Sometimes nature is able to surprise us with authentic explosions of colour. Caño Cristales, the “river of five colours”, is one of these wonders. Located in the Sierra de la Macarena, Colombia, its 100 kilometres are of spectacular beauty and absolute charm. Not for nothing is it considered the most beautiful river in the world. An opinion that can only be confirmed by a visit. It is a modest river in length, but it offers visitors a spectacular sight. Let’s find out a little more about this incredible multicoloured paradise.
Why Is the Caño Cristales So Colourful?
The secret of this magnificent beauty is not well known. All the water that flows through Caño Cristales is absolutely pure, clean and clear. You may be wondering where these striking colours come from. The explanation is simple. It’s the algae and coral that give the riverbed its colour. Native algae, ranging from bright yellow to deep red, blend perfectly with the green of the moss and vegetation that accompanies the river on its journey. These colours are reflected in the water in an incredible way, creating a visual spectacle that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
One of the curiosities of Caño Cristales is that it is home to iguanas. This is a very common species in the area, but it is wary of the presence of humans. It is so alert that if it senses any danger it will dive into the water, no matter where it is. Another very common animal is the hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoatzin), also known as the stinking guan. This is because it has a bacterial complex inside that is responsible for decomposing all the vegetables it eats. This is why its smell is so intense.
Where is Caño Cristales?
Caño Cristales, the river of 5 colours, is a Colombian exclusive. It is a tributary of the Guayabero River and is over 100 kilometres long. It is barely 20 metres deep at its widest point. However, it is characterised by a great variety of waterfalls that favour areas of rapids and circular fountains, including beautiful natural pools. The entire river flows through the ancient rocks of the Sierra de la Macarena, believed to be the oldest in the world at 1,200 million years old. Today it is home to over 1,600 species of flora and 770 species of fauna, making it a true natural paradise.
The Caño Cristales site is located in the Serranía de la Macarena National Park, in the department of Meta, Colombia. The Serranía de la Macarena is a protected national park in Colombia that covers more than 6,200 square kilometres. There are three main ecosystems in Colombia, each with an immense diversity of flora and fauna. These are the Amazon jungle, the Andes mountain range and the savannah of the eastern plains.
How to Get to the Caño Cristales?
Described by many as the most beautiful river in the world, and defined by the Colombian journalist and explorer Andrés Hurtado as “the river that escaped from paradise”, what more can you say? They are right, this river is an incredible succession of waterfalls, rapids and pools, where the eye is lost in its incredible colours. Yellows, blues, greens, blacks and reds in all their shades make up this spectacular landscape. It is therefore important to know how to get to this impressive destination.
How Do You Get to Caño Cristales from Bogotá?
One of the main ways to get to Caño Cristales very quickly is through the national airline Satena. Satena has direct flights from Bogotá to La Macarena.
The flight usually takes 1 hour. However, the price of the ticket depends on the season in which you visit this idyllic setting. Return tickets range from USD 135 to USD 400. The price is so high because of the demand to reach one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, if not the best.
How to Get to Caño Cristales from Medellín?
Another way to get to the most beautiful river in the world is from Medellín, although the journey is much longer, about 475 kilometres. Flying is the quickest way, with tickets costing between USD 120 and USD 220 or more depending on the season. The journey takes more than 7 hours, including transfers.
Is It Possible to Swim in the Caño Cristales?
Due to the great visual spectacle of this great river, many people wonder if it is possible to swim in it. Fortunately, it is possible, but only in the designated areas. For example, the tourist pool, the Cascada de los Cuarzos and the Carol Cristal pool are the most popular, as they have a low presence of aquatic plants.
Is It Safe to Go to Caño Cristal?
La Macarena is not like other communities in Colombia. For a long time it was the home of Mono Jojoy and was part of the demilitarised zone. However, it has been a victim of institutional neglect, which has shown the great will of the community. The proof of this is Caño Cristales, a completely safe place, although it remains a dangerous destination in the minds of Colombians. However, the change in conditions at the site has led to an increase in visitors, making it one of the most visited places in Colombia and the world.
Now that you know more about Caño Cristal, we’re sure the pictures will make you want to visit it right away. Relax, you are not alone. If you’ve already had this experience, or if you’re thinking of visiting this wonderful river, leave us your thoughts in the comments.