Expats in Chile live a vibrant, fun-filled life. The locals are welcoming, the standard of living is great and the surroundings are beautiful, what more can you ask for? It is an ideal location to make home, the food is delicious and varied and the transport systems run smoothly; read on to find out more!

Life in Santiago

Santiago is often considered the most modern city in South America. It is growing fast, offering world class museums, festivals, parks and shopping centres, and is home to over 6 million people.

The picturesque city is just a couple of hours from the coast and a short drive to the Andes mountains, which are great settings for family day trips or weekends away. During the winter months, the Andes are a great place to go to ski! Chile is also home to San Pedro de Atacama, the driest dessert in the world, and the Torres del Paine, a national park in Patagonia which is perfect for trekking.

The nightlife and dining out scenes are vibrant and the city is very clean. Food and wine lovers will be spoilt for choice with the variety seafood available (go to Mercado Central for the best in the city!) and many wine tours available. 

Business in Santiago

Santiago contributes to about 45% of Chile’s economy and is one of the financially strongest cities in South America. This makes it economically stable, and employers welcome skilled expats.

Speaking Spanish is usually essential for business in Chile. While international companies typically communicate in English, mastering the native language is necessary when dealing with Chilean clients and locals.

Where to go, what to see

A popular museum in Santiago is the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts. Established in 1880 and is a major centre for art from Chile and broader South America. The current building, the “Palace of the Fine Arts”, honours the 100th anniversary of the Independence of Chile.

Another attraction is Cerro San Cristobal, a hill in northern Santiago. It is the second highest peak in the city, rising 850m above sea level. Atop the hill stands a 22m statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, along with an amphitheatre and a chapel. Pope John Paul II visited the chapel on April 1st, 1987, and blessed the city.

The Palacio de La Moneda (or simply La Moneda) is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. The building was designed by Joaquin Toesca, an Italian architect, in the late 18th century. The north façade was badly damaged by air-force missiles during a military coup in 1973, when President Salvador Allende refused to leave and was overthrown. To honour him, there is a monument opposite the La Moneda. The inner courtyards of the ornate building are usually open to the public and there is a popular museum above it (Centro Cultural Palacio la Moneda).

Yearly Events/ Festivals

January – Love Parade – Celebrating love throughout the city, this parade includes floats, music, food and drink and attracts thousands of participants every year.

January – Santiago a Mil – An annual performing arts festival which includes theatre, dance and music events, featuring artists from all around the world.

February – Festival Costumbrista Chilote – This week-long festival showcases Chiloe Island’s impressive culture.

June – Fiesta de San Pedro – People gather in a midnight procession and dance until the early hours of the morning, in honour of Saint Peter.

July – Fiesta de la Tirana – In honour of the Virgen del Carmen, this religious festival attracts between 200,000 to 250,000 visitors.

September – Fiestas Patrias – Celebrating Chile’s independence and nationality, locals gather to for music, “cueca” (national dance) and “pisco” (national drink).

December – Virgen de lo Vasquez Pilgrimage – This annual pilgrimage is of great religious importance and can reach a distance of 50km.

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