Caño Cristales: Colombia’s river of colors

caño cristales colombia

This post is also available in: Español

We like to surprise you, reveal magical places and propose new adventures. Caño Cristales is our choice for today, and in addition to the tours in Colombia that you have scheduled, you can’t miss the colors of a small river in the Serranía de La Macarena National Natural Park.

Still don’t know what to see in Colombia? Well, after visiting the north of the country and touring the beaches of Punta Gallinas, one option would be from Bogota or Medellin to fly to Caño Cristales, we are talking about taking a plane, of course.

What is Caño Cristales

Caño Cristales is a river in Colombia also known as ‘the river of the gods’, ‘the river of the seven colors’, ‘the rainbow that melted’ or ‘the most beautiful river in the world’. With these names you can imagine that it is not just any river, that its beauty is amazing and that it has some color.

It is a river of 5 colors, it is plentiful and it has waterfalls. As if that were not enough, it is surrounded by an exuberant flora and fauna and extremely diverse. The best thing is that Colombia protects this place through a law of the republic so that people can bathe.

caño cristales most beautiful river in the world
Photo by National Geographic

Why it is colorful

We have already told you on several occasions that this river is known for its colors, but we have not told you about them. The 5 colors we have mentioned are red, yellow, green, blue and white – quite a spectacle!

At the bottom of the river there are aquatic plants that with the exposure to the sun change their colors: from green to an intense red, passing through yellow. The blue reflection of the clear sky and the white foam of the waterfalls complete the watery rainbow.

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Where is Caño Cristales

We have already told you that Caño Cristales is in Colombia, it is true, but Colombia is a big country and Caño Cristales is a small river that is located in the Sierra de la Macarena, in the province of Meta. The Macarena mountain range comprises a mountain system in the Amazon rainforest and is the meeting point of the Andean, Amazonian and Orinoco ecosystems.

How to get there

There are several ways to get to Caño Cristales, there is no single way. We recommend that you do not walk from Bogota because perhaps the road is too long, don’t you think? Joking aside, it is best to go by plane from Bogota or Medellin, two of the oldest cities in Colombia, as well as visited.

Of course you can also go by car, but don’t expect an easy and short drive. The first thing to do is to get to San Vicente del Caguán or San José de Guaviare, depending on your starting point, and from there to La Macarena. Patience!

They say that traveling is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and we agree. If to travel you add discovering places in nature, protected and that keep alive its essence, the plan is much better. Caño Cristales is to feel nature, do you feel like it?


Journalist, nomad and adventurer. Paula would never say no to a camping trip and is an expert in setting up a tent in less than 10 seconds.

Besides that, she loves to dance and maybe that's why she loves Latin America so much. One of her best trips was to Argentina, but she has many more destinations behind her, which she talks about in this blog.

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