Cano Cristales, Colombia

Cano Cristales, the most beautiful river in the world
Cano Cristales, the most beautiful river in the world | Source

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.

Cano Cristales
Cano Cristales | Source
Cano Cristales
Cano Cristales | Source

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.

Cano Cristales
Cano Cristales | Source
Cano Cristales
Cano Cristales | Source

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.

Cano Cristales
Cano Cristales | Source
Cano Cristales
Cano Cristales | Source

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.

Cano Cristales
Cano Cristales | Source
Cano Cristales
Cano Cristales | Source

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.

Cano Cristales
Cano Cristales | Source

View this video of Cano Cristales

To see more of the beautiful country of Colombia, visit the link below.

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Comments 3 comments

iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

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.


csgibson profile image

csgibson 3 years ago from Traverse City Michigan Author

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.


csgibson profile image

csgibson 3 years ago from Traverse City Michigan Author

I added a video to this hub.

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