Just a few miles from Valparaíso and Santiago, our central coast has always been popular among tourists and visitors as a place for holidays and as an escape from the busy cities across the national territory.
The tradition of fishing in San Antonio attracts many people for its reflection on culture and constant change, while also being one of the most important harbours from the central coast. To the north it reaches the Papudo bay, and to the south the Santo Domingo beach.
It was not by chance that Pablo Neruda chose to live in this area after his return from Spain. In 1939, the poet bought a land from an old sailor, with a half-built property in Isla Negra, in the Quisco commune. He transformed it into an amazing refuge with a stunning view of the Pacific ocean.
The house tries to imitate a ship; with low ceiling and filled with the poet’s collections directly related to the sea, such as; seashells, glass bottles and figureheads from ships. It is possible to visit this house as a museum, thanks to the work of the Pablo Neruda Foundation.
After Neruda’s death, his remains were buried in Isla Negra, complying to his words in the Canto General poem “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…”
Traveling south from Isla Negra, in Las Cruces, you could even meet Nicanor Parra buying shellfish empanadas. The creator of anti-poetry, a literary movement that breaks the classical standards of this art form. He has lived most of his life on this quiet place, surrounded by the peacefulness that the town life has to offer; lost in between the beach, the sand and the forests.
Finally, Cartagena. This popular place stands out for its big European houses, and for being the go-to-place of the Chilean aristocracy during the XIX century. But there’s an important cultural element, Vicente Huidobro used to live here. Considered as the creationism forefather, he spent most of his life here, until his death in 1948.
Declared a Historical Monument in 1989, his grave is located near to a hill in Cartagena, right next to his former house. His epitaph says “Open the grave, at the end of it you can see the ocean”.
This post is also available in Spanish