I hate to write about such a mundane topic, but I’ve seen so much misinformation that I believe it’s necessary. Chile does not have a coastal California climate, as some claim, except within 10 miles from the coast. However, Santiago lies 90 miles away and that’s where you’re likely to want to live.
Santiago is the only city in Chile that offers adequate business and shopping opportunities. You can live in a city of 150,000 in a rich country without being bored, but you must live in a large city in developing countries to enjoy the life you’re accustomed to. The Santiago climate is a mix between California and cities in the Rockies such as Denver and Salt Lake City. It lies in a desert without the humidity that attracts insects to Atlantic cities such as Buenos Aires, New York, and Barcelona.
Santiago lies next to enormous mountains that define the climate by shading the morning sun. Air pollution is similar to cities in the western United States, except in winter. Summer afternoons are as hot as Denver, but mornings are ideal until 11:00 AM. Mornings are cold the remainder of the year, with pleasant afternoons in spring and fall, as in California. In other words, parts of each day are pleasant 9 months each year.
Winters are colder than California, but not cold enough to attract snow, and there is little wind, so air pollution is greater in winter than the remainder of the year. There is little rain except in winter.
Electricity is twice as expensive as the United States, so many apartments and houses are unheated, but it’s easy to find heated places to rent. There is almost no air conditioning except in offices, and since the city is as hot as Denver in summer, your productivity will decline in January afternoons when you work at home; you will sometimes need to jump in a pool or take a cold shower.