People who have been here for years will tell you that this area grew by thousands of mainly Americans and Canadians escaping the cold and snow of the north, from October until March, or November through April. They came on Mexico’s six-month tourist visa. When they left you could “roll up the sidewalks”, as they say. Some restaurants just closed their doors in the traditional “low” season. Ajijic was left with those who had decided to retire here year-round taking short vacations back to the US or Canada for Christmas or family affairs, such as marriages.
Over the years since this has gradually changed to where there is not the same kind of difference between the “high” and “low” seasons. More and more people have come for a visit of a few weeks or even a few months to check out the area to decide if they wanted to retire or move here. The entire Lake Chapala area quickly became a favorite among retirees and, increasingly, younger families who want a different pace of life or to escape the increasing violence in their home countries, differences in political views, or even to expose their children to a different culture.
Check out the traffic on the Careterra during the slow season. Not a lot of difference. Some of the bard and restaurants are a little quieter but the entertainment season is just as lively with many events and bands playing every night of the week. Great theater. Lots of Mexican fiestas, parades and cultural events all year long. Mexicans have no high or low season and love to party all year long.
This change is important for businesses. They need to recognize that there isn’t a lot of differences now in the normally “slow” season. Lots of people still go out to restaurants and shop. They are renovating, decorating, buying food and clothes and need home services like plumbers, electricians, and gardeners. Any business that shuts down, lays off good workers and fails to maintain their advertising will suffer when people return in the higher season. It is estimated that 10,000 people are going to retire for the next ten years and a lot of them are coming here!