- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Chile Guide (PDF)
Most expats find moving to Chile an easy transition. Not only is it a modern, stable and relatively wealthy country that offers expats a great quality of life, it also has plenty to offer culturally speaking.
With significant amounts of foreign trade and a dynamic market-orientated economy, moving to Chile is a logical choice for many expats. Chile's government has sound economic policies and a keen interest in adhering to Free Trade Agreements, making it a country which is eager to welcome more foreigners and foreign businesses.
Santiago, Chile's vibrant capital, is an incredibly picturesque city. High-rise buildings, shopping centres and sprawling urban developments are set against the spectacular backdrop of the Andes Mountains. The city is a regional business hub. It generates a large portion of the country's GDP and is home to the regional headquarters for many multinational companies. Santiago also has an extensive transport network with a great subway and bus system connecting all parts of the city, including its airport, city parks, bicycle tracks, sports parks, museums and the Central Railway Station.
Chile has both public and private healthcare available for expats. The healthcare standards are relatively high throughout the country, although the private medical facilities in the larger cities are slightly more advanced and refined.
Expats moving to Chile will find accommodation pretty easily, as there are many options at reasonable rates. Those with children will be pleased to know that there is a multitude of international schools, offering quality education.
Banking in Chile can sometimes take time, particularly if one doesn't speak basic Spanish. Some banks have better reputations than others, and several large international banks operate in the country. It is possible to make international transfers but these can also take time.
While Chile doesn't have a distinctive cuisine, it boasts an incredible variety of dishes of various meats and vegetables. With over 3,900 miles (6,400km) of coastline including its islands, Chile is seafood heaven. In fact, it's among the world's largest producers of salmon, while oysters and shellfish are also common. Chile is also a large fruit producer and avocado is a staple. Chilean wines hold their own on the world markets against those from France, Australia, California and South Africa.
Expat life in Chile is vibrant and fun-filled. With great living standards, beautiful surroundings and a welcoming local population, many expats choose to extend their time in the country, a sure sign that Chile is an ideal choice for a home away from home.
Population: About 19 million
Capital city: Santiago
Neighbouring countries: Chile is bordered by Bolivia and Argentina to the east, and Peru to the north.
Geography: Chile's geography is varied and diverse. The country is home to a significant portion of the Andes mountain region as well as the Atacama desert. Chilean territory encompasses South America's southernmost points and an extensive coastline with many islands, including Easter Island.
Political system: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Major religion: Roman Catholic and Protestant
Main language: Spanish
Money: Chile's currency is the Chilean Peso (CLP). ATMs are abundant and expats should be able to use their credit cards in all major urban centres.
Tipping: Standard 10 percent in restaurants, usually less for other services
Time: GMT-4 (GMT-3 from September to April). Easter Island is GMT-6 (GMT-5 from September to April).
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz. Plugs with two or three round pins are used.
Internet domain: .cl
International dialling code: +56
Emergency numbers: 131 (ambulance), 132 (fire), 133 (police)
Transport and Driving: Cars in Chile drive on the right-hand side of the road. Most major urban centres have efficient and reliable transport systems, and there is an extensive network of buses and trains throughout the country.
►Whether planning a holiday or a longer stay in Chile, new arrivals should research the visa process
►Read more in Accommodation in Chile when house-hunting
"Santiago is welcoming and has the benefits of a big city as well as the relaxed culture of a town. Everyone I’ve met has been very kind and I find there is lots of beauty in unexpected places." Read more of Vanessa's comments about expat life in Chile.
"I love the people, the surrounding landscapes, the mountains and the sunshine." Nina shares more positive and negative aspects of living in Chile in her expat interview.
Are you an expat living in Chile?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Chile. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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