Off the Beaten Path Detours from Carretera Austral - Puerto Sanchez and Marble Caves

There are tons of blogs about driving the Carretera Austral in Chile but most of them keep on talking about the same spots along Ruta 7. While popular places like Chalten or the hanging glacier in Queulat are amazing and definitely worth visiting they are also quite busy.  

But don't worry, there are several possible detours you can take from the Carretera which will bring you away from the main tourist route to beautiful places you'll have almost to yourself. 

In this blog series I'll share the stunning detours we have taken while heading south along the Carretera Austral. 

Puerto Sanchez

The town Puerto Sanchez is a great alternative starting point to explore the famous marble caves on Lake General Carrera. 

It's a small and quiet town set peacefully on the lake's shore. It's the perfect spot to slow down and learn more about what life is like in such a remote area. 

Puerto Sanchez also has a new and well equipped community campground.  

Getting there

The road connecting Puerto Sanchez to Ruta 7 passes by the small town Puerto Murta. From there the road climbs up into the hills via several serpentines, giving you beautiful views over the surrounding lake and mountains. 

The 23 km long road is all gravel but can easily be driven with any car. 

We saw these cute, very hairy Alpacas along the way. 

How to visit the Marble Caves

There are different options when wanting to visit the famous Marble Caves but most tourists take boats from Puerto Rio Tranquilo. It's on the Carretera Austral and easier to reach than Puerto Sanchez, but it's also a much busier place.  

That's what makes Puerto Sanchez a great alternative starting point for people who prefer less crowds, smaller groups, and most likely a more personal and relaxed experience. From here you have the option to take boat trips to the same caves or to explore lesser visited caves instead. 

We wanted to explore the caves by kayak and got the recommendation to contact Geomarmol Excursion, the only company in town to offer kayak tours. 
You can contact them via WhatsApp under this number +56 9 8202 6733 to get more information about their different offers or check out their social media to see what they are up to. 

Hiking through the Marble Tunnel

We chose the kayak tour Tunels de Marmol which included a short hike through a marble tunnel. It was just the two of us with Edu and Francisco as our guides. We had a fantastic time and I can't recommend them enough. 

The island with the marble caves and tunnel is just a short 10-minute boat ride from Puerto Sanchez.

Ready with our helmets and neoprene suits to explore the marble caves.

Thankfully we're not claustrophobic. 

The exit of the marble tunnel. 

Kayak Tour to the Marble Caves

After the short hike it was time for the highlight of the tour: exploring the marble caves in kayaks. 

The guides Edu and Francisco are preparing the kayaks. 

Ready to go with a neoprene suit to keep me warm and a life jacket, safety first...  All equipment was  provided by them.

Edu is practicing the basic movements with us. 

Paddling along the marble caves. 

We were able to enter several of them. 

Amazing views inside the caves. 

Paddling along the coast. 

Time for a coffee break.

It was an amazing experience being able to get so close to the marble caves and being able to enjoy  these unique places in such a quiet and peaceful way. 

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