Monday, December 19, 2016

Farm for Sale

Well, we hadn't planned on going into the real estate business again but.....
When someone comes to you and asks you to help sell their farm, what can you say?
This small dairy farm of 60 hectares or 148 acres is located in the vicinity of Puerto Octay in the Los Lagos region of southern Chile.
It has a fantastic 5 volcano view. See Volcan Osorno below with the house on the right side of the picture.

 The entry to this working farm. They have about 50 cows but the animals and machinery are not going with the farm.
 There are 4 barns including the milking shed.
 Lots of pastureland
 The house is newer and has 5 bedrooms, 1 bath and is around 1300 sq. ft.
 This is the workers house.
 Please see our Youtube video for more info

Friday, November 25, 2016

Questions from Readers

I have been getting a lot more emails the past few months from people interested in moving to Chile so I thought I would share some of the questions with my responses here for you.

 what made you go to Chile??

Well, this is what we were looking for
Stable government
Growing economy
A place where we didn't stick out as the rich gringos
Moderate climate not too dry or too cold or too hot
We went to Uruguay and it was nice but not too impressive
We had friends here in Chile from the USA who owned a vacation home which they let us use  for 2 years until we found our farm
Funny thing is they didn't like Chile and are now back in the USA.

How are the school systems in your area?

Public school is the pits but there are private schools - some free like the catholic school my kids attend. Public schools in my experience have problems controlling the students. Their ideas on discipline and control are a bit different than in the US. The teachers teach to the yearly exit exams mandatory for each grade and text books are revisionist history written by the socialists. Students are not taught to think but just how to follow the steps to achieve the correct answer. All schools have english teachers as there is a big push to get all chileans speaking english but in my opinion they don't start soon enough because most kids graduate not being able to speak english.

How bad are the mosquitoes? Any fear of getting one of the fevers? 

Despite the fact that this area is a temperate rainforest (the Valdivian rainforest) mosquitos and other insects are not really a big problem like in Maine, Minnesota, or Canada.
Remember Chile is not tropical or jungley. It is nowhere near the Amazon so we don't have any of the tropical fevers and diseases you may find in Ecuador or Brazil. Chile is very modern, clean, and healthy. You can drink the water anywhere with no fears. The US State Dept does not have any warnings for travelers to get any immunizations before coming here.

Are there wood burning stoves instead of central heating?

Wood burning stoves are very common or propane heaters. Central heat is very unusual.

Are the locals welcoming at all or do they not want us there?

Locals love us. They think America is great (little do they know!) In the area we live, the Los Lagos region, in 1860 it was settled by thousands of german families so we fit in and most people who don't know us just think we are colonial germans. In places like Ecuador and Peru, you will be targeted as a "rich" American but not here. Chileans are friendly and helpful. My kids had an almost superstar status when they joined our little local school as they had never had american students before.

My hope is to get a job teaching English as a foreign language does that actually sound like a possibility in a not so populated area?

If you want a job teaching in a school, you may need to be certified but I don't know how that works but make sure you have all your documents (look up my article on my blog entitled "Don't leave home without it" and I have a list of all the documents you may need and how to have them apostilled.
We have friends who teach english but it's not in a public school and they seem to live in the cities (Santiago & Puerto Montt). You can do some research on Facebook or online for schools that teach english in Chile. Many businesses that don't have a website often use Facebook for advertising.
There's a course for TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) but it's only in Santiago I can't find it anywhere south.

Is there lactose free milk or a dairy alternative? my son is lactose intolerant

Chile has dairy companies that produce lactose free milk and yogurt and are found in most larger supermarkets. Lider (walmart) and Jumbo have the best selection of products and the imported (expensive) products from the US. My friend found a new product at Jumbo made in Chile called Nature's Heart Almond Vanilla drink with no sugar. There are more products available in Santiago than here but things are moving and changing here so eventually we should have most products! Also Jumbo has lactose free cheeses.

What is the safest and best way to transfer funds from America to Chile?

As far as money, we use our ATM and debit card everywhere without a problem though ATM fees can be quite hefty. For large sums of money, you can use Western Union or

Are there any stores for things to get for kids like toys?

Yes, they have toys here :) but anything imported from America is super expensive.

In your opinion what town is best for someone that prefers the cold but also wants the ocean and forest? (Haha so basically I'm being too picky)

No - that is one of the great things about Chile!  Because the country is only 150 miles wide, more or less, You can easily be in the mountains, the forest, and the beach in one afternoon. We prefer green areas as opposed to the dry dusty arid regions around Santiago. We don't like snow and prefer the year round mild temps of the Los Lagos region. 40 F in winter and 60-70F in summer.  We don't like cities so we live out in the country but if you need a job you could live somewhere near Valdivia or Osorno. I'm not as familiar with the other regions.

My husband was wondering besides English teaching, what jobs are there for Americans there that aren't super fluent in Spanish just yet?

Jobs are a difficulty here if you don't speak good spanish so start working on it now! Lots of good online programs. Starting a business here or online are options. Though starting one here won't be easy and you need to be here for a while to figure out what you can do or to fill a need you may find. Tourism is big here and cabin rentals and farming. A hands-on trade like plumbing or electrical work may be a good business as Americans are trusted here and have better knowledge of these fields.
Here are a few tips for you- 
You will need some income or savings while you are getting established. If you live simply, you could make it for a year on $20-30,000 USD
Chile is not one of the cheaper places in SA to live.
We keep our expenses down by living simply like chileans and homesteading to produce a lot of our own needs. We sell pigs and pork and vegies to supplement our monthly annuity income.

Monday, August 15, 2016

An exciting opportunity

We have an exciting opportunity for you to get an 8 year jump start on your dream homestead in the south of Chile.
We are helping some friends sell their homestead near Rio Bueno in the Los Rios Region.
Here are some facts

Property Facts:Rio Bueno, Chile

10 Hectares or 24.7 acres fenced with river frontage

Orchard with 370 Avcllano or Chilean Hazel Nut Trees

+/-2100 Sqft House; 3 Br 2.5 Ba W/Inground pool

House is furnished and stocked

NOTE: House is being being remodeled, but is currently habitable

Care Takers House

John Deere 5400 Tractor w/loader & back hoe attachment
POLARIS 4X4 "Magnum 325" , Roto Tiller (a Big one)
2007 Hyundai 1.7 ton Diesel Truck
Woodchipper, lawnmowers, 2 Containers 40', Every shop tool you could almost imagine,
Kipor 6500 or 5000 watt diesel Generator

All this and more go with property. Everything you need to move in is here.
 To see the video on our Youtube page click here
Or you can email Jim for more info  at
The seller is asking $450,000.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Great Travel articles for Chile

The Telegraph in the UK has a series of excellent well written articles about traveling in Chile.

Panoramic view of Santiago, Chile, South America

                                                                                                           photo borrowed from article linked below
Here are a few links for you ....

21 Reasons to visit Chile

Doug Tompkins and more Patagonian Parks

Patagonia, Chile: a new national park and conservation campaign
                                                                                                             photo borrowed from article linked above
This is my dream trip to the Atacama

Atacama Desert: Trip of a Lifetime
photo borrowed from article linked above

And my dream cruise to the Patagonian Fjords and Glaciers

And there are more articles about Chile at the bottom of each link. Enjoy your desk top traveling! It's the cheapest way to go!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

April/May News in Review

Well, April was not a very exciting month but May has been pretty eventful!
For a good laugh about Chile's continuing problem with the off again on again Daylight Savings Time program read this article from the Wall Street Journal

This article was quite "tame" as some sites had pictures of the man with his head in the lion's mouth.
I'm not sure why they had to kill the lions instead of tranquilizing them. I guess maybe tranquilizers don't work fast enough?

This is a little closer to home and BIG news.

In April, large red tide algal blooms were poisoning the fish and shellfish of Patagonia. Red tides are common but this was of unprecedented size fueled some say by El nino and warm waters and others by pollution from salmon farming. It hurt many small artisan fisherman. They protested by blocking the ferry ramps to Chiloe which not only hurt them but many others on Chiloe who have nothing to do with the red tide. Like our friends who own a small dairy farm and count on the income from selling their milk to companies whose trucks couldn't make it over to the island. Never fear
"We are the government and we are here to help you" They offer the fisherman 170,000 pesos, about $250.
As it turns out, the salmon farms were dumping a lot of their dead salmon (from a previous infection earlier this year) way out in the ocean but apparently due to the currents they washed ashore causing more problems and maybe exacerbating the red tide.
What a mess!
Here are 3 articles you can read in chronological order

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

News in Review March 2016

Mounted Carabineros in Santiago
First Quarter economic news

Doug Tompkins was the owner of the largest tract of privately owned land in Chile. As of his death in December, Parque Pumalin, just south of Puerto Montt, will be handed over to the state opening up the lower third of the country for a new road to connect the far flung reaches of Chile. He has been a controversial figure in Chile. Find out why in this article.

WalMart in Chile

The view of the Milky Way from the southern hemisphere is awesome and here is an article on the most comprehensive picture to date taken from an observatory in the Atacama Desert

For hikers, new maps of Chile's senderos now available

Salmon farms suffering losses - the hazards of factory farms

The Unbelievable lottery but I wonder where they are getting the money from? I'll let you know if I win!

Marijuana is legal now in Chile but this farm is growing only for medical purposes

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lago Todos Los Santos and Petrohue

One of the most beautiful lakes in Chile is located just east of Lago LLanquihue and is surrounded by 3 volcanoes- Osorno, Puntiagudo, and Tronador.

A view of Puntiagudo to the north

A view to the east of Isla de las cabras (Goat Island)

A view to the east and south

Here is the town of Petrohue if you can call it a town. It consists of the Lodge in the upper right corner, the boat/bus terminal with a small snackbar, a post office, a museum, and a few houses. Yeah, I guess that qualifies as a town here!
The beach has beautiful black sand and there is swimming in the cool waters. You can go on a boat ride in one of the boats pictured here for 2-3,000 pesos per person (about 3-4$) 

I was a bit disappointed in the boat ride. It was 1/2 hr long but didn't go anywhere near the island and you could never get a good view of Volcan Tronador on the southeastern end of the lake. But you did get to go out to this cute little floating cabin ....

With great views of Volcan osorno.

Nice panoramic view with 2 volcanoes - Osorno on the left and the tip of Puntiagudo on the right

And here is the Lodge. Quite beautiful and modern. We stopped in for tea and cookies one rainy afternoon and were treated to this spectacular view below.

And here is the link to their website

I haven't stayed there but I've seen the rooms and cabins and I would recommend staying and Trip Advisor has some pretty good ratings for it. The Lodge also offer excursions like fishing, hiking, rafting, kayaking, horse back riding, climbing, zip lines, and canyoning (?). Check out the website!

There is also camping if you can't afford the expensive price tag of $200 per night for the Lodge.
The campground is at the entrance of the Sendero Desolacion for the intrepid hiker. See my other post on this. No, I did not go! but my boys did and they loved it!

This is the only ferry on the lake and it goes to the only other town on the lake, Peulla. For 27,000 pesos ($40)for the day you can go over to the other side and spend the day at the Lodge there. Check out this link to see what you can do for the day in Peulla.

And here is a view of the lake from up on the Paso Desolacion on the side of Volcan Osorno.
 Just spectacular!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Homesteading in Chile - Part 1 - Finding land

Quiet country road with blueberry farm on the left

Homesteading in Chile has its particular difficulties that may or may not be similar to homesteading in the US but I want to share our version of homesteading Chilean style!

The whole concept of homesteading and living a self sufficient lifestyle is a little foreign to most Chileans as 85% of them live in urban areas. Even out here in the farm country of the south the concept is puzzling to our neighbors after all you can't make your own Coca Cola! (that's what our neighbor said when we told her we were trying to be self sufficient) Many people own farms but live in the city, don't drink the milk they produce on their own dairy farms, kill and toss the bull calves instead of eating them, and rarely have more than a day or two's worth of food in the house. Though many grow a lot of their own food in gardens and greenhouses and live and eat simply, eating simply for Chileans means lots of bread. I'm not meaning to sound condescending, I'm just saying I have a different North American perspective that they don't always understand and that's ok!

Well, the first step in homesteading is to find your land. This in itself is very challenging as the only place with anything close to an MLS is Santiago. Realtors are not regulated and anyone can say they are an "immobiliaria" who knows a few neighbors who want to sell. So often they only know the properties in their own backyard. Finding property is all about who you know.The key here is to get out and meet people, talk to people and spread the word around that you are looking for property. It sure helps to know the language or bring along someone who does. Try to get a feel for the prices because many are quite willing to take advantage of a gringo.

But where in Chile? It is so large and has many different climates. I would suggest some travel to explore the different areas first. North of Santiago, which is centrally located, is very dry and includes the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world.These would be Regions 15 and 1-5. Probably not the best for a small farm because of the lack of water and water rights are a problem in the dry areas.  Just south of Santiago are the agricultural regions 6 & 7 with grape vineyards and lots of fruit trees. The climate is Mediterranean meaning warm to hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Land here is at a premium and you pay more for productive farmland. The 8th region is the home to large tracts of pine trees for the wood industry and the 9th region is Chile's breadbasket grain growing area while the 10th region is dairy country. The climate of the 10th region is temperate with mild dry summers and cool wet winters. I think land in these areas is fertile, productive, and relatively inexpensive. We estimated from all the different land we looked at in the 10th region that a good price would be around $2,500 USD per acre  or $5,700 USD per hectare. The 11th and 12th regions are cold, rugged, and remote and the land is probably cheap!

This eucalyptus grove would provide a lot of firewood

Here are a few tips on what to look for as you are looking at properties.

1. Is it big enough for your needs?
pasture and forest - we wanted a mix - pasture for animals - you need 1.8 acres per cow- forest for privacy and the lumber - you need a 10 acre wood lot to be self sufficient in firewood and firewood is the primary way to heat homes in this area - space for a greenhouse and an orchard

2.  How does the land lay? 
flat areas hopefully in the pasture and some hills for interest - we like a varied landscape and didn't want a pancake flat piece of land - move yourself in and see how workable the place is - where can you put your house and the barn, the vegie garden, chicken coop, orchard, etc.

3. Does the land drain well?
make sure you have good drainage- if the pastures are flat look for signs of wet grass and puddles which indicate a high water table or drainage problems

4. Is the soil fertile?
look at the soil - is it a deep, dark color and loamy? if you are going to live off the land you want it to be fertile- stones, clay or sand may make your life difficult

5. Does the property have good access?
make sure you have access from the road- one property we looked at you had to drive through someone else's farm to get to it and the drive was so rutted and filled with giant puddles that we actually had to drive through the pastures and gates

6. Does it have any running or standing water?
we wanted a year round running river or creek or pond for possible power generation or irrigation water or even drinking water- make sure you have rights to use it - in our water rich area this isn't a consideration but in many areas of Chile you have to be granted the rights to use the water running through your property

7. What utilities are available?
 we have power lines running through our property but the power company wanted $5,000 just to hook up so we went off grid with solar which we wanted to do anyway and we have no water or sewer utilities either which was fine for us as we dug the septic system (no permits needed) and pump our own water from a spring. We had the water tested for drinkability at the local farm supply store - internet is a consideration also- towns usually have high speed internet but not out in the country- dish service can be expensive and sketchy at best- a data plan through your cellular service may be your only option

These Pellin trees are a good sign of fertile farmland
Here are a few links to sites that list properties. I do not know and cannot vouch for either of these sites but it is interesting to see what is available.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

News in Review - February 13, 2016

Santiago from Cerro San Cristobal

I decided I need to be more aware of the news happening in my own backyard so I thought I would share a weekly or monthly (honestly , I don't know if enough exciting things happen here on a weekly basis :) review of the most interesting news stories in Chile. Though there are several news outlets online in Chile like the Santiago Times the best and latest stories actually come from the UK -the Telegraph and the Guardian.  The Santiago Times english version is outdated.  I love Chile news is a great website written in english but is offline a lot of times and the news is more blogish than news reporting. is another site with an english version though if you want to get local news you need to use the castellano version and let google translate it for you. And This is Chile website
has some great info about traveling, living, studying, and doing business in Chile plus some news on culture, education, tourism, sports, science, and much more. A really beautiful website.
 Since this is the first time I am posting news stories some will be older than this past week.

Smugglers steal rare albino falcon eggs

Corruption in Bachelet Family

Chilean miners feel cheated

Toilet paper collusion

The largest solar power plant in SA

Giant Waves over turn car in Vina del Mar- video

Chile is one of the best places in the world to do business according to Forbes

First image of a red super giant star from Chilean observatory

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snakes in Chile ?!?!

Snakes in Chile?
Some city slickers believe there are no snakes in Chile!
Well, guess what?
There are.
Go to this link

and find out the real truth about snakes in Chile ....

File:Red milk snake.JPG
Photo borrowed from Wikipedia

Monday, January 25, 2016

Volcan Casablanca

In the Parque Nacional Puyehue are hot springs, a ski resort, and great trails for hiking. You enter this area through the town of Entrelagos. A very nice little town that welcomes Argentinian visitors through the mountain pass.

Heading east on Hwy 215 there are great views of the lake and Volcan Puyehue which erupted about 6 years ago. Here also is Termas de Puyehue, a fancy overpriced resort. You can find them on Trip Advisor with mixed reviews. But behind them is Aguas Calientes. I've done a post on this more affordable option to enjoy the hot springs before. If you continue on the road into the park, you can drive the 18 km on a dirt road up to Antillanca, the ski resort. We were up there in the summer so I'll leave a post about the ski resort for another time. In the off season though, for only 10,000 pesos (about $15) you can drive to the top of Volcan Casablanca and it's crater.

Here is part of the ski lodge and at the right is a gate and a sign that says "Al Crater" 10,000 pesos
To the crater, 10,000 pesos per car

A panorama of the crater

The road looking back towards the ski lodge

Our Toyota Prada  does great off road

The boys being adventurous and energetic as they are hiked out to that point to the left of Andrew in the above photo. And the rest of these pictures were taken from that view point.

This is looking south towards Volcan Puntiagudo and Lago Rupanco

This is such an awesome place! You feel like you are at the top of the world. And the funny thing is no one is ever here! I have never seen it mentioned in any guide books as a tourist attraction. We just found it by chance and the first time we weren't even sure if we were allowed up there as the gate was open and we just drove in.