Catedral de Mármol - Capillas de Mármol - Cuevas de Mármol

Marble Caves

Useful Information

Marble Caves, Chile. Public Domain.
Location: At the coast of the General Carrera Lake south of Puerto Río Tranquilo.
Open: no restrictions. [2019]
Fee: free. [2019]
Classification: Speleologysea cave ExplainBlue Grotto marble
Light: n/a
Guided tours: n/a
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: if you are able to enter a small boat
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



Marble Caves. Public Domain.
Marble Caves. Public Domain.

It's hard to find a tourist site which is more remote than the Marble Caves of Chile. This is an outcrop of marble at the rugged coast of General Carrera Lake in central Patagonia. The waves of the lake worked on the rock and produced a series of sea caves in the rather soft rock. The caves are not big, but there is a long series of small chambers big enough to be entered with small boats or kayaks. So it became popular to visit the cave on kayaks, in small groups.

The reason for the extraordinary beauty of this place is the combination of the exquisite structure of the marble, polished by the waves, illuminated by the blue light reflecting from the water. So this is a combination of a marble cave with a sea cave, and also a blue grotto. By the way: yes, they are called sea caves despite the fact that they were formed by a lake. The waves of the lake work for some 6,000 years now to create this impressive sight.

There are actually three main spots with caves along the coast, named the Cathedral, the Chapel, and the Cave (Catedral de Mármol - Capillas de Mármol - Cuevas de Mármol). A local operator offers boat trips to the caves from Puerto Río Tranquilo. The best time to visit the caves is between September and February when the ice melts, feeding the lake and causing a particularly enchanting turquoise of the light. Also you should go early in the morning to catch the right light.

As it is quite hard to get there, it is probably a good idea to see some pictures on the web. A Google picture search reveals them in abundance, one more impressive than the other.