Isla Negra - Pablo Neruda's Seashore House
Don and Lois Porter

The second Pablo Neruda house we visited is called "Isla Negra", located on the beach in the community of the same name. Isla Negra is an hour and a half by bus south of Valparaiso. It is not an island and it is not black. But I think there is a tiny black rock island a few hundred meters off the shore somewhere nearby, explaining the name of the village. It is a fabulous location: rocky shore with dramatic waves in a sun-drenched mediterranean climate. Neruda started with the cylindrical stone tower in 1939. Over the next 34 years, he added and refined and decorated and improved the place. He collected anything that interested him, which was almost everything. He said the house was full of his toys. With some of his Nobel Prize money (won in 1971) he purchase an enormous Narwhal tusk and added it to his amazing collection of seashells, some of which are on view in the Isla Negra house. It also has collections of bottles, masks, ships in bottles, Hindu carvings, beetles and butterflies, and ship's figureheads (huge). Neruda and his third wife, Matilde Urrutia, are buried side-by-side facing the sea in front of the house.

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