Santiago City Guide for Nomads & Expats
Welcome to Santiago, Chile – a dynamic and captivating destination that beckons digital nomads and expats with its unique blend of natural wonders, urban vibrancy, and rich cultural heritage. Nestled against the stunning backdrop of the Andes Mountains, Santiago offers an irresistible charm that makes it an ideal haven for those seeking an inspiring and enriching remote work experience.
Imagine waking up to panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, immersing yourself in a bustling metropolis teeming with creativity and innovation, and indulging in world-class cuisine that tantalizes your taste buds. Santiago’s blend of modern amenities, warm hospitality, and diverse neighborhoods creates an inviting environment that caters to both work and play.
For the intrepid digital nomad, Santiago boasts a well-connected infrastructure, high-speed internet, and a burgeoning coworking scene that nurtures collaboration and growth. Whether you’re nestled in a chic café, exploring historic sites, or basking in the city’s many parks, Santiago seamlessly intertwines work and leisure, inviting you to embark on a journey of productivity and exploration.
From the tranquil tranquility of Parque Metropolitano to the bustling energy of Bellavista, Santiago offers a range of experiences that cater to every preference. Join us as we delve into the heart of this captivating city, unlocking its secrets, uncovering its treasures, and guiding you through a transformative experience as you work, connect, and thrive in the captivating embrace of Santiago, Chile.
Best Places to Work Remotely in Santiago
Santiago, Chile, offers a variety of welcoming and productive spaces for remote workers to stay focused and inspired. Whether you prefer coworking hubs, tranquil cafes, or outdoor oases, there’s a spot for every work style. Here are some of the best places to work remotely in Santiago:
A popular coworking space with multiple locations in Santiago. It offers flexible membership options, modern facilities, and a vibrant community.
A cozy café with a relaxed atmosphere, comfortable seating, and a range of delicious coffee options. It’s an ideal spot for a productive work session.
A cultural center with free Wi-Fi, open spaces, and a library. It’s a quiet and artistic place to work, surrounded by art and creativity.
A social innovation hub that provides workspace for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers. It promotes sustainability and hosts events focused on social impact.
Enjoy outdoor work sessions surrounded by nature in this beautiful park. Bring a picnic blanket, connect to the park’s free Wi-Fi, and work amid greenery.
Biblioteca de Santiago:
The city’s main public library offers a tranquil environment for focused work, reading, and research.
Part of the Parque Balmaceda, this café offers a peaceful atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating, perfect for work and relaxation.
Remember to check each location’s amenities, opening hours, and any membership requirements before you visit. Santiago’s diverse workspaces provide an array of environments to suit your preferences, helping you strike the perfect balance between productivity and immersion in this captivating city.
Culture in Santiago
Santiago, the capital city of Chile, boasts a rich and diverse cultural scene that reflects its history, traditions, and modern influences. From the arts to cuisine, music to literature, Santiago’s culture offers a fascinating blend of indigenous heritage and global influences.
Santiago is home to numerous art galleries, museums, and cultural centers showcasing both contemporary and historical works. The Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art features a remarkable collection of artifacts from indigenous cultures. The Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) displays a wide range of Chilean and international artworks.
Traditional Chilean music, including the Cueca dance, is celebrated during festivals and events. Santiago’s vibrant music scene covers a spectrum of genres, from classical to rock, jazz, and electronic music. Enjoy live performances at venues like Teatro Municipal de Santiago and La Batuta.
Santiago offers a diverse culinary experience, with traditional Chilean dishes like empanadas, pastel de choclo, and ceviche. Seafood, given Chile’s extensive coastline, features prominently in many dishes. The Mercado Central is a bustling market where you can sample fresh seafood and local ingredients.
Santiago has a strong literary heritage, with a number of historic bookstores and literary cafes. Chilean poets, such as Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, have left a lasting impact on world literature. The Santiago International Book Fair is an important cultural event that attracts writers, publishers, and book enthusiasts.
Santiago hosts a variety of festivals, including Fiestas Patrias (Chilean Independence Day), where traditional dances, music, and food are celebrated. The Santiago a Mil International Theater Festival showcases performances from around the world.
Santiago’s architecture reflects its colonial past and modern development. Explore historical neighborhoods like Lastarria and Barrio Yungay. La Moneda Palace, the seat of the Chilean government, is an iconic building with a significant historical role.
Santiago is a melting pot of cultures, with influences from indigenous Mapuche traditions, Spanish colonization, and international migration. Spanish is the primary language, and language learning is highly valued. The city has language schools and institutes for those wishing to improve their Spanish skills.
Santiago’s culture is a tapestry woven from its past, present, and future aspirations. As you explore its streets, engage with its people, and participate in cultural events, you’ll discover the essence of a city that celebrates its heritage while embracing global influences.
Food in Santiago
Santiago, Chile, offers a diverse and flavorful culinary scene that combines traditional Chilean dishes with international influences. From hearty stews to fresh seafood and unique desserts, the city’s food options are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Empanadas are savory pastries are filled with a variety of ingredients such as beef, cheese, chicken, or seafood. Empanadas are a popular snack or meal option enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Pastel de choclo is a comforting Chilean dish made from ground corn, similar to a corn casserole, often layered with seasoned ground meat, onions, olives, and hard-boiled eggs.
A staple comfort food, cazuela, a hearty stew made with meat (chicken, beef, or pork), vegetables, and potatoes, often seasoned with herbs and spices. Chorrillana is a dish made from French fries, topped with sautéed beef or pork, onions, and often topped with fried eggs. It’s a popular dish to share among friends.
Given Santiago’s proximity to the ocean, you can enjoy a variety of fresh seafood, including ceviche (raw fish marinated in citrus juices), paila marina (seafood soup), and machas a la parmesana (razor clams with cheese).
Chileans love to grill, and asado refers to a barbecue feast featuring various cuts of meat, sausages, and often accompanied by bread, salads, and pebre (a spicy salsa). Completo is a Chilean-style hot dog loaded with toppings, including avocado, mayonnaise, sauerkraut, chopped tomatoes, and more.
For street food, try sopaipillas, fried dough circles made from pumpkin and flour, often served as a street food snack or with pebre or humitas, steamed corn cakes filled with a mixture of corn, onions, and seasoning, wrapped in corn husks and often enjoyed as a side dish.
For the sweets enthusiasts, dulces chilenos are Chilean sweets and desserts, such as leche asada (caramelized milk dessert), alfajores (sweet cookies filled with caramel), and mote con huesillo (a drink made with dried peaches and wheat). To pair, Chile is known for its excellent wines, particularly its reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère. Wine tasting and vineyard tours are popular activities in the region.
Whether you’re indulging in traditional Chilean fare or exploring international cuisine, Santiago’s food scene offers a delightful array of flavors and culinary experiences that are sure to make your dining adventures memorable.
Healthcare in Santiago
Healthcare in Santiago, Chile, is generally of high quality and is accessible to both residents and visitors. The country has a comprehensive healthcare system that provides a range of medical services.
Public Healthcare System:
- Chile has a public healthcare system known as Fondo Nacional de Salud (FONASA). Residents contribute a percentage of their income to FONASA, which provides access to public healthcare services. As a visitor or expat, you may need to rely on private healthcare services or have appropriate travel insurance.
- Santiago has a well-developed private healthcare sector that offers high-quality medical care. Private hospitals and clinics are equipped with modern facilities and medical technology. Many private healthcare providers offer English-speaking staff and cater to expats and tourists.
Health Insurance for Expats:
- Expats and travelers are advised to have comprehensive health insurance that covers medical expenses, including emergencies and hospitalization. Some employers provide health insurance as part of expat contracts. Otherwise, you can purchase international health insurance before arriving in Santiago.
Hospitals and Medical Facilities:
- Santiago has numerous public and private hospitals, clinics, and medical centers. Clinica Alemana and Clinica Santa Maria are well-known private hospitals in Santiago, offering a range of medical specialties.
- Pharmacies (farmacias) are widely available throughout Santiago. They provide over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and health products. Many medications that require a prescription in other countries can be obtained over the counter in Chile.
It’s important to research and plan for your healthcare needs before traveling to Santiago. Having appropriate health insurance and knowing the locations of hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies can provide peace of mind and ensure that you receive the necessary care in case of any medical concerns during your stay in Santiago.
Staying Fit & Healthy in Santiago
Staying fit and healthy in Santiago, Chile, is both achievable and enjoyable, thanks to the city’s active lifestyle, outdoor spaces, and wellness options.
Santiago’s natural surroundings offer opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and jogging. Explore Parque Metropolitano (San Cristobal Hill) for scenic trails and panoramic views of the city. Enjoy recreational activities in parks such as Parque Forestal and Parque Bicentenario.
Santiago has a range of gyms and fitness centers where you can work out, attend classes, and use modern equipment. Many hotels and apartment complexes also have fitness facilities. Discover yoga and wellness studios across the city that offer classes ranging from vinyasa and hatha to meditation and mindfulness.
Santiago boasts a variety of health-conscious restaurants and cafes that serve fresh salads, smoothies, vegetarian options, and Chilean dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Explore local markets like La Vega Central to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods.
Engage in sports like tennis, soccer, basketball, and swimming at public sports facilities and parks. Venture outside the city for hiking in nearby areas such as Cajón del Maipo and El Morado Glacier. Santiago is becoming more bicycle-friendly, with dedicated bike lanes and cycling events. Consider renting a bike to explore the city and its surroundings.
Join dance classes such as salsa, tango, or Chilean folk dances for a fun and active way to engage with the local culture. Participate in workshops and seminars focused on nutrition, healthy cooking, and overall well-being.
Remember to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and consult with healthcare professionals before starting any new fitness or wellness routine. Embracing Santiago’s active lifestyle and taking advantage of its diverse wellness offerings can contribute to a balanced and fulfilling experience during your time in the city.
Things to Do in Santiago
Santiago, the vibrant capital of Chile, offers a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. From exploring historical sites to indulging in culinary delights, here are some things to do in Santiago:
Explore Cerro San Cristobal:
Take a funicular or hike up to this iconic hill for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Andes mountains. Visit the Virgin Mary statue and enjoy the well-kept gardens.
This bohemian neighborhood is known for its colorful houses, street art, galleries, and lively nightlife. It’s a great place to explore during the day and experience Santiago’s art scene.
Visit La Moneda Palace:
The seat of Chilean government, this historic building offers guided tours and a chance to witness the changing of the guard.
Wander through Plaza de Armas:
Santiago’s main square is surrounded by important landmarks, including the Metropolitan Cathedral, Central Post Office, and Royal Court Palace.
Explore Mercado Central:
A bustling market where you can savor fresh seafood, including Chilean specialties like seafood empanadas and ceviche.
Experience the Andean Culture at La Chascona:
One of Pablo Neruda’s former residences, this museum provides insight into the poet’s life and work.
Discover Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos:
Learn about Chile’s recent history and the human rights violations that occurred during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
Stroll Through Barrio Lastarria:
This charming neighborhood is filled with boutiques, cafes, and cultural attractions, making it a perfect spot for shopping and people-watching.
Day Trip to Valparaíso:
Just a couple of hours away, this UNESCO World Heritage city boasts colorful houses, vibrant street art, and a unique bohemian atmosphere.
Cultural Exploration at Centro Gabriela Mistral (GAM):
This cultural center hosts exhibitions, performances, and workshops that celebrate art, music, literature, and more.
These are just a few of the many activities and experiences awaiting you in Santiago. The city’s blend of history, culture, and modernity ensures that your time here will be filled with enriching moments and memorable adventures.
Weather & Best Time to Visit Santiago
Santiago, Chile, experiences a Mediterranean climate with distinct seasons. The best time to visit Santiago depends on your preferences for weather, outdoor activities, and cultural events. Here’s an overview of the weather and the best times to visit:
Spring (September-November) is a lovely time to visit Santiago as the weather is mild and comfortable. Temperatures gradually rise, and the city’s parks and gardens come to life with blossoms and greenery. It’s a great time for outdoor activities, exploring neighborhoods, and enjoying the local culture.
Summer (December-February) is the peak tourist season in Santiago. The weather is warm and dry, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-20s°C (mid-70s°F) to low 30s°C (mid-80s°F). This is the ideal time for outdoor adventures, visiting vineyards, and enjoying the city’s festivals and events. Be prepared for crowds and higher accommodation prices, especially during the holiday season.
Fall (March-May) is another pleasant season to visit Santiago. The weather remains mild, and the city’s foliage takes on beautiful autumn colors. It’s a good time for sightseeing, cultural events, and wine tours as the grape harvest season begins.
Winter (June-August) is the off-peak season, making it a quieter time to visit. The weather is cooler, with average temperatures ranging from 8°C to 15°C (46°F to 59°F). While not as popular for outdoor activities, winter is a great time for cultural experiences, museums, and indoor attractions. Ski enthusiasts can head to the nearby Andes mountains for skiing and snowboarding.
Keep in mind that weather patterns can vary from year to year. If you’re planning to visit the Andes for skiing or outdoor activities, the winter months are the best choice. For those seeking pleasant weather and fewer crowds, spring and fall offer a great balance. Ultimately, the best time to visit Santiago depends on your interests and the type of experience you’re looking for.
Cost of Living in Santiago
The cost of living in Santiago, Chile, can vary depending on factors such as lifestyle, housing preferences, dining choices, and individual spending habits. While Santiago is generally considered more affordable than some other major cities in the region, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the costs you can expect. Here’s a general breakdown of the cost of living in Santiago:
- Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: CLP 400,000 – 700,000 per month. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center: CLP 300,000 – 500,000 per month.
- Basic lunch at a local eatery: CLP 4,000 – 7,000. Dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant: CLP 25,000 – 40,000
- Groceries for one person per month: CLP 150,000 – 200,000
- Monthly public transportation pass: CLP 45,000 – 70,000
- Taxi ride within the city: CLP 4,000 – 8,000
- Gasoline (per liter): CLP 850 – 950
- Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a small apartment: CLP 30,000 – 50,000 per month
- Basic doctor’s visit: CLP 20,000 – 40,000
Please note that these are approximate prices and can vary based on factors such as location, personal choices, and inflation. Additionally, the cost of living may be higher in certain neighborhoods or during peak tourist seasons. It’s advisable to create a detailed budget based on your specific circumstances and research local prices to get a more accurate understanding of the cost of living in Santiago.
Visa Requirements in Santiago
Santiago is the capital city of Chile, and if you’re planning to visit or stay there, you’ll need to be aware of the visa requirements. Visa requirements can vary based on your nationality, the purpose of your visit, and the length of your stay.
Tourist Visa (Short Stay):
Many nationalities, including citizens of the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia, and New Zealand, do not require a visa for short tourist stays of up to 90 days in Chile. You will typically receive a “Tarjeta de Turismo” (Tourist Card) upon entry, which allows you to stay for up to 90 days.
Temporary Resident Visa (Longer Stay):
If you plan to stay in Santiago or Chile for an extended period, you may need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa. This type of visa is suitable for purposes such as work, study, family reunification, or retirement.
If you plan to work in Santiago, you will need a work visa, which requires a job offer from a Chilean employer. The process for obtaining a work visa can be complex, and it often involves documentation from both your home country and Chile.
If you intend to study in Santiago, you will need a student visa, which requires proof of acceptance from a Chilean educational institution.
Chile offers a retirement visa for individuals who wish to retire in the country. Requirements may include proof of a retirement income and other documentation.
Other Types of Visas:
Chile offers other types of visas for specific purposes, such as diplomatic visas, journalist visas, and investor visas.
It’s important to note that visa requirements and regulations can change, and the process can vary based on your individual circumstances. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding visa requirements for Santiago and Chile, contact the nearest Chilean embassy or consulate in your country or visiting the official website of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Jobs & Work Requirements in Santiago
Working in Santiago, Chile, can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand the local job market, work requirements, and regulations. Here’s some general information about jobs and work requirements in Santiago:
Work Visa Requirements:
If you’re a foreign national planning to work in Santiago, you typically need a work visa. This visa is usually sponsored by a Chilean employer. The employer will need to provide documents such as a job offer letter, a contract, and other required paperwork. Different types of work visas may apply based on the nature of your employment (skilled worker, temporary worker, etc.).
While knowledge of Spanish is not always mandatory for certain specialized positions, having a good command of Spanish can significantly enhance your job prospects and integration into the local work environment.
Santiago offers a diverse job market with opportunities in various industries, including finance, technology, tourism, education, and more. Networking is important in Chile, so attending industry events, workshops, and seminars can help you make connections.
Job Contracts and Benefits:
Employment contracts typically outline terms, salary, benefits, and working hours. Full-time employees often have access to social security benefits, such as healthcare and pension contributions.
Startups and Tech Industry:
Santiago has a growing tech scene, with many startups and tech companies. The city is also known for its entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.
Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is a common job opportunity for English speakers. Language schools and institutes hire foreign teachers.
It’s important to research and understand the specific work requirements, regulations, and necessary documentation based on your individual situation. Consult with the Chilean embassy or consulate and consider seeking advice from legal experts or professional organizations to navigate the process of working in Santiago successfully.
Enjoy your trip to Santiago, Chile!
Always blue skies ✈️