Retire to Santiago Chile: A Vibrant Place To Live

If you have been thinking about living or retiring in Chile, Santiago is one of the cities that you should definitely keep in mind. Good quality of life, inexpensive city, good climate, vibrant lifestyle and above all very safe.

Here are all the questions you may have about Retire to Santiago Chile:

  • Is Santiago Chile a good place to retire?
  • Is it expensive to live in Santiago Chile?
  • How much do I need to retire in Chile?
  • Is food expensive in Chile?
  • Can a US citizen retire in Chile?
  • Can foreigners buy property in Chile?
  • Is healthcare free in Chile?
  • Is English widely spoken in Chile?

Now let’s dive deep into each of these questions and find out why many expats and retirees want to live in Santiago Chile.

Is Santiago Chile a good place to retire?

Population: 6 million

Temperature: 2 to 30 deg C / 36 to 86 F

Tourist Information:
Language: Spanish

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Santiago is the capital of Chile and is commonly thought of as one of the most modern cities in South America. As you will see below Santiago is considered a very good place to live and retire by many expats and retirees looking for a cheaper place to live in the world. One of them and surely one of the most important is the excellent quality of life.

Another factor that makes Santiago a good place to retire is its vibrant lifestyle. There are many fiestas like Fiestas Patrias their independence day, La Tirana a day of religious celebration, or even their grape harvest festival. The cultural diversity and the European style make the atmosphere of this city very livable and relatable. This all makes it very attractive to tourists and retirees. 

The public and private health system is one of the best, this being another of the factors to choose to live here.  Public transportation is excellent and covers most of the city. You can get around easily using taxis, trains, buses, subways, or the public bicycle system. There are also a lot of activities that you can do such as theaters, museums, and outdoor concerts.

In Santiago the climate is Mediterranean. Summers are generally hot, arid, and clear while winters are cold and partly cloudy. Rarely does the temperature drop below -1 ° C in the winter or rise above 33 ° C in the summer. 

Is it expensive to live in Santiago Chile?

To live in Chile in a similar lifestyle to the USA you will need at least $1360 USD per month.  Like with any town you can spend a lot more depending on your lifestyle choices and accommodation and how many more luxury goods you want making the biggest difference.

Chile is considered one of the cheapest countries in Latin America after Argentina. On average, prices in Chile are 45% cheaper than in the United States.

Here is an example of common monthly expenses for 2 people living in Santiago, Chile:

Rent for a 3 Bedroom Apartment$ 745 USD 
Rent for a 1 Bedroom Flat $ 425 USD 
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water)$ 165 USD
Internet$ 30 USD 
Groceries$ 300 USD 
Dining Out x 2$ 50 USD
Fitness / Social Club Membership x 2$ 70 USD
Total (1 Bed)$ 1040 USD
Total (3 Bed)$ 1360 USD

NOTE: These rental prices were for the center of town and can be much cheaper the further you go out of the center town and to smaller towns around.

Is food expensive in Chile?

Food in Chile is very cheap just like in the rest of Latin America. Food prices in Chile are 43% cheaper than in the United States. For this reason, many expatriates and retirees consider Chile one of the best countries in Latin America to live in.

Here you will find a small list with the prices of some basic groceries:

Milk1 Liter / 1 quart$1.12 USD
Bread1 Loaf$2.10 USD
Eggs15 pack$2.67 USD
Beef Mince1 kg / 2.2 lbs$11 USD
Chicken Breast1 kg / 2.2 lbs$2.79 USD
Butter200 g / 0.5 lbs$3 USD
Scotch1 Liter / 1 quart$12 USD
Premium Beer6 pack$4.5 USD

NOTE: The prices in the table are accurate at the writing of this article but are subject to change and you can look at the supermarket prices directly on their websites below for the latest figures.

In Chile, you may want to make the occasional meal at home and that means going to a supermarket or grocery store. When searching on google maps look for the following phrases: mecardo, supermercado, hipermercado. The difference is the size of the store where the market (mercado) is the small local store or mini supermarket and goes up from there in size. 

Here are some websites of grocery stores for you to look at:

NOTE: You can sign up for points programs at the supermarket of your choice so that you can opt for exclusive discounts and certain promotions.

Can a US citizen retire in Chile?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. Americans can retire in Chile, in fact, you can apply for a retirement visa that is valid for one year and can be renewed. Officially there is no requirement to opt for this visa other than a minimum income requirement. The income requirement is normally $1000 USD per month per person but under special circumstances, they have accepted lower.  You can come to the country as a tourist and apply from there while in the country as well. To apply for this visa you only need a copy of your passport and a passport size photo.

Can foreigners buy property in Chile?

Yes, any foreign person can buy a property in Chile. So there are many ways to get a property in Chile, either for purchase or rent. You can find some street signs with the words “Compra” or “Renta” which means “To Buy” or “To Rent”. You can also seek the help of a real estate agent. 

If you want to buy or rent privately a very inexpensive option is to use the facebook marketplace. Change your filter to Santiago and then click on Property Rentals or House Sales. Remember prices will be in local Peso but purchases can sometimes be in USD.

Here are some of the real estates agencies you can look at in Chile:

Is healthcare free in Chile?

The short answer is yes. All Chilean citizens and legal residents have access to free public health care. This is managed by FONASA (National Health Fund), which is the administrative entity for the government.

The public and private healthcare in Chile is very similar to that of the United States with only a small gap between their rankings globally as per the World Health Care rankings below. Chilli has one of the best healthcare systems in Latin America. The major difference is it will cost you a lot less for similar health care in Chile than in the United States and other countries in the world.  You can check those prices out on the actual health care providers below.

LINK: World Health Care Rankings

Here are some of the biggest national Private Health Care Providers:

TIP: If the website does not have an English version open in Microsoft Edge or Chrome Browser and it will translate it for you.

Is English widely spoken in Chile?

In 2021 it is estimated that 10% of Chillieans speak english so you will have to learn some day-to-day spanish to live there. The chance they speak english is higher in Santiago and around tourist areas though. Spanish is the official language of Chile most of central and south america so is a good language to know anyway.
How can you learn Spanish? There are literally thousands of courses, software, youtube videos, podcasts, audiobooks, and real books (old school television) that you have to choose from. You can download the DuoLingo App on your phone available in iTunes and Google Play or you can use it on your computer with the web browser. Use this for a few months and get a couple of levels up doing at least 2 to 3 lessons a day or more.

NOTE: Remember to check this article about Retire In Valparaiso Chile: Little Known Facts you might like or be interested in this beautiful cost town.

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