With the strongest broadband connection in South America, it’s no surprise that Santiago, Chile, draws in so many digital nomads! After all, home is where the wifi is, for us remote workers. This city has been getting a lot of attention for both its booming startup culture and growing population of expats and digital nomads.
We asked Outsite Santiago interior designer Dani to share her thoughts on why Santiago is great for digital nomads. She said, “Santiago is located between the Andes and the Pacific which makes it a paradise for those who love outdoor activities. The seasons are inverse to most of the U.S and Europe so you can escape to the summer in the middle of your winter or make your snowboarding season longer. Santiago is a big city with great urban life, easy access to wifi, coffee shops, co-working spaces and has a very active startup ecosystem, Start-Up Chile being one of the top startup accelerators in the world. Chile is one of the safest countries in Latin America, where you can also enjoy great wine, typical markets, and [it’s also a] great start point if you are [wanting to go on] great nature adventures like the desert in San Pedro de Atacama or the heart of Patagonia going south.
Here’s some information for you regarding life in Santiago if you’re trying to decide if the Chilean city should be your next stop as a digital nomad.
Is Santiago safe?
Santiago is known for being safe for travellers and digital nomads. In fact, it’s thought to be one of the safest countries in South America. However, as when travelling to any big city, keep your wits about you. You always want to be aware of your surroundings and mind your valuables when walking on the streets and taking public transport to avoid petty crimes.
How to get around Santiago
Santiago is a very walkable city, which makes for easily getting around. Trusted Digital Nomad resource, Nomad List, ranks Santiago’s walkability 5 out of 5. However, if you need to venture further than a quick walk or want to explore new neighborhoods, there are multiple options available. The metro is a fantastic choice for getting around cheaply and quickly. In fact, Santiago’s metro is the biggest rapid transit system in South America! Public buses are another option. Private taxis are available, as well.
Does Uber work in Santiago?
Uber is legal, but Outsite interior designer Dani notes, “It’s an in between situation, but it works perfectly, you just need to sit in the front.” Additionally, there are shared bikes and electric scooters.
Visas for Chile, Santiago
Chile makes it super easy to visit the country! US citizens do not need to have a visa, even if visiting the country for business, as long as they are staying for less than 90 days. You will be issued a “Tourist Card” when you visit Chile with a valid US passport. To stay longer than 90 days, you must go to the Chilean Immigration Office to extend your stay for a fee. If you decide you want to apply for jobs in Chile and work in person there, you will need to apply for a visa.
Day trips from Santiago, Chile
There are loads of things to do both in Santiago and nearby. Santiago is perfect for the digital nomad who loves to be in the outdoors as well as in a bustling city, because there are so many natural wonders surrounding the city to visit. For that reason, there are plenty of outdoorsy day trips to be done. In Santiago, take a walk in beautiful urban park, Parque Forestal. San Cristobal Hill is another great spot in the city to take in some nature, and particularly for catching the sunset. Dani recommends, “Check cultural activities around Barrio Lastarria and GAM Cultural Center or the Parque Bustamante for its iconic skatepark. Not to be missed: look at typical markets La Vega and Mercado Central.”
For even more activities, venture outside of the city. If you’re a wine lover, you can take a tour of the wineries in Maipo Valley, which produces some of Chile’s best and most popular wine. For some more extreme and adventurous excursions, head to the nearby Andes mountains for snowboarding, skiing, or mountain biking. A trip to nearby scenic Cajon Del Maipo provides a range of activities suited for anybody, from the person who wants to just relax and enjoy the scenery in the hot springs to the adrenaline junkie who wants to zipline and take in the forest from above. While it’s not super close to Santiago, if you’re already all the way south in Chile, we definitely recommend checking out the mesmerizingly beautiful Patagonia region (which spans Chile and Argentina).
Food in Santiago
Here are some food recommendations in Santiago, endorsed by our Santiago house manager, Carlos! You’ll have no shortage of options to taste different types of cuisines as well as some authentic Chilean food.
Mercado Central - A large food court with typical South American food and loads of seafood options
Galindo - Traditional authentic local Chilean food
Castillo Forestal - A castle turned restaurant with beautiful views that offers French food
Fuente Alemana - A no frills sandwich spot. If you want to eat some huge sandwiches, this one’s for you.
Bocanariz - A Chilean restaurant and wine bar. Delicious wine tastings and food, a little higher budget.
Nightlife in Santiago
While Santiago isn’t known for being a party city, Chileans know how to party and have a great time. Here are some recommendations for neighborhoods and specific spots to hit up at night.
Noa Noa - A new club that mainly plays electronic music. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is your spot. They have an extensive lineup of both new and established DJs.
Mamba - A small club with a gritty exterior for dancing to electronic or techno music
Bar Loreto - This is the place to be to experience live music. There’s a wide variety of gigs featuring different types of musicians.
Liguria Bar - A local favorite for meet ups with friends! The bar is lively from the late afternoon all night until the early morning.
Bellavista district - This neighborhood in general has a lot to offer in the way of bars and restaurants. The neighborhood is a perfect place to both start and end your night.
Manuel Montt - This neighborhood and its bars are popular with university students because the bars here are pretty budget friendly. All day happy hours? Yes please!
One of the most exciting things about Chile is that its startup culture is really booming! The country fosters startups with Start-Up Chile. Their website says, “Start-Up Chile (SUP) is a public startup accelerator created by the Chilean Government for high-potential entrepreneurs to bootstrap their startups and use Chile as a foundation.” In fact, this accelerator is one of the top 10 in the world! They offer 4 and 6 month programs which include equity free funding, a working visa, training, mentors, a network of investors, and more.
Even if you aren’t affiliated with the accelerator program, Santiago is a great place to be to connect with other entrepreneurs who are working for startups. The city is so filled with startups that people have coined it “Chilecon Valley”, South America’s version of Silicon Valley in San Francisco. Plus, there are lots of different options for coworking spaces if you’d like to work somewhere a little more focused than a coffee shop. Nomad List ranks Santiago’s places to work as “great.”