Living In Chile

“Greetings, Kathleen. I am enjoying your newsletters. I am a U.S. citizen who has traveled extensively in Latin America, from the Mexico-U.S. border to the bottom of Chile and Argentina.

” I am a little surprised that Chile is not ever mentioned among your recommended places for retirement. Chile has the lowest violent crime rate in Latin America, combined with the highest standard of living (highest GDP per capita in Latin America). Living in Chile is like living in Spain without the headaches of living with Spaniards. Just kidding…well, sort of…

“I would choose Santiago over Buenos Aires in a heartbeat. The standard of medical care is the highest in Latin America at about one-third the cost of that in Western Europe and North America. Many physicians and dentists in Chile received their education at some of the best institutions in Europe and North America. With the collapse of most LA currencies, including the Chile peso, the country right now is a bedrock bargain for those on US dollars. Chile is relatively politically stable…especially as compared to Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, et al. And unlike Mexicans, Chileans actually seem to like Americans and are very welcoming, which is becoming a rarer and rarer experience in this world.

 “Yes, I know that with a high standard of living usually comes a high cost of living, and Chile is no exception to that rule…except in the north close to the Peru and Bolivia borders. 

”My favorite region is the medium-sized city of Arica only a few kilometers from the border with Peru (ideally situated for convenient ‘visa runs’). Arica is right on the Pacific Ocean with beautiful beaches (although the water can be cold during the southern winter). Arica is one of the least costly areas to live in all of Chile, probably due to the close proximity to Bolivia and Peru.

”Unusual for a beach city, there is no rainy season. In fact, Arica officially receives no rainfall at all, as it is located in one of the driest, most arid deserts in the world. No rainfall, however, in this case does not mean a shortage of water. Arica is situated at the confluence of two rivers and still has much groundwater. The only criticism I have heard about climate is that the entire Pacific coast, including the Arica region, is subject to earthquakes and tsunamis…but the last one to hit Arica was many, many years ago.

“The temperatures are moderate. They range from 12 to 28 degrees throughout the year. The people are friendly, and there is a considerable North American expat community. 

”I am currently in Mexico, saving my money for my final trip south to Arica. I’m tired of living in Mexico, which is on the verge of becoming a narco state, and I will not live in any country, no matter how much a bargain, where Daniel Ortega types are running the show. I also try to avoid long-term residence in any country where the local currency is governmentally (read ‘artificially’) tied to the U.S. dollar, as that only means you will suffer inflation and higher costs and prices along with the locals.

”For an informative, mostly unbiased, and at times funny blog on Arica, go to It will tell your readers almost all they could want to know about visiting or relocating to one of my favorite places.

”I hope you will closely investigate the benefits and drawbacks of life in Chile. I think you will be pleased overall with the results of your research.”

– Stephen, United States