great with a large police presence. In most of the popular tourist areas they have permanent police boxes as well as the usual police patrols. You will see cars with multiple well armed police driving around the city as well.
Personally I felt very safe there and most of the crime is petty crime like stolen mobile phones by tourists waving them around in the air. Keep them close to your chest if you are looking for directions. This does not mean like with any large city in the world you don’t take basic safety precautions.
Don’t go walking down dark alleys in the middle of the night in the bad part of town wearing diamonds and rolexes.
The private healthcare in Guadalajara and the rest of Mexico is very similar to that of the United States with only a small gap between their rankings globally as per the World Health Organization rankings. You can see this list below. The major difference is it will cost you a lot less for the similar health care in Mexico and you can check those prices out on the actual health care providers below.
Here are some of the biggest national Private Health Care Providers:
- Seguros Monterrey New York Life
- Seguros Atlas
- Seguros Mapfre
- Pan-American México
- Bupa México
- Allianz Seguros
Guadalajara is not the only best town to retire in Mexico. Many expats and travelers are also looking for these other destinations in Mexico. Take a moment to see the Best Places To Retire In Mexico and find the right town for you.
Here Are Some Other Great Places You Can Retire On A Budget
Here are some other places with similar low costs of living that are safe and offer great lifestyles with large expat communities that you might want to consider looking at.
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