Ilsa de Negra

04 Apr

 We left early in the morning from the Santiago Bus terminal, our destination today was the Ilsa de Negra, a journey of one hour and thirty six minutes.

Isla Negra is a coastal area in El Quisco commune in central Chile some 45 km (70 km by road) south of Valparaiso and 96 km (110 km by road) west of Santiago.

Isla Negra is best known as the residence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda who lived there at Casa de Isla Negra (with long periods of travel and exile) from 1939 until his death in 1973. The area was christened by Neruda himself, after the dark outcrop of rocks just offshore. It literally means “Black Island” in Spanish. The Casa de Isla Negra is now a museum that is well visited all year around and especially during summer.

Every year on Neruda’s birthday (July 12), there are celebrations, both at the house and in the artisans’ square nearby. There are poetry readings, music and picnics on the beach.

Although most tourists come in buses to see Neruda’s house, there is also a thriving community of writers, artists and artisans who live in Isla Negra and the surrounding area. It is a favourite vacation spot for middle-class families from Santiago and there are many cabins and restaurants, craft shops, an Imaginary Boat open to visitors up Av. Central and the possibility of eco-tours.

The incessant crash of the waves against black rocks led Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda, to select this place as the backdrop of his most famous home. Many of those who visit this area come to learn more about this Chilean legend, who lived here in the 1940s.

The arrival is deceptive. Though it is located just off the highway, we had to follow winding dirt roads to reach the enormous house/museum, which is flanked by tall pine trees. Currently administered by the Neruda Foundation, its more than 500 square meters contain many of the fascinating items that the poet collected: figureheads that once graced the bows of ships, masks of all kinds, bottles, photographs, boxes containing strange insects and butterflies, Latin American pottery, carved figures from Easter Island, clocks, navigational instruments, maps of the world and conch shells of all shapes and sizes.

In the house’s garden, are a bell tower, a boat, a fountain, and the tombs of Pablo Neruda and his last wife, Matilde Urrutia, which look out onto the ocean.

It’s easy to get to Neruda’s house, but if you get lost, as we did, you can ask any of the locals where to find it. Neruda has become the great icon of this town, which is part of the municipality of El Tabo, 111 km west of Santiago.

The spirit of the poet, who passed away shortly after the 1973 military coup, lives on here. You can find murals depicting Neftalí Reyes (his real name), small crafts fairs with paintings of the bard and restaurants with seafood dishes named in honour of his best-known verses.

Isla Negra has a small beach with a view of the open-air bell tower at Neruda’s home. To the north, there are an enormous rock formation facing the Pacific and its large waves. This area is called Punta de Tralca, and it is a popular destination for spiritual retreats. Further south is the popular resort town of El Tabo.

I submit for your reading, a poem by Pablo Neruda, titled The Night in Ilsa Negra.

Ancient night and the unruly salt
beat at the walls of my house.
The shadow is all one, the sky
throbs now along with the ocean,
and sky and shadow erupt
in the crash of their vast conflict.
All night long they struggle;
nobody knows the name
of the harsh light that keeps slowly opening
like a languid fruit.
So on the coast comes to light,
out of seething shadow, the harsh dawn,
gnawed at by the moving salt


Posted by on April 4, 2016 in Uncategorized


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37 responses to “Ilsa de Negra

  1. GP Cox

    December 21, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    If you don’t already know about these guys, you might a kick out of the story.

    • aussieian2011

      December 22, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Thanks for that share gp, I had never heard of those guys and their compassion for storing and maintaining the old Tanks.
      I think I have been through the area they are located in, and will certainly keep an eye out for them next time.
      Best wishes for a great Christmas Mate.

  2. giselzitrone

    April 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Danke liebe Grüße und Umarmung Gislinde

  3. peppermintfarm

    April 20, 2016 at 4:57 am

    I meant to also say my nephew serves in the DSS in Santiago and I will be sure to pass this on to him as he and his family like to take weekend trips to see interesting sites.I think they would enjoy this one very much. My nephew has traveled all over the world in the DSS and has a large collection of curiosities he picks up everywhere he goes.

    • The Emu

      April 20, 2016 at 5:00 am

      Thank you for taking the time to visit and read my posts on Chile, that has been my second visit which included the Patagonian region of Southern Chile, we will be returning again next year for more adventures including the great Atacama desert.
      Thanks for your appreciated comment.
      Ian aka Emu

      • peppermintfarm

        April 20, 2016 at 5:11 am

        You are quite welcome and I did sign up for your other site too.

        I envy you seeing all these exotic places, ones that I would love to visit, but I can enjoy them through your eyes and articles.

        • The Emu

          April 20, 2016 at 5:49 am

          I love sharing my adventures, although I am slowing down these days, age and bones are starting to complain.

          • peppermintfarm

            April 20, 2016 at 12:59 pm

            LOL! I can identify about the age and bone aches. But you’re up and running, And it’s always good to wake up on the right side of the dirt.

  4. peppermintfarm

    April 20, 2016 at 4:54 am

    What an interesting and wonderful trip. I can only dream of seeing things like this, but I can enjoy the poetry so much. I’m a poet lover. And the poem you quoted above is splendid,

    • The Emu

      April 20, 2016 at 5:02 am

      I am glad you have enjoyed my posts peppermintfarm.
      I also have a second site that is primarily poetry of a Love and Romance nature if you care to visit.
      Kindest regards and Best wishes.

  5. jacksjottings

    April 18, 2016 at 2:41 am

    What a wondrous trip you are having, you make me feel like tossing a few things in a bag and taking off. All the best in your travels, keep enjoying, great photo of the fish it says a lot and the poem. _/\_

    • The Emu

      April 18, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Thanks Jack, I certainly covered some territory in six weeks this trip.

  6. giselzitrone

    April 11, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Wunderschöne Fotos und Beitrag wünsche dir eine gute Woche lieber Gruß Gislinde

  7. reocochran

    April 9, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I forgot to add that your photographs of Chile with such beauty and interesting sights were wonderful to view, Emu. 🙂

    • The Emu

      April 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Thank you Robin, I have enlarged a few of my panoramic pictures and they now hang on my wall.
      They are excellent panoramic s with a few being displayed in a photographic exhibition, didn’t sell any, they have no meaning except to myself.
      My reminders of a moment in time.

  8. reocochran

    April 9, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I studied Spanish for 8 years and was blessed with a trip to Spain with my H.S. Spanish club and Mexico with only a few students and one brother with my Mom. I love Pablo Neruda’s poetry with this fine example, Emu. 🙂

    • The Emu

      April 12, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Thank you Robin for that lovely insight into your travel to Mexico, if you learnt Spanish then you are a lot better than I am, I know a few basic words but rely on my wife as interpreter, years ago I could pick up languages quickly but now I feel too tired to try.
      Pablo Neruda is well revered in Chile, I am a bit of a cynic on his writings but have learnt to keep my opinion to myself with my Chilean wife.
      Kind regards and best wishes Robin.
      I have changed the settings on my posts, it was set on requiring all comments to be individually approved, a good idea but not for me as it may take me a week or so to get back to reading comments and approving.

      • reocochran

        April 26, 2016 at 2:06 am

        I think you are blessed to have a Chilean wife who is beautiful, intelligent and caring. It is nice to have someone, Ian. I like Spanish literature such as “Don Quixote de la Mancha.”
        I am just starting to go back on a dating site online. Maybe someday we will meet in person, hopefully. Hi am worried when you say you are too tired to learn. Maybe you are not sure you need to know language but I can tell your mind is very sharp. 🙂

        • The Emu

          April 26, 2016 at 9:39 am

          I am very blessed to have my Chilean wife Robin, she is a very caring lady and we are both enjoying life, unfortunately we met in our latter years, we were married in 2009. My wife reads a lot and also likes Don Quixote de la Mancha.
          Maybe one day our paths may cross in this world, I have only met one friend in person from Word Press and She is Australian, we keep in touch quite often, her husband is also a Vietnam Veteran like me.
          I don’t think I really am too tired to learn, just get lazy now and then, my next project is learning to play the Chinese Violin, called an Erhu, I will post a story on that instrument in Emu.
          Wishing you well Dear Friend and much Love.

  9. Andrea Stephenson

    April 8, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I’m always fascinated to learn about the places in which artists and writers lived and worked and this looks like a very atmospheric one, thanks for sharing it Ian.

    • The Emu

      April 9, 2016 at 6:02 am

      I am sure the Isla de Negra would be a great home for your writings, there is inspiration around every corner, I think that is why so many diverse Artists retire to Negra.
      Kind regards.

  10. prenin

    April 6, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Looks like it was well worth the trip my friend!!! 🙂

    Thanks for the story – VERY Interesting!!! 🙂

    God Bless!


    • The Emu

      April 7, 2016 at 9:57 am

      All trips are well worth it Prenin, they prove I am still alive and enjoying life to the extreme, however age and aching bones may have a future role in my sojourns around the world.
      Cheers mate.

  11. lafayetteangel

    April 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    A lovely ocean view, it looks like a lovely place to meditate and enjoy the scenery.

  12. Mél@nie

    April 5, 2016 at 7:19 am

    ah, querido Pablito… ❤ one of my favourite authors since my high-school years… 🙂 muchas gracias por this interesting and nice post, Juanito! 🙂
    * * *
    here's a French song dedicated to Pablo Neruda by a great singer-composer Jean Ferrat:

  13. derrickjknight

    April 4, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Beautifully written and photographed, Ian

    • The Emu

      April 5, 2016 at 2:37 am

      Thanks for the comment Derrick.
      Your compliments are much appreciated.

  14. Sue Dreamwalker

    April 4, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    I can see why the Ocean inspired Pablo Neruda poetry.. What stunning views and such a wonderful backdrop to his home..
    Thank you for the journey you toom me along and the poem by Pablo Neruda at the end a perfect ending to you lovely post..
    I am loving visiting the places you went to see 🙂

    • The Emu

      April 5, 2016 at 2:48 am

      Thank you Sue for taking the time to read my Chilean adventures, looking back I am amazed how much I did fit into 6 weeks, no wonder I was exhausted for weeks after my return to Australia. Pablo Neruda is well recognized in Chile, almost like a Demi God, from publishing twenty poems he went on to make a name for himself.

      • Sue Dreamwalker

        April 6, 2016 at 12:55 pm

        I so enjoyed my travels with you Ian

        • The Emu

          April 7, 2016 at 9:48 am

          Lovely to know that people actually enjoy the sequence of my travel posts Sue.
          Pleasure sharing with you.

          • Sue Dreamwalker

            April 7, 2016 at 10:20 am

            It gives me an opportunity to travel to a place I would never have been and see it through new eyes… So thank YOU! And Ana for giving me the chance to travel through Chile 🙂
            I smiled as I opened up a Supermarket box of Blueberries this morning to add to breakfast.. And saw where they had come from.. ‘Chile’ 🙂 so I had a big smile to think these little berries had come so far. 🙂 And tried not to think that they might have been radiated to stop them from going off too soon 🙂

  15. george parsons

    April 4, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Evening Emu,

    What a wonderful part of the world you are/have visited, I quite often get confused just where you are with this fecking Dementia.

    You have visited parts of the world which unfortunately will be beyond me these days, but in saying that, I am so pleased to read of your adventures in words and photos. Thanks Emu for keeping me up too date with your travels, take care and hopefully hear from you soon,


    Sent from my iPad


    • The Emu

      April 4, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      G’day George my old friend, thanks for the visit mate, always a pleasure to hear from you, yes I certainly am moving around these days and checking out foreign ports, I enjoy my writings and having my story’s published now and then, pity there’s no money to be made out of it, have a few books written but too damn costly to get published. Hope you are doing well George, hope you are only joking about Dementia mate, then again we are all getting on in years now and the old memory, even with me, is starting to get a bit vague.
      Look after yourself and keep in touch George, we go back a long way.


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