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 Horseback Riding
 Skiing in the Andes
 Wine Trails
 Floriculture & Horticulture
 Fly Fishing
 Thoroughbred: Breeding & Racing
 River Rafting
 Sailing in the Southern Pacific
 Scientific Tourism
 The Astronomical Observatories
 Wild Life
 World Heritage City: Valparaíso

Well educated travelers have great offers of cultural and scientific activities in Chile. The oldest mummies in the world and the large lenses of astronomical observatories in the North; the touches of poetic language of two winners of the Nobel Prize of Literature, poets Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral to the hometown of modern writer Isabel Allende; the magic of archeological sites in Easter Island; Valparaiso, a world heritage city with fascinating architecture and charming personal stories of the American artist James Whistler; the English painter Thomas Sommerscales and many other intellectuals who lived on its hills and narrow streets. The scientific community is always impressed by the two years spent in Chile by the then young Charles Darwin. In sum, there is plenty for those who look for the roots and present culture of the countries they visit.

a) The Chinchorro civilization of Arica
b) The Museum-Homes of Pablo Neruda
c) Islands, culture and nature: Easter Island, Chiloe and Robinson Crusoe Island
d) Museums in: Santiago, Colchagua and Punta Arenas


The Chinchorro civilization of Arica

The Chinchorro civilization of northern Chile stands out for its legacy to history of the natural process and techniques of mummification, which the scientific community has classified as dating back to over 8,000 BC, i.e. the most ancient in the world, pre-dating even the Egyptian mummies. Mummification was a religious rite to honour the divinities of the heavens and of the ocean. The San Miguel of Azapa Archaeological Museum keeps a permanent display of a chronological sequence of the cultural practises of the region from their first inhabitants to the present-day occupants, the Aymaras. It maintains a complete exhibition of textiles, headgear, pottery, ritual objects and agricultural and fishing implements of the coastal zone as well as from the Altiplano.

The Museum-Homes of Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda has been the interpreter of nature, of history, of sentiments - mainly love - not only for Chile but for all those in the world with that romantic streak which brings out the best in men. His instrument of universal communication was, and continues to be, poetry. His works have been translated into all languages and several dialects, and the film "The Postman", filmed in Capri, depicts part of his life and his messages of love.
The man known world-wide as Pablo Neruda was born on July 12th, 1904 in the city of Parral in Chile, and baptised Ricardo Neftali Reyes Basoalto. At a very young age he moved with his father to the rainy southern city of Temuco where he was educated.
During his lifetime, Neruda received various honours, awards and honorary degrees, amongst these, Doctor Honoris Causa of Oxford University (1966), the Chilean National Artist Award and the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971).
Neruda died on September 23rd, 1973 and was buried next to his last wife, Matilde Urrutia, at their home in the coastal resort of Isla Negra.
Pablo Neruda has become, without a doubt, the leading Spanish-language poet of the 20th Century, proof of which can be found in the incessant pilgrimages of his followers to his various residences, temples and guardians yet of his treasures, his collections and his poetry.

  • "La Chascona", in Santiago
  • "Isla Negra", in Isla Negra
  • "La Sebastiana", in Valparaiso

"La Chascona", in Santiago

The 1971 Nobel-Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda’s Santiago pied à terre is situated in the lively Bellavista neighbourhood, overlooking the city centre. A series of small buildings, rather than a single house, La Chascona has been meticulously restored and now houses a collection of Neruda’s possessions. Visitors are taken on a guided tour (Spanish or English) through the house, where the history behind the furniture and possessions is explained. The poet —considered the main poet in Spanish language of the XXth Century— shared in this house an important part of his life with Matilde Urrutia, his third wife

"Isla Negra", in Isla Negra

The best-known of Neruda's three residences, the cottage at Isla Negra houses great part of the poet's private collections such as the mastheads, sea shells, glass bottles, African masks and his innumerable playthings such as the wooden horse rescued by his friends from a fire in Temuco, his wooden boat parked in the garden, and the locomotive steam engine

"La Sebastiana", in Valparaiso

The house called La Sebastiana was inaugurated by Neruda on September 18th, 1961 after a long search which is reflected in a letter to a fellow poet in Valparaiso, his friend Sara Vial. In it he writes, "I am growing weary of Santiago. I want to find a little house in Valparaiso, to live where I can write in peace. It must reunite certain characteristics. It can't be too high up nor too low down. It must be lonely, but not excessively so. Neighbours there should be, but invisible, neither to be seen nor heard. The house should be unique but not uncomfortable, airy but solid. Not to big nor too small, away from everything but accessible by public transport, isolated but near the shops. Besides, it has to be a bargain. Do you think I can find a house like that in Valparaiso?"

Islands, culture and nature

  • Chiloe Island
  • Easter Island
  • Robinson Crusoe Island

Museums and Palaces in Santiago

There is little doubt that the city of Santiago has improved the category of Museums available, though greater concern on the part of the community with the quality of the exhibitions held, whether they be permanent or itinerant.

  • The pre-Colombian Art Museum
  • Museum of Visual and Contemporary Art
  • The Cousiño Palace
  • La Moneda Palace

    The Pre-Colombian Art Museum

    This museum, housed in the former edifice of the Royal Customs House which was built in 1799, was developed on the basis of the private collection of the architect Don Sergio Larrain F. who subsequently donated it to the city of Santiago. The collection offers a glimpse of rare and valuable examples of pre-Colombian art - derived from ethnic cultures ranging from Mexico down to Chile - and demonstrates the cultural development of ethnic civilizations such as the Mayas and Aztecs of Mexico and the Yucatán province, the Tolita and Valdivia cultures of Ecuador, and the Chinchorro and Mapuche cultures of Chile. The collection of weavings, paracas, chancay and others are exhibited.

    Museum of Visual and Contemporary Art

    The Museo de Artes Visuales, located in the cozy Plaza Mulato Gil, in Santiago, was inaugurated in 2001. It includes more than 750 pieces representing Chilean paintings, sculptures and drawings from 1960 and onwards. This is a collection of the work of more than 220 artists. This project is one of the main private cultural efforts led by the art collectors, Messrs. Yaconi and Santa Cruz. Artists like Roberto Matta, Nemesio Antunez and other contemporary masters of Chilean paintings are represented.

    The Cousiño Palace

The Cousiño Palace was built between 1870 and 1878 by the French architect Paul Lathoud at the request of Mr. Luis Cousiño’s widow, Isidora Goyenechea.
The Cousiño Goyenechea was a very wealthy family, owner of Lota Coal Mines and the Chañarcillo Silver Mines as well as the Cousiño-Macul Vineyard which still belongs to the family.
In 1940, the Palace with all its possessions was put up for auction by the family. After the inicial bid, the Mayor of Santiago, Mr. Pacheco Sty made an agreement with the family to buy the property, which, in other words, was given to the city for three million pesos in municipal bonds, to be used as guest quarters for famous visitors who come to Santiago for the purpose of celebrating the 4th Centenary of the city.
From 1940 until 1982, it was used as the residence of important visitors but the practice was stopped after a fire in 1968 destroyed the second floor. The fire prevented Queen Elizabeth II of England from staying at the Cousiño Palace during her official visit to Chile.
In 1977 the Mayor of Santiago, Mr. Patricio Mekis opened the building as a museum. It was declared a National Monument in 1981.
Like an European palace, it comprises 12 rooms on the first floor for different functions: the Golden Room used for the great balls, the Music Room with the original piano, the Reception Room, the Dining Room, Hall, the Weapons Room and the Picture Gallery . All of them were decorated with materials brought from France in the family’s cargo ships, with velvets, silk fabrics, porcelain from Sèvres, Limoges and Meissen, furniture and parquet hand-carved in walnut, American oak, ebony, German haya, amongst others, hand-embroidered curtains and majolica tiles for the walls and floors.

La Moneda Palace

By 1730, the economic position of the Dominion of Chile was undergoing a deep depression. This situation resulted in 1732 in a request from the Cabildo de Santiago to the King of Spain for the establishment of a Mint House in the city. But the Crown did not have the necessary economic resources to undertake such a venture, so it was decided to leave the task to a private investor. Thus, a wealthy Spanish merchant, Don Francisco García Huidobro was appointed Permanent Treasurer, and for this purpose he acquired a house located on the corner of Huérfanos and Morandé, the Old Palace. Here, on September 10th, 1749 the first coin depicting King Ferdinand VI was minted.
After García Huidobro's death, the Mint House was removed to the old Jesuit school located next to La Compañía Catholic Church. However, the premises were inappropriate for these functions, and in 1780 Governor Agustín Jáuregui proposed to erect a building for this specific purpose. The Roman architect Joaquín Toesca y Ricci, who had participated in various public works for the Spanish King Charles III, was commissioned to carry out the project.
Toesca chose the Carolino School as the suitable place for the Mint House. The works began in 1784, and the following year the materials required for the construction started to be collected at the site: calcine from the Polpaico estate; sands from the Maipo river; red stones from the San Cristóbal hill quarry; white stone from Cerro Blanco; oak and cypress wood from the Valdivian forests; Spanish hard-ware and ironware from Vizcaya; and some 20 different kind of bricks baked in Santiago for constructing lintels, corners, floorings, frames, and the solid walls measuring more than a meter in width.
Toesca did not see his work finished. He died in 1799. Agustín Cavallero, an army engineer, continued his work. In 1805, with some tasks still to be completed, Governor Luis Muñoz de Guzmán officially declared open the Real Casa de Moneda de Santiago de Chile, considered by some specialists to be the best and most harmonic civic building in Colonial America.
With its pure Neoclassical style and Roman doric influences, the building features a horizontal volume in a rectilinear composition that communicates a sense of force and stability. The main facade looks on to Moneda Street. The rooms —richly but simply decorated— are distributed along transverse and longitudinal axes that give way to various courtyards and fountains.
In 1846, at the suggestion of President Manuel Bulnes, the building was designated as the Presidential Residence and seat of government, though minting continued to be done until to 1922.
Through the years the building has undergone various modifications. After 1930 the area surrounding La Moneda was subjected to remodelling that enhanced the features of the south facade, resulting in public squares facing both frontages and the Palace was surrounded with austere buildings for public institutions. The last restoration made was due to the distressfuldestruction the Palace suffered after the military coup d'état in 1973. Carried out by the Dirección de Arquitectura del Ministerio de Obras Públicas. It aimed to reinstate full validity to Toesca's original design.
Today the Palace mantains the style, force and harmony transmitted by its architect. This, together with the different functions performed there, allows the Chilean people to acknowledge its great patrimonial value.

Museums in Colchagua

In the context of the Chilean Wine Route, a visit to the museums of the valley of Colchagua is a cultural treat to be recommended equally to Chileans as to foreigners.

  • The Colchagua Museum
  • The Museum of El Huique

    The Colchagua Museum

    The initiative and years of patient search for choice pieces on the part of entrepreneur Carlos Cardoen have given birth to the Colchagua Museum and has gradually become transformed into the best museum in the country.
    Here can be found items of palaeontology, outstanding of which are a wide range of fossils and an amber collection of fossilised insects and vegetable matter which is considered one of the best in the world.
    The pre-Colombian art collection occupies the place of honour, with pieces of the Valdivia, Chorrera and Tomaco La Tolita cultures of Ecuador; of Chavin, Moche, Chancay, Paracas, Chimu and Inca from Peru; and from Chile, of the Diaguitas and Mapuche cultures but most especially of the mummies of the Chinchorro civilisation.
    Pieces from the Spanish Conquest and Colonial era in Chile include works of artists from Cuzco; and various examples of Spanish doubloons depicting religious art. The post-Independence era is represented by samples of personal items of leaders of such stature as Bernardo O'Higgins and Blanco Encalada.
    Other pieces worthy of mention are the innumerable carriages of XIXth Century design and construction, the vintage automobiles, items of agricultural machinery, a unique section dedicated to representing the historical development of the winemaking industry in Chile and, the most recent acquisition, a locomotive train and engine.
    The architectural complex comprising the Museum and the Hotel Santa Cruz, together with the excellent vineyards in its environs, makes the Colchagua valley Wine Trail and Museums definitely worth a two to three-day visit.

    The Museum of El Huique

    The colonial house and museum of El Huique, which was constructed between 1828 and 1856, can be found close to Santa Cruz. This is a typical example of the architecture of the stately country residences or haciendas of the Chilean landed gentry, which were centers of great social, political and cultural activity revolving around one family —in this case, the Echeñique Errazuriz family.
    El Huique forms part of the Chilean rural historical scenario, being the country residence of the family of Don Federico Errazuriz Zañartu, who was President of Chile between 1989-1901, and who held social gatherings and political reunions there. El Huique boasts 22 patios, which interconnect the various sectors of the hacienda, such as the bedroom quarters, the salons and reception rooms, the breakfast and dining rooms, gardens, kitchen gardens, kitchens and service areas. The hacienda also has a small chapel with impressive frescos and woodwork.

Museums in Punta Arenas

  • Maggiorino Borghatello Museum
  • Braun-Menéndez Museum

    Maggiorino Borghatello

    This museum houses a magnificent exhibition of the habitat and history of the aborigines of the region, as well as an excellent natural science exhibition.
    It possesses very good cartography and photography, as well as some very well-presented didactic material collected by the Salesian Order in their missionary and scientific task.
    The visit to this museum is an exhilarating experience. You will see Antarctica, the history of immigrants, the oil industry, the missionary and evangelizing campaigns, ethnographic and anthropological material, and regional fauna.

    Museum Braun Menendez

    In Hernando de Magallanes Street, half a block from the main square, you will find Braun Menéndez Palace, designed by the French architect Antonio Beaulier in 1905. Mauricio was Sara´s brother, married to Josefina Menéndez Behety, a marriage that joined two big fortunes in the region.
    Conserved with all its wealthy stylish European furniture and tapestry, in the Regional Museum there is also some excellent expository material on contemporary history

Four pointed hat (Tiwanaku culture)

This special interest mixes well with:
  • Wine tours
  • Gastronomy
  • Birdwatching
  • Opera and Ballet
ACE Turismo Chile • Don Carlos 3255-A • Santiago-Chile • Tel: (56 2) 335 6230 • Fax: (56 2) 233 8207 • Email: info@aceturismo.cl