Located on the western shore of Lake General Carrera––the largest lake in Chile and the second largest in South America––Puerto Río Tranquilo is one of the main entry points for travelers to Laguna San Rafael National Park, via the Exploradores Valley and the Northern Icefields. The town can be found 139 miles south of Coyhaique, and is known for its overwhelming beauty, including several famous icons of the Carretera Austral, such as the Marble Chapels («Capillas de Mármol») and the Exploradores Glacier, which descends from the San Valentín peak (12,828 feet above sea level), the highest peak in all of Patagonia.

Founded in 1955, originally settled by ranching and farming families, today Puerto Río Tranquilo is a key destination for those traveling south, not only because it’s a convenient place to stock up on food supplies and fill up on gas, but also because it’s a beautiful area filled with incredible landscapes and untouched natural horizons.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

In Puerto Tranquilo, you can find cabins, restaurants, guest houses, and tourist excursions for exploring the surrounding areas.

Region

Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez

Province

General Carrera

Population

550

Climate and Rainfall

Rainy and Temperate, 45 inches annually

Nearest National Park(s)

Parque Nacional Cerro Castillo

Laguna San Rafael National Park

Don’t Miss

  • Row or boat to the famous Marble Cathedrals, named a Natural Sanctuary, leaving from the town or from Bahía Mansa, 10 minutes south of Puerto Tranquilo.
  • Hike on the Exploradores Glacier.
  • Drive Route X-78, which winds 48 miles west of Puerto Tranquilo and is surrounded by forests, rivers, dozens of waterfalls, hanging glaciers, and snowy peaks.
  • Travel Route X-78 to the San Valentín peak (12,828 feet above sea level), the highest peak in all of Patagonia.
  • Travel by boat from Exploradores Bay to Laguna San Rafael, a full-day excursion.
  • Enjoy the afternoon on the shore of Lake General Carrera, at a beach within walking distance of the town center.
  • Drive the scenic route to Exploradores Valley, where you can take in the beauty of Lake Tranquilo, the Nutria falls, and the glaciers that form part of the Northern Icefields.

How to get

From Coyhaique, continue south on the Carretera Austral (Route 7) for around 135 miles until you reach Puerto Tranquilo.

Buses run regularly from Coyhaique to Puerto Tranquilo. Check the schedules in the bus terminal in Coyhaique.

The companies Acuario 13 (Phone: (+56) 672 522143 / (+56) 98748022), Don Carlos (Phone: (+56) 672 522150), and Águilas Patagónicas (Phone: (+56) 672 522020) offer daily routes to Cochrane, with a stop in Puerto Tranquilo.

Transport options in Puerto Tranquilo include: Transporte Bellavista (Phone +56 9 76195125), Transporte Suraustral (Phone +56 9 81936603), Transporte Turismo Patagón Huala (Phone +56 9 88115243), and Transporte Pato Aventuras (Phone +56 9 87559453).

Cruise-style boats travel from Puerto Montt to Laguna San Rafael, near Puerto Tranquilo, in a 5-night voyage (round trip). Find more information at http://www.skorpios.cl/wp-content/uploads/docs/programa_chonos_es.pdf.

There are also various watercraft available at Puerto Chacabuco that visit Laguna San Rafael for the day.

Sky and LATAM Airlines fly daily to Balmaceda Airport, located 34 miles southeast of Coyhaique.

Tips

  • There’s a Copec gas station in Puerto Tranquilo, which has bathrooms and sells maps of the area.
  • There is no ATM in Puerto Tranquilo, but there is a «Caja Vecina» (rural bank service).
  • There are various corner stores in town where you can stock up on provisions for your trip.
  • There are more than 10 restaurants and a craft brewery on the road along the shore.
  • Various tour guides offer excursions from Exploradores Bay to Laguna San Rafael, boat trips to the Marble Chapels, and hikes along the Exploradores Glacier.
  • At kilometer 75 (mile 47) along Route X-78, which leads toward Exploradores Bay, you’ll need to cross a very narrow bridge. Large vehicles such as motorhomes will not be able to pass.
  • Trips are available to Puerto Sánchez, which lies on the other side of the lake, and from where you can row or take a boat trip to lesser-known marble formations.
  • For more information about Laguna San Rafael National Park, visit the Conaf (park ranger) office located in Dagoberto Godoy.

Basic Services

  • Bomba de Bencina
  • Caja vecina
  • Posta Rural Familiar
  • Vulcanización
  • Señal de Celular (Entel)
  • Carabineros
  • Oficinas información Turística
  • Conaf

Visitor’s Center

Address

in the costanera (the road along the shore)

Open from December to March

turismo@rioibañez.cl

Important Dates

In October, locals organize a cultural event called «The Accordion and Guitar Meet-Up.»

The first week of February, the town hosts a festival celebrating Patagonian traditions.

Copyright 2018 Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia

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