Puerto Rio Tranquilo is a nice little town with only a few streets located next to Lago Gral Carrera in Chile. The Gral Carrera lake is the second biggest lake in South America. This small town is mainly famous for the Marble Caves tours originated from here.
Everything revolves around the port area where you can book your tours to the Marble Caves or to the Exploradores Glacier. On one side of the street that runs by the lake you can find all the tour agents the other side hotels, hostels and restaurants.
Puerto Rio Tranquilo even has its own brewpub called the Restaurant Cerveceria Rio Tranquilo with quite nice craft beers. I managed to taste a few of them when we arrived to town and had our first dinner here.
The town has no ATMs but there is a COPEC petrol station. There is mobile coverage with 3G available with Entel. Most restaurants and supermarkets will take credit or debit cards so even if you are low on cash you should be able manage. A word of warning… The petrol station was out of petrol for a day while we were there. If you are coming by car and see the petrol station open, don’t wait, fill up as soon as you can. As soon as petrol and diesel arrives locals come and fill up their cars and additional barrels in fear of running out of petrol.
There is a nice square in the middle of town with outdoor gym equipment. I did a long morning workout on the second day’s morning while I was there. The weather was sunny but crispy, it was ideal for a good gym session.
We stayed in Cabanas Patagon Explorador which is just a block away from the port area. We booked a 2 bedroom cabana with living room, flat screen TV with satellite channels which we could switch to English luckily. The parking was right next to the Cabana so it was easy to move our stuff in and out of the car. The heating in the cabana was provided by an iron fireplace which we had to manage overnight but that one fireplace provided enough heat for the whole house. There is a supermarket on site run by the Cabana owners, it has pretty much has everything you need apart from beer and wine. For that we had to go to the large supermarket next door to the petrol station.
If you plan to hitchhike from and to Puerto Rio Tranquilo be prepared to wait long hours for a ride as there is very little traffic and way too many hitchhikers looking for a ride. I have seen people waiting by the side of the road for longer than 5-6 hours.