Santiago De Chile, Chile

Life in Santiago De Chile

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is not the type of city many people would imagine when they think of Chile. For a start it’s huge. The population is over 5 million spreads out in front of the eye when viewed from one of the mountains which ring the city. The Andes mountain range can be seen from most places in the city providing a spectacular backdrop.

The town is located over 500 meters above sea level and benefits from a pleasant year round climate. Temperatures in the summer (November to March) can hit 95 degrees Fahrenheit and lows in the winter can get down to the low 30’s. The city receives a few earthquakes each year, but the buildings have been designed to withstand tremors and are safe. Santiago does suffer from smog pollution issues on days when the wind is low and especially during the winter months. The Chilean government has been working hard to improve the pollution levels which have fallen over the last 20 years.

The city is an interesting mixture of high rise glass buildings which host huge financial institutions and traditional colonial structures. Many places have a bohemian vibe and artists and other creative types are drawn to the city from across South America and the world.

Things To Do

Historic Centre

At the heart of Santiago is the Plaza de Armas, the historic center of the city. This is the part of the city where the maps of Santiago begin, this is the starting point from which all maps make their measurements. It is home to the finest architecture in the city and has been Santiago’s most important area for close to 500 years.

The Plaza de Armas was originally a military training zone and has served a number of different purposes throughout the years. There have been four different churches, on the site of the current cathedral. Every one of them devastated by the earthquakes which can be so catastrophic here. Alongside the Cathedral, there are government buildings, the fighter’s headquarters, city hall and the Chilean Natural History Museum.

Food Including Hidden Kitchen

Santiago has a thriving restaurant scene which both Chilean food and dishes from is neighboring countries. The Peruvian influence is strongly felt, and the immigrants who arrived from Peru over the last 20 years have contributed hugely to increasing the quality of food here. Traditional Chilean food, served at picadas, is simple, heart fare which takes advantage of the high quality ingredients available throughout the country. You can find lots of canteens and small restaurants serving stews and meat heavy sandwiches for a very reasonable price. If you are looking for something more upscale, Chile has some fine dining comparable with Argentina. Like so much else, the prices are refreshing, a 20 course taster menu at a top restaurant will cost half of what you would pay in the U.S.

Wine

Chile is becoming one of the world’s wine producing super powers. Traditionally regarded as excellent value, Chile is also home to plenty of fine wines. From Santiago, you can book yourself onto any number of wine tours. The region is bursting with quality vineyards and you can spend many a happy afternoon wandering the vines and cellars becoming better acquainted with all that Chilean wines have to offer.

Many of Chile’s best and most highly decorated wineries are close to Santiago, making it the perfect base for people on wine tasting tours. Viña Santa Cruz is particularly notable, as it combines a vineyard with an indigenous museum and observatory with a number of telescopes.

Skiing and Surfing

The Andes provide Chile with some top quality skiing resorts, popular as a summer ski destination for European and American ski teams and vacationers. The ski season in Chile begins in mid-June and finishes in mid-October. There are plenty of ski resorts close to Santiago and many of them have the attraction of being overlooked by steaming volcanoes, framing your skiing in the most unique style.

Santiago is a three hour drive to some of the best surfing you can find anywhere in the world. Surfers brave the freezing water all year and enjoy waves which can hit 6 meters. There is a range of beach and reef breaks you can surf and an international contest is held each year in Pichilemu.

Human Rights Museum

Chile now has a well-established democracy, but the country was subjected to incredible hardships under Augusto Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship. In order that the horrors of the age never be forgotten. Pinochet, who rose to power on September 11 1973, was guilty of torture, murder and illegal detentions throughout his reign of terror. The museum covers 3 floors and features a range of exhibits. There are newspaper and film clips alongside some of the machines which were used to torture dissenters. The Museum of Memory and Human Rights is a sobering way to spend an afternoon but a vivid reminder that freedom must never be taken for granted.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In La Serena, Chile

Penny-Pincher’s Budget (for a couple, bare minimum costs)

Expense Monthly Cost Notes
Item Cost
Rent CLP 250,000 – CLP 500,000
Transportation (bus, taxi etc) CLP 20,000
Gas (cooking/heating) CLP 7,000
Electricity CLP 60,000
Water CLP 35,000
Telephone CLP 20,000
Internet CLP 25,000
Cable TV CLP 15,000
Entertainment CLP 50,000
Groceries CLP 75,000
TOTAL CLP 557,000 – CLP 807,000

 

Apartment of House Rental Budget (for a couple)

Expense Monthly Cost Notes
Item Cost
Rent CLP 400,000 – CLP 700,000 (2 bedroom
Transportation (bus, taxi etc) CLP 20,000
Gas (cooking/heating) CLP 7,000
Electricity CLP 60,000
Water CLP 35,000
Telephone CLP 20,000
Internet CLP 25,000
Cable TV CLP 15,000
Household Help CLP 70,000
Entertainment CLP 100,000 – CLP 200,000
Groceries CLP 120,000
Gym Membership CLP 30,000
Medical Appointment CLP 30,000
TOTAL CLP 902,000 – CLP 1,302,000

 

Apartment Or House Ownership Budget (for a couple)

Expense Monthly Cost Notes
Item Cost
Mortgage Not included as too variable.
HOA Fee CLP 100,000
Property Taxes 1% – 1.4% (depending on value)
Transportation (bus, taxi etc) CLP 20,000
Gas (cooking/heating) CLP 7,000
Electricity CLP 60,000
Water CLP 35,000
Telephone CLP 20,000
Internet CLP 25,000
Cable TV CLP 15,000
Household Help CLP 70,000
Entertainment CLP 100,000 – CLP 200,000
Groceries CLP 120,000
Gym Membership CLP 30,000
Medical Appointment CLP 30,000
TOTAL CLP 632,000 – CLP 732,000

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