The Cano Cristales is a river in Colombia, which is referred to as “The Most Beautiful River in the World.” It is known as the River of Five Colors and the Liquid Rainbow. This special river is located in the Serrania de la Macarena National Park. The park is in the province of Meta. The area where it is located is very remote and difficult to access.
There is a short time every year when the river displays these incredible colors. The majority of the year the river is like any other river with rocks covered with green moss. For a few weeks between the wet and the dry season the conditions are just perfect to cause this river to explode into color.
The color of the river is attributed to the algae and the mosses on the rocks. When the water level is high during the wet season, not enough light penetrates the water to yield these colors. During the dry season the river can't support the life of these organisms. But between these two seasons the algae and mosses flourish and display these spectacular colors. This usually happens sometime between June and November.
The National Park itself is a remarkable place, supporting ant eaters, jaguars, cougars, deer, 8 species of monkeys, 550 species of birds, 1,200 species of insects, 100 species of reptiles, and 48 species of orchids. Getting to the park and to the river is an adventure in itself.
To reach the river, one needs to travel to Villavicencio, Colombia, which is about two hours from Bogota. From Bogota one will have to charter a private plane to the National Park. Then one will need to find a guide to find the river. The modes of transportation are walking or horseback riding. Then nobody is allowed to camp there or cook any food. The river and the park are very well protected and cared for.
The Cano Cristales is about 100 km long and no more than 20 meters wide. The river flows to the East emptying into the Guayabero River. The trip to the river is an unforgettable adventure. Not only are the colors a pleasure to see, but so are some of the rocks. The rocks are about 1,200 million years old.
View this video of Cano Cristales
To see more of the beautiful country of Colombia, visit the link below.
Colombia Living Good
- Colombia Travel, Tourism, and Living Information Website.
Colombia is a very bio-diverse country with coasts on two oceans, the Amazon Rain Forest and the Andes Mountains running through it. See our pictures.
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Craig Gibson (author) from Traverse City Michigan on February 18, 2013:
I added a video to this hub.
Craig Gibson (author) from Traverse City Michigan on February 12, 2013:
Fortunately the government of Colombia is protecting this natural resource. Also it is difficult to gain access to the river, which also helps preserve it.
iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on February 12, 2013:
Wow! These should be one of the must-visit places in my book. Thanks for introducing Cano Cristales. The river is really amazing... this should be thoroughly preserved for others in the future to enjoy. Up, awesome, etc.