Our flight to Santiago from NYC was surprisingly quick. The Pudahuel Airport was easy to navigate and going through customs? Such a breeze. We didn’t have to pay the reciprocity fee, went straight to the International Police (Chile’s immigration officials), and exchanged our customs papers from the consulate for a sello de entrada. You keep the white paper they give you to register with your local police station and to get your RUT (Rol Único Tributario) – it’s like a taxpayer’s number.
Once you grab your luggage, you go through the same process as most other international airports and run it through x-ray machines before exiting. Chris decided to bring his desktop to Santiago, which prompted a few questions from the customs officer but, after mentioning that it’s for a job, they didn’t mind it at all. We were told that taxis from Pudahuel to downtown Santiago ranged between CLP$25,000-30,000 (US$50-60) depending on your taxi driver and exact location. We took the Transvip and paid CLP$20,000 (US$40) for both of us. Oh, and remember that when you take taxis, tip is already included in the price.
We opted for an apart-hotel along Alonso Ovalle near La Alameda, but we also looked at Melablu and Aji Hostel. For the most part, it looks like finding permanent accommodation isn’t that difficult. We’re still pretty new at this, but we’re using Home Chile and it already looks like we might have something by this weekend!
Day 1 mostly consisted of wandering around and getting acclimated to our new home city. We saw Barrio Londres, la Plaza de Armas, Bellavista, Bellas Artes, and Lastarria.
Food here? Not exactly good for you. Chris spent much of the first two days choosing between variations of lomitos in sandwich form or platos completos. I’ve never seen so many ridiculous options for hotdogs, burgers, and fries. And someone still needs to explain to me why there’s so much mayonnaise in everything. There’s a whole aisle dedicated to mayonnaise in supermarkets! Not to mention, a very comprehensive section for hotdogs.
Cost of common goods? Not so cheap. Pretty comparable to Manhattan or, bodega prices for certain produce. Apartments? Cheap, by NYC standards. 1BR apartments we’ve seen are between US$650-750/month and 2BR apartments are around US$800-1,200/month and that’s fully furnished, all bills, plus WiFi or internet and a gym. Oh, did I mention a view of the Andes? I could get used to this.
Best discovery yet: cheap pisco. Like US$4-5 a bottle. Haha. US$2.60 for pisco drinks at bars (2 for 1). Vodka? Don’t even bother.