Cost of Living in Chile

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Expats will find the cost of living in Chile affordable and on par with that of a medium-sized US city, like Houston, or an emerging Asian metropolis, like Bangkok. The country's consistent political and economic stability has landed it a position as one of the more expensive South American countries, but it still remains far cheaper than the continental industrial giants of Brazil and Venezuela.

cost of living in chileFurthermore, expats moving to Chile's capital and its most popular destination for foreigners, Santiago, will find their money well spent. The city was ranked as having the continent's third highest quality of life by Mercer in 2010, and also boasts one of the highest ratios of executive salary rates to cost of living.

The latter factor is certainly an alluring point for expats, but top management positions in multinational firms are coveted, and 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 though 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


cost of housing in ChileChile boasts a range of accommodation options, and even top-quality housing tends to be affordable when compared to other global expat hotspots. Both the 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 fees.

For those who favour economy, there's plenty of opportunity to negotiate for incredibly cheap shared housing, either with a Chilean family or in a furnished space with others.

Rental prices in Santiago
  • A standard furnished one-bedroom apartment ranges from 175,000 CLP to 240,000 CLP
  • A standard furnished two-bedroom apartment ranges from 220,000 CLP to 380,000 CLP
Utilities are not included in rent, and should be factored into the monthly budget. Water, gas and electricity are reasonably priced, but as Chilean accommodation can lack insulation, heating bills during winter can become costly. For a couple, estimate spending between 11,000 CLP and 30,000 CLP, depending on your lifestyle, on utilities.

Food costs in Chile


The cost of food in Chile registers as cheap on a global scale, but more expensive cost of food in Chilethan 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 some local flavour. Supermarket prices are slightly higher, and purchasing typically Western, imported food items can be costly.

Eating out is a popular pastime in Chile and is an activity that won't necessarily run your bank balance dry. Many restaurants in Chile offer two-course set lunch menus at an appetisingly low price (~3,500 CLP), and dinner in a moderately priced Chilean restaurant, including multiple courses and alcohol, also amounts to a manageable fare (~20,000 CLP for a couple).


Cost of transport in Chile


Chile prides itself on its urban infrastructure and it follows that its systems of public transport are well connected, and affordable to boot. The country's main modes of transit are buses (micros) and the metro (for expats in Santiago), and both are efficient, safe and economical. Expats can purchase a Tarjeta Bip! for 1,300 CLP, and these convenient cards allow for travel on either buses or the metro for a mere fare of 400 CLP. Journeys within 90 minutes of each other also carry over on the initial fare charged.

Taxis are more expensive, and 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. The meter starts at 1,000 CLP and then increases per kilometre travelled.

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