I have been dealing with newcomers and immigrants from different walks of life for many years. Some are relatively rich, others relatively poor. One’s economic situation is independent of his political views and thus freedom-loving people from all social classes are making their way to Chile. Some plan to work. Others plan to start a business.

Most likely these two types of people will locate near Santiago, and possibly near Viña del Mar or Concepción and possibly even Iquique, Talca, Temuco or Puerto Montt. However, many come with the intention of full retirement or partial retirement with some consulting, travel or internet business. In fact, most newcomers tend to be in their late 40s and 50s and are looking to retire or semi-retire. While every retiree would like to live in the nicer parts of Chile (First World sections), many will find these areas to be out of their financial reach.

I hate to see people be discouraged when they arrive or feel like they are living beyond their means. Thus, I hope to provide a “short list” of cities or towns for people to consider, listed according to one’s economic situation, which will allow them to begin studying options prior to coming down.

Where should retirees be looking to live? The table below summarizes my suggestions based on a couple’s net worth and/or pension check. These are my recommendations. And remember that I have been in every town over 500 inhabitants in Chile (except Isla Juan Fernández). So I speak from experience.

There are certainly other communities that would fit each category, especially categories 2 and 3, but I have chosen the places that I have visited that have some virtue and (with a few exceptions) that have at least 5,000 people. Hence, the towns come with at least a few shops, stores, churches, restaurants, etc.

Of course, the larger urban locations listed come with far greater commercial and social benefits. Having said that, I should point out that there are dozens of tiny towns, often in the middle of nowhere, in which a couple could survive on a very tight budget if they chose to do so. I just find that almost no couples that I have met have expressed such a preference.

Immigrant’s Net Worth; cost of home (USD); typical size in square meters
Possible places to retire (Dr. Cobin’s suggestions), towns ≥ 5,000 inhabitants, congruent with social class and affordability
Level of medical care quality, monthly cost per couple (USD)
Probability of personally having to do some agricultural or construction work to survive; local food costs
Likely transportation mode; non-local travel potential
Social class; variety of shopping, clubs, churches, jobs, schools, maid service, etc. accessible
Category 1
Net Worth: $75,000
House budget:
$11,000
House size (m2)
70
Rainy, coastal, cold
§ Puerto Aguirre (2,000 inhabitants only, isolated)
§ Puerto Cisnes
§ Porvenir
Low, $75
High; low
Bus, ferry; none
D; poor
Category 2
Net Worth: $250,000 or
$100,000 plus monthly pension of $1,000
House budget:
$45,000
House size (m2)
90
Desert, no rain, river
§ Camiña valley area (tax free zone)
§ Pica (4,200 inhabitants, tax free zone)
§ Alto de Carmen and San Félix valley area
Desert, no rain, sea
§ Huasco
Arid, little rain
§ Vicuña
§ Salamanca
§ Petorca
Dry 6-8 mos., farming
§ Limache
§ Quillota
§ Villa Alemana
§ Los Andes
§ San José de Maipo
§ Santa Cruz
§ Curicó
§ Chillán
§ Los Ángeles
Dry 8 mos., sea coast
§ Algarrobo
§ El Tabo
§ Quintay
§ Laguna Verde (near Valparaíso)
Green, rain, quaint
§ Curacautín
§ Lonquimay
§ San Pedro de la Paz
§ Collipulli
§ Angol
§ Santa Bárbara
§ Victoria
§ Temuco
§ Pitrufquén
§ Valdivia
§ La Unión
§ Río Bueno
Green, rain, lake
§ Lago Ranco
§ Futrono
§ Puerto Octay
§ Chile Chico
§ Cochrane
Green, rain, sea coast
§ Puerto Montt
§ Ancud
§ Puqueldón (only 1,000 inhabitants but close to bigger populations)
§ Queilén
§ Chaitén (tax free cars)
Green, rain, lake
§ Futaleufú (tax free cars)
§ Palena (tax free cars)
Cold, rain, sea, views
§ Puerto Natales (tax free cars)
§ Puerto Williams (tax free cars)
Moderate, $200
Moderate; low
Bus, metro, ferry;
C; modest
Category 3
Net Worth: $600,000 or
$300,000 plus monthly pension of $2,000
House budget:
$175,000
House size (m2)
90
Desert, no rain, ocean
§ Arica (tax free cars)
§ Iquique (tax free zone)
Arid, some rain, sea
§ La Serena
§ Papudo
Arid, some rain, river
§ San Pedro de Atacama
§ Paihuano
§ Ovalle
§ Illapel
Santiago area
§ Huecheraba
§ Chicureo
§ Ñuñoa
§ Las Condes (south)
§ Providencia (west)
§ Peñalolén (southeast)
§ Freedom Orchard (Curacaví)
Dry 8 mos., farming
§ Limache
§ Quillota
§ Villa Alemana
Coastal 5th Region
Dry 8 mos., coastal
§ Maitencillo
§ Viña del Mar
§ Concón
§ Algarrobo
§ Algarrobo
§ Rocas de Santo Domingo
Dry 8 mos, mountains
§ San José de Maipo
§ Santa Cruz
Green, rain, river/falls
§ Curacautín
§ Lonquimay
§ La Unión
§ Río Bueno
§ Valdivia
§ Coyhaique (tax free cars)
Green, rain, lake
§ Villarrica
§ Panguipulli
§ Puerto Octay
Cold, wind, sea
§ Punta Arenas (tax free zone)
Good, $400
Low; high
Bus, metro, ferry, basic car
C; very good
Category 4
Net Worth: $1,000,000 or
$650,000 plus monthly pension of $2,000
House budget:
$400,000
House size (m2)
140
Arid, some rain, coast
La Serena communities
§ Las Tacas
§ Puerto Velero
§ Serena Golf
Santiago area
§ Las Condes
§ Vitacura
§ La Dehesa
§ Providencia
§ La Reina Alta
§ Freedom Orchard (Curacaví)
Coastal 5th Region
Dry 8 mos.
§ Zapallar
§ Concón (south)
§ Reñaca
§ Viña del Mar (west)
§ Miraflores
§ Algarrobo
§ Rocas de Santo Domingo and Las Brisas
Concepción area
§ San Pedro de la Paz
§ Andalué
§ Idahue
§ Pingüeral
§ Lonco
Green, rain, city
§ Temuco
Green, rain, lake
§ Villarrica
§ Pucón
§ Panguipulli
§ Puerto Varas
§ Frutillar bajo
§ Puerto Octay outlying area
Excellent, $500
None; highest
Metro, ferry, nice car
C or B; excellent
Category 5
Net Worth: $10,000,000
House budget:
$2,000,000
House size (m2)
500
La Serena communities
§ Las Tacas
§ Puerto Velero
§ Serena Golf
Santiago area
§ Lo Curro
§ Santa María Manquehue
§ Las Condes
§ Vitacura
§ La Dehesa
§ Providencia
§ La Reina Alta
§ Freedom Orchard (Curacaví)
Coastal 5th Region
Dry 8 mos.
§ Zapallar
§ Concón (south)
§ Reñaca
§ Viña del Mar (west)
§ Miraflores
§ Rocas de Santo Domingo and Las Brisas
Concepción area
§ Lonco
Green, rain, lake
§ Pucón
§ Puerto Varas
§ Vichuquén (4,335 inhabitants)
Excellent, $600
None; highest
Metro, ferry, nice car, plane
A; excellent

Note that Freedom Orchard’s (Curacaví) target market is for categories 4 and 5, and possible category 3. Special thanks goes to my wife Pamela for suggesting that I do this blog entry and providing some input into the contents and structural improvements to the table above.

    Chile is a freer place than most countries (ranked 7th by Heritage Foundation for 2014) and looks better and better all the time. You might consider investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Buy your “Plan B” lot in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
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 every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – 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.
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.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:
Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)
Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)
A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.