Moving to Santiago
Santiago is politically, financially and geographically central to Chile. The city’s importance to the Chilean economy as well as its prominence regionally make it the obvious choice for expats moving to Chile.
Situated just an hour from the coast and a short drive to the Andes, Santiago is more than just the capital and economic centre of Chile; it is arguably the most modern metropolitan area of South America. This fast growing city is home to over 6 million people and offers world class festivals, museums, parks and shopping experiences.
Chile is not the cheapest country in the region and Santiago definitely incurs a higher cost of living for expats than its regional counterparts. However, this is still lower than most North American and Western European cities, and with a range of modern conveniences at one's doorstep the slightly higher cost of living is completely understandable.
Santiago has been named an 'Alpha World City,' which reflects its importance both regionally and globally. Home to the regional headquarters of many multinational organisations, Chile has attracted a growing number of expats, particularly in the mining, agricultural and financial sectors. Many expats also move to the city to teach English.
Chile is considered by many to be the safest country in Latin America, and that reputation extends to Santiago - however, expats have reported some safety concerns, especially with regard to pickpocketing and residential break-ins. Still, exercising a little common sense goes a long way in Santiago, and as long as expats aren't careless with their belongings the risk of crime is relatively low.
With its effective transport network, Santiago is one of South America's most modern cities. It has an expanding metro network, cheap public bus transport and an inner-city highway network that links the eastern and western parts of the city in a short half-hour drive. With a range of shopping malls and an impressive array of international cuisine and local restaurants, Santiago is an exciting city for expats to get to know.
Further adding to the long list of attributes that this city has to offer expats, is a list of quality international schools and a range of hospital and medical facilities.
One of the charms of Santiago is the ease with which people can take a break from the city. Andes ski slopes and hiking trails are a short two- to three-hour drive east of the city and some of Chile's beautiful beaches are an hour to the west. Longer trips out of Santiago allow expats to explore glaciers in the south or the eerie moonscapes of the Atacama Desert in the north. With cheap flights throughout the region, it's equally easy for expats to spend a weekend away watching tango dancing or shopping for cheap leather jackets in Buenos Aires.