Dichato (8th Region, population 3,057) is situated on a pretty cove about 30 minutes north of Concepción, the heart Chile’s third largest metropolitan area. Being relatively close to the epicenter (in Cauquenes) of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake of February 27, 2010, Dichato was absolutely devastated by the tsunami it spawned. Since then the Chilean government has sponsored the construction of rows of cookie-cutter houses, white and red, including new streets and sidewalks, located in safer, elevated parts of the town.

As one drives down into Dichato, he immediately recognizes that the quality of construction and infrastructure is much better than dumpy, larger Tomé directly south of it. The surrounding pine forests also add a pleasant feature to the town’s surrounding landscape.

Downtown, near the beach, one can also see many refurbished areas or reconstructed parks. I was very impressed with all that had been going on since the earthquake, and I remarked to one passer-by that he and the others in Dichato must really love President Piñera for all that he has done for the town. Nothing doing. Most of the Concepción metro area is hardcore leftist, and there was no way this guy I was talking to would ever admit that Piñera had done something nice for his town–despite the fact that Piñera’s center-left government has done far more for Dichato in three years than twenty years’ effort of further left governments prior had done.

Nonetheless, even three years later, one can see remnants of houses blasted by the tsunami. Concrete and steel are simply no match for massive, rapid displacements of sea water.

On the north end of town there is a private, gated, upper-middle class community called Pingueral. It is a fairly well-done community, with nice circular parks and flowers, in a setting of pine trees and a nice beach front. While the place is not posh or elegant by upper class standards, it is still notably nicer than any other development in the area. The following images capture homes, parks, foliage, beaches and scenery in and around the project. Notable, nearly all of the roads were unsurfaced, uncomfortable dirt.

If one had to live in Concepción, Pingueral would not be such a bad choice. The Chilean south 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, even those five or six hours away, 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. 

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