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How to get to the marble caves of Chile, Patagonia

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Marble cave islet, Lake General Carrera,Patagonia, Chile

 

Some people dream of sailing through caves of polished marble in a spectacular setting away from it all…….

This dream can become a reality in Chile’s remote northern Patagonia  where one can find  the “Capilla de Marmol / Marble Chapel” which was declared by the Chilean government a Nature Sanctuary in 1994.

The nature sanctuary consists of a series of rocky outcrops and islets  in Lake General Carrera near the towns of Puerto Tranquilo and Puerto Sanchez.

Marble caves, Lake General Carrera, Patagonia, Chile

Entering the caves

 

Marble caves

These limestone outcrops have been eroded over the last 6,000 years. The waves have sculpted a series of caves and caverns, cleaning the stone of impurities and resulting in a series of stunning marble caves.

The best known of these  marble caves are The Cathedral, The Chapel and The Cave. Collectively they are known as the Marble Chapel.

Sailing in an out of marble caves, Lake General Carrera, Chile

Sailing out of the caves

 

Kathy Jarvis, Andean Trails director,  visited the marble caves on the way to the hotel Terra Luna.

She flew from Santiago to Balmaceda, then trekked in Cerro Castillo for a few days before heading  to the Terra Luna Lodge to explore this part of Aysen.

En route to the lodge they stopped in Puerto Tranquilo to sail to and through some of the marble caves.

 

Of the experience Kathy said: ” I was blown away by the caves, I think they are stunning. The setting is just perfect. The caves are at the edge of the blue waters of General Carrera Lake and we were lucky to have blue sky and no wind.

An added bonus, on looking up, was to see condors nesting on the cliffs above the caves.”

Sailing inside marble caves, Lake General, Carrera, Patagonia Chile

Sailing through the caves

 

How to get to there

As the caves are found in the lake they can only be visited by boat or for the more adventurous, by kayak.

The town from which most boat excursions set off from is Puerto Tranquilo.

The sailing time to the caves is around 20 minutes and most boat tours last a little over an hour.

All tours however are subject to weather conditions and operate all year round.

Arch in marble cave, Lake General Carrera, Chile

Arch in marble cave

 

Puerto Tranquilo is 200 Km south of Balmaceda airport (4 hour drive) and a further 50 Km from the regional capital, Coyahique. There are also numerous lodges within an hour’s drive from Puerto Tranquilo.

Marble cave tour provider, Puerto Tranquilo, Patagonia, Chile

Tour company in Puerto Tranquilo

 

Visitors can opt for:

1) Self drive in the region and contract a boat tour in Puerto Tranquilo once there.

2) Take a day tour from Coyhaique – duration is usually around 14 hours and will include lunch and stops at other places of interest.

3) Visiting as part of a package such as at the Terra Luna Lodge. Options can also include kayaking and jetboat.

4) Take a day tour from Los Antiguos which is on the southern shore of the lake, just across the border in Argentina.

Balmaceda airport, which serves the city of Coyhaique has daily flights from Puerto Montt and Santiago in Chile.   Airlines that fly there are LATAM, Sky Airline and Jetsmart.

Sailing by marble caves, Lake General Carrera,Chile

Sailing by caves

 

Visit

Kathy Jarvis commented: ” I recommend the whole area, it is remote, beautiful and relatively empty of people. A visit to the caves is well worthwhile.”

If you wish to visit, get in touch with us and make that dream sailing come true.

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