Valparaiso

/Valparaiso

Why you should retire cheap in Valparaíso, Chile!

Valparaíso is a small city, two hours away from Santiago, Chile and it’s a great place to retire cheap.

I’ve been traveling looking for the best country to retire cheap for the last 4 years, exploring everywhere from the countrysides of Thailand, to the party city of Medellin, Colombia, and I can tell you that Chile is by far one of the the best places to retire cheap.

When you are looking for the best city to retire cheap in the world, there are some cities that will immediately say “Yes! This is the place!” And some cities like Phnom Penh, Cambodia where you’ll say “Hell, No! Hard pass on dog bbq and pollution.”

Valpo (as all the cool locals call it) is a place that I fell in love with as soon as I got off the plane from Peru.

The Santiago customs was efficient and friendly, with buses, taxis and shuttles that take you directly to Valpo. For the article on how to get here, click here

HOW TO GET TO VALPO BY BUS

When you get here, the first things you’ll probably notice is how clean, and safe it is.

Unlike some other cities in South America, there isn’t a huge amount of crime or danger.

Every city in the world has bad areas, but some places definitely have more.

For example check out Medellin in this article

MEDELLIN IS GREAT, BUT NOT SO SAFE

Valpo, is super safe unless you stray into bad areas at night. You can definitely tell if you wander into those areas, because the level of sketchiness increases dramatically. (Hint: Large groups of guys drinking and peeing on the street is a sign you’re not in the best area.)

ENGLISH

English levels, like the rest of South America is pretty much non existent, with the need to be able to speak Spanish to survive.

The people here don’t really try, unlike Asia, where all the locals speak a smattering of English.

I ran into a cute family at a restaurant where the little girl, had been going to an English speaking school, who was so happy to practice her English with real people who spoke native English

Hospitals, and pharmacies are everywhere here. The hospitals are private/public. You’ll definitely want to go to the private hospitals.

COST OF LIVING

My budget is $1000 Canadian, and Valpo is a little bit out of this range. I’d say maybe $1100.

My room in a house that I’m sharing costs roughly $280 a month, my gym $40 a month and the price of a cheap meal is about $4.

This is more expensive than Arequipa, Peru by about 30%.

Here’s an article on Arequipa, if you want a more in depth review

AREQUIPA, PERU IS CHEAP AND AWESOME ARTICLE

That being said, while it’s not the cheapest city I’ve been to in South America, there’s a really good reason for it.

It’s got a light rail system, big sidewalks, and lots of police.

This city has the perfect mix of tiny street stands, and massive malls. I love being able to get fresh produce, and then go see a movie in a comfy cinema.

CLIMATE

I arrived in the winter, and it’s about 12-14 degrees Celsius. Not super cold, but brrrrrrr……bring a jacket.

You can see what people wear, in my photo above. As a Canadian, you’ll be running around in a T-shirt …. hehhehehehe.

TRANSPORTATION

The oddest thing I’ve noticed is that there isn’t really public taxis! That’s right. Crazy.

It’s got collectivo taxis, aka shared taxis. You wait in a line and the taxis go to a destination and people share it. So odd.

It does have Uber, Cabify and othe ridesharing apps though.

A private taxi is about $2 one way to pretty much any part of town. I’ve been doing about 10 000 steps a day. But, if I was lazier? I’d be cabbing everywhere.

GYMS

There are gyms everywhere here, but not quite as good as a North American gym. And relatively expensive . Roughly $35 a month.

One huge pro though is that it has protein milk, and protein yogurt available to be bought in the stores.

Other cities I’ve traveled to in the world, don’t really have this.

Protein powder is super expensive (double the cost of what we pay in North America), but the protein milk and yogurt is delicious and a good price. $1 a serving

FOOD

The food in Chile, kicks the crap out of Peru, and Ecuador.

It’s empanadas, burgers, hot dogs, and seafood

And the steak and meat are good here. Unlike Asia, you can get great beef here.

And unlike Peru/Ecuador, the local food is much much tastier for our North American palate. In Ecuador I like the Menu del Dia, of beans, rice, chicken and a banana. And it’s only $2. But after a few months of this…..it can be boring.

Chile, the Menu of the day is $6 roughly.

A big giant 300g burger with bacon and cheese is about $8. Yikes! Worth every penny!

(If you’ve been to Asia, you’ll know what I mean…..after a year there, I’d kill for a good hamburger).

McDonald’s exists here, as well as Pizza Hut where a giant family sized pepperoni pizza is $10!

If you like to cook, and eat at home, the prices are much cheaper.

The produce stands are cheap.

Here’s an article on prices of fresh fruit

PRODUCE PRICES IN VALPO

But the great thing is that, if you want North American food, like Southern biscuits, or sour cream? You can do it here.

The prices of North American food ingredients are a bit more than at home, but not insanely priced. Like a bottle of KRAFT mayo is 25% more, vs 100% more in Asia.

If you stick with local ingredients, you can do your grocery shopping for about 35% less than at home.

Beer is cheap. $1 a 1 liter bottle is standard.

Rum and vodka are also about half of what you’d pay at home.

The big big big drink here is wine. If you like wine, you’ll love it here.

A $20 bottle from home, is about $5 here.

CULTURE

What’s not to love?

  • The people are super friendly, they might not speak English but really don’t mind my broken ass ghetto Spanish.
  • It’s safe, I don’t have to worry about motorcycle thieves.
  • There are sidewalks. Yes. You might think it’s crazy to mention this, but some places in the world I’ve gone to don’t really have them. Well technically they have them, but the sidewalks have been overtaken by motorcycle parking and street stands. (I’m talking to you Vietnam!)
  • Warning though, Valpo has a a million dogs. And they all poop on the sidewalks. So much so, that in my head I call this place ValPoop.
  • Shopping is easy. No haggling needed. And no tourist/gringo double charging. Prices are clearly labeled.
  • Banks! Get a Scotiabank account before you leave Canada. Scotiabank is HUGE here, and everywhere.
  • Beaches, mountains and exploration are only a 30 minute taxi away.
  • Lots of hills though, sooooo sick of hills.
  • Super fast wifi! No need to worry and a phone data plan with 6 gigs of data $12 a month

CONCLUSION

If you’re looking for the best place to retire cheap? Valpo is definitely worth checking out.

I’m 100% coming back and you should come visit.

Want more articles?

Check out my main archive here.

ALL THE ARTICLES

Why you should retire cheap in Valparaíso, Chile!2019-07-19T15:46:17+00:00

How Much is Produce in Valparaiso, Chile? Tips within…..

If you’re reading this in North America, you’ll probably be dead from envy after this article.

Fresh fruit and vegetable is everywhere here in Valpo. And it’s good and cheap…..

There are 3 types of places that you can get produce here.

1. Walmart! That’s right there are Walmart’s here. Real ones. It’s called Lider, but it’s the same chain, colors, etc. The produce here is the most expensive, and least fresh. The only reason you buy produce at Walmart or other big grocery stores, is because you want to only stop one place to go shopping. So if you’re a cheap ass, this is NOT the place to go for produce.

2. The local farmers market! (Mercado Cardanal) This is where you’re going to get the best deals for both quality, and price. Coming from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, it’s kind of counter intuitive for me. I’m used to seeing farmer’s markets having fresh produce, but expensive. The mercado is dozens of little stalls, all with prices clearly labeled, hawkers yelling out what they got, and yes all in Spanish.

3.The third place to buy produce little sidewalk stands. These are again everywhere. They are inside liquor stores, outside of churches, in front of Walmart, on the way to the farmers market. These places buy their product from the large market and sell them to people who don’t want to go to the market. Think of it as 7-11 for veggies.

For example tomatoes at the farmer’s market was 500 pesos ($1 CAN) for 2 kilos. At Walmart it was 1000 pesos for 1 kilo, and at the local street stands 750 pesos for 1 kilo.

Here’s the breakdown of what 9000 pesos worth of various product at the farmer’s market is.

  • Red peppers are 100 pesos each. They charge the same price for any of the colored peppers, like green, orange, yellow.
  • Onions are 10 for 1000 pesos
  • Banana peppers 10 for 1000
  • Lemons are various prices…but super cheap like they sell them by the 2 kilo
  • Scallions, 2 huge bunches 500 pesos (I put my kindle beside scallions for size)
  • Broccoli 2 huge heads for 1000.
  • Mushrooms are expensive at 1000 for half of what you’d pay for at Save On at home
  • Apples are 1000 kilo
  • Banana are 500 a bunch
  • Eggs 1600 for 15 eggs (see how they are right in front of a giant grocery store)

A couple things, to remember before you go to the market here.

  • Bring small bills. 1000 peso bills ($2 CAN) are the best
  • There is no haggling
  • They don’t try to rip you off as a tourist
  • They do, let you try the produce before you buy it
  • They will give you the stink eye if you examine the produce for too long. As a farmer market type of shopper, I’m used to examining each piece of fruit carefully. Here they think I’m insane.

I’m loving it here in Valpo, and if you love tasty fruit and fresh vegetables, it’s a great place to add to your destinations for best places to retire cheap.

If you’re in Lima, Peru and thinking about coming here, here’s a link on how to get here

LINK TO ALL ARTICLES

How Much is Produce in Valparaiso, Chile? Tips within…..2019-07-29T13:45:31+00:00

How to get from Lima, Peru to Valparaíso, Chile.

I love taking the buses here in South America. They are awesome. They are either lie down 180 degree seats, or semi lie down at 140 degree seats. Super comfortable.

And if you’re retiring cheap, then you have a ton of time on your hands and not that much money.

When I looked into heading to Chile, I thought of definitely using the bus.

Till I looked at the price!

The price was the same for the bus as the plane!

And the plane was 4 hours versus 24 hours by bus.

Ok. Plane it is.

After a quick flight on Viva Air (which was surprising good….) I was in Santiago,
Chile.

There they have various options on how to get to downtown. Metered cab, Tourist taxi, buses, shared shuttles.

But, I wasn’t going to Santiago downtown. I wanted to head to the nearby town of Valparaíso.

Surprising there is a bus that leaves DIRECTLY from the airport to this town. No need to go into Santiago proper at all! Hurray!

Here’s how to get there.

1. Collect your luggage. The Santiago airport is reallllllly reallllly big, it’ll take you a while to get from the plane to the luggage. Also you’re going to have to go through customs, and security.

2. After collecting your luggage. Head to exit 6. This is called Salida 6.

3. Go to the Turbus office, it’s right there at exit 6.

4. Buy your ticket. It costs so little, that I thought they didn’t understand me.

6000 pesos is the equivalent of about $12 Canadian. They take credit card, and yes that includes American Express.

5. After getting your ticket, head outside. There are all these different areas for different types of transportation. Turbus has it’s own spot. Look for the sign.

6. Get on the bus, and enjoy an awesome ride to Valparaíso …. it’s about 2 hours and the highways are smooth and not bumpy

Hope this helps you on your goal to finding the best country to retire cheap. Stay on this blog to see if Valparaiso, Chile makes the list!

How to get from Lima, Peru to Valparaíso, Chile.2019-06-28T15:54:23+00:00

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