03 Feb Visit The Marble Chapels Chile
This beautiful place, sculpted by nature, is one of the main tourist destinations in the Aysen region and one of the main attractions in the Carretera Austral.
These marble formations stand out for the texture and the gray and white pictorical betas wich form interesting arabesques before the astonished eyes of travelers.
Definitely one of the must-sees in Patagonia. If you have come this far on the southern highway, you can go to Puerto Río Tranquilo and do the following tours: Visit to The Marble Caves, Trekking on the Glaciar Exploradores and Navigation in the San Rafaél Lagoon.
If you take the “Capillas de Mármol” or the “Catedrales de Mármol” tour, you will navigate on the turquoise waters of Lake General Carrera, also known as: “Lake Chelenko” which, in the Tehuelche language, means “turbulent waters” in order to get to this amazing formations.
And it is these turbulent and sometimes calm waters that make this a fascinating lake. It is like sailing in a giant paint container of a color that invites you to immerse yourself in its waters, even if its temperature prevents you from doing so.
It is so transparent that, sometimes, when it is calm, you can even see the bottom! Its color changes depending on the day and the amount and position of the sun.
General Carrera Lake is the largest lake in Chile and the second largest in South America. It shares limits with Chile and Argentina. Due to its magnitude, it can be seen from viewpoints that are located in different places.
In order to navigate to Las Capillas de Mármol (Marble Chapels), you can use various means, such as: boats, for tighter budgets and kayaks, if you want to have more independence and proximity to them.
The available tours can be searched on the internet or you can hire one directly in Puerto Río Tranquilo. Most of the agencies are all located in the same sector on the shores of General Carrera Lake. This tour can also be done from Coyhaique or from Chile Chico.
Kayak Tour to the Marble Chapels from Puerto Río Tranquilo
The kayak tour that departs from Puerto Río Tranquilo was the one I took. It does not require previous experience and you are provided with the instructions and safety equipment necessary for navigation.
In general, this navigation is simple, unless you have a very windy day, that will generate waves and you will have to row your kayak a little more in order to move in the direction you want or in order to stay in a certain spot.
This tour takes around 3 hours on total.
First, you depart from Puerto Río Tranquilo to Bahía Mansa by car or van, either on your own or by the company´s transport (it may or may not be included).
Once you arrive at Bahía Mansa, they give you the equipment and instructions for navigation.
Next, you are assigned a single or double kayak, allowing you to practice a little before starting the final tour. Once prepared, you navigate around 20 minutes to the place where the formations are.
Once there, you will find the Capilla de Mármol (Marble Chapel), the Catedral de Mármol (Marble Cathedral) and The Cavernas de Mármol (Marble Caverns).
Even though this tour is usually known as the “Visit of the Marble Chapels” or “Visit of the Marble Cathedral” each formation has its own name, according to its size and shape.
The Capilla de Mármol (Marble Chapel) will be the first one you come across; it is a little smaller than the others.
Capilla de Mármol
The next one you will see is La Catedral de Mármol (Marble Cathedral) which is slightly larger.
In the past, you were able to enter this formation, but now it is protected, so you can navigate around it without entering.
The one that you can visit from the inside and go through it is the last of the formations that you will find, which are: Marble Caves.
Catedral de Mármol
The caverns are big enough for a kayak but not big enough for a boat. This means that you can take a look from the inside of all this structure if you visit it by kayak, but only a limited part of it if you go on a boat.
To be inside of this cavern is the best part of all the whole adventure. Even thought the most photographed ones are the two previous ones.
Cuevas de Mármol
If you go by boat, you will be able to get to the part where the water level, the height of the ceiling of the cavern and the bottom allows it to, being able to contemplate only a part of the caverns.
If there are many people, you enter in shifts and must wait your turn. Once there, you must remember that, even when you have a float, you must be careful not to make sudden movements inside the kayak that could destabilize it and make you fall into the water. It is better to stay dry :).
If the water is calm, you will be able to see part of the bottom, if it is turbulent, you will have to work harder when rowing to stay in one place.
Remember to protect your electronics, as water can splash when paddling. In my case, I brought a dry bag and a microfiber towel to dry the camera when it got water on it.
So, if you would like to have some photographs of the Marble Chapels and you liked everything you saw here, I highly recommend you to visit the Marble Cathedrals and live this beautiful adventure as part of your travel in the Chilean Patagonia.
When I moved to Chile, one of the first things I did was to search for the tourist places in Chile. Thus, among the unmissable places to visit in Chile, I found this wonderful place and I was delighted with its forms. At the time, I did not know that I would be able to visit them several years later.
Once filtered in Google through photos, I had the doubt if the blue tone of the rocks was the product of photographic retouching or they were actually of that color. It was then that I decided to look for videos on youtube to seek for the answer and thus check its real color. It is for this reason that I also decided to make several videos of the place and thus share a closer view of what you will really find when living this experience.
Despite this, the color of the General Carrera Lake water is very beautiful and interesting and its reflection on the rocks is not so powerful to generate those colors on the rocks, unless they are highlighted in the edition which, of course, gives a much more striking touch to what is in itself quite impressive. Much more captivating in person than in photographs, I could say. So you have to dare to go.
In general, the southern highway is a magical and charming place, full of incredible and unique landscapes. My motivation to visit it arose once I began to follow people who made trips and trekking through Chile, where I also learned about the existence of the Tkekking on the Exploradores Glacier and, when I saw the photos, I thought I also wanted to be there and have a photo with ice caves.
Once in Puerto Río Tranquilo, it was that I found out about the Navigation to Laguna San Rafaél, this tour is the most expensive of the three and that can also be taken from Puerto Chacabuco.
However, I had the opportunity to do these tours thanks to photographic exchanges as part of my new lifestyle as a digital nomad, which allowed me to enjoy these wonders without additional expenses. You can also collaborate with my trips, if you wish, by using the donation link or buying my photos.
I hope you have a happy trip and are encouraged, like me, to travel the southern highway and visit the Aysén Region!
Visit the Confluence of the Baker River with Neff and Los Maquis WaterfallCarretera Austral, Chile, Patagonia, Southview
karla alejandra Torres DiazPosted at 00:25h, 14 December
consulta para las personas no vacunadas pueden acceder con el examen pcr negativo
atravelphotoPosted at 10:40h, 20 December
Hola! Buen día viajera, tengo entendido que se puede acceder a la región con PCR negativo, imagino que deben consultar con las agencias de turismo si piden o no pase de movilidad. Mucha suerte y espero que pueda acceder sólo con PCR. Saludos y feliz viaje!
Shair nicolas avilaPosted at 00:13h, 09 January
Hola buenas me gustaría consultar si se puede ingresar solo con pase de movilidad o es obligatorio el pcr ?
atravelphotoPosted at 20:32h, 10 January
Cuando yo fui pedían pcr para ingresar a la región, más no para realizar el tour. No creo que sea necesario, ya que es una actividad al aire libre. De igual forma podrías confirmarlo con la operadora turística que elijas. Buena suerte!