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JAN. 27, 2023

A tip for this vacation season: A new pilot plan offers guided tours of the Cerro Castillo Presidential Palace in Viña del Mar

Visitors may register individually or in groups of up to 20.  Tours run every Thursday at 3 pm and 4 pm.

The Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Julieta Brodsky Hernández led this new pilot project that offers guided tours of the Cerro Castillo Presidential Residence.  The minister and the Universidad de Valparaiso Rector, Osvaldo Corrales, announced an agreement that enables students from the UV Tourism and Culture Management program to operate the tours and, thereby, facilitate citizen access to heritage spaces and spread historical and cultural heritage in the region.

“We put something very important at the center: promoting active citizen participation in artistic and cultural life.  We believe culture is more than an accessory to complement life and make it more beautiful.  It is a fundamental pillar of social life in Chile,” said the minister.

On the most recent Heritage Day – previously the only day that the Cerro Castillo Presidential Residence was open to the public – a citizens’ activity invited visitors to leave comments about how they would like to use the space.  Eighty percent of the approximately 200 opinions submitted noted that they would like to be able to visit this historic place, participate in different cultural activities and take guided tours to learn more about its history.

Visitors can now register individually or in groups of up to 20 through the guided tourscerrocastillo.presidencia.cl website to visit the palace. Tours run every Thursday at 3 pm and 4 pm.

Visitors tour the palace gates, the walkway to the foyer, the living room, the President’s office, the dining room and the outdoor terrace before exiting through the left gate.

Students from the School of Tourism and Culture Management share the rules for the visit, a tour overview, background information on the history of construction, the architectural features of the spaces and surrounding infrastructure, day-to-day palace life and operations, and information about objects in the palace.

Additionally, in response to visitor requests to tour other areas of the residence, a QR code was created to give visitors virtual access to additional outdoor areas and sports facilities.  In testimonials, residence employees share part of their work experience and anecdotes.

This initiative is also part of Summer is Culture (Verano es Cultura), an invitation to participate and enjoy a wide range of activities throughout Chile.  The list of offerings is available at chilecultura.gob.cl.

About the Cerro Castillo Presidential Residence

Located on the historic site of Fort Callao, now known as Cerro Castillo, the Presidential residence was built in late 1929 thanks to the vision of Graciela Letelier Velasco, wife of President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo.

The two architects who designed the palace, Luis Browne and Manuel Valenzuela, chose to give it a neocolonial Spanish-Mexican style.

The Presidential residence has three floors and a basement. The first floor features the living rooms, a dining room, an office, the kitchen and the bathrooms.  (Guided tours only visit this floor.) The residence’s ten bedrooms are on the second floor.  The top floor, which is divided into two towers, is home to the library, a radio room, the President’s personal office and an observatory.

The Presidential Residence, located at Callao 398, Cerro Castillo, Viña del Mar in Chile’s Valparaíso Region, can be visited year-round.  Visitors must register in advance via the website.

Visits to La Moneda Palace

Cerro Castillo is not the only presidential palace open for visits.  Free guided tours of the La Moneda Palace offer everyone, from Chile and abroad, the opportunity to tour certain areas of the palace.

Guided tours will be scheduled, subject to availability, at the following times:

Monday to Friday: 9 am - 11 am- 3 pm - and 4:30 pm

Guided tours last approximately 50 minutes.  Availability is subject to the President’s schedule, and tours may be canceled if necessary.

To visit this historical site, you must fill out the Request to Visit La Moneda Palace Form at visitasguiadas.presidencia.cl/.