Patagonia's hidden gem: The Marble Cathedral

Francisca Pizarro | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The Chilean Patagonia holds some of the most impressive and unique landscapes in the world, one of those is the Marble Cathedral. A natural monument shaped by time, wind and water is as special as it sounds. Nature created these caves out of pure marble of beautiful colors, and it is a privilege to be able to see them. Let's explore Patagonia's hidden gem: the Marble Cathedral.

Marble Caves

The place is located at the General Carrera Lake, which is marvelously turquoise and makes the caves look even more beautiful. As you read it before, the caves were shaped by nature, and what you see is actual marble, which is what makes them special, besides their aesthetic look. The attraction is formed by three separated caves. The main one is named Cathedral, and the others are the Cave and the Chapel. One of the most amazing things about this place is the water of the lake, so clear that it allows you to see how far the caves go and how they look underwater. Keep in mind that to get to the caves, you will have to hire a guide to take you there by boat. This ride is an hour and a half, but believe me, it is worth it. Another option is to rent a kayak and get there by yourself.

© istock/Reisegraf

Tips for your visit

Your starting point will be the Puerto Río Tranquilo, a small town located 220 kilometers away from Coyhayque. The only way to get to the caves is by boat or kayak (I highly recommend it if you feel confident about your skills). But do not worry, there are many offers to take you to the caves. It is worth noticing that the boats get really close to the caves, so you can see them closely, feel their texture, and even in some of the caves, you are allowed to disembark. Pro tip: The ideal moment to visit this beautiful landscape is in the morning when everything is clearer, so you get to see the colors of the caves at their peak. The best time of the year to visit the caves is during Chilean summer (December to March) when the sun makes the colors more intense and in autumn (April to May) when the water is lower, so there is a chance to get off the boat and actually step in the caves.

© istock/AlbertoLoyo
© istock/Eduardo Cabanas

San Rafael Lagoon National Park

Getting to the caves and visiting the attraction itself will take up most of your time. Still, you can visit some other places after marveling at the psychedelic colors and shapes of the Marble Caves. One of them is the San Rafael Lagoon National Park, located approximately one hour away from the caves. The National Park is home to the Campos de Hielo Norte, one of the biggest ice fields in the world. In this place, you can actually walk on ice, but the true highlight of the place is the San Rafael Glacier, a huge formation of ice, as ancient as life on the planet Earth. 

© istock/SteveAllenPhoto

There are some places so magical there is no way to describe them with words alone. This is one of those places you have got to see and experience. Surreal and unique, a visit to the Marble Cathedral is unforgettable. Visit Chile and discover Patagonia´s hidden gem.

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