Ice Climbing and Marble Caves… Puerto Rio Tranquilo

Trekking on ice, beautiful marble caves, and paying for transportation for the first time in a month.

We were so bummed to be leaving Ignacio and Antonio. Traveling with the two of them was so much fun and brought back so many memories of our own road trip back in the states. It made us realize how much we really like the freedom of driving our own car wherever we want whenever we want. With that said, we were super stoked to be heading down to Puerto Rio Tranquilo for some fun excursions. We said our goodbyes to the boys in the morning and made our way to the edge of town to hitchhike.

We knew hitchhiking here would be a bit harder than it had been in the past because the further into Patagonia you go, the fewer cars there are and the more hitchhikers are found. But with our luck, a man and his son picked us up rather quickly. He said he was only going a bit down the road, but that he thought it would be a better spot for us to hitch from. Little did we know, he was taking us right outside his house, and he surprised us by making a small packed lunch for us while we were sitting outside trying to get a ride. Eventually, we got picked up from a younger guy who was heading down to the airport about 30 more minutes down the road. He actually ended up passing where we needed to be let off, so luckily we barely caught the sign on the side of the road, and explained to him he was no longer going in the direction we needed to go in. From there, we waited a bit and just watched the rain clouds come closer and closer. There weren’t very many cars passing by, so we were getting nervous we wouldn’t get a hitch. But the Lord knows better. We got our final hitch with a man who took us all the way into Puerto Rio Tranquilo, and he actually had camping on his property, so we ended up camping at his place too.

Now, this place definitely wouldn’t be our first choice. It was extremely crowded and was literally just in their yard, only had one bathroom for their family and the 50 plus people camping there, and was really loud at night. We couldn’t find camping anywhere else, and with the price so cheap, we couldn’t pass it up, especially when we weren’t really going to be there often anyways.

Our fancy dancy wine with our fancy dancy wine glass..

Our fancy dancy wine with our fancy dancy wine glass..

Since we got in so late, we were unable to plan any excursions for the next day, so we took advantage of our chance to sleep in and just relax in the tiny village for the day. We enjoyed the view of the massive lake, strolling down the four streets in the village, and shopping in a tiny market. We visited all the different tour agencies to try and find a tour that fit us best. We eventually found a company that worked perfect for us. We booked our Glacier Expedition for the next morning, and the Marble Cave Tour for the morning of the day we were going to try and hitch out of town.

General Carrera Lake.. Beautiful view from Puerto Rio Tranquilo

General Carrera Lake.. Beautiful view from Puerto Rio Tranquilo

{Traveler’s Tip.. If you are even considering doing a glacier expedition, do it here!! It’s cheaper than any other place in Patagonia, and you get to be on the glacier for more than four hours versus being on it for only one hour in other places. It’s also not as busy here, so your tour group will be a lot smaller than down south, and you have much more freedom to walk around anywhere instead of staying in a straight line.}

The glacier expedition was absolutely amazing! We were so excited to get to actually walk on a glacier with crampons and use ice picks to crawl up the face of the ice. The tour was so much more than what we could have hoped for/dreamed of! We can’t even explain the thrill of tromping around on a huge ice field with huge crevasses and ice as far as you could see. We had awesome food included in the tour and it was just us two and one other couple in our group making it all so much better.

We got a flat on the way to our Glacier Expedition.. We were told not to take a picture, but oops.. memories.. hello we had to!

We got a flat on the way to our Glacier Expedition.. We were told not to take a picture, but oops.. memories.. hello we had to!

The waterfall on the way to the ice field.

The waterfall on the way to the ice field.

And of course.. we had to fill up our water bottle with fresh Patagonia water instead of water from the tap!!

And of course.. we had to fill up our water bottle with fresh Patagonia water instead of water from the tap!!

Perfect reflection on our ride out!

Perfect reflection on our ride out!

Can you see the ice field in the distance??!! We're getting so close!!

Can you see the ice field in the distance??!! We’re getting so close!!

The water was crystal clear. So cool to see the rocks frozen in the glacier beneath us!

The water was crystal clear. So cool to see the rocks frozen in the glacier beneath us!

Almost to the ice!!!

Almost to the ice!!! Underneath all these rocks is part of the ice field!!

First, we had to stop for an awesome lunch!!

First, we had to stop for an awesome lunch!!

Ahh!! We made it to the ice finally!!

Ahh!! We made it to the ice finally!!

Getting our gear on!!

Getting our gear on!!

Crampons on and ready to go!!

Crampons on and ready to go!!

All throughout the ice field were crevasses to climb in out and around!!

All throughout the ice field were crevasses to climb in out and around!!

Some even had ice cold water to drink!!

Some even had ice cold water to drink!!

You can't really tell in this picture, but behind us is a straight down real deep drop into a pit of ice!!

You can’t really tell in this picture, but behind us is a straight down real deep drop into a pit of ice!!

Luckily we stayed at the top of the pits.. well for the most part!!

Luckily we stayed at the top of the pits.. well for the most part!!

Sometimes we climbed in them though!! :)

Sometimes we climbed in them though!! 🙂

Such an amazing experience and day out on the glacier!!

Such an amazing experience and day out on the glacier!!

The colors portrayed by the ice were so majestic!

The colors portrayed by the ice were so majestic!

Don't want to get too close to the edge here!! Again.. check out the blue color of the ice!!

Don’t want to get too close to the edge here!! Again.. check out the blue color of the ice!!

Hello gorgeous day on the ice!!

Hello gorgeous day on the ice!!

Life doesn't get much better than exploring the beauty the Lord has created for us!!

Life doesn’t get much better than exploring the beauty the Lord has created for us!!

Climbin'!!

Climbin’!!

Such an experience!!

Such an experience!!

And Jay made it to the top!!!

And Jay made it to the top!!!

But sometimes we were at the very bottom!

But sometimes we were at the very bottom!

We can't even explain how much we loved every second of this experience!! So blessed!!

We can’t even explain how much we loved every second of this experience!! So blessed!!

Our view for six hours!!!

Our view for six hours!!!

One of Heather's favorite parts of the glaciers are where there are hidden secret freezing cold pools!

One of Heather’s favorite parts of the glaciers are where there are hidden secret freezing cold pools!

And the water/rocks have carved away this section of the glacier leaving the pool little by little!

And the water/rocks have carved away this section of the glacier leaving the pool little by little!

After the tour, the other couple invited us to have an asado (typical Chilean BBQ with beef or lamb, in our case it was with lamb) with them back at the house they were renting for the week. We were thrilled and gladly accepted the invite! They picked us up from town not too long after we had got back, and took us to the house. We thought it was only two kilometers out of town, but it ended up being like a 20-minute drive. We felt really bad because they offered to drive us out there and back that same night because we had a tour early the next morning. Thinking it was only 2 km outside of town when we agreed to go, we figured we could just walk back into town after, but when it turned into a 20-minute drive, we knew they would have to bring us back to town. But they were more than happy to do it as long as we would help them eat the asado that night. The night with them was so much fun and filled with great food and kayaking on the lake. They took us back into town just past midnight so we could pack our things and recharged our cameras for the tour the next morning.

Hello amazing asado!!! They slow roast this bad boy for hours as the fat drips down.. and let us tell you... it's amazing!!!

Hello amazing asado!!! They slow roast this bad boy for hours as the fat drips down.. and let us tell you… it’s amazing!!!

Loved kayaking on the peaceful lake!

Loved kayaking on the peaceful lake!

And watching the sunset from a kayak isn't such a bad view!!

And watching the sunset from a kayak isn’t such a bad view!!

7:00 am came extremely early. We kept pressing snooze, and then finally got up and made our way to the launching point for our Marble Caves tour! We were so excited for this tour as we had been anticipating seeing the beauty of these caves since before Christmas. The boat took off and we enjoyed a nice easy ride past the village and around a few corners of the lake when all the sudden the caves were ahead of us. The beauty of the caves was breathtaking. We have heard some people say they weren’t as impressive as they thought they would be, but to us they were! The lighting was perfect, we again had a small group on our boat, and the water was crystal clear all around them. Once again, our God completely spoiled us with the beauty that He created on Earth for us to enjoy.

Puerto Rio Tranquilo sure is Tranquilo!!! And for those of you needing it in English.. Calm River Port is real calm :) Especially in the morning!!

Puerto Rio Tranquilo sure is Tranquilo!!! And for those of you needing it in English.. Calm River Port is real calm 🙂 Especially in the morning!!

Our first sighting on the marble!

Our first sighting on the marble!

And the lake is this color!!!

And the lake is this color!!!

Heading to the caves!!!

Heading to the caves!!! A glimpse of a tiny part of them if you look close enough!!

We're getting closer!! Building the anticipation!!

We’re getting closer!! Building the anticipation!!

Almost there!!!

Almost there!!!

Why hello little scruffy!! Can you see the dog?!

Why hello little scruffy!! Can you see the dog?!

Up close and personal. :)

Up close and personal. 🙂

Or so we thought.. until we went into them!!!

Or so we thought.. until we went into them!!!

The color of the lake is to die for!!!

The color of the lake is to die for!!!

And once inside it changes withe the lighting and the marble and is even more amazing!!

And once inside it changes withe the lighting and the marble and is even more amazing!!

Again.. how??!!

Again.. how??!!

Crystal Clear!!

Crystal Clear!!

How in the world can all that marble be held up by this little piece.. and yes, if you're wondering we went into this part!! Scary!!

How in the world can all that marble be held up by this little piece.. and yes, if you’re wondering we went into this part!! Scary!!

Words can't even explain the majestic look of these things!!

Words can’t even explain the majestic look of these things!!

We've heard people say the marble caves aren't as impressive as they thought.. but when you look at these photos how can you even begin to think that?!

We’ve heard people say the marble caves aren’t as impressive as they thought.. but when you look at these photos how can you even begin to think that?!

We would love to jump off this part!!!

We would love to jump off this part!!!

We got a little photo happy!!

We got a little photo happy!!

Check out the water!!!

Check out the water!!! And then remind yourself this is a lake!! The joys of Patagonia!!

Can a marble counter top even compare to this!!

Can a marble counter top even compare to this!!

Probably some of the coolest caves we have been in on our whole trip!

Probably some of the coolest caves we have been in on our whole trip!

Getting deeper in the caves!!

Getting deeper in the caves!!

As far as we could go!!!

As far as we could go!!!

This one reminds us of marble cake!! Yum!!!

Check out the crazy texture of these caves!!

Can't get enough of these!!

Can’t get enough of these!!

A little island of marble!!

A little island of marble!!

And a close up!!

And a close up!!

Can you even believe the carvings you see through this!! Absolutely nuts!!

Can you even believe how the water carved its way through this??!! Absolutely nuts!!

{Traveler’s Tip… Do the marble cave tour early in the morning. The lighting was perfect for us, and there weren’t very many people on the 8:00 tour!! Make sure your cameras are fully charged, and wear warm clothes!!}

We got back into town, made some breakfast since we snoozed through our breakfast time before the trip, and then packed up our packs before trying to hitch out of town. Now, Puerto Rio Tranquilo being such a small town with very few buses running through and barely any cars was a very hard town to hitch out of. We had seen people trying to hitch for days without any luck there. We decided that if we couldn’t get a ride before the first bus came we would just take the only bus there was out of town that day.

Again, the Lord had our backs. While we didn’t get a hitch, the only bus going to the destination we wanted to go was leaving that day, and within about an hour of us being ready to leave. Thank goodness it worked out perfectly. We were able to catch the bus, wait two hours in the connecting town, and then catch the next bus to our next destination, Caleta Tortel all within one day. Nearly unheard of in this part of Patagonia.

{Traveler’s Tip… Try and figure out bus schedules before you get down into Puerto Rio Tranquilo and further south in Patagonia. We got lucky with having the buses the days we wanted them, but they only go to certain places two or three times a week, and usually don’t connect with the bus leaving from the next town very well. Definitely be open for spending a couple extra days in places you don’t plan to!!}


…Where We Have Been And Where We Are Heading…

Well, we gave you all an update last time we posted not too long ago, so you know where we have been for the most part. We have now been in Uruguay for about a week and we are loving it here! We have had some stressful times with our whole banking situation, but overall it has been great. We are now in the beach town of Punta Del Este enjoying the warm sun rays and water! We will be here for the next three days before heading to Montevideo to fly to Peru! 🙂


…Prayer Requests…

*Pray for Jason as he continues to prepare for his interview!

*Pray for us as we process and unwind from this crazy adventure and begin a new one in a completely new location soon!

*Praise God for His healing hand with Jason’s Crohn’s!

*Pray for God to continue revealing things to us as we sit and seek Him here.

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