Bellavista is my favourite neighbourhood in Santiago and it’s where I’d chose to stay if I was coming to the city as a tourist. It’s Santiago’s bohemian quarter and principal entertainments district for young people, with a multitude of restaurants, bars, clubs (see next post) as well as boutiques, galleries and other avant-garde businesses.
You’ll find everywhere I mention on my map. To get there on the metro, get off at Baquedano station and walk north over the river. You’ll need to get a taxi back though as the metro stops quite soon after midnight.
It’s a very colourful barrio with an abundance of street art…
… and gaily painted buildings.
I’m intrigued to know what the Very Kitsch restaurant looks like inside.
There are other reasons to come here in the day time. At the end of Pío Nono, the neighbourhood’s high street, is Estación Pío Nono where you can catch the funicular funicularsantiago.cl up to Cerro San Cristóbal for some great views over the city (my post here).
Neruda lived here with his secret lover and later third wife, Matilde Urrutia. Her wild mane of curly red hair inspired the name of the house (a Chilean Spanish word of Quechua origin).
On display are many of the objects collected by Neruda during his very interesting life. As a communist though his homes were targetted during the military coup in 1973 (also the year he died) and La Chascona was looted by the troops raiding it, however Matilde managed to preserve some of it for posterity. Unfortunately people are not allowed to take photos inside but I have some photos taken walking between the separate rooms in the complex which stretches up the hill behind it.
No prior reservation is required but visitors are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to daily availability. So it’s probably best to not arrive too late in the day. I also went to his house in Valparaiso (see later post).
I only dipped my toe in during brief visits in 2011 and 2018, but there is plenty more to see and do in Bellavista. Hopefully I’ll be adding to this post in the future as it’s such a great neighbourhood and I’d love to return.
What to eat in Bellavista next!