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The buzzing metropolis of Santiago, situated at the heart of Chile, is the country's political and financial centre. The city is attracting expats in their droves due to its cosmopolitan and fun vibe, but also because of its multitude of job opportunities, particularly in the mining, agricultural and financial sectors. There's also a gap for those wanting to teach English in the city, which expats are taking full advantage of.
A slight downside is that Chile isn't the most affordable country in the region and Santiago definitely incurs a higher cost of living for expats than its regional counterparts. It can be compared to many North American and Western European cities in this regard, with some aspects of life being more expensive than others. While accommodation at decent rental prices can be found in several areas and suburbs, some of the more centrally located neighbourhoods will naturally be more expensive, but with a range of modern conveniences at one's doorstep, the slightly higher cost of living is understandable.
With its effective transport network, Santiago is one of South America's most modern cities. It has an expanding metro network, cheap public bus transport and an inner-city highway network that links the eastern and western parts of the city in a short half-hour drive. With a range of shopping malls and an impressive array of international cuisine and local restaurants, Santiago is an exciting city for expats to get to know.
Further adding to the long list of attributes that this city has to offer, and that makes it such an attractive expat destination, are its many quality international schools and a range of hospitals and medical facilities.
Chile is considered by many to be the safest country in Latin America and that reputation extends to Santiago. That said, expats have reported some safety concerns, especially regarding pickpocketing and residential break-ins but, provided expats aren't careless with their belongings, the risk of crime is relatively low.
One of the charms of Santiago is the ease with which people can take a break from the city. Andes ski slopes and hiking trails are a short drive east of the city and some of Chile's beautiful beaches are just an hour or so to the west. Longer trips out of Santiago allow expats to explore glaciers in the south or the eerie moon-like scapes of the Atacama Desert in the north. With cheap flights throughout the region, it's equally easy for expats to spend a weekend away watching tango dancing or shopping in Buenos Aires.
►Read more about what there is to See and Do in Santiago
"Try to go out of Santiago when you can, to relax. The landscape is beautiful, especially during spring and autumn. Lots of great wineries are within an hour’s drive or less." Read our interview with Jérémie for more useful relocation advice.
"Santiago is sometimes criticised for being sterile and characterless. I think this is unfair, but it is true to say that it is a very developed country. On the whole, things work." Nina shares her thoughts about Santiago with us in her expat interview.
Are you an expat living in Santiago?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Santiago. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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