NOTE: It would be remiss of me to exclude a comment or two about Chile in comparison to its eastern neighbor, Argentina. Though Chile IS the #2 Safe Haven in the WORLD, there is little to compare between 1st World Argentina and 2nd World Chile. Whereas Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world with nearly the entire country VERY livable, Chile is a relatively small country, and on top of that, only 25% of the country is considered ‘livable’. Natural disasters abound in Chile, from deadly tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, drought and heat. In fact hundreds to thousands of Chileans die every decade from earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes alone. There are no volcanoes in Argentina, no recorded tsunamis, and less than 2 people die from earthquakes every decade on average in Argentina.
The northern third of Chile is the nearly inhabitable Atacama desert – the driest place on earth. Less than 5% of the population lives here.
The southern third is the sparsely populated cold, windy, cloudy, and wet Chilean Patagonia. It is cluttered with dozens of volcanoes. Interestingly there are six major active volcanoes in the southern half of Chile, according to WOVO, the world’s leading volcano organization.
So what does this leave in regards to living safely in Chile?
Chile is over 2,600 miles long. The northern and southern thirds are ‘out’. They are simply not good areas for survivability. The middle ‘third’ (actually much smaller than third, but for easy communication purposes we will call it a third) is all we have left.
This is a small area in the middle of the country, where 90% of the country’s population (17 million people) is crammed into an area the size of Arkansas.
Now this area boasts an ideal climate – akin to the famous and much-desired Mediterranean climate.
Sadly, you cannot get away from heavily populated areas in this central valley area. There are too many people crammed into such a small area.
I have ALWAYS stated, that you should NEVER live in a big city. So Santiago, with its 6 million inhabitants is out, and anything within an hour drive should be considered out too. But we need to look at areas within an hour drive, because we cannot rule out the entire country.
Also, Santiago is polluted much of the year, similar to Los Angeles. The prevailing winds come from the Pacific and push the big city pollution up against the mountains to the east of the city, becoming landlocked over the city of Santiago. Therefore, I think it best to rule out anything east of Santiago.
We have to go a little north or south to find desirable areas.
The good news, is there are many expat communities, organic farming expat communities, libertarian expat communities and overall good areas for living in the central valley, despite their proximities to heavy population.
Now, I would be willing to ‘plug’ several of these communities, but I find that so often I am offended by the literature that they put out. So many of them make self-righteous claims about either their community or Chile itself. They avoid the negatives, the deadly death traps that do concern me, as well as simply not being honest with the facts. Certainly, many, if not most of them, do not look at The Collapse in all of its totality. Also, many of these communities are minutes outside of Santiago. They are NOT concerned about surviving The Collapse, as so much as they are providing expats some lots to build their homes on.
But when I consider that they are trying to SELL property (read: they have a financial investment at stake and are trying to make MONEY), then I can understand their motivation. It still does not make me feel comfortable about sending you, my readership and listenership (of my radio shows) to their websites that are mostly hard core sales pitches for you to purchase lots in their ‘communities’.
I will mention a few, and give you my caveats along with them.
One of the oldest, most famous, and in my opinion, better-run communities is Freedom Orchard Curacavi. Is it a ‘perfect’ place? Of course not. There are always some negatives. They are slower at getting the project going than most people would like. (Read: a bit under funded.) However, the more people that purchase lots, the more infrastructure they can build.
NOTE: I regularly recommend Doug Casey’s community in Argentina’s Salta Province. For an example, it is NOT underfunded. Polo fields, pools, an elegant club house, spa, golf course, vineyards, etc. are in place as well as paved roads and all utilities. Anyone purchasing a lot here has no fear of these things that have been promised to never exist. So the caveat is: there is NO guarantee that Freedom Orchard will ever have the lake, the golf course, the things that they have PLANNED. 2015 UPDATE NOTE: After some investigation, I can no longer promote Doug Casey's Estancia in Argentina for various reasons. Several of the home/land owners have publicly or privately stated that there are some not so above board things going on at Estancia.
I personally think that there COULD be such a HUGE expat rush out of Europe and North America that places like Freedom Orchard COULD sell out within a couple years. But only time will tell if enough people will expatriate BEFORE it is too late.
The current cost of a standard lot (1/2 hectares - which is 1.24 acres) is around $100,000. Hillside lots and golf course lots are obviously more. Financing is available (as stated on their website.)
For their basic online brochure, check out this website:
For a 9 minute video:
Interestingly, Freedom Orchard has two other projects that they are involved in. They are called Freedom Orchard Santa Cruz and Freedom Orchard San Clemente.
Freedom Orchard Santa Cruz is a much better location, in my opinion. Though there is currently no infrastructure on the huge property, the lots are selling for one fifth the cost of Freedom Orchard Curacavi. It too is supposed to be an all organic farming community, without the planned golf course and amenities.
If you are willing to start at the ‘bottom’ so-to-speak, of an expat, organic community, and have chosen Chile as your go-to country, this COULD be something you may want to look at.
Any Ayn Rand fans out there? The author’s famous book Atlas Shrugged gave mankind the hope of a future community call Galt’s Gulch, where hard working, like-minded people gathered to live beyond the insanity engulfing the rest of the planet.
Is Jeff Berwick’s “Galt’s Gulch Chile” a fulfillment of Ayn Rand’s vision?
I don’t think so. This is one of those expat community projects that has a lot of potential, and could very well provide hundreds of people a safe haven, but the literature is too sugary sweet for me to stomach. If I can look past all the hyperbolic superlatives used in their literature and Internet website, I might feel more comfortable telling you to “go for it”.
It is located in the same area as Freedom Orchard, near Curacavi.
You may check out their website here:
Jeff Berwick is a self-described anarchist and LIBERTARIAN. The anarchist part concerns me, and the libertarian part impresses me. There are some rather well-known libertarians that have thrown their hat into Berwick’s ring, so they may know some things that I do not know.
However, I have investigated Berwick’s main business, The Dollar Vigilante, as well as Galt’s Gulch Chile. This does concern me personally. If you have no problems with anarchists, and their tactics and mindset, then you can chalk this up to my opinion that anarchy is NOT something I want to be associated with. With that said, there are MANY things that I DO agree with coming out of Berwick’s mouth and pen.
However, here are some of my concerns:
Jeff has started similar Galt’s Gulches in Acapulco, Mexico and elsewhere. He has lived in Thailand (an expat haven – but not even in the top 25 safe havens) as well as Mexico.
Does he truly not understand what The Collapse entails? I don’t think so. I think he only looks at The Collapse as something financial or economical.
The other thing is: he used to promote La Estancia in Argentina (in 2011), saying it was truly “the world’s first real Galt’s Gulch”, purchasing property at the community the very first time he visited it.
I have not contacted Doug Casey to see if Jeff purchased land at La Estancia and then has sold it to help finance his Galt’s Gulch in Chile.
I would recommend you do some due diligence and heavy investigation of everything you can before making a final decision to purchase a property and build at Galt’s Gulch Chile.
2015 UPDATE: Galt's Gulch Chile is a disaster. I am including two links to articles written by none-other-than Jeff Berwick himself and a person who nearly got swindled out of her money buying a lot at Galt's Gulch Chile.
Now, for those of you who do not need to be a part of an expat community, and are willing to strike out on your own, here are a couple places in Chile that I think would make good safe havens.
Again, I have to mention a negative or I would feel as though I did not properly give you a balanced insight to what I am sharing.
Some of the largest and most deadly earthquakes the entire planet have ever experienced were in Chile, and just south of Santiago – where we are going to talk about now.
Most seismologists call the May 22, 1960 Chilean earthquake the largest (9.5) ever recorded in human history. Thousands were killed, over 2 million were left homeless, and the tsunami devastated not only Chile but also Hawaii (61 dead and $75 million in damage), Japan (138 dead and $50 million damage), as well as the Philippines and west coast of the United States.
You may be thinking, that was over half a century ago. In 2010, on February 27th, an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale (6th largest quake ever recorded in the history of the world and 500 TIMES more powerful than the earthquake that hit Haiti in January of 2010) struck Chile and caused a massive tsunami (53 countries affected) and knocked out power to 93% of the Chilean population (for several days.) Nearly 400,000 homes were destroyed. A brand new 15 story apartment building fell (toppled) in Concepcion. Over 250 miles away from the epicenter buildings collapsed. Over $7 billion in damage. Nearly a thousand dead. FYI: Seismologists say that the earthquake was so powerful that it shortened the length of the day by 1.26 microseconds and moved the earth’s axis by 8 centimeters. And believe it or not, the quake caused seiches (waves in a lake) 4,700 miles away from the epicenter, in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana.
I don’t want to spend pages of this article listing all of the earthquakes over the years in Chile, so I won’t.
The key here is: Buyer beware. Earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis are a real threat in Chile.
If I had to live in Chile, I would probably choose to live anywhere around the Villarica Lake in the southernmost area of the central valley, just southeast of Temuco.
The weather is mild, four seasons, ample rain in the fall and winter (May through September), lush green valleys, a temperate rain forest, and is a known tourist area – so lots of opportunities for businesses. The Pucon region is famous for outdoor sports, recreation, and adventure of every kind: horseback riding, natural hot springs, fishing, water sports (skiing, rafting, kayaking), snow skiing, hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing (on the volcano), boating and more.
The prices of land and homes are much cheaper than in and around the capital (Santiago). However, note that Pucon itself is a resort town for the ‘rich’. This is a good thing for those that like culture, nice restaurants, and great shopping. If you lived within a half hour or hour drive of Pucon, you could easily have dozens of wonderful opportunities in which to live.
There are several national parks in the area, major rivers, and spas with natural hot springs. Making a 35 to 50 mile radius around the lake and exploring the area would be something I think you could do and find a very desirable area in which to live.