Living in Chile: pros and cons

Are you thinking of living in Chile but you are not sure you are making the right decision? In order to help you, we detail the pros and cons of living in Chile below (of course this is a non-exhaustive list).

Pros

  • Safety: Chile is the safest country and the country with the lowest crime rate in Latin America. Yet, there are some rules to follow. First, keep an eye on your belongings because thefts are frequent, especially in public transport. If you have a car, we advise you not to drive with your windows completely down, because pickpockets are able to steal your bag on the passenger seat in a few seconds for example. In the most upmarket neighborhoods, where many foreigners and expatriates live, we advise you to equip your home with an alarm, if it has not already been done.
  • The weather: given the country’s geography, the climate varies a lot between regions. However, the metropolitan region has a Mediterranean climate, which is very pleasant to live. Summers are hot but nights are cool, winters are mild and it rains only a few days a month. The rest of the time, the air is dry.
  • Real estate prices: Chile’s real estate prices are quite low compared to Western cities, so you can buy or rent a nice apartment or house at affordable prices. If you want more information on real estate prices, you can consult the site of Bretagne Propiedades.
  • Santiago, a growing city: Chile’s capital is a very pleasant place to live, because of its parks, historical monuments, restaurants and so on. If you want to know more about the life in Santiago, you can read our dedicated article.
  • Landscapes: Chile is known around the world for its wonderful landscapes, from the glaciers in Patagonia to the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world. Moreover, Chile is full of opportunities for tourism, especially for nature-lovers (treks, hiking, stargazing, national parks, swimming in lakes or the Pacific Ocean …). The holidays are unforgettable every time!
  • The health system: Chile has the best health system in Latin America. According to the World Health Organization, the Chilean health system is ranked 33rd out of 190, which is five places ahead of the United States. If you have a health problem, you will receive good care in public and private hospitals. Yet, the caveat is that the waiting time for an operation can be long in the public system, and the private system may be very expensive if you do not have a good health mutual.
  • Wine: Chile is the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world and Chilean wine is renowned throughout the world. Thus, the country attracts wine producers from around the world. It has a great variety of wines at very affordable prices (you can find good wines for 8-9 dollars a bottle). You can find many known grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay, but also a rare variety hard to find outside Chile, Carménère, which is a red wine a little lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon. If you are a wine lover, Chile is the right country for you!
  • The history of the country: if you dig into it, the history of Chile is fascinating. The Spanish conquest, the Moai statues of Easter Island, the military dictatorship of Pinochet… Chile has an impressive history. Furthermore, Chile has six UNESCO World Heritage sites (Rapa Nui National Park, the churches of Chiloé, Valparaíso historic district …), enough to keep you busy on weekends and holidays!

Cons

  • The language: although Chile is a Spanish-speaking country, the language is very different from the Spanish we are used to in Europe. You may need to review some of your expressions and learn new vocabulary words. Especially since English is rarely spoken by Chileans from the middle class.
  • The pollution in Santiago: the air pollution in Santiago is quite unpleasant in winter (from June to September), so that an alternate traffic circulation according to license plate numbers has been implemented.
  • Currency: some countries have currencies that are easy to convert. Unfortunately, Chile is not one of those countries. Indeed, the price of the dollar fluctuates between 650 and 750 pesos, so that it is difficult to calculate your expenses on the moment, especially at the supermarket. You can still consider that 7 dollars equal 5,000 pesos.
  • Slowness: if you come from a big Western city, you will surely feel that the rhythm of life is slower, be it in the personal or professional life. This feeling is only a question of habit, but it can be disturbing at the beginning.