Cost of Living in Chile
Expats moving to Chile's capital will find that the cost of living is reasonable but not particularly cheap. In Mercer's Cost of Living survey for 2016, Santiago was squarely in the middle of the pack with a ranking of 108 out of 209 countries. Still, Chile continues to boast one of the highest ratios of executive salary rates to cost of living. The latter factor is certainly a lure for expats but top management positions in multinational firms are especially coveted, so those planning to move to Chile shouldn't assume they'll be high-rolling all the way home.
Chile also claims one of the continent's largest wealth disparities, and while it's unlikely expats will ever toe the poverty line, it does mean that it's possible to pinch pennies if need be.
The purchasing power of foreign currencies like the US Dollar, Euro and British Pound is strong when compared to the Chilean Peso (CLP).
Cost of accommodation in Chile
Chile boasts a range of accommodation options and even top-quality housing tends to be affordable when compared to other global expat hotspots. Buying and renting prices in the country are among the cheapest in Latin America and a construction boom yielding sleek skyscrapers and an array of housing developments means that standards aren't sacrificed even in the face of lower costs.
There's also plenty of opportunity to negotiate incredibly cheap shared housing, either with a Chilean family or in a furnished space with other expats.
Cost of food in Chile
The cost of food in Chile registers as cheap on a global scale, but more expensive than in neighbouring South American countries like Peru and Argentina. Buying seasonal fruits and vegetables from the large central markets is a great way to save money and to sample the local flavour. Supermarket prices are slightly higher and buying typically Western, imported food items can be costly.
Cost of transport in Chile
Taxis are more expensive and the drivers are notorious for ripping off foreigners. Fortunately, losing this small battle is a blip on the front of the larger cost-of-living war.
Cost of schooling in Chile
Expats with children have a few options for education and schools in Chile, though most choose to send their children to an international school. Two main problems put expats off the public education sector: first, public schools in Chile provide a low standard of education and second, all teaching and curriculum is entirely in Spanish. Some parents prefer to send their children to Chilean private schools but according to law, their fees have no limit so they are usually very expensive. Furthermore, they don't always live up to the promise of better standards of education. For many expats, international schools in Chile are the answer to this dilemma - once again, these fees can be astronomical, but it is possible to negotiate an allowance for school fees as part of an employment contract.
Cost of eating out and entertainment in Chile
Eating out is a popular pastime in Chile and won't necessarily run your bank balance dry. Many restaurants in Chile offer two-course set lunch menus at an appetisingly low price, and dinner in a moderately priced Chilean restaurant, including multiple courses and alcohol, also amounts to a manageable fare. Tickets for prime seats at the theatre cost about the same as eating out, while tickets to local cinema are much cheaper.
Cost of Living in Chile chart
Prices may vary across Chile, depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Santiago in July 2016.
|Accommodation (monthly rent in good area)|
|Furnished one-bedroom apartment||CLP 400,000|
|Furnished two-bedroom apartment||CLP 470,000|
|Eggs (dozen)||CLP 1,695|
|Milk (1 litre)||CLP 765|
|Rice (1kg)||CLP 965|
|Loaf of white bread||CLP 745|
|Chicken breasts (1kg)||CLP 3,750|
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)||CLP 3,000|
|Big Mac Meal||CLP 3,900|
|Coca-Cola (330ml)||CLP 750|
|Bottle of local beer||CLP 1,200|
|Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant||CLP 25,000|
|Mobile to mobile call rate (per minute)||CLP 125|
|Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)||CLP 24,000|
|Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)||CLP 80,000|
|Taxi rate (per kilometre)||CLP 630|
|Bus/train fare in the city centre||CLP 700|
|Petrol/Gasoline (per litre)||CLP 755|