Casa de Isla Negra, El Quisco, Chile


Physical address: Poeta Neruda s/n, Isla Negra, El Quisco

Phone number: +56 35 2461284

Business hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10am-6pm (7pm closing in January and February).

Closed Mondays

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When Nobel laureate, Pablo Neruda, and his third wife, Matilde Urrutia, bought Casa de Isla Negra in 1938, it was a small stone cottage sitting loftily above the pounding waves of the Pacific Ocean. A lifelong lover of the sea, the poet was drawn to the property and bought it with an advance from his publisher. That investment paid off, as many of Neruda’s poems were inspired by, or even feature, the house, which, being the couple’s favourite of their three properties, has grown over the years.

The first additions to the house were carried out between 1943 and 1945, with other significant works being completed in 1965. A zinc roof was installed, to amplify the sound of the rain and remind Neruda of his childhood in the south of Chile, as well as wooden floors, narrow corridors and low ceilings constructed to make the home resemble a ship. This maritime passion remains a focal point of the house, with rooms dedicated to the writer’s collections: seashells, ships in bottles, maps and figureheads.

In 1973, Neruda was dying of cancer when a military coup overthrew President Salvador Allende, and soldiers raided the home at Isla Negra. Shortly after, Neruda relocated to the Santa Maria Clinic where he died, less than two weeks after the coup. In the Canto General, the poet wrote “Friends, bury me at Isla Negra, / before the sea I know, before each wrinkled stretch of stones, / and before the waves my lost eyes / will see no more…” It was not until December 1992 that this wish was granted, but now Pablo and Matilde are both laid to rest beside their beloved ocean home.

An audio guide in Spanish, English, French, German or Portuguese is available for visitors to make the most of their time at Isla Negra, and an early arrival is recommended as daily visitor numbers are capped.

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