Jocotepec

Living in Jocotepec

Anyone moving to Lakeside is almost immediately ushered towards choosing the more popular areas; Chapala, San Antonio, and Ajijic.

Although these are probably some of the most well-known towns; they should not be the only areas worth considering at the time of buying property.

Some real estate agents are reluctant to even mention Jocotepec, because they feel it’s too far away – yet they brag about how close the big city of Guadalajara is.

Jocotepec is a small town and municipality on the far-west end of Lake Chapala; with a population of approximately 37,972.

Town of Jocotepec

This is an area with plenty of amenities and one that many expats have fallen in love with.

I can’t speak for everyone, but from talking to many foreigners, I’ve found that a good amount of those who choose to live in Jocotepec are not actually looking to be social with other expats.

Many like to have a low-key presence while immersing themselves in the local community and culture.

Benefits of Living in Jocotepec

There are many advantages of living in Jocotepec.

Many people feel it is a bit cheaper compared to other areas and, in many ways, it is.

Plus, you have all the amenities of Ajijic without the traffic.

Jocotepec, like most small villages, has a nice-sized Plaza (town square).

Jocotepec Town Square

To the rear, there is a market strip, where many locals do their shopping.

The market is home to all kinds of goods; sold from both established stores and local vendors. There, you can shop for a variety of groceries, including:

  • Fresh meat, chicken, beef, and fish.
  • Daily baked sweet bread and rolls.
  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Fresh cheese, cream, milk, and other dairy products.

Besides all the local goods offered, there are a couple of stores that sell imported products and items that are bought and resold from Costco and Sam’s Club.

The markup price is usually reasonable and makes it quite convenient for those who don’t want to drive into the city of Guadalajara.

One of the highlights of living in Jocotepec, like most small towns, is the abundance of fresh foods.

Jocotepec is host to several major berry farmers that make fresh berries readily available and sold year-round.

Craving strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries? Just take your pick!

If you need a store with more of commercial grocery store feel, there’s a small Bodega Aurrera (Mini Wal-Mart) – located at the west entrance of Jocotepec.

Bodega Aurrera has all kinds of basic food products and things that a lot of expats will find handy.

It’s important to note that there are two entrances to Jocotepec.

One is located at the far, west end and is attached to the old road that connects the Morelia-Guadalajara highway.

Joco Bypass

The second entrance, coming from Ajijic, is situated a couple of kilometers past a relatively-new bypass that will get you to Guadalajara in approximately 45 minutes.

Some of the more popular stores, located in the entrance of the big city of Guadalajara, include Costco, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Mega Mercado, and many more.

Jocotepec has just about everything you need.

There are currently three banks in Jocotepec, which are Banca Serfin, Bancomer and Ban Azteca.

There are also three gas stations; one at the main (east) entrance, one at the far-west end of town, and one on the Morelia Guadalajara highway.

There are also plenty of hardware stores, a few furniture stores, and several pharmacies; including two Farmacias Guadalajara.

Medical Services

The only thing lacking in Jocotepec, and I’m being picky, is a nice medical facility.

While there is medical care locally, it’s definitely not as nice as what you will find in Ajijic or San Antonio.

In Jocotepec, what you will find is a local clinic (Clinica Nuñez), Seguro Social (IMSS), and the municipal clinic.

There is also a Seguro Popular, just a couple of kilometers east of Jocotepec.

Many expats will join the local IMSS (Seguro social), as they do have many medications available that are much cheaper than buying them in a pharmacy.

This, alone, makes it worthwhile to sign up.

Activities

Unlike Ajijic that’s home to one of the most active communities Lakeside, there really isn’t much to do around Jocotepec.

As I said, it’s a lot quieter than the other towns.

As far as activities in Jocotepec are concerned, most people spend their mornings grocery shopping.

There’s also a nice park located in the south part of Jocotepec with plenty of green areas.

Joco Presidency

Although usually crowded, it’s a good place to go for a stroll and watch the ongoing basketball and soccer games.

If you look hard enough, you will also find a couple of basic gyms, spinning, and Zumba classes.

Once the evening arrives, you’ll notice a ton of locals flocking to the town square (Plaza) to socialize and have a good, relaxed time.

If you desire a comfortable, slow-paced lifestyle – Jocotepec is a great option.

Restaurants

Jocotepec also loses a few points in the restaurant scene to Ajijic, Chapala, and San Antonio.

Whereas these towns are famous for their mixed array of international cuisine – Jocotepec likes to keep things simple and traditional.

If you drive into Jocotepec looking for a restaurant, similar to what you would find in the East part of Lakeside, you will be out of luck.

This doesn’t mean that there’s a shortage of good food – it just means that it’s a lot different.

The only restaurants that might actually compare to the ones you see in East Lake Chapala are probably El Quinto Asador, Drink & Fly, and Rincón de Frida.

The rest of the food scene is dominated by small family-owned shops and food carts that offer traditional Mexican food – tacos, lonches, tortas ahogadas, chicharrones, pozole, menudo, birria, etc.

Festivities

Like all Mexican towns, Jocotepec is home to a series of yearly festivities.

  • Señor del Monte. Begins first Sunday in January; the last day of celebration is the third Sunday of January.
  • Señor del Huaje; First Sunday in May.
  • Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe; Dec 12.

Transportation

There are two bus stations located in Jocotepec; each one easily recognized by the color of the vehicles.

The blue Jocotepec buses go from Jocotepec to San Juan Cosalá. They also offer direct routes to Guadalajara.

The Chapala bus station (red) buses go from Jocotepec to Chapala and into Guadalajara. Buses run on the main highway every half hour and hour.

Jocotepec Real Estate

As it was mentioned above, real estate in Jocotepec has always been sort of a tricky subject.

When we moved here twenty years ago, most real estate companies and agents weren’t very interested in the area.

Things haven’t changed much in two decades; people are primarily focused on the East end of Lake Chapala.

That still hasn’t stopped expats from venturing into the area and calling it home, though.

Jocotepec Malecon

So, what is there to know about Real Estate in Jocotepec?

First off, there are no Real Estate offices here – none, zero, zilch.

If you want to buy property, land, or rent in Jocotepec, you will have to contact an agency in Ajijic or San Antonio – unless, you deal directly with the owner(s).

It’s commonly believed that land is a lot cheaper in Jocotepec.

And, while this is partly true, there are some neighborhoods in which the square meter is comparably-priced to that of East Lake Chapala.

El Chante, Las Fuentes, Rancho Alegre, and even some parts of Jaltepec will be a lot more expensive than buying in the town itself.

As far as rentals are concerned, they will definitely be cheaper than other towns in Lake Chapala. But again, it all depends on where the property is located.

If you choose to rent a small, traditional, Mexican home -near the town center- you’ll be spending less than if you were to rent a larger home in a more peaceful, secluded neighborhood.

Roderick E. Collins
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