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Marble Caves, Patagonia, Chile

This must-visit destination is closed off from most of the world, a hidden gem.

Patagonia’s most unusual site stands on the peninsula of General Carrera Lake, also known as Lake Buenos Aires. on the border between Chile and Argentine.

Formed by crashing waves from Lake General Carrera for over 6,000 years has eroded these calcium carbonate cliffs to create a beautiful cave system.

Best time to visit is between September and February as the ice melts and the lake turns a beautiful turquoise. The walls of the caves also changes colours depending on the time of year and weather and turn from dark blues to white or pink colours.

December and January are the busiest months to see these caves as it is summer in Chile.

The Marble Caves are in three main areas across the coast and known as the Marble Cathedral, Marble Chapel (named for their domed ceilings and reverential atmosphere) and marble tunnel.

To fully appreciate these caves either visit by small boat or kayak (in small groups) to go into the heart of the caves to see the caverns, pillars and tunnels within and see the beautiful swirling patterns on the walls against the crystal blue water.

The Capilla del Marmol (Marble Chapel) is a freestanding islet. The Catedral del Marmol (Marble Cathedral) is a larger rock formation to the Chapel and has several caverns that you see from a distance because of preservation order you may not go in. Kayak can access the Tunel de Marmol (Marble Tunnel) which is next to the Cathedral and see the marble close up.

To visit the caves it requires an 800 mile road trip from Santiago to the city of Coyhaique, and then another 200 miles by challenging dirt tracks to the lake.

So worth the effort to see a truly breath-taking landscape from the water.

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