Reasons to go
- These caves are a unique natural wonder that you won't find anywhere else in Patagonia
- Get right up close by kayaking through the caves and caverns
- See marble in its purest form, polished only by the lapping of the lake over thousands of years
- Nearby are the majestic San Rafael Glacier and the Exploradores Glacier, two other highlights of this region of Aysen
About the Marble Caves
Over 6,200 years, the huge marble deposits on the edge of the General Carrerra Lake have been worn away by the water, creating caves, tunnels, and huge columns of pure marble. Marble at the surface of the water dissolved the fastest as the water penetrated small cracks, widening them into fractures which were gradually worn away. The result is a marble maze just above the water level, and some islands including the famous 'marble cathedral' and the 'marble chapel'.
Although the rock steals the show, if you look down from your boat or kayak you'll see the other beautiful feature of the lake, the bright blue tint that comes from the glacial meltwater.
How to get there
The main marble caves are accessible from Puerto Tranquilo, a small town right on the Carretera Austral, making it an easy stop-off for those doing a self-drive adventure down the famous road. From Puerto Tranquilo, you can take a kayak or boat trip right into the maze of marble caves, spending around an hour exploring.
This whole section of the General Carrera Lake shore is full of marble caves and islands, and if you want to get off-the-beaten-track and have a little time, you can visit different caves from nearby villages. These often require slightly longer boat trips and bumpy dirt roads, perfect for those seeking a little more adventure. Base yourself at Terra Luna for easy access to a boat trip.
Planning your visit
With good weather, the Marble Caves are an unmissable feature of this part of the Carretera Austral. If you're in the area, it's certainly worth stopping off for a few hours to explore them, or even spending a day taking a boat out to the more hidden caves and islands. However it's worth mentioning that the whole Aysen region is packed full of sweeping valleys, crashing glaciers, verdant forests, turquoise lakes and river torrents. There's so much to see here, we recommend fitting the Marble Caves into your itinerary, rather than building it around them.
You can combine a visit to the Marble Caves with seeing the nearby San Rafael Glacier, a beautiful wall of ice hidden right in the middle of the rainforest. You can also travel from Puerto Tranquilo to the Exploradores Glacier to hike to a viewpoint, or ice hike on the glacier itself.
Trips that visit the Marble Caves
Where to stay
The expansive, bright blue Lake General Carrera is an ideal setting for spacious lakeside lodges, often with their own boats and beaches, or bright terraces kept toasty with wood burners.
Some of our favourite waterfront hideaways can be found here, from the natural decor of El Mirador de Guadal, to the quirky individual rooms at Terra Luna Lodge. No matter where you end up, you can be sure of beautiful views and a very warm Patagonian welcome.
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Patagonia is a vast and varied region, with a wealth of things to see and do, a range of places to stay and a limited transport network.
Why not let us do the hard work for you? Our team of experts will work with you to design a 2–3 week adventure to your exact requirements, from hiking and horse-riding trips to wine-tasting tours and undiscovered lodges.
We’ll work around your budget and arrange flights, transfers and buses, to create your perfect trip.