Finding a place to live in a foreign country can be overwhelming, but in Chile, foreigners have a wide range of options and prices.
Renters have the option of renting a house, apartment, or a single room in a shared apartment. Buyers have no restrictions on acquiring land in Chile, regardless of their nationality and immigration status. And for short-term stays in Chile, many students choose to maximize their experience by staying in a family home.
Choosing where to live
Living in Chile gives you the opportunity to wake up to some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. In the capital you have easy access to the Andes mountains and one of the most dynamic, cosmopolitan cities in South America. Living outside the capital is generally less expensive, and there are climates for every taste, from sunny beaches in the north to green countryside in the south.
As of May 2011, an unfurnished apartment in the nerve center of downtown Santiago rents from anywhere upwards of US$350; a two bedroom house in the residential district of Ñuñoa, known for its active nightlife and cultural scene, can be found for about US$850.
In Chile’s second largest city, the southern metropolis of Concepción, a three bedroom house rents for around US$300. In Arica, Chile’s northernmost city, and in the scenic port city of Valparaíso, renters can find apartments for anything upwards of US$300.
Bear in mind, however, that many unfurnished houses and apartments require longer leases and a Chilean RUT (personal ID number), available only if you’re in Chile on a work or study visa. For visitors in Chile for a shorter time, furnished places may be better, though a bit more expensive.
If you are looking to rent or buy, there are several useful English-language websites for house hunters. ContactChile is a relocation-oriented website with listings of furnished rooms and apartments for rent. HomeChile is a popular site that offers listings for rentals in Santiago, while CompartoDepto is great for finding roommates and furnished rooms. One of Chile’s largest daily papers, El Mercurio, also has listings in its daily issue and online.
Short-term visitors should also look at the hotel options upon arriving in Chile. Apart-hotels offer furnished and independent apartments (“apart” from the main building) for long periods. In addition, there are the traditional hotels, whose quality, comforts and prices are reflected in their star count.
For many students, learning about a host country’s culture is one of the most attractive features of living abroad, and living with a family can give you a unique insight into Chilean society. The families who offer to host students are often middle-class professionals in university neighborhoods like Providencia and Macul. Rent often includes meals, and gives both the student and the family an opportunity for cultural exchange.
Moving as a family
If you are planning to relocate with your family, you will find a wide range of options of 3- to 4- bedroom houses in residential neighborhoods of Santiago like Las Condes, La Florida, and Vitacura. Chile has a large middle class and its neighborhoods are generally safe. Look for streets that are well-lit, with visible entrances and public transportation services.