image of house of pablo neruda
Travel

Entering the Houses of Pablo Neruda in Chile

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?

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.

Visiting the houses of Pablo Neruda

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

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

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!

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

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