Expats will likely find the cost of living in Chile relatively affordable, and remarkably improved from just a year ago. That said, its political and economic stability still makes it one of the more expensive South American expat destinations, although prices fluctuate and vary around the country.

Expats moving to Chile's capital, Santiago, will find that the cost of living is reasonable. In Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2020, Santiago had a ranking of 134 out of 209 countries, a big jump from its previous ranking of 79th. 

Attractive executive salaries are certainly a lure for many expats, but top management positions in multinational firms are highly coveted and competition steep. In some cases, expat packages are not as lucrative as they once were so those making the move should ensure that their salary is high enough to accommodate life in Chile.

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's 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 to 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 schooling 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 entirely in Spanish. Some parents prefer to send their children to Chilean private schools but fees for these institutions can be very expensive. Furthermore, 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. These fees can also be astronomical, but it's often possible to negotiate an education allowance as part of an employment contract. 


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 March 2021.

Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

CLP 340,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

CLP 305,000

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

CLP 650,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

CLP 560,000

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

CLP 2,140

Milk (1 litre)

CLP 825

Rice (1kg)

CLP 1,020

Loaf of white bread

CLP 990

Chicken breasts (1kg)

CLP 3,800

Pack of cigarettes 

CLP 4,000

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

CLP 5,000

Coca-Cola (330ml)

CLP 970

Cappuccino

CLP 2,260

Bottle of local beer

CLP 3,000

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

CLP 35,000

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

CLP 113

Internet (per month)

CLP 24,400

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

CLP 113,000

Transport

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

CLP 1,000

Bus/train fare in the city centre

CLP 800

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

CLP 820

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