Isla Negra Museum House
The Isla Negra Museum House has an audio-guide system. This new system, included in the admission price, is available in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.
To visit the Museum Houses of the Pablo Neruda Foundation, no prior reservation is required. Visitors are received on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to daily availability. Only visits from schools must be booked in advance.
Dear visitor: Your visit to Isla Negra requires no prior reservation. The museum houses have a limited daily capacity and access is first-come, first serve. For the Isla Negra museum house, we suggest arriving early and keep in mind that there are long wait times. Please enjoy your visit to the Isla Negra museum house of the Pablo Neruda Foundation.
- Poeta Neruda s/n, Isla Negra, El Quisco.
- Phone +56-35-2461284
- March to December: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm
- January and February: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 7 pm
- Monday closed
- General admission: Ch$7,000 per person
- Special admission: Ch$2,500 for students and Chileans over 60 years
Because the evoked power that the objects contained and because its surroundings dominated by the presence of the sea, the house of Isla Negra is a kind of visual and material compendium of the imaginary poetic of Neruda.
The place was originally called Las Gaviotas (Sea gulls). The poet renamed it: “negra” for the colour of the rocks, and “isla”, perhaps because over there he could isolate himself to write. On his return to Chile from Europe, in 1937, he was looking for a place to dedicate himself to his Canto general, a great book about American history and nature. “The wild coast of Isla Negra, with the tumultuous oceanic movement, allowed me to surrender with passion to the venture of my new song” – he annotated in his memories.
“… It was in the afternoon, we arrived on horseback to those solitudes…” – remembered the poet in his book A house in the sand – “… Don Eladio was ahead wade through the Cordoba estuary (…) for the first time I felt like a sting this smell of marine winter, a mixture of herbs and salty sand, seaweed and thistle…”
Don Eladio Sobrino was a Spanish marine who stayed definitely in Chile when his ship left him in an Austral port. He sold Neruda in 1938, the lot with a stone cabin. Then, as the poet wrote in his poem: “The house was growing, as people, as trees…”
In the winter of 1943, with the Catalan architect German Rodriguez Arias, the poet started a series of additions that ended in March 1945. In that time it wasn’t easy to build in that zone: all the materials should be transported by carts pulled by bullocks that should cross ford of Cordova´s river.
The first important intervention was the unroofed tower, with reminiscences of the Europe Mediterranean architecture. Later the poet roofed it to leave it as the towers of the houses in Temuco, city in which he passed his childhood.
Neruda wrote: “the pacific ocean came out of de map. There was no place to put it on. It was so big, wild and blue that couldn’t be contained in any place. That is why they left it in front of my window”.
The house of Isla Negra is inserted in a coastal landscape. Over there the sea with its waves, breakers, beach and rocks, updated the enormous impression the poet had when, being a child, confronted the ocean for the first time, in Puerto Saavedra. Later the sea was converted in one of the mythical scenaries of his poetry.
The most important collections kept in this house, are related to the sea: figure heads, retort of sails, ships inside bottles, seashells, cachalote´s teeth. There are also spaces that commemorate his friendship with some death poets, whose names he made engrave in the beams of the bar. Other collections shown to the visitors, such as bottles of strange shapes, masks, antique shoes and smoking pipes.
Sergio Soza, architect and friend of Neruda, projected the new additions to start on 1965: the arcs that joint the bodies of the house, and the enclosure that lodge the room of the horse and the Covacha. This was a space where the poet recluded himself to write. He put on it a zinc roof, to hear the song of the rain and evoke, again, the feelings of the house he habited in his childhood, in the rainy south of Chile.
In the house of Isla Negra, Neruda wrote an important part of his literary work, gathered in there the majority of his books and also exercised the hospitality, other of the legacies of his southern childhood.
The poet always celebrated the Fiestas Patrias. Even though the situation the country was living, after the military coup, on the 18th of September of 1973 some friends came to Isla Negra. But they only brought alarming news.
The next day, Neruda severely sick, was taken in ambulance to the capital, from where he only would return to Isla Negra in December of 1992, when his remains were transferred there, beside to the remains of his wife, Matilde Urrutia. This funeral was realized with all the honours that the poet deserved, and with the assistance of the highest authorities of the nation. In this way was fulfilled the request Neruda had expressed about fifty years before in his poem “Disposiciones” of Canto general:
“Companions, bury me in Isla Negra, / in front of the sea I know, to each wrinkled area of stones/ and to the waves that my lost eyes/ won’t go back to see…”