Although the cost of living in Chile is considered relatively affordable for expats, its political and economic stability still make it one of the more expensive South American destinations, with prices that fluctuate and vary around the country.

In the last year or so, the cost of living in Santiago, Chile's capital has spiked. Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey ranks it 87th most expensive out of 227 cities around the world. This is a jump of about 40 spots compared to its previous ranking.

While attractive executive salaries may lure many expats to Chile, competition for top management positions in multinational firms can be fierce, and expat packages may not be as lucrative as they once were. Those considering a move to Chile should ensure that their salary is high enough to accommodate their lifestyle.

Moving to a foreign country often means using a new currency and getting familiar with banking, money and taxes in that country. Here is a breakdown of costs in Chile.

Cost of accommodation in Chile

Chile boasts a range of accommodation options for expats, and even top-quality housing tends to be affordable when compared to other major destinations. 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 mean that standards aren't sacrificed even in the face of lower costs.

There are also plenty of opportunities for young, single expats to negotiate incredibly cheap shared housing, either with a Chilean family or in a furnished space with other expats.

Cost of groceries in Chile

The cost of food in Chile registers as cheap on a global scale but more expensive than in neighbouring South American countries such as Peru and Argentina. Buying seasonal fruits and vegetables from the large central markets is a great way to save money and sample the local flavours. Supermarket prices are slightly higher, and eating out and buying imported food items can be costly.

Cost of transport in Chile

Chile prides itself on its urban infrastructure, and its systems of public transport are well-connected and affordable. The country's main modes of transit are buses and the metro, both of which are efficient, safe and economical. Taxis are more expensive and the drivers are notorious for overcharging foreigners, so expats should do their best to negotiate a reasonable fee or use a ride-hailing service that charges standardised rates.

Cost of education in Chile

Expats with children have a range of options for education and schools in Chile. Public schools in Chile tend to provide a lower standard of education than expats might be used to, and the curriculum is usually taught in Spanish. Some parents prefer to send their children to Chilean private schools, but fees for these institutions can be awfully expensive. Plus, they don't always live up to the promise of providing better standards of education than public schools. 

For many expats, international schools in Chile are the answer to this dilemma. Their fees can also be fairly high, but it's often possible to negotiate an education allowance as part of an employment contract.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Chile

Chile is known for its vibrant culture and delicious cuisine, making it an attractive destination for expats seeking adventure and culinary delights. However, like in any foreign country, the cost of entertainment and dining out can vary depending on where one goes and what they do.

For entertainment, expats will find a wide range of options available to them, from exploring the bustling streets of Santiago to hiking in the Andes mountains. In general, the cost of entertainment in Chile is quite reasonable, especially when compared to other major cities in the region. Film tickets and museum admission are generally affordable, and outdoor activities like hiking and skiing can be enjoyed at a reasonable cost.

When it comes to dining out, expats will find that the cost of food can vary greatly depending on the type of restaurant and location. For example, fine dining restaurants in upscale areas like Vitacura can be quite expensive, while small local cafés and street vendors offer affordable and tasty options. Chile is also known for its wine, and while some high-end bottles can be expensive, there are many affordable options available that are just as delicious.

Cost of living in Chile chart

Prices may vary across Chile, depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Santiago in March 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

CLP 800,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

CLP 730,000

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

CLP 420,000

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

CLP 400,000

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

CLP 2,600

Milk (1 litre)

CLP 1,010

Rice (1kg)

CLP 1,370

Loaf of white bread

CLP 1,380

Chicken breasts (1kg)

CLP 5,800

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

CLP 4,400

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

CLP 40,000

Big Mac meal

CLP 6,600

Coca-Cola (330ml)

CLP 1,160


CLP 2,600

Bottle of beer (local)

CLP 1,250


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

CLP 220

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

CLP 15,500

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

CLP 69,000


Taxi rate/km

CLP 1,000

City-centre public transport fare

CLP 800

Gasoline (per litre)

CLP 1,220

Expat Health Insurance

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