Top 10 Perks of Living in Chile

I’ve lived in Chile for a total of 1.5 years over the past three years, and there are so many things that I love and some things that still bother me about the place. At the same time, when I go back “home”, I find that I feel increasingly like a foreigner.

It’s simple; I’ve adjusted to two different lifestyles, but I can honestly say that I feel comfortable in both settings.

Being exposed to different cultures/countries/people etc. you find that there are some aspects of each country that you prefer, and you would ideally enjoy the best of both worlds together. On the other hand, you also wish you could do without all of the annoyances.

I came up with my own list of perks and… slight annoyances of living in Chile. It goes without saying that my preferences and perception thereof is in direct comparison with my experience living in the States (SF Bay Area and Central PA).

Top 10 Perks of Living in Chile (in no particular order):

1. Transportation and Travel
It is super easy to get around on a local and country basis using public transportation. Taxis, buses and even domestic flights are affordable, and there is almost no need for a personal vehicle.
I also think that the Santiago Metro is one of the cleanest and comprehensive systems I’ve ridden in. According to Yahoo Finance, it’s one of the best metro systems in the world.

Metro de Santiago
2. Friendliness and the Chilean Attitude
Chileans are very relaxed and affectionate people towards family, friends and acquaintances. You’re instantly greeting with a kiss on the cheek and made to feel welcome anywhere. I find that Chileans are generally piola (chill) as well as very easy to relate to and get along with.

3. Fresh Food
Fruits and veggies are perfect and fresh, homemade food is always on the table. You will rarely see food that was nuked or preheated, but they do use some frozen food and canned food to a lesser extent.

4. Awe Inspiring Landscapes
This might be my favorite part about traveling throughout Chile. It is a place of contrast and spectacular beauty. There’s always an extensive natural landscape or natural formation to take pleasure in, and you will always have a mountain range or ocean at your side.
5. Parties
As an exchange student, this is one of the first things you learn well: carretear (to party). Chilean parties start late and end early the next morning. They love to party so much that this year’s Independence Day (Fiestas Patrias) went on for 5 days! Productive, right?

6. Cultural Events and their Affordability
In Santiago, getting your dose of culture is endless; from theater, film, dance, music, food and beer/wine festivals to your everyday events and cultural hubs. The big plus is that all of these things are usually relatively affordable and sometimes free.

7. Contrary to Popular Belief, Chile is NOT a 3rd World Country
It’s technically a “developing country”. The majority of Chileans are not dying of hunger or living under extreme poverty without proper infrastructure. The majority enjoys a lot of the same luxuries as we do in the “developed word” (middle and upper class neighborhoods are very similar to US cities), but there is simply some work left to be done.
8. Climate
You can find 90% of the worlds climates and landscapes ranging from the the driest desert of the Atacama to the glaciers of the Patagonia. I go to Valparaiso quite often, which is a coastal city and has a similar climate to the SF Bay area. Need I say more?  
9.  Wine
Not only is it quality stuff and often inexpensive, they have things like terremotos, tsunamis, borgoña and vino con fruta. Trust me, they are good.
Terremoto: white wine, pineapple ice cream, a shot and bit of sugar.
10. Cost of Living
Even in the metropolis of Santiago, the cost of living is relatively low.
Honorable Mentions:

1. Affordable Nanas (Maids)
It is commonplace for middle and upper class families to employ maids to cook and/or clean, some families even have live-in maids.

2. Bakeries
Few things beat fresh bread, and Chileans are masters of this craft.

3. English Movies and TV
When you get tired of trying very hard to listen to what Chileans say and attempt to communicate with them all day, it becomes exceptionally relieving to watch movies and TV in English. Chileans make it easy by using subtitles instead of dubbing, although the Mexican, dubbed Los Simpsons is a favorite.


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