In this post we provide information on how to get from El Chalten, Argentina to Puerto Rio Tranquilo, how to visit the Marble Caves (Capillas de Marmol and Puerto Sanchez), where to stay in Puerto Rio Tranquilo and all the costs.
How to Get from El Chalten, Argentina to Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile
It is a multiple-step process to get to Puerto Rio Tranquilo, but the journey is well worth it! Traveling by bus in Chile is less expensive than in Argentina so instead of going up to Bariloche (which costs over USD $130 per person for a 24h journey and departs every other day) we decided to go through Chile and visit the Marble Caves. All the photos in this post are from the Puerto Sanchez Marble Caves.
– Book a bus from El Chalten to Los Antiguos – departs daily at 8pm, arrives at 7am. Cost: 1,200 ARS (USD $80). Los Antiguos is a small Argentinean town before the Chilean border.
– Book a bus/van from Los Antiguos to Chile Chico (small town on the other side of the border in Chile)// Hitchhike from Los Antiguos to Chile Chico. Very easy to find friendly and generous locals who will give you a ride from Los Antiguos to Chile Chico including border crossing. The whole process takes less than 2hrs. Or, there is a van awaiting tourists at the bus station in Los Antiguos and offers to take you to Chile Chico for 100 ARS (USD $7) per person.
– Book small bus from Chile Chico to Puerto Rio Tranquilo – 15,000 to 17,000 CHP (USD $22-25), departs at 10am and arrives around 2-2:30pm. Booking is done next to the supermarket at Martin Pescador on the main entrance road to Chile Chico. Only about 15 seats on the van. Road is not paved and very bumpy. It is advertised that there is another bus departing at 4pm but you should double check as there may only be one per day. It is also possible to go back to Chile Chico after your tour in Puerto Rio Tranquilo.
How to Get Around Puerto Rio Tranquilo
The town is very small and there is no official bus station. Buses just stop on the main road facing the water. Very easy to walk through the town by foot.
Where to Stay in Puerto Rio Tranquilo – Hotels in Puerto Rio Tranquilo
There are several hostels in this town. You can easily ask around. Camping is also possible. We stayed at Silvana’s (who also has a sandwich shop on the main road and offers boat trips to the marble caves). The hostel is basic and clean, offers a kitchen to use for basic cooking, dorms and private rooms. Bathroom is shared. 10,000CHP (USD $15) per person. WiFi available.
What To Do in Puerto Rio Tranquilo – Activities in Puerto Rio Tranquilo
Main activity is Puerto Rio Tranquilo is to visit the beautiful marble caves. Only way to visit is to hire a boat. There are multiple companies along the waterfront. Ask around and negotiate. The more people on the tour, the less you will pay.
This is the company we used:
Visit Los Capillas de Marmol: tour lasts 1h30mins, cost is 8,000 CHP (USD $12) per person. Boat can take up to 10 people.
Visit the marble caves of Puerto Sanchez: Tour lasts 2h30mins. Boat can take up to 5-6people. Supposedly, more impressive than the Capillas de Marmol. Tours do not advertise this option, you will need to request it.
If you want to combine both caves, the tour lasts 4hrs30mins and total cost is between 75-90,000 CHP (USD $110-135) total so the more people on the tour, the less you’ll pay. For both, it is recommended to go early in the day for favorable weather conditions. We went to Puerto Sanchez at 6am and were not disappointed, most tours start at 8am. The rain came in right as we were ending our tour and it poured the rest of day.
Ice cave hike – you can also book a tour to hike through an ice cave, equipment provided. Cost is about USD $50 per person. We did not do this but it sounded like a great experience.
From Puerto Rio Tranquilo to Coyhaique
If you want to go north towards the Lake District, you have to get to Coyhaique, the next big town, in order to catch your connection. Buses leave at 9am and 10:30am. Cost is 9,000 CHP (USD $14) with Man-hata and 10,000 CHP (USD $15) with Silvana, per person and lasts 3:30hrs.
What else did you do in Puerto Rio Tranquilo? Did you visit something else other than the marble caves? Share your experiences with us! We love to hear from you!