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Navigate Chelenko’s colorful marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral

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Photo ofNavigate Chelenko’s colorful marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral Photo ofNavigate Chelenko’s colorful marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral Photo ofNavigate Chelenko’s colorful marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral

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Trail stats

Distance
11.02 mi
Elevation gain
200 ft
Technical difficulty
Easy
Elevation loss
141 ft
Max elevation
813 ft
TrailRank 
33
Min elevation
693 ft
Trail type
One Way
Coordinates
271
Uploaded
July 3, 2014
Recorded
July 2014
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near Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Aisén (Chile)

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Trail photos

Photo ofNavigate Chelenko’s colorful marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral Photo ofNavigate Chelenko’s colorful marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral Photo ofNavigate Chelenko’s colorful marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral

Itinerary description

The Nature Sanctuary of Marble Caverns is one of the most fascinating and unique geological spectacles of Patagonia. For thousands of years, nature has carved out a series of cavities, caves and grottos on the marble outcroppings that border the northwestern sector of General Carrera Lake, creating shapes, textures and colors that will you keep you in awe all day long.

Waypoints

PictographWaypoint Altitude 0 ft
Photo ofPuerto Río Tranquilo

Puerto Río Tranquilo

Each summer, this quiet and tranquil town transforms into a busy hub for thousands of travelers visiting the Marble Cathedrals, General Carrera Lake, the Exploradores Valley and Glacier, the Northern Patagonia Ice Fields, and San Rafael Lagoon National Park. Puerto Tranquilo offers these visitors an ever-growing variety of accommodations, restaurants, supplies, services and shops, as well as a beautiful and expansive beach. So far, there is no ATM Cash Machine in town, so make sure you come with enough cash. If you are looking for an excursion with a bit more exercise and adventure, you can visit the marble caves in kayak or canoe, but you'll need to hire a guide and rent the appropriate equipment. You can ask the operators near the lake about this option, or check out El Puesto Expeditions, where you can rent kayaks, with or without a guide. Pedro Lagos 258; (09) 51893146; expediciones@elpuesto.cl; www.elpuesto.cl; Facebook: ElPuestoHostalyExpediciones. •Reservations: There are several operators in the Puerto Tranquilo area, including: o Juan Aldea, Excursiones El Cóndor - Carretera Austral s/n; (09) 88210409; aldealvarez25@hotmail.com o Lenin Soto, Excursiones Maran-Atha - Pobl Esperanza; Pasaje 2, Casa 17; (09) 66479614; hombredelago@hispavista.com If you're in Coyhaique and want to arrange a day tour to the Marble Caverns, Cathedral and Chapels, contact one of these operators: o Cristhopher Piñeira, Ecotravel Patagonia; (09) 56679288; contacto@ecotravelpatagonia.com; www.ecotravelpatagonia.com. o Cristian Solís, Geosur Expediciones - Simón Bolívar 521; (09) 92648671; cristian@geosurexpediciones.com; www.geosurexpediciones.com; Facebook: Expediciones GeoSur. o Darío Figueroa, Turismo Patagonia Mármol Tour - Pobl. A. Prat, Max Casas 795; (067) 2233286; (09) 93562138; dario.figueroa27@gmail.com; www.patagoniamarmoltour.cl. o GeoTurismo Patagonia - José de Moraleda 480, Oficina 6; (067) 2233439; (09) 66367733 - 83565342; info@geoturismopatagonia.cl; www.geoturismopatagonia.cl.

PictographPhoto Altitude 712 ft
Photo ofThe Marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral of General Carrera Lake Photo ofThe Marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral of General Carrera Lake Photo ofThe Marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral of General Carrera Lake

The Marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral of General Carrera Lake

The Marble Caverns, Chapels and Cathedral of General Carrera Lake, have earned the well-deserved reputation of being one of the most visited sites in the Aysén Region. These luminescent caverns are featured on thousands of postcards, websites and books about Patagonia, making them a “don’t miss” excursion for visitors. We’re sure these amazing formations of marble and rock will steal the spotlight in your photos, too! Don’t confuse Puerto Tranquilo’s marble cathedrals with the type of marble you find in luxurious buildings or sculptures, because that type of marble has been passed through a hundred different industrial processes to polish the rock and make it shine. Here in Patagonia, you’ll find marble in its rawest and naturally beautiful form. According to geological research, this site represents a deposit of 5,000 million tons of marble, of 94% pure calcium carbonate, which is the main compound of this precious element. As you get close to the caverns, you'll see that the rock contains a variety of shades. The white areas represent the purest marble in terms of concentration levels of calcium carbonate. When the white mixes with other colors, like blue, pink and green, it is due to other minerals mixed in with the marble. These rocks are more than 300 million years old, but the formation of the caves is a more recent, post-glacial phenomenon that has occurred within the last 15 thousand years as a result of powerful movements of ice and water.

PictographPhoto Altitude 0 ft
Photo ofPanichini Islands Photo ofPanichini Islands Photo ofPanichini Islands

Panichini Islands

Now, if you are looking for something a little less touristy, you can arrange to extend your route and include a further trip to the Panichini Islands located in the vicinity of Puerto Sanchez. It adds two hours of travel time, but we promise that it will be unforgettable, especially if it is a sunny day with calm waters. Like Puerto Tranquilo, the Panichini Islands contain several outcrops of marble, but in this sector the rocky banks of the islands are carved along their edges and the tops are covered with grassy areas that are perfect for a picnic. It’s a place so special that one person actually bought one (yes, a whole island)! Little by little, he is building a unique house inside one of the caves! And this is only one of the thousands of stories and legends surrounding this area of Patagonia. Ask your guide to tell you what Puerto Sánchez was like when it was the economic epicenter of this sector, and to show you the ruins of the old iron boats that used to carry out the loot. It will turn a few hour tour into a full day adventure.

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