Where Were You In 1958?

(You should have been in Ajijic!)

Courtesy of Kay Borkowski

lake chapala sunset 2019


MEXICO CITY (AP)-Feb. 2, 1958—Worried about retiring on that pittance of a pension? Well, perk up! You can live in Mexico for as little as $50 a month! On $90 a month, you can even have a servant. On $150, you can have a three-bedroom home, two servants, entertain and travel around a bit. With $200 and up, you’re in the luxury bracket.

You can’t do this in Mexico City or any of the other large cities or in resorts like Acapulco. In the capital, living is high even compared with US cities. Rents have doubled in three years.

But there are scores of little paradises scattered all over Mexico, some near cities, where the living is cheap. Take for example the village of Ajijic on the shores of colorful Lake Chapala. It’s a day’s drive northeast of the capital and just 30 minutes from Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city.

Montana-born Bob Thayer moved there seven years ago to escape high taxes and the pressure of living in the States. He opened a posada (or inn). He gives these figures and will give you more if you write him care of Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

For $50-65 a month, you can rent a room in an ordinary inn, pay $24 a month which includes meals and laundry and have enough left over for clothing, entertainment, drinks, and cigarettes. For this same $24, you could also room and eat with a family that takes in boarders.

For $90-100, (which includes most pensioners), you may take a long lease on a home, paying as little as $8 a month rent, then spend a few hundred to modernize it. You may employ a maid, live well and pursue hobbies.

For $150, you can rent a two or three-bedroom home, with patio, cooks, maid, lots of entertainment and travel—and still have a good chunk left over for fun.

For $200 and up, you can live high on the hog. Thayer said that he has a four-bedroom home with four baths, servants’ quarters, a cook and two maids.

You can buy Mexican-made Bacardi rum for 88 cents a fifth, brandy for $1, tequila for 60 cents a quart, 25 bottles of beer for $1.80. Mexican cigarettes are as cheap as three cents a package, cigars one cent. Regular gasoline is 17 cents a gallon, a car wash 16 cents. Labor is cheap. Bricklayers work for $1.20 a day—not an hour!

Is there much red tape for those who want to live here? No. Most merely use a tourist card, and renew it every six months by returning to the border. You may obtain resident immigration papers if you have a proven steady income (such as a pension) of $160 a month.

(Ed. Note: Before we all go get drunk, remember that 50 years from now, people will be saying “Dammit, if only I had been  in Ajijic in 2019!)


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