10 COOLEST Places to Live in Chile (Updated 2022)
However… Chile is a big, long country. Choosing where to live is important since travel times can be pretty crazy here.
We here at Nomad Nations have done the hard work for you and found the best places to live in Chile so you can choose the town or city that suits you. Perfect!
So whether you want a cosmopolitan lifestyle, or if you’re looking for a rural retreat, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s get to it!
Staying Safe in Chile
Generally, Chile is a pretty safe place to be.
Like in many countries in the world, the crimes that do happen tend to happen in its cities. Places like Santiago, Iquique, Antofagasta and Valparaiso, for example, is where you are going to find most of the street crime here.
Petty theft and street robbery, often in the form of scams, is the main form of crime you may encounter here.
Regardless – no matter where you travel, you should ALWAYS have travel insurance, and World Nomads is our favorite provider! They have straightforward, and affordable policies – no matter where you travel! Fill out the form below to get a custom quote 🙂
“The centre of all things Chile, Santiago is the bustling capital city for first forays into the country.“
Monthly cost of living in Santiago
cost of rent in Santiago
Santiago is the capital of Chile its most populous city. This is a cultural and creative urban centre, and one of the largest in all the Americas with a population of over 7,000,000 in its dense core.
It’s a place of student protests, galleries and museums, interesting book shops and nightlife – all on a backdrop of the Andes in the distance.
For somewhere to live in the Chilean capital, head to the fun and bohemian Bellavista neighbourhood is a good option; if you want lively nightlife in the form of clubs, bars and dinner spots, head here.
For somewhere less lively, Bellas Artes and Lastarria are two stylish barrios, complete with antique shops and bookstores for daily browsing.
Pros of Santiago
Literally so many things to do/see
Incredible food scene
Cons of Santiago
Definitely can get expensive
Not for you if you don't like cities
Hotspot for crime in Chile (some areas)
In recent years, Santiago has been developing into a top international tourist destination. People are drawn here to wander its multiple hipster-friendly neighbourhoods, enjoy the vintage feels of the buildings, stroll the leafy parks – and get fantastic shots of the city from up on the many hills surrounding it.
There’s so much to see and do here. One thing you can do is take a trip to the La Vega Central Market, where you’ll find an incredible amount of local produce that you’ll have to stop yourself buying so much.
After you’re done grocery shopping, hike some of the nearby hills, like Cerro San Cristobal and marvel at the view.
Digital Nomad Tip
There are a ton of places to work in Santiago. LofWork is a big, bright space; LAUNCH is popular with start-ups and entrepreneurial projects; you’ll find the reliable WeWork, a Chilean chain, across the city (free coffee and stylish interiors).
“A busy beach city with a great coffee culture, Iquique is a unique destination for an adventurous nomad.“
Monthly cost of living in Iquique
cost of rent in Iquique
More than just an urban hub, there’s more to Iquique than first meets the eye. Set on the coast (of course: this is Chile) in the country’s far north, Iquique is an old mining town that looks like a sprawling city but has a lot more depth than you might imagine.
South of Iquique, near to Chipana Rotonda, you’ll find a nice, safe area to live. Also in the south of the city, Cavancha is most definitely a very nice neighbourhood; it’s quieter than other places, feels very secure, but still boasts a decent number of restaurants and bars to choose from.
Pros of Iquique
Great coffee culture
Nice beaches to hang out on
Good local atmosphere
Cons of Iquique
Some unsafe areas
Industrialised parts of the city = ugly
Not a ton of nomad opportunities
Your first stop in Iquique should be the Playa Cavancha. This is a busy beach in the city and it is absolutely massive. Sunday afternoons are where it’s at on the sands; you can find locals playing games, working out and having picnics with their families. Join in and soak it all up.
Though the city is very sprawling, it’s also fairly walkable. There are a number of quiet streets and secluded beach spots where you can get a more private taste of salty sea and sunshine.
Baquedano Street in central Iquique is a charming, picture-perfect place to stroll, lined with wooden-shuttered pastel-coloured houses from the early 1800s.
Digital Nomad Tip
Coffeeshops is where you’ll be working in Iquique. Work Cafe Banco Santander – as the name may suggest – is a good place to get your projects sorted out. It’s part of Santander Bank, actually; a good place for meetings, too.
“Nomads who want a slice of city life in a dramatic seaside setting with mild temperatures all year round should head to Antofagasta.“
Monthly cost of living in Antofagasta
cost of rent in Antofagasta
Technically Chile’s richest city – with the highest GDP per capita of the country – Antofagasta is a booming port city with skyscrapers and natural landscape in abundance. Here you will find La Portada, a rugged coastal park which features a dramatic natural rock arch out to sea as its star attraction.
If you want to live somewhere safe and comfortable in Antofagasta, you should head to the beach – the closer, the better.
This tends to be the south and west areas of the city, where you’ll find things to do day and night and not too much of an issue after dark with safety. The hills tend to be not such a nice place.
Pros of Antofagasta
Not many tourists at all
Cons of Antofagasta
Can get pretty expensive
Crime is an issue
Rain really disrupts the city
Just to the north of Antofagasta, you will find the Tropic of Capricorn monument, which marks the imaginary line that goes around the globe. There’s also the Hand of the Desert, a large sculpture – of a hand, obviously – in the desert, about 60km southeast of the city.
To learn more about the heritage of this city – once part of Bolivia – go to Huanchaca Ruins Museum. Set in a late 19th-century silver smelter, this interesting and visually striking place showcases local natural and human history.
Digital Nomad Tip
Espacio Atacama is a local business centre, complete with conference rooms and desks to work at; it’s also got a decent kitchen where you can get coffee and sandwiches.
#4 San Pedro de Atacama
“Intrepid nomads who feel like getting away from it all should be thinking about a move to San Pedro de Atacama!“
Monthly cost of living in San Pedro de Atacama
cost of rent in San Pedro de Atacama
High in the dry plateau of Puna de Atacama, San Pedro de Atacama is an oasis town that is more than just a desert outpost.
It’s here where you can learn about the incredible pre-Colombian civilisations that made this town home long before invading Europeans did – over two thousand years before, in fact!
As it’s such a small place (this is basically a village), everything is pretty easy to reach. So you’re not so isolated, live amongst the hostels, cafes and friendly locals of the central area.
Being such a small place you’ll be bound to become a talking point after a while, so it’ll be easy to make friends.
Pros of San Pedro de Atacama
A unique place to live (or say you've lived)
Incredible nature to explore
Charming and cute town
Cons of San Pedro de Atacama
Tourists could get annoying
Very small, not a lot to do
The internet isn't the best
Part of Bolivia until it was claimed (and won) by Chile in a series of late 19th-century conflicts, the town itself a simple and unique place to base yourself, complete with history and modern quirks.
There’s the 17th-century Iglesia San Pedro de Atacama, one of the first churches in South America, built in the indigenous adobe style.
For some truly epic hiking or biking, opportunities, head to the crazy landscape in the surrounding area.
There’s the Valle de la Luna, for one. Think flat land, pink-streaked mountains and alien rock formations that glow in the sunset; nothing short of surreal.
Digital Nomad Tip
For such a small place, cafes are ten a penny in San Pedro de Atacama. Try Cafè Peregrino, with great food and coffee in cool surroundings. Or you could tuck into a burrito and get some work done at Cafetería Yali.
#5 La Serena
“La Serena has some awesome beaches, but also some colourful local sights too, creating the perfect balance for a nomad beckoned by the sea.“
Monthly cost of living in La Serena
cost of rent in La Serena
Far to the north of Santiago, La Serena is a laid-back city with a completely different feel to the capital – and many other Chilean cities.
This place is famous for its beaches, particularly the very long El Faro, which is also known for its historic lighthouse (hence the name: faro means “lighthouse”).
For somewhere to live close to beaches of La Serena, you should hit up San Joaquin. Otherwise, Cerro Grande is a good place to base yourself.
Both of these neighbourhoods are safe and located just a stones through from the very long stretch of sun, sea and sand that is Playa El Faro.
Pros of La Serena
Friendly local scene
The beaches are amazing
Good street food and markets
Cons of La Serena
Not a lot of diversity going on
Traffic can get very bad
Infrastructure needs improving
In the centre of La Serena, at Mercado La Recova, you will find a whole selection of different eateries to try out; this is the city’s most interesting and lively market and a good place to come to jump right into local life. Here it’s all about the food, so if you’re a foodie this will be your actual paradise.
For places to chill and stroll in town, head to the greenery of the Japanese Garden in central La Serena; this is a beautiful botanical garden that’s just right for breathing a breath of fresh air. Elsewhere the city park of Plaza de Armas is particularly nice in summer.
Digital Nomad Tip
Looking for a coworking space? Look no further than La Brújula Cowork, a very popular spot in the city that’s modern and professional; there are workshops and activities too, making it a great place to build your network.
#6 Viña del Mar
Monthly cost of living in Viña del Mar
cost of rent in
Viña del Mar
Though Valparaíso and its northern neighbour Viña del Mar are technically two cities, in reality, they both spill over into each other, sharing (in the south at least) the same metro line.
Even though the practically share the same space, they feel very different. Viña del Mar is all about living by the sea: kayaking, soaking up the sun and beach parties.
For somewhere to live in this seaside retreat, a good neighbourhood to start looking here is Cerro Castillo – safe, hilly, with nice houses in abundance, it’s also connected by a metro stop.
Reñaca is another good spot; relatively affluent, bohemian and always ready for fun, the beach here is all about chilling in the day and partying by night.
Pros of Viña del Mar
Feels like two cities in one
Cons of Viña del Mar
Maybe too lively for some
Lots of high-rise buildings
Lacks a bit of history and culture
The resort town of Viña del Mar is also home to the Quinta Vergara Park, which is where you will find the amphitheatre as well as an early 20th-century palace.
There’s also the Artequin Museum, a good place to come for art lovers with lots of modern works to enjoy and interactive workshops to get involved with.
Golf lovers can also get their golf on at the city’s sizeable Granadilla Golf Course, complete with views of the city and the sea from on high.
If you prefer hiking, on the other hand, head to the Laguna Sausalito: a beautiful lake surrounded by parkland.
Digital Nomad Tip
Big Bang Work Coworking is a good spot to get on with your projects in Viña del Mar. Or you could try UrbanWork, located inside an old-style building, boasting a cafe and lots of space for work.
“For nomads who want a gritty city with tons of character, Valparaíso is all about culture on the coast.“
Monthly cost of living in Valparaíso
cost of rent in Valparaíso
Valparaíso is famous for a lot of things: not only did this city by the sea have Latin America’s first stock exchange, but it boasts the oldest Spanish language newspaper still in print: El Mercurio de Valparaíso.
This is Chile’s cultural capital, where there’s never not some sort of event, concert, show, exhibition or interesting thing going on.
For a safe and pretty fun place to live in Valparaíso, you should base yourself in the winding cobbled lanes of Cerro Alegre; this area comes complete with boutiques and cool cafes to enjoy a moment of chill.
Cerro Concepción is also a fun place to be, with its colourful houses and narrow streets that’s generally a pretty safe place to be, too.
Pros of Valparaíso
Literally so much culture
A lot of stuff to learn
By the sea living
Cons of Valparaíso
Relatively high level of crime
Some not so nice areas
High level of poverty in general
Packed with things to do, potential residents of Valparaíso should go to one of the city’s many museums and galleries to learn about just what made this spot what it is today.
The Naval Museum of History and the Natural History Museum are particularly good for learning about the area and its heritage. There’s also the Centro Cultural Ex-Carcel.
This former prison, where Chilean dictator General Pinochet used to detain and torture political prisoners, has been revitalised and taken over by the community; today it’s a cultural centre to promote the whole province.
Digital Nomad Tip
Valparaíso has a few coworking spaces; we would say head to iF Alto Valparaíso. This is a good spot to get some of your work done – and to get some networking done in the city, as well.
“With its coastal vibes and big city feel on a small scale, Concepción is that off the beaten track alternative that hip nomads should hop to.“
Monthly cost of living in Concepción
cost of rent in Concepción
Concepción is a (relatively) buzzing coastal city complete with beaches and skyscrapers. A student city with more than one university to its name, nightlife here can be vibrant, the cafes cool, and the shopping quirky and diverse.
Come here to get your taste of by the sea living that makes a nice alternative to the go-to of Santiago. If you’re looking for an affordable area to base yourself in Concepción that’s still a safe place to live, then try the Barrio Universitario.
This is a middle-class neighbourhood that’s near to the University of Concepción as well as Ecuador Park. There’s also Callao, which is situated next to the University of the Bío Bío.
Pros of Concepción
Close to Helsinki (minus the price)
Nicely sized town
Loads of coworking spaces
Cons of Concepción
Some sketchy areas known for drugs
Largest city in one of Chile's poorest regions
A lot of earthquakes (!)
Because of the not so big, but also not tiny size, of the city, getting around to find some cool things to do, see or otherwise occupy your time with is relatively easy in Concepción.
You could walk around the University of Concepción, for one thing, which is a buzzing but leafy area. Then you could get something to eat – and a drink or two – in the bustling Plaza Peru.
In the evening you could see an opera at the University of Concepción theatre. There’s also many beaches nearby, such as Playa Bellavista.
Digital Nomad Tip
Plentiful coworking spaces to be had in Concepción. But we like Working House: beautiful space and a sociable atmosphere. We also like SocialB, with its warm environment, run by a cool crowd of people.
“With its nearby vineyards and proximity to Santiago, Rancagua is for wine-lovers who also enjoy being close to (but not in) big cities.“
Monthly cost of living in Rancagua
cost of rent in Rancagua
The largest city (and capital) of Chile’s O’Higgins Region, Rancagua might not seem like the obvious choice for a nomad, but wait!
If you’re at all interested in wine, you may want to consider this overlooked city: it’s surrounded by vineyards making it a great place to explore some of the local Chilean wine.
For somewhere specific to live in Rancagua you should try Paseo Estado – this is where you will find a whole load of shopping malls and even independent shops, too.
Alternatively, you could choose to live just out of the town itself in the smaller and more chilled suburban town of Machalí.
Pros of Rancagua
Lots of shopping opportunities
Close to Santiago (1 hour train/bus)
Cons of Rancagua
Except for wine, not that interesting
Not that pretty either
Crime can be an issue
Rancagua is also known for its huaso – Chilean gauchos or cowboys, basically. There’s a rodeo here, known as the Rancagua Medialuna, but not just that; the mix of European immigrants, especially from Argentina, and local indigenous population has resulted in a particular culture in this region.
If you want to explore the surrounding area, head to Sewell – a fascinating abandoned mining town in the Andes; there’s also the Aconcagua Valley, complete with dramatic landscapes dotted with pretty towns like Santa Cruz, where you’ll find the interesting Aconcagua Museum.
Digital Nomad Tip
WeDo Cowork is a beautifully decorated and professional coworking space in Rancagua. There’s also OHCowork, which is modern and spacious; they run events, have views of the surrounding mountains, and is an easygoing space.
“With a combo of adventure sports and rustic living, Pucón is one for the outdoors-loving nomad.“
Monthly cost of living in Pucón
cost of rent
A small city situated in the heart of central Chile’s Lake District, Pucón itself lies on the shores of Lake Villarrica with Villarrica volcano a stone’s throw to the south.
A mecca for outdoorsy pursuits, there’s not a lot you can’t do in Pucón: snowboarding, zip lining, skydiving, white water rafting, and climbing the volcano itself, to name just a few.
We would definitely suggest that you stay in the centre of Pucón; this is a resort town after all, and it’s in the middle of it where you’ll find the best accommodation on offer and all near amenities, nightlife (in high season) and the beach on Lake Villarrica, too.
Pros of Pucón
Perfect for adventure sports lovers
Plenty of natural chill and beauty
Can be a pretty fun, buzzy place
Cons of Pucón
Cold and wet for a long 8-month winter
From Jan-Feb and in July tourists crowd the town...
... But then Pucón almost shuts down outside tourist season!
It’s not just the adventurous amongst you who will love the opportunity to get that adrenaline pumping in Pucón. People who like a breath of fresh air will enjoy it here too, with even things like horseback riding and soaking in hot springs on offer for an all-round taste of life away from bustling cities.
Speaking of taste, chocoholics and chocolate fiends take note: there’s even an Annual Chocolate Festival in Pucón. So even though you’re on the borders of Northern Patagonia you’ll be able to celebrate chocolate – even though it’ll be a different way to celebrate it than eating it by yourself in bed.
Digital Nomad Tip
Cowork Pucón is a crazy good coworking space. For one thing, it’s open 24 hours a day! It boasts superfast internet, lots of natural light and is well heated (good in winter). Good location and easily the best in Pucón.
Final Thoughts on the Best Places to live in all of Chile
There you have it folks, the best of the best places to live in Chile.
Thoughts? We’re thinking it’s a pretty good list if we don’t mind saying so ourselves!
With everything on here from coastal cities – something that Chile does very well – to retreats out in the Atacama Desert, you’ll be spoilt for choice with cool places to base yourself.
Go for the oasis retreat of San Pedro de Atacama, head for the adventure sports central of Pucón, or get your fill of lively beach resort at Viña del Mar.
Whichever you choose, you’re bound to have a blast in Chile!
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