What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
Health related items: vitamins, home remedies like cough drops and cough syrup, special shampoos like selsun blue, tinactin, metamucil -anything from cvs. Electronics: a good laptop, ipad, iphone, portable stereo system, headphones, all of your computer and music cd's. Also transformers of all sizes and strengths for any u.s. electronics. Food items: spices, sauces (I like mexican hot sauce and a-1), fixings for mexican salsa, corn tortillas, giant bag of krusteaz pancake mix, cake mixes, kitchen items like a french press, coffee grinder, garlic press.
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Finding a place that you like in Chile without having your feet on the ground and able to see everything sounds risky. What we did was put all of our US possessions in 20x20 container with a 6 month delivery date. Then we came with just a few suitcases, lived in temporary housing, and found our place by physically going out and investigating places we were interested in. Puerto Varas and Pucon are the two nicest places in the south of Chile that I can recommend. The expats who don't want to live in a big city like Santiago would do well to consider the beautiful, laid back but tasteful cities in the Lakes region.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
We live in a two story house surrounded by a half acre of land with spectacular views of the,lake and the volcanoes. We have 4 bedrooms, three bathrooms, large kitchen and dining rooms, and two large living room areas. There is also decks on the first and second floors. For a $1,000 usd per month it has great value. We've never lived anywhere as nice as this before. In the bay area of California, this property would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
There are two ways to live in Puerto Varas: in town or out of town in the parcelas. There are a lot of parcelas neighborhoods to choose from, but they all have excellent spacious houses on large pieces of land. Our neighborhood has a (private) dirt road and all of our neighbors are professionals. We feel pretty safe even though we are 3 miles from town as the crime is low and law enforcement is good. Plus, all of the neighbors are constantly in touch via whatsapp.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Housing costs here are cheaper or about the same as the US. We're in a house that costs $1,000 USD right now and our rent was half that in Stockton, California. We get a lot more for the money, though, with spectacular views of the lake and volcanoes, a wonderful spacious house and the privacy of a half acre parcela.
10 Tips for Living in Chile
Expats in Chile enjoy the stable economy, friendly people and relatively affordable cost-of-living. Many find becoming close friends with Chileans, who primarily socialize with family, a big challenge. But, the expat community in Chile is strong and offers a great support system for newcomers.