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Expat Exchange - 7 Tips for Living in Santiago 2024
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7 Tips for Living in Santiago

By Betsy Burlingame

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Summary: Advice for people moving to Santiago or thinking about moving there.

Living in Santiago - 7 Tips for Living in Santiago

This is a must read if you're moving to Santiago or thinking about moving there.

Living in Santiago as an expat or digital nomad can be an exciting adventure. This bustling city offers a rich cultural experience, a vibrant nightlife, and a diverse food scene. However, to make the most of your stay, it's important to understand the local customs, navigate the city efficiently, and immerse yourself in the local culture. Here are seven key tips to help you thrive in Santiago.

1. Learn the Language

While many people in Santiago speak English, especially in the business and tourism sectors, learning Spanish will greatly enhance your experience. Not only will it make daily tasks like shopping and dining easier, but it will also allow you to connect with locals on a deeper level. Consider taking Spanish classes or using language learning apps to improve your skills.

2. Understand the Public Transportation System

Santiago has an extensive public transportation system, including the Metro de Santiago and the Transantiago bus system. Familiarize yourself with these systems to navigate the city efficiently. Remember to get a Bip! card, which is used to pay for both bus and metro rides. Also, be aware that public transportation can get crowded during peak hours, so plan your travel accordingly.

3. Explore the Neighborhoods

Santiago is divided into several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. For instance, Bellavista is known for its vibrant nightlife and colorful street art, while Providencia is home to many cafes, restaurants, and shops. Las Condes and Vitacura are upscale neighborhoods with high-end boutiques and restaurants. Spend time exploring these neighborhoods to discover local gems and get a feel for the city's diverse culture.

4. Enjoy the Local Cuisine

Chilean cuisine is a blend of traditional indigenous foods and European influences. Be sure to try local dishes like empanadas, pastel de choclo (a corn and meat pie), and cazuela (a hearty stew). Santiago is also known for its seafood, so don't miss out on dishes like machas a la parmesana (razor clams with parmesan). For a fine dining experience, consider visiting Boragó or Ambrosía, two of Santiago's top-rated restaurants.

5. Visit the City's Parks and Museums

Santiago is home to several beautiful parks and fascinating museums. Parque Metropolitano, also known as Cerro San Cristóbal, offers stunning views of the city and has a zoo, botanical gardens, and swimming pools. Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino and Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos are must-visit museums that offer insights into Chile's pre-Columbian history and its recent past under the Pinochet dictatorship.

6. Be Aware of Safety

While Santiago is generally safe, like any large city, it has areas that are best avoided, especially at night. Be aware of your surroundings, avoid displaying expensive items, and use reputable taxi services or ride-sharing apps. Also, be prepared for earthquakes, which are common in Chile. Familiarize yourself with safety procedures and always have a plan in case of an emergency.

7. Get Involved in the Community

One of the best ways to feel at home in Santiago is to get involved in the local community. This could be through joining clubs, participating in local events, or volunteering. Research groups and organizations that align with your interests and get involved. This will not only help you make friends and connections, but also deepen your understanding of Chilean culture and society.

Living in Santiago, Chile can be a rewarding and enriching experience. By following these tips, you can navigate the city like a local, immerse yourself in the culture, and make the most of your time in this vibrant city.

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Fun, easy and effective language courses designed by language experts. Learn 41 languages from your native language. Anytime, anywhere, on any device. 50 topics to prepare you for the most common situations. 36 vocabulary builders to install words fast. 41 real conversations to give you fluency.

Mondly by PearsonMondly by Pearson

Fun, easy and effective language courses designed by language experts. Learn 41 languages from your native language. Anytime, anywhere, on any device. 50 topics to prepare you for the most common situations. 36 vocabulary builders to install words fast. 41 real conversations to give you fluency.
Learn More

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

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