20 In Travels

A Guide to Visiting Pablo Neruda’s Houses


A few weeks (months?) ago, while I was sharing my memories from Chile, I talked about visiting Pablo Neruda’s  3 different houses and really wanted to share this with you today. I think that if you’re in Chile, it’s 100% worth visiting them!

About Pablo Neruda

He was a Chilean poet, diplomat and politician (1904-1973). In his youth he wrote Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (1924) and they are devastatingly beautiful, I recommend them. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. He died about a week after the coup d’etat hit Chile in 1973 – the dictator denied his funeral to be made public, but thousands disobeyed curfew to attend regardless. He is an icon – still to this day – and my brother was named after him. 

He owned (and built) three different houses that are now all museums : La Chascona in Santiago, La Sebastiana in Valparaíso, and Casa de Isla Negra in Isla Negra. They are all being run by the Pablo Neruda Foundation.

La Chascona

This house is in the heart of the capital city of Santiago, at the foot of the Cerro San Cristobal. La Chascona was his nickname for his then lover and later wife, Matilde Urrutia – which means ‘wild hair’. The house is surrounded by a garden and contains many of the weird things Neruda collected. 

memories chile 2010 17

La Sebastiana

Situated in Valparaiso, it overlooks the amazing city and bay. We were walking around the town and came to it by accident. Sadly, this is the only house I have yet to visit because of the long queues. Even if you don’t visit you get a feel for the house and get to enjoy the great view!


Isla Negra

This was by far my favourite – I think because of its seaside setting. It is situated in Isla Negra just south of Valparaiso. It is quirky and all about boats and the sea. You can really tell the significance this house had to him. Neruda and his last wife, Matilde, are buried on this site. 

isla negra

The most amazing thing about visiting theses houses are the stories about the remarkable life of Pablo Neruda. The fact that he built the houses himself, the fact that he positioned his bed at Isla Negra to coincide exactly with the sunrise on solstice morning, the stories of who sat for dinner and drinks with him, of his political allegiances and fights, of all his different wives, of his poetry and his weird collections.

I dare you to not enjoy a visit at one of his houses! And if you must know, in most (if not all) houses, there are tours available in French, English, Portuguese and Spanish, so no excuse!

Ever heard of Pablo Neruda?xx

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