Entering the Houses of Pablo Neruda in Chile

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As a fan of literature, it was a pleasant journey for me to learn about the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda during my stay in the country. It all began when I was in the process of planning my travels to Valparaíso when a friend suggested I go to La Sebastiana, one of the houses of Pablo Neruda. At that time, I didn’t really know much about this poet and his work, so I decided to follow through. Later on in my small research, I found out that there are three houses of Pablo Neruda in Chile: La Chascona, La Sebastiana and Isla Negra. Unfortunately, I only had the chance of visiting two of them, but it was enough to make me want to share my experience with all of you. So, shall we?

Let’s start with the question: who is Pablo Neruda?
Paintings in La Chascona
Paintings in La Chascona

Pablo Neruda is a Chilean poet who was considered a pretty good writer. Okay, that is an understatement since he did win a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. Like many other known writers, Pablo Neruda started out as a pen name for Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. He got inspiration for his pen name from the Czech poet, Jan Neruda. Later on in his life, Neruda took this his pen name for good. Pablo Neruda wasn’t just a poet, but he was also a diplomat and politician (sounds pretty awesome, huh?). He also went through some marriages and divorces, but his most well-known love was with his latest wife, Matilde Urrutia, whom he often wrote about in his works.

If you are interested in learning more about him, please feel free to do so here. Now, let’s get on with his houses.

Visiting the houses of Pablo Neruda
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A mural in La Chascona

Visiting a house museum is different from visiting any other museum. Why? Because you get to see this iconic person’s past home and you get a glimpse of their personality. Same goes when I went to the houses of Pablo Neruda. As a museum, these houses showed me a side of the poet that is probably not revealed in other places. Here are some interesting things that I learned about him:

  • Pablo Neruda writes in green ink and you can see residues of his green ink in some parts of his houses.
  • This poet loves to drink from colored glass cups because he believes it makes water taste better. (I want to try this actually.)
  • Pablo Neruda loves to have guests and dinner parties.
  • He loves his secret doors around the house to surprise his guests.
  • Pablo Neruda loves having his house a bit higher than the city so he can look out his window and look at the city while he writes.

I leave it to these four details. I don’t want to spoil your visit!

La Chascona in Santiago de Chile
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The La Chascona symbol in Santiago de Chile

La Chascona is the house of Pablo Neruda in the capital city of Chile, Santiago. He started building this house in 1957, and it was actually for his lover at that time, Matilde Urrutia, whom later on became his wife. The house is near Cerro San Cristóbal and you can get there by taking the metro to Bellavista. Here are the entrance ticket information:

  • Tickets for adults 6000 CLP
  • Students and senior Chilean citizens 2000 CLP
  • Free audio tour is available (I recommend it)
  • Taking photos inside the house is not allowed; outside is okay!
La Sebastiana in Valparaíso
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The view from La Sebastiana

La Sebastiana sits on the hills of the port city Valparaíso. The house was formerly built by the Spaniard, Sebastián Collado, but he died and the unfinished house was abandoned. Pablo Neruda encountered it and finally continued the construction and named it after the man who originally had the idea for the house. It was named La Sebastiana. Ticket information is mostly the same as La Chascona:

  • Tickets for adults 6000 CLP
  • Students and senior Chilean citizens 2000 CLP
  • Free audio tour is available (I recommend it)
  • Taking photos the house is not allowed; outside is okay!
Take me back to the Houses of Pablo Neruda

Entering the houses of Pablo Neruda was such an experience. I still haven’t experienced his house in Isla Negra, so I would love to go back to Chile and visit that home of his. Honestly, Pablo Neruda’s house is not just any other house. You will find so many interesting, unique and, even, random items since he was such a passionate collector. Please make time to visit the houses of Pablo Neruda during your visit in Chile, because they are indeed worth it! Happy travels!

Abrazos,

Bethanny

P.S.: Have you ever visited interesting and unique houses before? Share you experience in the comments below!

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56 Comments

  1. I love your pictures! So gorgeous! I also really love that you turned your vacation into a literary adventure of sorts and took the opportunity to learn so much.

  2. Amazing pictures!!! I never visited a house museum although I am acquainted with this concept. This looks really nice and I completely understand why you do not want to share all the details as it will spoil our visit.

  3. I LOVE that you shared some of his eccentrics – I need more colorful glasses. I visited La Sebastiana and it was a tragically wonderful place. Valparaiso in general is pretty spectacular. Thanks for the great post. I love his poetry!

  4. I really enjoy visiting noteworthy houses when i travel, gives you a real feel for how the people in them lived their lives. Great post 🙂

  5. Hello Dear! Wow his place still looks good as today. I like that wall paintings, his plce looks so homey.

    What’s your favorite Chilean food?

    1. They did a good job at taking care of the houses. Not a food, but I love getting mote con huesillo on the streets of Santiago. I sound super gringa, but they are delicious!

  6. Great photos! I first encountered Pablo Neruda’s work when I was in college. His weaves his poems intricately and beautifully! I definitely want to visit the one in Isla Negra as he wrote one with that as its title. 🙂

    “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” – just remembered 😉

  7. I love the murals in your photos. I’d also love to explore this house and find all the secret doors! I haven’t read anything of Neruda’s – I’ll have to check him out.

  8. Your post reminded me of the Ernest Hemingway’s house in the Key West, Florida that I visited during Labor Day weekend! Thanks for sharing this post with us! Your pictures are just amazing!

  9. the history is so interesting, as a writer it looks as thought he appreciated art as well. I really love A mural in La Chascona it reminds of a very large scale project my daughter made for me years ago, very pretty!

  10. This place looks absolutely gorgeous, I didn’t even know you could win a Noble prize in literature. I prefer visiting museums that are home based, I feel like you are walking through history.

    -@FLUNKINGMONKEY

  11. I think you had a wonderful experience at Chile and the pictures are quiet amazing as well. Pablo Neruda sounds like a great poet and it would be so much fun to visit such unique houses anytime.

    1. I use a Sony NEX 5T. It’s pretty cool and light for travelers. I like it a lot! And then I just make a few edits for the contrast and color.

  12. I love all of your pictures!!It sounds like an amazing experience, I will add this to my list of travel dreams!!!

  13. Interesting to know his ink preferences – green, huh? Loved the pictures. It is nice to see the place where these artists had their inspiration. Inspiring for us too 😀

  14. It’s great to study and learn about historical and visiting the houses they lived gives visitors an unique feeling of how they lived there and what they used to do. Whenever i see antique items anywhere I usually begin imagining how it was used and try to pictures how they would have used it and so on. History can teach you a lot and I’m sure you had a similar experience at the houses of this poet. May be who knows years from now even each one of us could be remembered this way.

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