Aug 18, 2005, 2:57 PM
Post #1 of 43
Due to skyrocketing prices around Lake Chapala (the original Lakeside) and in San Miguel de Allende, a new Lakeside is awaiting those who dream of la vida mexicana.
UPGRADE TO LAKESIDE 2.0
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The new draw, which henceforth will be known as Lakeside Two, is the area around Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacan. Most clear-headed observers concede it is a far nicer lake than Chapala. Indeed, the area in question has been likened to the topography of the Hawaiian Islands.
The area is rapidly changing, and smart Gringos will want to get in on the ground floor.
First, there is the matter of prices. If you want to move to Mexico and buy a house or property for the same price you would have paid in San Francisco, Houston or New York, then the Chapala area or San Miguel is waiting for you with outstretched palms. Literally. The raw truth is that the locals are on to you, big time, in those glitzy areas.
Patzcuaro, roughly the same size as San Miguel, offers this: Lower prices, a beautiful Colonial atmosphere with cobblestone streets, a language school, and (like Chapala and San Miguel) proximity to a large city with an abundance of shopping opportunities and an international airport. That would be Morelia, the state capital, where construction will begin on Paseo Morelia, rumored to be the largest shopping mall in Latin America. Whether that claim is true, I cannot say, but with a million square feet and 170 commercial tenants, it will surely rival the Santa Fe Mall in Mexico City.
So, there is your shopping opportunity, and it is one among many in beautiful Colonial Morelia, a 40-minute drive from Lakeside Two.
In Patzcuaro, for those who have not been here for a spell, or perhaps never, you will find:
1. A beautiful, enormous, tree-lined Plaza Grande that puts the runty plaza in San Miguel to shame. Within the last year, new lighting was installed all around the plaza and fountains. It is a stunning sight at night, especially on Sundays when the locals stroll to and fro, socializing. You may join the parade.
2. A brand-new, two-level Casa de Artesanias at the city entrance, is due to open soon. This will, I imagine, house primo examples of the famous and various artesanias that come from the small pueblos that circle Lake Patzcuaro.
3. Just a short walk down the street you will find a three-story edifice, under construction, that will house the Mercado de Antojitos. All the food stands that now crowd the outdoor market off the Plaza Chica will be moved into the new Mercado de Antojitos.
4. For you health buffs and/or alcoholics, there is the Club Vista del Rey, just two years old, which sits on a high hillside just a few blocks from the Plaza Grande. With a stunning view of the mountains and lake, it offers tennis, basketball, track, squash, separate gyms for men and women, sauna, a semi-olympic, heated swimming pool, a restaurant and bar.
5. Need help buying your Lakeside Two hacienda or small home? The city now boasts a Century 21 office near the Plaza Grande, and Remax recently opened for business just a block away.
6. Lakeside Two has long had fine Mexican restaurants, but for those of you who like a little variety, we have new additions. There is the recently opened Restaurante Cha-Cha-Cha, just down from the Basilica, which offers excellent international cuisine at far better prices than you will find in San Miguel or that other Lakeside. It is owned by a San Francisco transplant and his partner. On the Plaza Grande is El Primer Piso, which also offers international cuisine. There is also La Pasta Nostra, near Siete Esquinas, which has Italian dining. La Puerta Roja, just a block from the Plaza Grande, specializes in the food of Spain. Want to sit under the portal on the Plaza Grande, try La Surtidora, another relative newcomer on the ever-expanding dining scene. This list goes on and on.
7. Another welcome addition to Lakeside Two is an English-language bookstore, opened not too long ago by U.S. expat Will Chapman. He has expansion plans and wants new customers.
8. High-speed wireless internet is available for you computer devotees. And, of course, you have various TV cable options to choose from.
9. Health care? The new, ultramodern Star Medica Hospital complex in Morelia has everything you likely will need, just 40 minutes away.
Lakeside Two is on the move and changing. You do not want to make the drive to Morelia for that Gringo shopping? There are powerful rumors (not denied by local government) that WalMart will be coming to town, perhaps with a Cinepolis in its wake. These will, of course, not be directly in el Centro, which is rigorously controlled to maintain the charming Colonial atmosphere.
Before you groan, consider the Gigante supermarket on the outskirts of San Miguel. Has that killed the town? Of course not. It is a plus. WalMart will be a welcome addition here, too.
You may have heard that it gets cold here. It does, but the winters vary. However, the nippy season generally lasts only about ten weeks. And during the hot months, Lakeside Two is far more pleasant than Chapala or San Miguel.
To heat your home during the relatively brief chilly season, it is a simple matter of buying portable and attractive gas heaters that are now widely available. If you really want to go upscale in your renovation or home construction, heating floor grids are the new, trendy thing. And, of course, there are the old, romantic standbys: fireplaces.
The bottom line is that you have missed your opportunity to get in on the ground floor in Chapala or San Miguel. Your best chance now is Lakeside Two: Patzcuaro, Michoacan.
Do not wait until it is too late. You will be kicking yourself.
I moved here five years ago. Smart guy that I am.
Kudos to one Mr. Sparks for the photos of Patzcuaro. See link in second paragraph.
From Tzurumutaro, Michoacan, "The Village of the Darned."
The nuts and bolts of moving to Mexico:
The dark side of living in Mexico:
Scintillating life in a Mexican pueblo:
(This post was edited by palomares on Aug 18, 2005, 5:49 PM)