Ex-pat destination: Chile

South America: depending on who you ask, it sounds like a paradise filled with good weather, great food and attractive people, or a dangerous, crime-infested no-go zone.

For ex-pats willing to look past the stereotypes, South America offers a wealth of beautiful, exciting places to live where they can enjoy a great, and affordable, quality of life.

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Chile is a particularly attractive option. It is well-known to be among the safest countries in South America, with a strong economy that presents lucrative business possibilities for ex-pats. Unlike some other popular ex-pat destinations, visa and citizenship laws in Chile are more open and make it easier to establish a life there. In fact, foreigners who have lived in Chile for more than five years can apply for dual citizenship and a Chilean passport.

Th cost of living varies depending on each person’s situations and living preferences. A single person who doesn’t mind living cheaply and on a budget can reportedly get by on $1,000 a month, though a married couple or travelers with children might require more elaborate lifestyles and therefore incur more expenses.

Many ex-pats in Chile have reported that the healthcare is quite affordable, including insurance that would be out of the question for them in countries such as the United States. The healthcare is reportedly quite good and reliable, with services comparable to those in even more developed countries.

According to the website Expat Focus, staple foods such as fruits and vegetables are quite cheap in Chile, as the country produces these in abundance, as well as having excellent seafood selections. The site also states that electronic goods can be purchased for relatively cheap prices due to low import taxes.

Expat Arrivals says the cost of living in Chile is comparable to that of mid-American city, such as Houston. As is the case in many attractive up-and-coming ex-pat cities, it all depends on your lifestyle. You can live like a local for quite cheap, or you can live extravagantly – probably more than you could in most American cities. Expat Arrivals also characterizes the public transportation system in urban areas as “well connected, and affordable to boot.” This potentially frees newcomers of the need to purchase a car, particularly if you’re on a tight budget.

The climate in Chile ranges dramatically, from the dry, arid desert, to the frozen tundra to warm and balmy areas. This also means that there are a wide range of activities and adventures in which you can engage while seeing the country. These include world-class skiing resorts, wine tours and festivals, great hiking destinations and plenty of other outdoor activities.

And of course there is the bonus of living in a country with a rich history of wine production. Chilean wines are known the world over and foreigners who make this lovely country their new home will have it all at their fingertips.

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