The village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo in Chilean Patagonia, along the shore of Lago General Carrera
The village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo in Chilean Patagonia, along the shore of Lago General Carrera

The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries – Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile: A Tour in 22 Photos

To most who pass through, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, or simply Puerto Tranquilo, is little more than a necessary pit stop on the Carretera Austral, the highway through southern Chile that traverses 1,200 kilometers of Patagonia. If it’s known for anything, it’s for the easy access it offers to the Capillas de Marmol, a peninsula of marble caves and formations situated along Lago General Carera, the country’s largest lake. I’ll always remember it as an exceedingly difficult place to find a ride out of. And for the modest community cemetery located at its southern fringe.

Tranquil, wind-swept and weathered, the Cementario Rio Tranquilo fits the consummate definition of Patagonia. It’s also unlike any graveyard you’ve ever seen. A small village of its own, it’s comprised of a few dozen mausolea built in the shape of small houses made of clapboard and tin. Some are as small as dog houses in North America, a few as large as children’s backyard clubhouses.

The first settlers didn’t arrive in the area until the late 1920s, so the cemetery isn’t that old. But it’s rough around the edges, worn and rugged, not wholly unlike those who chose the settlement as their home, and by default, the cemetery as their final resting place. As you’ll see not all are forgotten.

Best of all is the view. Resting along its western shore, the clear turquoise waters of the lake are within both earshot and a stone’s throw. A location that’s both a monument and memorial to isolation. If I ever return, it’ll be to shoot a short film here.

Twenty-two photos in all.

 

Lago General Carrera from the village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo in Chilean Patagonia

Village cemetery, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, in Chilean Patagonia

Cross at the Village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Patagonia, Chile

At the village cemetery, Rio Tranquilo, Chile

Village cemetery, Puerto Rio Tranquilo in Chilean Patagonia

Village cemetery, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile

Village cemetery, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, in Chilean Patagonia

Weathered rooftop over a tomb at the Village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Patagonia, Chile

Inside a mausoleum at the village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Patagonia, Chile

Village cemetery, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, in Chilean Patagonia

Inside a mausoleum at the village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Patagonia, Chile

Cemetery, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile

Cross at the Village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Patagonia, Chile

Grave at the village cemetery in Rio Tranquilo, Chile

Wooden and weathered tombs in disrepair at the village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile.

Village cemetery, Puerto Rio Tranquilo in Chilean Patagonia

The village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo in Chilean Patagonia

Fresh flowers at a tomb in the village cemetery at Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile

At the Cemetery, Rio Tranquilo, Chile

Small tombs at the village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile.

Cemetery, Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile along the shore of Lago General Carrera

The village cemetery in Puerto Rio Tranquilo in Chilean Patagonia, along the shore of Lago General Carrera

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All images © Bob Ramsak 2013-2014. All rights reserved.
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