Thinking of moving to La Serena

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Met0069
Rank: Chile Forum Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:59 am
Location: Santiago

Thinking of moving to La Serena

Post by Met0069 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:28 pm

Hi everybody

Any advice re moving to La Serena?. Fed up with smoggy , traffic ridden Santiago. What's life like in La Serena? What's a good part of La Serena to live in? Are there many expats there? I know the questions are very broad but any thoughts welcome.

Quick background : I am retired ex cop from London, and have a pension and I teach English and do some catering : Malaysian/Indian food. My wife is Chilean, psychologist and with a lot of consulting experience.

Gaucin_ gipsy

griffin
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 182
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:40 pm
Location: La Serena

Re: Thinking of moving to La Serena

Post by griffin » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:50 pm

Hello and welcome,

Many of your La Serena questions will be answered at this website: www.iesa-chile.com. It is the website for the local expat-Chilean English speakers of La Serena group. This year we have about 70 members, quite a diverse lot. Check out the welcome package on the menu bar.

La Serena has many expats working in astronomy and mining, retirees, tourism, and various small businesses. There are several nicer areas in the city, along the beach, San Joaquin and Cerro Grande among them. We don't have smog, although you may sometimes find yourself in a smoke plume from someone else's heating fire in the winter. Most Chileans I have talked to consider Serena to be more relaxed than Santiago. The town is growing like crazy and housing prices are rising. We get lots of nice fresh produce from the Elqui Valley and environs. They grow lots of cherimoya, mountain papaya, avocados, and artichokes as well as most tree fruits, nuts, strawberries and vegetables. It gets crazy crowded here during summer tourist season.

I don't think we have Malaysian or Indian food available up here, but I would sure love to have it available myself.

I know two of the moms in my daughter's class are psychologists. That's all I can say though; I don't really know what their job market is like here.

That should get you started! Have fun looking into the move, definitely come see Serena sometime (just not in January or February if you can help it).

griffin
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 182
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:40 pm
Location: La Serena

Re: Thinking of moving to La Serena

Post by griffin » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:57 pm

Traffic in La Serena can get pretty bad actually, I forgot to mention. The city has rather outgrown its road infrastructure. But if you can avoid downtown and Ruta Cinco, or stay off the road during school drop off hour, it's still ok. Plus it is probably easier to live near one 's work here than in Santiago.

thisisreallycomplicated
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 2240
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:25 pm
Location: Coquimbo

Re: Thinking of moving to La Serena

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:11 am

griffin wrote:, although you may sometimes find yourself in a smoke plume from someone else's heating fire in the winter.
That would be my biggest complaint (besides the plumbing). I just had a long talk with my dog about why he had to stay in for a while. It can get pretty bad sometimes. I'm in Coquimbo, but I'm assuming it's about the same at night in La Serena.
“Now it’s conspiracy – they’ve made that something that should not even be entertained for a minute, that powerful people might get together and have a plan. Doesn’t happen, you’re a kook, you’re a conspiracy buff!” – George Carlin

jehturner
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 1491
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:24 am
Location: La Serena

Re: Thinking of moving to La Serena

Post by jehturner » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:24 pm

Met0069 wrote:and do some catering : Malaysian/Indian food.
:shock:
La Serena is paradise; when can you move here?

A retired ex cop? You mean you used to be an ex copper but you'd had enough? :mrgreen:

I think the number of expats is actually relatively low compared with Santiago, but there's a substantial astronomy & mining crowd like griffin said.

La Serena has it's own cloud that sits over it most of the time for at least half the year, but it's pretty mild here and summer is very pleasant. It is getting much busier (sometimes annoyingly so) but it's still basically a small coastal city with an attractive view on the hillside and some good countryside nearby. It's not smoggy like Santiago, of course. The food, while decent, is by no means exotic. It's hard to say how South Asian food would go down at this point; Chileans are getting slightly more adventurous and La Serena is growing but there's still quite a cultural hurdle to overcome; on the other hand, when these things take off, someone has to be there first. I'd expect it to be hard work getting customers past the gringo crowd, especially as there is no Asian population to speak of. You're probably OK with teaching English, though I don't have first-hand experience.

Where to live depends a bit on your budget and any work you need to get to, but you might try somewhere on the hill above Cisternas. The newer areas South of Cuatro Esquinas or above the University (Raul Bitran) are a bit more economical than the old cuico stronghold of San Joaquin. You can find a bit more info. on old threads. Note that the site admin has asked people not to post estate agent links but you should still be able to find old ones.

James.

Met0069
Rank: Chile Forum Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:59 am
Location: Santiago

Re: Thinking of moving to La Serena

Post by Met0069 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:25 pm

Thanks everybody for the replies. Much appreciated. So far it's been very useful.

We are hoping to come up to La Serena weekend after next to have a look around. If anyone is free, we'd love to meet you and maybe buy you a beer and pick your brains.

I retired early to join my Chilean wife , but only after 25 years service, specialising in investigating long term missing persons. At present I teach English through an Institute and privately and have about 40 students. I am CELTA qualified. That said, I hope to diversify and do something else as well. At present I also cook Indian/Malaysian/Chinese meals( My parents were born in India, I was born in Malaysia and lived there until I was 17 and then spent the rest of my life in the UK, until I moved to Chile) at peoples home as a hobby, building up business. It's been going quite well. : See https://www.facebook.com/ravicurrysantiago

Anyway I will check out all the information and hopefully a move to La Serena will be viable for us.

Muchas gracias todas y un abrazo

Ravi

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