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Santiago is one of the most modern cities in South America. It's filled with history and surrounded by natural beauty.

What is special or unique about your city?
Santiago is one of the most modern cities in South America. It's filled with history and surrounded by natural beauty. With more than six million people, Santiago—the capital of and biggest city in Chile—offers a view of the majestic Andean Mountain range from almost everywhere in the city. Along with its natural beauty and charm, the city has many spectacular restaurants, shops, green areas and museums. This city combines urban and suburban settlement and is one of the few cities in the world that has easy access to both world-class ski slopes and lovely beaches, such as Viña del Mar.

There is a lot that will interest you in this unique city.

What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Typically, newcomers are surprised by the city's beauty and modern infrastructure, but they are also impressed with its unique heritage. The locals in Santiago are very friendly and leave a lasting impression of kindness.

Are these impressions likely to change?
Chile's beauty is nature's gift to the country. The relaxed lifestyle, climate and culture is contagious and appreciated by everyone lucky enough to experience it.

What is the local language?
Spanish is the official language.

How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
A basic level of Spanish is required to get around in Chile and make contact with the locals, especially considering that Chileans often use a specific, local vocabulary called “Chilenismos.”

Here are a few Spanish phrases to help you when you arrive:

Spanish English
Buenos días Good morning
Buenas tardes Good afternoon
Buenas noches Good night
Cómo está usted? How are you?
Estoy muy bien, Y usted? I'm very well, and you?
Muchas gracias Thank you very much
De nada You’re welcome
Me llamo... My name is...
De dónde es usted? Where are you from?
Yo soy de... I'm from...
Puede ayudarme? Can you help me?
Habla usted inglés? Do you speak English?
Yo no hablo inglés I don't speak English
Entiende usted? Do you understand?
Yo no entiendo I don't understand

What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
Some tips to avoid offending residents of Santiago are:

  • Chileans are very patriotic and will take offense at negative comments about the country and culture.
  • People in Chile speak at a closer distance and maintain eye contact when talking to people.
  • When meeting someone, offer a firm handshake.
  • Pointing at other people is often considered unacceptable.
  • If you do point at something, use your entire hand instead of just your index finger.
  • Bargaining is not practiced in street markets or stores.
  • Tipping at hotels is around 10 percent to 15 percent, but taxi drivers do not have to be tipped.
  • Address people using titles: Mr. = Señor, Mrs. = Señora or Miss = Señorita and the person's surname.
  • Be aware that a majority of Chileans hold both maternal and paternal surnames.
  • Greetings and introductions to new people are typically a cheerful occasion involving plenty of physical touching.

How might the local weather affect my daily life?
Chile is south of the equator, which makes the seasons the reverse of what you might be used to. Santiago has an ideal climate, with low humidity, which might explain why 80 percent of Chile's population lives here. The seasons are well defined, with hot summers (December to March) making Santiago one of Chile's warmest cities. In autumn (March to June) and spring (September to December), the temperatures are just right with pleasant breezes. In the winter (June to September), the temperatures are much cooler, but not unbearable. Although rainfall is frequent during autumn and spring, these are the best months by far to visit Santiago.

Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Yes, within an hour or so of Santiago you can find many outdoor activities, such as hiking, hot springs, biking and skiing. Also, the city presents some traffic congestion during rush hours.

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