How much do you need to live in Chile? What is the cost of living in Chile? Let's have a look at housing, food, health... and a monthly budget!
The cost of living in Chile has nothing to do with neighboring countries such as Peru or Bolivia. Indeed, if you plan to move to Chile, make sure you have a sufficient budget because, contrary to common thinking, the cost of living is almost similar to western countries. The average salary in Chile is US$ 780 but it is difficult to live with this amount of money in Santiago.
We give you below an overview of the cost of living in Chile, taking Santiago as a reference. If you live in a provincial city, you can easily reduce your budget by 30%, especially on the housing part, much cheaper.
The average price per sqm in Chile’s capital, Santiago, is US$ 2300. It can go down to US$ 1600 and reach US$ 3000 depending on the location of the property and the time of year.
To simplify the calculation of real estate prices, Chileans use a unit of account, the UF (see here for more information). The prices of houses and apartments for sale are often expressed in UF. It is likewise for some properties to rent, especially the most upscale ones.
For more information on rental price, we recommend you to read our articles about each sector).
If you want to buy a car in Chile or rent a car in Chile, you can check our dedicated articles, where prices and procedures are indicated. In Chile, the price of gasoline is approximately US$ 1.4 per liter.
If you use public transport in Santiago, you must first buy a metro pass, which is called tarjeta BIP and costs about US$ 2.25. Then, you can reload it with the amount you want. A round-trip by metro costs around US$ 2.25, depending on the time of day. For more information, you can have a look at our article about public transports.
Supermarkets offer both local and imported products. The Jumbo chain has the widest range of choices but also the highest prices. In other supermarkets (Lider, Unimarc…), prices are a little lower, except for imported products. On the other hand, if you buy fresh products in the market place, prices will be much lower: you can buy cheap fruits and vegetables at La Vega, Santiago’s most important market.
Below is a table which lists some products and their prices, in order to get a better idea of the prices of some basic products in Chile:
|Product||Price in pesos||Price in dollars|
|1L of milk||$800||US$ 1.06|
|250g of butter||$2,100||US$ 2.87|
|250g of cheese||$2,600||US$ 3.63|
|1kg of avocados||From $3,500||From US$ 4.02|
|1kg of tomatoes||$1,500||US$ 1.81|
|1kg of apples||From $1,200||From US$ 1.51|
|1kg of bread||$1,200||US$ 1.51|
|1kg of meat||From $7,500||From US$ 9.96|
The price of a pint in a bar in Santiago is about US$ 3.4. A coffee on a terrace costs around US$ 3. As far as restaurants are concerned, the price range is very large: from the affordable traditional Tip y Tap restaurant, with no less than 10 locals in Santiago, and whose specialty is the crudo, a sort of beef tartare on bread, accompanied by lemon juice, herbs and mayonnaise; to Karai, the first Chilean restaurant of Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura, the Maido’s chef in Peru, 8th best restaurant in the world in 2017 and 1st in Latin America.
In Chile, the health system is usually private. If you work in Chile with a local contract, you must subscribe to a health system: about 7% of your gross monthly income will be allocated to your health system.
A home medical check-up costs about $ 50,000 (US$ 75).
For more information, see this article about health in Chile.
Santiago offers many ways to do sports, whether for free or not. As for free sport, the Chilean government has launched the CicloRecreoVía: every Sunday from 9am to 2pm in Santiago, several roads are closed to traffic and reserved for sports and recreational activities. Cars give way to walkers, runners and cyclists. As for the paid sports clubs, Santiago has many private sports clubs whose membership fees and annual fees are very variable. For instance, Los Leones Golf Club is the most select and expensive private club in Santiago (tens of thousands of dollars just for the entrance fee).
If you are budget-wise, you should know that most municipalities in Santiago offer workshops, for both adults and children, at discounted rates. Among the activities available are craft (pottery, mosaic…), dance, sports (volleyball, pilates, taekwondo…), personal development activities (memory stimulation, cognitive exercises…), game workshops, cooking, languages, gardening, music, drawing classes… To give you an idea of all the activities, you can discover the workshops offered by the Municipality of Las Condes here.
The price of cinema ticket is is about US$ 7.50 in Santiago. In addition, cinema chains have discount agreements with many companies. For example, readers of the newspapers Mercurio and La Tercera, or subscribers of the telephone operator Entel, have discounts at CineMark.
Many museums in the capital are free or very cheap.
As far as the holidays are concerned, make sure you have a fairly large budget if you are traveling with an agency in very touristy places such as Patagonia or the Atacama desert.
In terms of accommodation, you will have the choice in Chile! But you can easily find local hotels for less than USD 30 a night, breakfast included, and also high-end options above USD 300 a night.
Given the country’s geography, the most convenient ways to get around are bus and plane. The bus network is very developed and it is the most used means of transport by Chileans. The average cost of the bus is US$ 30 for 1000km so it is rather advantageous!
As for planes, you can buy tickets at reduced prices during Black Friday.
Renting a car costs around US$ 56 per day (US$ 34 for a city car, US$ 80 for a 4x4), to which you add US$ 15 of gasoline for 100km.
For more information on how to get around Chile, you can read this article.
To get a better idea of the standard monthly budget in Santiago, here is a summary table:
|Category||Price in pesos||Price in dollars|
|Housing (renting)||$600,000 - $2,000,000||US$ 1100-3400|
|Transport (2 rides a day in bus/subway from Monday to Sunday)||$35,000||US$ 50|
|Food (3 meals a day, at home or in a standard restaurant)||$300,000||US$ 450|
|Dinner in a restaurant (3-course menu, with wine)||$25,000||US$ 37|
|Doctor (home medical examination)||$50,000||US$ 75|
|Hairdresser||$12,000 for men, $20,000-40,000 for women||US$ 18 for men, US$ 30-60 for women|
|Cigarettes (a pack of 20)||$2,800||US$ 4.30|