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Chile's Marble Caves: The Effort to Reward Ratio

patagonia-marble-caves-375-(1).jpgModern technology has rendered the planet far easier to explore, but experiencing some of the earth's most extraordinary sights and sounds still requires considerable effort. Enduring a four-hour hike up a fairly steep slope in Rwanda is the only way to have an up-close encounter with humanity's closest relation, the gorillas. Frigid cold and a long sleigh ride afford the best opportunity to view the Northern Lights, and the wonders of Antarctica require a very choppy voyage through the world's roughest waters. But for anyone with even a touch of wanderlust, long odysseys towards something unique are always exciting and richly rewarded.

The magnificent Marble Caves or Capillas de Mármol are no exception; no one who has experienced them ever regrets the long trip, which involves a two-and-a-half-hour flight, a 120-mile drive, and a 30-minute ferry ride.

Nestled in the Patagonian Andes between Argentina and Chile, the Marble Caves have been sculpted from a single rock in the middle of a glacial lake by the gentle lapping of the waters of the lake known in Chile as Lago General Carrera and in Argentina as Buenos Aires. This natural erosion has revealed exquisite striated walls and ceilings, which reflect the azure, turquoise, and indigo glow of the waters, enhanced by the copious amounts of glacial silt. The play of light and shade is at once the essence of the elements and something altogether otherworldly.

The labyrinthine caves nicknamed "The Cavern," "The Chapel," and — the pièce de resistance — "The Cathedral," can only be explored by small motorboat or kayak. The colors change according to the time of day and the season: in winter, when the lake is shallower, the blue is on the lighter side of the spectrum, while summer's deeper levels produce a darker blue. Early morning is the best time to explore the caves to marvel at the beautiful and subtle play of light and color on the stippled surface of the marble rock. But whatever time of the year or day you visit, pause, linger, savor, and make a memory, mindful that the journey back from such wonders often seems far longer.

Join Alexander + Roberts on a once-in-a-lifetime visit to the Marble Caves by motorboat or paddling your own kayak on our newest flexible, private itinerary: Pure Patagonia. This 9-day tour is the ideal way to enjoy active exploration of Patagonia's natural wonders.

Authored by: Jennifer Eremeeva

Posted: 3/2/2020 1:24:49 PM by Alexander + Roberts