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Vichuquén

Chile has great getaway spots! Some areas, like the pisco sour route from Vicuña to Pisco Elquí (4th Region), have retained their colonial Spanish flavor while undergoing modernization and upkeep for tourism. Vichuquén (northern 7th Region, not far from the coast) is another such place. The town is simply lovely, clean and even romantic. The majority of buildings retain their color and colonial style, with clean streets and updated walkways. The amenities for tourists are not quite up to par yet, but they are getting there and one would thoroughly enjoy a short stay in this town. Take a look at the following images of buildings and the well-done church and plaza.

Some of the buildings still need some work, as seen below, with some of them possibly having been damaged by the earthquake of February 27, 2010.

The pine forest setting all around the town is very nice, rending the overall visit even more satisfying.

The biggest plus is found just up the road: Lago Vichuquén, replete with nice lakeside homes

Leaving town and driving west towards the ocean, one encounters a small mountain pass with endless pine forests. Note that the roads to the west (Iloca, 7th Region) and the north (Pichilemu, 6th Region, famous for surfing coves) are all dirt, just barely passable for an automobile in the summer or fall.

The Chilean coastal forest areas provide a number of relaxing vacation or recreation options, many of which carry a feel of being relatively undiscovered and yet only a few hours’ drive south of Santiago. If one has the time, such places are worth visiting. Sightseeing and enjoying natural attractions certainly makes living in Santiago more delightful. 

Be sure to check out our sustainable community project, Freedom Orchard, at www.vergellibertad.com

 Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Forestry Areas in Chile

Chile is a land of plenty. It has plenty of copper, silver and gold. It has plenty of fish and seafood. It has plenty of wine. It has plenty of fruits and vegetables. It has plenty of dairy products. It has plenty of pork products. It also has plenty of paper and lumber products. Eucalyptus and Lenga are favorite hardwood trees for harvest, and Oregon, radiata and other variety of pine trees are grown for pulp and building lumber. Lands are private so replanting is practiced. The growing cycle is from 10 to 30 years, depending on the tree, with Eucalyptus being one of the fastest-growing (used for decks, fencing, etc.). Pine trees grow relatively fast in the Chilean soil and climate. When driving though Chile’s midsection, it is commonplace to see large stands of trees planted for future harvest, along with many log trucks moving along the roadways.

If you are familiar with southern Georgia or the Pacific Northwest in the USA, then you will feel right at home in the 7th through 10th regions of Chile. The bigger lumber mills start in Constitución (coastal 7th Region) and go down to San José de la Mariquina (14th Region), with the biggest mills and paper plants being found in the 8th Region, not too far from Concepción, along with the coastal 7th Region and northern 9th Region around Angol. Towns like Arauco, Santa Fe, Nacimiento and Laja (8th Region) are dominated by a huge paper plant. According to this article, there are between 4 and 5 million acres of land planted with trees for harvest. Chile is the world’s 5th largest pulp exporter, behind Canada, the United States, Sweden and Brazil. The biggest pulp companies in Chile are (1) Celulosa Arauco y Constitución, (2) CMPC and (3) Celco.

The area is full of views of endless pine and other trees. Most of the forests are found closer to the coast, especially in the 7th and 8th regions, since the farming of the central valley dominates the landscape down through the Central Valley (passing through those two regions) and the lakes district valley from Temuco to Puerto Montt.

Pulp, paper and lumber are hardly “minor” industries in Chile. Here is an image of forest on the Andes side of Chile, just about 20 kilometers east of Parral (7th Region). There is forestry-related business on the Andes side of Chile, too. Santa Barbara, Entre Lagos, Curacautín and Lonquimay are other examples of Andes-side areas with forestry activity.

There are many small lumber and paper mills throughout the south-central section of Chile. One can see them around Arauco, Angol, Los Sauces, Collipulli, Purén, Cañete, Curanilahue, Laja, Florida, Quillón, Quirihue, Cauquenes, Chanco, Empedrado, Licantén, Curepto, Santa Fe, Constitución, La Unión, Purranque, Río Negro, Fresia, Riachuelo and Los Muermos. The Chilean forest district provides a number of recreational options. If one has the time, such places are worth visiting. There are times when you simply cannot beat a drive through a conifer forest! Sightseeing and enjoying natural attractions certainly makes living in Santiago more delightful. 

Be sure to check out our sustainable community project, Freedom Orchard, at www.vergellibertad.com

 Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Corridor of Inexpensive Housing Near Concepción

Do you want to move to Chile on a budget? Do you need an inexpensive house? The first thing I want to recommend is a building lot in Freedom Orchard, or Vergel Libertad, where one can get a nice lot plus build a new 2,000 square foot home for under US$200,000 total cost. But even that amount is beyond the reach of some people. So here is another solution.

I am no fan of the Concepción area, especially ugly Talcahuano, but there are some advantages living near Chile’s third city: a major airport with many flights a day, connecting to the world through Santiago, a low cost of living, high availablity of goods and services, good public transportation, decent schools and universities, recreational activities, better job prospects than smaller areas and nice surroundings to visit.

As I was driving through one of Concepción’s southern suburbs, San Pedro de la Paz, and continuing down to Coronel (a depressed coal mining town) I saw a remarkable number of townhomes and apartments for sale along the coast and close to train tracks that run up into town. These brand new, one to three bedroom homes are small, but priced between 800 and 1,300 UF, which works out to around US$38,900 to US$63,200. For that kind of money, many more Americans and Europeans with meager means could consider buying a unit outright for cash and then live off a combination of savings and work in the area (even if just teaching English or working from home). I remember driving through places like Oil City, Pennsylvania and towns on the border between Kentucky and West Virginia, as well as certain parts of inner city Grand Rapids, Michigan, where one could buy a home outright in the 1990s for under US$15,000. I had the same thought then about people being able to live for cheap, although in most of those places job opportunities would not be as good as they are near low-unemployment Concepción.

One potencial problem with the area, too, is that it is loaded with communists. San Pedro de la Paz and Concepción are themselves mixed cities that might even tend toward the Right. But Lota and Coronel to the south of Concepcion, just like Concepcón’s neighbor ugly Talcahuano (represented by Chavista Senador Navarro), are loaded with communists. Other cities in Chile with a strong communist presence include Coquimbo, Chañaral, Caldera, Diego de Almagro, Calama, Antofagasta and Copiapó. Ditto for poorer sections of Iquique, Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. For some newcomers with libertarian or classical liberal ideas, living near high concentrations of leftists and communists might be unbearable. I think one can do well in places like this corridor in spite of them, but I want to forewarn people about the political situation.

Here are a few links to check out and see examples of what homes are available (a little internet searching will produce many other links):

Socovesa homes

CIS homes

Pocuro homes

Urbani apartments (starting at 1,380 UF)

Aitue apartments (starting at 1,500 UF)

Local prperty search engine

These prices are even lower than those of new but smaller apartments in downtown Santiago. As far as I have seen, the Valparaíso area does not offer such low prices.

The Chilean central coast provides a number of scenic wooded areas, many of which are small and out-of-the-way. If one has the time, such places are worth visiting. Sightseeing and enjoying natural attractions six hours south of town certainly makes living in Santiago more delightful. 

Be sure to check out our sustainable community project, Freedom Orchard, at www.vergellibertad.com

 Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Differences in Driving Rules in Chile

     Actually, driving rules are not very different between the USA (or most of Europe) and Chile. Nevertheless, there are a few important differences that stand out and newcomers should be aware of them. Newcomers can drive in Chile with the passport and foreign driver’s licenses. Those who gain temporary visas can probably get away with leaving their passport home and carrying their Chilean ID card instead. But it is much easier to talk to the cop that stops you in English, frustrating him, when he sees that you only have a foreign passport and a driver’s license that he cannot read. After attaining permanent residency they are required to get a Chilean license if they want to drive.
     The only five noticeable rules are (1) if you hit a person you could be arrested and charged with murder, a fact which is important since it is not unusual to have pedestrians (who do not drive and thus have no sense about what it is like to be a driver’s position on the road) dart out in front of you, (2) if you have any alcohol whatsoever in your system you could lose your license for life since there is a “zero tolerance” rule in Chile, (3) there are no right turns on red unless a permission sign is posted, (4) it is illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving unless one has a “hands-free” system (via Bluetooth) installed and (5) people are very self-centered and discourteous drivers compared to the USA and Europe, making driving more stressful and hazardous. There may be other rule differences as well that I am unaware of, but these are the rules which stand out to me. One other practice worth noting is that cars will stop and block a lane anywhere and at any time. They believe that they have the right to do so simply because they turn on their emergency flashers. Oh and one other thing, be prepared to experience liberal horn use for just about any reason! (This fact is even true in areas with signs posted that prohibit use of the car horn.)

 Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Seaside Towns of the Southern 4th and Northern 5th Regions

Chile has spectacular beach resorts or residential areas in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Regions, including Bahía InglesaLas Tacas, Zapallar and Rocas de Santo Domingo (including Las Brisas). I have written entries on each of these places before. Really, little else in Chile matches them. There are, of course, pockets of other great beach areas. Playa La Virgen in the 3rd Region is one unforgettable place, but it has little in the way of amenities for visitors. There are other nice 5th Region options in Algarrobo, Maitencillo, Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Huasco, Concón and Papudo, but none of them rise to the level of being “spectacular.” The same is true for the smattering of nice beaches in Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, Chañaral (Pan de Azúcar), La Serena, El Tabo and some coves south of Pichilemu. I am intentionally excluding all the rocky, scenic beaches in the southern half of Chile from Constitución to Puerto Williams since they are not very suitable for swimming or sunbathing, although I have seen surfers with full cover wetsuits in some place along that coastline.

Just in case you are interested in finding a quiet, little beach that is very nice and yet is only a few hours north of Santiago, I have included some images from beach areas in little towns (most of them with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants) off of Ruta 5. The first one, in the 5th Region, is Pichicuy:

The next town is Los Molles:

Then comes somewhat larger, and better developed with Amenities, Pichidangui (4th Region). Of all the beaches in this section of Chile, this one seems to have the greatest future potential, as one can imagine after seeing the images.

Along the way, near Totoralillo, a little restaurant seemed to be a big attraction for several foxes.

Then there is Los Vilos, by far the largest town, but quite dumpy and hardly to the level of Huasco in terms of its beaches.


The Chilean desert provides a number of relaxing beach options, many of which are small and out-of-the-way. If one has the time, such places are worth visiting. Sightseeing and enjoying natural attractions certainly makes living in Santiago more delightful. 

Be sure to check out our sustainable community project, Freedom Orchard, at www.vergellibertad.com

 Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Fertile Valleys in the Chilean Desert

Without a doubt, Chile’s greatest agricultural production is found in its Central Valley, embedded in the 5th through 8th regions and the Región Metropolitana. However, there is important production, too, in the arid 3rd and 4th regions, as well as the rainy 9th, 14th and 10th regions further south. There is also irrigated production inland from Arica (15th Region), which has the highest productivity of any farmland in Chile due to its sunny, mild climate, as well as pockets of desert agriculture in places like Pica in the 1st Region (up from Iquique) and Tierra Amarilla in the 3rd Region (near Copiapó), plus seasonal farming in Chile Chico, Íngeniero Ibañez and other parts of the 11th Region. Perusing my recent entry about the north central 5th Region, one can clearly see the agricultural presence in that arid environment. That sort of agricultural presence in the desert continues through the 4th Region and up to the southern 3rd Region. The most important of these riverside farming belts are as follows:

4th Region

1. Río Choapa valley: especially settlements of El Tambo, Salamanca, Chillepin and Cuncumén.


The drive through the Río Choapa valley looks like this:




Salamanca is the principal town (although Illapel, just north of the valley, is the largest supply hub), and some of the modern buildings (like the city hall) are indicative of the significant agricultural and mining money in the area:





El Tambo is a sleepy town near Salamanca:




Driving up the valley (close to the Argentine border) one arrives in Cuncumén, with a far smaller population but quite significant stretches of farmland, some of which climbs up the hillsides.






2. Río Grande, Río Hurtado and Río Los Molles system valleys: especially settlements of Pichasca, Samo Alto, Carén, Monte Patria, Ovalle and La Chimba.
The Río Hurtado valley, just above the Recoleta dam features a number of small communities like Samo Alto and Pichasca, replete with oranges, avocados, potatoes and other vegetables.

3. Río Elqui valley (which I have written on before with photographs included): especially settlements of El Tambo, Vicuña, Paihuano, Montegrande and Pisco Elqui.

3rd Region

4. Río Huasco, Río Conay and Río del Carmen system valleys: especially settlements of Freirina, VallenarAlto del Carmen, El Tránsito, and San Félix.
Here are some images near or in Freirina:

There are large dams in the Elqui, Hurtado and Huasco valleys to facilitate agriculture in these arid areas. The Santa Juana dam above Vallenar is pictured below (in the fall, April, when water levels are lowest):

Here is the plaza of Alto del Carmen:

San Félix and nearby agriculture can be seen in the following images:
All sorts of crops are produced in these valleys, especially pisco (sour) grapes and table grapes, but also citrus, figs, papaya, avocado, potatoes and other vegetables. Lush agriculture amidst the desert backdrop is one of Chile’s wonders. The key issue in these dry areas is, of course, water resource management. The dams in these valleys largely meet conservation needs. Sightseeing and enjoying natural attractions like farming areas certainly makes living in Santiago more delightful. I hope you will consider joining us soon in Chile!

Be sure to check out our sustainable community project, Freedom Orchard, at www.vergellibertad.com

 Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

San Félix

Some places in Chile are simply delightful destinations. Located in Chile’s 3rd Region, inland (southeast) of Vallenar, San Félix is one such place. Even if one includes the adjacent settlement of Cerro Allegre, the town cannot have much more than 500 or 600 inhabitants. But the setting is charming, quaint and in its own way beautiful. There are cabañas to rent for stay-overs and a couple small rural restaurants to get a sandwich or light meal which feature locally-grown food. The setting is a valley of desert Andes mountains, fertile with potatoes and pisco sour grapes (or table grapes), among other crops, produced by farms irrigated with the Río del Carmen. The next town toward Vallenar, Alto del Carmen, is famous for its use as a pisco sour brand name and is located at the confluence of the Río del Carmen and the Río Conay. San Félix is very much out of the way but, still, very much worth a visit if you are touring the area. I am generally not a fan of northern Chile landscapes, which are totally eclipsed by what one can see in the south of Chile, but there are a few northern gems like San Félix here and there (including its cousin in the 1st Region, verdent Camiña, with its colonial and peruvian architectural flavor). Here are a couple of images of nearby landscapes:

The plaza in San Félix is very well done, with beautiful, mature trees and well-built infrastructure. It reminded me of places I have seen in southern Italy or southern Spain.

The Río del Carmen can be seen as one enters San Félix.

The rest of the town is very typical for rural Chile, although the construction seems to be cleaner and better kept up than what one would normally find in Chile’s dumpy “Second World.”

Located about nine or ten hours north of Santiago by car, San Félix is just one of Chile’s many interesting places to see. The town is not to be confused with Isla San Félix, far to the west off of the Chilean coast (part of the 5th Region). Sightseeing and enjoying natural attractions certainly makes living in Santiago more bearable and one’s life in Chile more delightful. Be sure to check out our sustainable community project, Freedom Orchard, at www.vergellibertad.com
 Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Huasco

If you happen to get up one day wanting to go to the beach, and do not mind driving nine hours north of Santiago, you might consider Huasco (just west of Vallenar, 3rd Region of Chile). Huasco (population 8,976) is a typical dumpy Chilean town, with some improvements here and there. Nothing to write home about, but the boardwalk and wide beach are just fine.

It also hardly ever rains in Huasco and the environment is safe and relaxing. One can rent a decent hotel room in the off-season (April through December) for about US$75. You might want to be sure to get the same hotel pictured below. We did not see anything else that was comparable–at least not in town.

The rest of the town is not worth much. There are a few nicer structures scattered over a slew of dilapidated buildings and some sort of smelter. The views of the ocean and surrounding rocky coastline are fine. Too bad the natural beauty has been marred, instead of enhanced, by human settlement.

Huasco is just one of Chile’s many interesting places to see; of special interest to sunbathers and perhaps surfers. Sightseeing and enjoying natural attractions certainly makes living in the hustle and bustle of Santiago more bearable (or enjoyable depending on how one views city life) and one’s life in Chile more delightful. 

Be sure to check out our sustainable community project, Freedom Orchard, at www.vergellibertad.com
 Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

North Central 5th Region of Chile

Do you like lush, fruitful farmland surrounded by towering arid mountains? If so, the north central 5th Region of Chile may be your ideal destination. The area is full of colonial-era adobe stables and structures, stone walls (de estilo inca) and adobe walls embedded with curious wooden doors. Certainly not all of Chile is like modern Santiago and Viña del Mar. The images below were taken on a road between San Estéban and Santa María, just north of Los Andes and San Felipe.

The following shots were taken in a town north of Putaendo, in a sector called Rinconada de Guzmán.

There are, obviously, parts of Chile with an old-world flavor. While one may not want to live in these places, they are rustic and quaint, and certainly interesting to see on a day trip tour of Santiago (about three hours’ drive north). One surprising aspect is that these structures have remained in place for, perhaps, centuries, in a land replete with earthquakes. 

The main towns in this section of Chile are Putaendo (pop. 15,175), Alicahue (pop. approx. 450), Chincolco (pop. approx. 1,500), Petorca (pop. 10,104) and Cabildo (pop. 19,572). The following images were taken in Putaendo.

None of the towns in the area are anything to write home about. However, the scenery is quite impressive. For instance, consider the planted valleys overshadowed by massive desert mountains above El Tártaro pictured below. The 5th Region is known for its ports, beaches and agriculture. But this part of the region seems much more like the drier, nearby 4th Region.

Driving along the road toward Cabildo, one sees many flowering cacti, especially in the early fall.

In the Alicahue area one finds much agriculture amidst the barren mountains.

This church and setting are indicative of much of the area: very quaint and inviting.

The overall scenery reaches its apex as one drives the dirt road between Alicahue and Chincolco.

The road is lined with flowering cacti, with the verdant valley of Chincolco in the distant background.

Here is a roadway coming into Chincolco, a colonial-era adobe house with wooden door, and a bridge:

There are lots of nice looking farms coming into Petorca. Irrigation does wonders in an otherwise arid environment.

Town of Petorca:

Town of Cabildo:

Chile is chock full of interesting places to see, many of them not far from Santiago. One of Chile’s most striking features is its agricultural capability, and certainly the north central part of the 5th Region forms an important part of that capability. Sightseeing certainly makes living in Santiago more bearable and one’s life in Chile more interesting. Be sure to check out our sustainable community project, Freedom Orchard, at www.vergellibertad.com
 Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Freedom Orchard

Chile has been somewhat of a magnet for libertarians, and thus libertarian communities, in recent years. Other than certain islands and European enclaves like San Marino and Liechtenstein, there are few places in the world which offer libertarians what Chile does. A simple internet search reveals a number of settlement opportunities in play. Furthermore, just about any search related to libertarian ideas and Chile will generate a link to Dr. John Cobin. There is probably no single libertarian more well-known as being associated with Chile and the development of classically liberal ideas in the country than Dr. Cobin. he has over the last year partnered with a number of professionals in order to develop a sustainable community for foreign and local libertarians, and perhaps others, called Freedom Orchard.

In Spanish, Freedom Orchard is called Vergel Libertad, and visitors will see both names used interchangeably for the project. It is a new community development north of Curacaví, Chile, located less than an hour from the best parts of Santiago and the beaches of Viña del Mar. Check out Freedom Orchard’s fledgling website to learn more about it: www.vergellibertad.com. The website has GPS coordinates for the western boundary, and some key locations in the middle (buildings and nut orchards), so you can easily find Freedom Orchard using Google Earth. The land is fertile and the spectacular growing climate makes it one of the best places in Chile to produce crops. We still have a lot to do to improve much of the land and make it ready to farm, and to add infrastructure and amenities. Our plan is to have the basic “urbanization” in place by July 2013, and most of the amenities by the end of the year or the first quarter of 2014. The most enthusiastic newcomers have been visiting Freedom Orchard and are reserving lots and working farms through our pre-sales program.

Freedom Orchard is not the only libertarian sustainable community project moving forward in Chile. You may have heard of another significant development located about three hours south of Santiago. As is widely known, Dr. Cobin found the land that was eventually purchased and is being used for this site near Talca. The concept of Freedom Orchard is similar: create a sustainable community for libertarians and constitutionalists in beleaguered northern hemisphere countries looking for a new place to live. The Freedom Orchard team is pleased to see libertarian communities in Chile form and flourish. We want to encourage libertarians to settle in Chile and are thankful for our counterparts helping to make it happen.

Dr. Cobin is heading a team of experts that can make the dream of Freedom Orchard come true. Dr. Cobin’s partner Germán Eyzaguirre found the land for another group intent on starting a libertarian community as well. No one knows how to find good land and found community projects better than the Freedom Orchard team. There is room for more than one libertarian or constitutionalist community in Chile, and we wish our counterparts well in their efforts. A lot of people are looking to leave there present predicaments and political entanglements. However, everyone is different and each individual coming to Chile will need to decide which community is suits him best. We believe that there are some key distinctive features that will make Freedom Orchard or Vergel Libertad the preferred alternative for most people.

First, Freedom Orchard is a much larger project than any other currently operating (over 3,200 acres, most of which is usable for farmland). We have more than three times the land than competing project south of Santiago, and this land will be used to create more amenities (like a golf course and clubhouse in early 2014) and much greater agricultural production. We also will have other follow-up projects, including a likely corollary project with over 17,000 acres due east of Talca. Most of those lots will be for second homes or “getaway cabañas.”

Second, our team includes an expert in organic agriculture, Frank Szabo, and an expert developer, Germán Eyzaguirre. Germán has 25 years of experience in land development projects in Chile, having sold thousands of lots over more than a dozen developments. We also have a couple young, go-getter, no-nonsense, experienced managers coming on board shortly to help the business flourish. We have a CFO/IT professional who has had managerial accounting and finance roles with aerospace and cable television firms for a couple of decades. We are hardly amateurs.

Dr. Cobin’s experience includes, among other things, having a vast knowledge about Chile itself. He was the host of the radio show “Red Hot Chile” on the Overseas Radio Network in 2012. Simon Black (another important libertarian in Chile) once dubbed him “Dr. Chile” on account of his vast country knowledge. Dr. Cobin is the most widely published economist in Chilean newspapers, with his letters to the editor (very important in Chile, believe it or not) and free market and libertarian opinions being published upwards of 500 times per year across more than thirty newspapers. He is a “known quantity” in Chile to say the least, and an important part in promoting libertarian principles. He is also confident in his role as CEO of Eyzaguirre y Cobin S.A. which is managing the development of Freedom Orchard. He is able to relate well with newcomers from around the world, having been in 68 countries, with some of them (like Italy and, of course, the United States) having been toured very extensively. And–get this–he is am close to his goal of having been in EVERY town or city in Chile with 500 or more inhabitants, along with many, many rural areas with spectacular scenery. At last count, he lacked only around 15 towns, most of which are near each other, and should reach his goal, easily, by the end of the year 2013 with only moderate travel. Dr Cobin knows Chile well. He knows it better than any foreigner we have met (or have heard of) and certainly better than the vast majority of Chileans. Too, he knows its policies, its defects, its benefits, and he is the  person best suited to advise newcomers and to help arrange a sustainable community that suits their needs, and (of course) advising Freedom Orchard developers accordingly. Dr. Cobin has written two books on Chile with around 800 pages that we recommend all prospective newcomers read thoroughly (see purchase instructions below). Get the books and get a taste of Dr. Cobin’s knowledge!

Third, our community will have some restrictive covenants to preserve a minimum standard for buildings, but no special libertarian questionnaire will be required. We will also open our community to Chileans which want to live in or near such a community, and integrate a dozen or two 50 and 99 acre farms in the project for those who want to have the benefits of owning their own farm while still being inside the community. All farms in the community must be organic, as specified by contract or restrictive covenant signed at the real estate closing.

Fourth, our project north of Curacaví will have over 700 building lots for sale, mostly 1/2 hectare in size (1.24 acres), although there will be many with as much as 1.5 hectares. We hope to add another 3,000 lots for sale in the project east of Talca (near San Clemente). However, rather than have only forty or fifty lots for sale, we expect that Freedom Orchard will offer many more building sites than any other libertarian community planned in Chile: at least 700 near Curacaví and as many as 3,000 near San Clemente.

Fifth, our main project is far more convenient than other libertarian communities because of its proximity to Santiago and Viña del Mar. It is only 35 minutes away from Santiago’s international airport, too. No other libertarian community in Chile offers that kind of convenience. It is far more convenient to top medical care, good schools, recreation and skiing, first-rate boating facilities, myriad great restaurants, nightlife, shopping and major malls, and more. Having lived in Chile on and off for most of the last 17 years, Dr. Cobin underscores the advantage for newcomers of living near Santiago and First World amenities, as well as having the best shot at finding bilingual professionals to help getting settled in. Ditto for living close to language school facilities for those who need to learn Spanish.

Sixth, Freedom Orchard’s farmland and water situation is better than most rural communities of this size or less. We will have more liters per second of water in wells, plus substantial rights in canal water, than other developments will have, and land and climate that will produce greater annual farm production.

Seventh, our community has a great entry price. Rather than charging USD$200,000 to USD$300,000 per lot, as some communities do, Freedom Orchard are going to charge around USD$95,000 per lot. In fact, until mid-April we will be offering lots at a pre-sale price of USD$65,000–over 30% off. The lots around the small lake will have a higher price, not yet determined, but likely to be 50% higher. Either way, our lots are a bargain, especially for those who buy in early before the development is finished. Freedom Orchard does not yet have a shared working farm and produce sharing, but we will before long. We currently have about 60 acres of mature almond and walnut trees plus a number of other acres with oranges, avocados, plums, nectarines and assorted other fruits and vegetables. After initial subdivision in May 2013 and infrastructure are installed around July 2013, the building lots will likely have a different (higher) price, as will any lots left after all the amenities are put in 2014. Our working farms will be priced from USD$650,000 to USD$1,300,000 and a 20% discount applies to them, too, during the first two weeks of April 2013’s pre-sales drive. That is an incredible bargain for a working farm: land tilled, irrigated, fumigated and planted with your first crop. We will be offering in-house financing, too, for those who put down at least 20%. Our secondary phase (near San Clemente) will feature considerably lower pricing, providing other relaxing benefits and possible fruit tree production. In our view, Freedom Orchard will be one of the finest values and the best overall deal for most libertarian newcomers.

Eighth, we will run passive investment farms for people, even if they do not live in Chile, through our affiliate company: Freedom Orchard Organics, headed by Frank Szabo. For those who want to have some of their money “out of the country” and put into an inflation-proof commodity, Chilean farmland provides a great opportunity. And the farmland will be part of Freedom Orchard or nearby. Freedom Orchard Organics will run the entire farming operation and profits will be split with the passive investor.

Ninth, through an affiliate company, we offer a complete VIP residency package for newcomers looking to obtain temporary visas through permanent residency, starting at USD$2,995. See www.chile-consulting.cl for details. Rather than leave you in a lurch, Freedom Orchard affiliates will help you with your transition to Chile. Consulting services are also available to help with containers of household goods, buying a gun, bringing gold or pets, and more.

You will not regret moving to Chile. It is a great place to live. Dr. Cobin was recently in southern Europe,  having visited crumbling economic and political infrastructure, replete with employment and high tax problems. Everyone loves to see the European countryside and its Old World cities, but our team is always glad to get back to our beloved Chile. Life in Europe is a hassle, regulated and expensive. The same is true of the “land of the free.” So why bother with them? Get your own start on the road to freedom today via Freedom Orchard!

If you have further questions about Freedom Orchard or would like to attend one of the pre-sales tours during the first two weeks of April, send a note with contact details via the contact form on www.vergellibertad.com or send an email to chileadvisorygroup@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you. Also send us a note if you think you might have the skills and Spanish language fluency needed to participate on our team in the future. We will be growing quite rapidly and need quality people in organic agriculture, civil engineering, bilingual secretaries and salespeople, plus part time or consulting experts in Chilean tax, IT and bookkeeping procedures.

    Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

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