After spending three months in ultra-cheap Peru, we had to break open the piggy bank when we arrived in Chile. Although the cost of living is overall cheaper than living back home in the US, it did take some mental adjustment to get used to the prices here. On top of that, the exchange rate was about 670 Chilean Pesos to 1 US dollar. It felt a little weird to use a 1,000 bill to pay for a pack of toilet paper. Well, here is a break down of our travel budget in Valparaíso, Chile. The expenses described below are for one month (30 nights).
We began our first month in Chile living in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Valparaíso, located on the coast in the center of the country. You can read more about the highlights and challenges of our time in Valparaíso by going to our blog post Valparaiso Chile: Sights, Safety, and Service.
We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment that we booked through AirBnb. The apartment wasn’t perfect. We had a minor issue with termites and had to walk through a slightly undesirable neighborhood to get around town. But the apartment had everything we needed, including a full kitchen, a security gate at the entrance to the building, a 1950’s style washing machine, and a very pleasant balcony where we ate most of our meals.
Our housing category for this month had an extra expense due to needing to leave our apartment a day early. Even though we had already paid for it; you can read more about the reason for this in the link above. We stayed in a hostel that last night, which added an additional $55 to our housing budget.
Food (Groceries and Restaurants): $378
We didn’t eat out much here, choosing to do most of our cooking at home in our apartment. There was a basic food market about a block from our apartment. Additionally, there was a full mega-grocery store at the other end of town, and a gluten-free bakery in the neighboring city of Viña del Mar. We found overall groceries here to be about 30% higher than in Peru.
We spent zilch on activities this month, and that helped offset the higher food and housing costs. But we didn’t skip sightseeing in order to save money. The reason we didn’t spend any money in this category is because the sights in Valparaíso are seen just by walking around town. Seeing the street art, sea lion colonies, and historical buildings are totally free.
The majority of this cost (about $98) was the flight from the northern city of Arica on the border with Peru down to Santiago. We also spent about $45 getting from the airport to Valparaiso and getting around Valparaíso on the local metro train. We also spent a whooping 10 cents each to ride on one of Valparaíso’s famous funicular trams.
This includes buying a new frying pan, some minor (but expensive) medicine, toilet paper, etc.
Total Travel Budget In Valparaíso, Chile: $1,391
We were pleased with our travel budget for Valparaíso, Chile, considering that this is one of the more expensive countries in South America. As always, we also pay $175 per month for a global health insurance policy that covers both of us (our coverage is better than our previous policy in the US and at a fraction of the price!). Additionally, tithing is important to us, and we were able to give to a local church that we connected with and also to the Salvation Army where we did some volunteer work.
Thanks again for following along. Stay tuned to our blog to find out about our next destination: Santiago, Chile.