Santiago Digital Nomad Guide
Deep down south, Santiago de Chile is an often overlooked destination for digital nomads around the world. The capital city of the homonymous country, Santiago is a beautiful city right next to the Andes, the amazing mountains that divide Argentina and Chile. But Santiago is not only renowned for its natural beauty; it is a thriving city, a cosmopolitan destination filled with tech companies, a creative environment of start-ups, and many more amazing perks for digital nomads. So, without further ado, here is a Santiago Digital Nomad Guide for you to fall in love with this Chilean marvel.
Is Santiago good for digital nomads?
Santiago has nothing to envy of its sister Latin American cities. The weather range is sufficiently cold for the chill (38°F / 3°C) and hot enough for the cooler cats (86°F / 30°C), making Autumn (March-May) and Spring (September - November) the preferred seasons to visit. The internet connection speed is decent enough to work from any hotspot (17,97 MBPS average for download and 10,54 MBPS for upload). It allows you to work but is also said to be quite a stable connection, a bit of an oasis in Latin American bandwidth.
Even though English is not as widespread among the population as in other countries (1 out of 10 Chileans speak it), those who do speak it tend to live in Santiago. This means that you should be able to manage with English, but if you want to feel comfortable, you should start practicing your Spanish, the official language of Chile (and the region, for that matter).
Like many other Latin American cities, the currency exchange rate favors those with dollars and euros. The conversion with the local currency, the Chilean Peso, is 1 USD = 906 CLP (approximately). Currently, there is no limitation to acquiring the local peso, so just make sure to notify your bank of your visit to the South American country to use your card freely.
Is there a digital nomad visa for Santiago?
There is no specific visa for digital nomads in Santiago. Instead, a tourist visa allows you to stay for a certain number of days, depending on where you are coming from. For more information on this, you can visit the Chilean Consular Services site and find the complete list of the country's visa requirements. If you need to apply to any of these, you can check the site of the Consular procedure.
The usual period of stay without paying (for visa-fee countries) is around 90 days. There is a possibility of paying a small fee to extend this, in case you haven’t had enough of Santiago’s beautiful city and nature.
Is Santiago safe?
Generally speaking, Santiago is a safe city for both residents and newcomers. There is a strong presence of carabineros (the local Chilean police), ranking Santiago among the top safest cities in Latin America. Aside from that, the suggested precautions that should be taken are the usual: do not leave your belongings unattended.
What is the cost of living in Chile?
Good weather, safe streets, lots of nature; is Santiago starting to sound like your next digital nomad destination? First, let’s talk about prices and how much money you should bring to ensure the life you want.
For starters, if you prefer to find a nice studio for you, Airbnb offers studio apartments for an average price of US $52, and the rate goes down to US $32 if you are the sharing type and would prefer to rent a bed in shared accommodation. But then, you might need your privacy and you know you will be staying for quite some time. If that is the case, renting a 480 square ft. place for the month goes from US $374 to US $586, depending mostly on the area of the city you choose. If you go with this option, keep in mind that utilities’ monthly price (electricity, water, cooking gas) is US $49 on average, with internet connection going for US $19 monthly.
Then, moving around is important. There is a monthly public transport fare that should allow you to do so, and it costs US $44 approximately, with each trip costing US $0.75, more or less. If you need further information on this, the Red site will help with routes, prices, timings, and how to obtain your BIP card and your local pass to pay for any means of transport. If you would rather take charge of your own mobility, the average daily price is US $30. However, you might want to keep in mind that Chile is a country with short distances. Secondly, you will need your international driving permit to get behind the wheel. Here are some traffic rules you might want to check to drive like a local.
Of course, the cost of living also includes some fun! If you need a beer somewhere nice, US $3.50 should do the trick. Or, if you want to have a decent meal out, a nice restaurant outing is about US $25 for two people.
Overall, to make a decent living in Santiago with the perks above, a salary of US $2,070 should give you everything you need. This is not to say you cannot make it in Santiago with less. With US $1,050, you can live on a budget while enjoying Santiago’s charm. As long as you make some arrangements (i.e., coliving options, which we will share later on), you can truly enjoy your Chilean experience, as Santiago offers an amazing quality of life to its residents.
What are the most useful apps for digital nomads in Santiago?
When you don’t know where to look, look at your phone. Here are some of the must-have apps for digital nomads:
Pedidos ya: get some food delivered to your place, do your groceries or get that guilty snack with this app. It offers a wide variety of restaurants and eating options for you to choose from.
Red: how do I get to the downtown area? When is the next bus to Providencia? All your transportation doubts will be answered with this service, so you know the best routes, fares, and schedules.
DiDi: during the pandemics, this app became the preferred choice for Chileans to move around Santiago. This does not mean that you cannot opt for Uber (or Cabify or Beat), but being the first option says something about the service, at least regarding the number of drivers available. Besides, they also have their own food delivery service if you need an alternative to Pedidos Ya.
What are the best neighborhoods to stay in Santiago?
Okay, we have the apps, and we are getting the cool hipster vibe of the city, but we need to explore and settle in. Let’s check out the best neighborhoods for Santiago digital nomads!
Ranking first among tourists, Providencia is one of the wealthiest areas in Santiago. The subway perfectly connects this zone with others, making a great base for your explorations. Aside from multiple stores and the Costanera Center (a shopping mall), the place is filled with convenient restaurants and fast food venues. You could say Providencia is the commercial and culinary center, with lots of entertainment and nightlife opportunities, as well as parks and green spaces for you to take a relaxing stroll under the bright South American sun.
But if you would rather play safe, you know that a downtown is always a familiar place, and Santiago Centro is not the exception. This is Chile’s main hub, a historic center with easy access to any corner of the city. Just keep in mind that, in contrast with Providencia, this neighborhood is filled with smaller convenience stores rather than malls and big brands. As in any central area, all the government buildings and offices are here. Mornings are vibrant, with workers going back and forth, and nights are closer to silence with few passers-by. If you need the right balance between crowds and tranquil nights, this might be your kick.
But again, you want a much cooler experience and see the Chilean scene. Bellavista is the place to enjoy the nightlife, with a hipster and alternative vibe, while keeping itself budget-friendly in terms of bars and clubs. Visitors fall in love with the local murals with graffiti style, their innumerable restaurants, and boutique hotels and apartments. Just keep in mind that this is more of an “alternative” place, which might come as unsafe for some, but far from it, the youth vibe makes it a great choice to install your temporary digital nomad office.
Finally, if you need some distance from everything, Vitacura is the place to be. Deemed as the neighborhood with the highest quality of life in Santiago, locals relish the quiet and beautiful scenery while keeping some nice dining options and a modest but trustworthy commercial area. Still, being away from it all has its catch, which in Vitacura is the fact that there is no metro station nearby. That doesn’t necessarily stop you from enjoying this place, but keep that in mind if you aim to move around the city a lot.
Top 4 neighborhoods to live in Santiago:
Downtown Santiago (Santiago Centro)
What are the best coliving spaces in Santiago?
Though a vibrant city, Santiago’s coliving offering is still in development, and there are very few options for your coliving needs. It seems visitors opt for the more reliable and traditional Airbnb for their living needs. However, for this Santiago Digital Nomad Guide, we found one option that might come in handy if you need a coliving spot: Nomad Living.
With two hubs (both in hot Providencia locations), Nomad Living’s accommodations are modern, with lovely shared facilities such as a gym, quinchos (kiosks to do some grilling), pools, and even its own restaurant with top-notch chefs. You will find yourself at home while mixing with other digital nomads in these lovely apartments.
Rest assured that Santiago will have more options soon enough, as the city is up and coming in terms of digital nomads.
What are the best coworking spaces in Santiago?
So co-living might not be as varied as you would expect, but this might have to do with the contrasting diversity of coworking spaces available to start building your Chilean network.
Speaking of networks, CoWork has a very solid one all across America, and of course, Santiago is not an exception. With more than a dozen locations in this city, CoWork offers multiple subscription options tailored to your needs: flex, hot desk, full-time, private offices, whatever suits your coworking mood. You can always rely on renowned chains, such as this one or WeWork, another big player in the coworking business, whose various offices are utilized by both local enterprises and digital nomads alike.
There are also other thriving options in Latin America, such as Urban Station and Regus. You can check out all of their services, from lunch and ring to concierges and photocopies, available in any of their global network locations.
But again, blending in is what you came here for, so local brands such as Launch are a hook. With affordable prices on a flex-basis, its five offices are quite an appealing option for you to land on. IFChile and Area CoWork do the same trick for you: local initiatives that balance working facilities with leisure and networking.
On the grounds of digital offices, another growing trend, LofWork integrates coworking spaces with tax address services for you to build your start-up from Santiago. Their insights blog on coworking is also worth checking out. If you want this and more, Cango is so complete that it has its own kids area, in case you are a digital nomad family!
For those who come from socially-oriented businesses, places like Hub Mustakis are the way to go for social innovation enterprises. Any of their subscriptions will allow you to connect with the right people in the area. Neuralis, on the other hand, stresses the well-being part of the business, with a lot of partners in their network to profit from. On this note, Spaces has a very nice set of multinational members in their community that you will definitely want to mix with.
Let’s take one step back. Maybe you are yet on the stage of building your company, and you want to share the space with people who can also assist you with your digital needs. GreenTi offers a variety of services for you to feel supported while growing your business.
The 13 best coworking spaces in Santiago:
What are the best working cafes in Santiago?
Maybe you would rather have a more informal environment, with your own coffee and some views of Santiago’s daily life. Then, grab your pc and your adapter (the plug type in Santiago is C, L / 220V / 50Hz) and settle in for some hot cup in any of the working cafes.
Right in the heart of Providencia, Faustina Cafe stands for delicious lunches and art latte in a cozy environment. You can even bring your furry friend on special occasions to get some work done while you rub its belly. Wonderland is also a great place to go in its own right. In homage to Lewis Carrol’s Alice, lose yourself in this storybook place (but not too much if you have deadlines!) and enjoy this themed cafe. Just make sure to reserve your spot first.
If you are on the pickier side and appreciate the coffee-making process, Original Green Roasters take pride in their own brew. They also offer other homemade products in their shop. So make sure to stop by if you are in Providencia. Cafe Triciclo is also a nice craft coffee alternative, but with their own hipster touch.
And finally, if you are a friendly-brand kind of digital nomad, both Tea Connection and Le Pain Quotidien have a set of branches here. Whether tea is your chosen poison or you are a helpless francophile, these two familiar spots are well suited for working and enjoying some tasty snacks.
The 6 best working cafes in Santiago:
Closing thoughts on visiting Santiago as a digital nomad
We hope this Santiago Digital nomad guide rubs you the right way and you are already looking for plane tickets. As discussed, Santiago has a nice urban and creative environment, while keeping nature close for you to admire. It is a start-up hatching place, with a very hipster and digital nomad-friendly vibe for you to spend some quality time in a city with high quality of life. Santiago is waiting for you and is eager for visitors all around the world to fall in love with its chill cosmopolitan charm.