Colombian river transformed into a 'Liquid Rainbow'

The South American country of Colombia thrives off of tourists that love to visit the coffee plantations, rainforests and the rich culture it has to offer. But one place where natural beauty truly shines in this country and is loved by locals and tourists alike, is in a river found in the National Park of Serrania de la Macarena, east of the Andes. This river is often referred to as a “Liquid Rainbow” or the “River of Five Colours”.


During the dry season from January to May and during the wet season from December to January, Caño Cristales River looks like any other river. But right in between the seasons from June to November the 60-mile long river transforms into something spectacular.


During this time, the water levels and amount of sunlight streaming down are perfect for the indigenous freshwater plant macarenia clavigera to thrive. While hidden during the off seasons, during the summer months these red plants cling to the bottom of the river and complement the green algae, clear blue water, black rocks and yellow sand making the river into a ‘liquid rainbow’. It truly is an unforgettable sight. The various waterfalls and pools along the river look magical.


In 2009 this area reopened to the public as it was previously closed due to terrorist activity and the threat of humans damaging the natural environment. People would walk over plants, leave liter after picnics, swim wherever they pleased and have little respect for environment.

Now once you fly from Bogota or Villavicencio to La Macarena, you will then have to book with a tour company to take you by boat to Serrania de la Macarena and guide you to the river. In order to have more control over the human impact, the group's can’t be larger than 7 and only 200 people are allowed to the area per day. Also wearing sunscreen or insect repellent is banned. Unfortunately groups can’t cook or stay overnight in the area, but the day trip will be extremely memorable.

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