Table of contents:
Caño Cristales, flowing in distant Colombia, has rightfully earned the title of the most beautiful and fantastic river in the world. And it is also called “The River of the Gods”, “The Rainbow That Melted”, “The River of Five Colors”. Why? Because it literally shimmers with all the colors of the rainbow, as if someone had poured tons of different colors here and didn't mix them. Getting here is not easy, but worth it. No wonder Caño Cristales was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Iridescent colors give algaeThe beauty of this place is due to the aquatic plants that live at the bottom of the river. When illuminated by the rays of the sun, they create a beautiful visual effect in the form of a combination of almost all primary colors - green, intense red, yellow, blue and pink. The result is a real rainbow river!
The colorful algae and stones at the bottom of the river are perfectly visible: the water is so transparent and clean that they say it can even be drunk. And the absence of salts and minerals in it contributes to the fact that there are almost no silt deposits at the bottom.
Caño Cristales is a long river (it stretches for more than 100 kilometers), but not wide and not abundant. Its width is no more than 20 meters. It is a right tributary of the Losada River, which, in turn, is a tributary of an even larger river - Guayabero. Well, Guayabero already flows into the Orinoco. Here's a chain. So Caño Cristales would have remained an ordinary average rivulet, if not for its unique color.
Across the rocky bottom of Caño Cristale, there are aquatic plants “responsible” for creating vibrant colors. The red is especially intense, which produces an endemic plant called Macarenia clavigera. A lot of small fish can be seen in the water. These areas are also home to 420 bird species, 10 amphibian species, 43 reptile species and 8 primate species.
The ideal season to travel to Caño Cristales is just a few months of the year, from early June to late November. At this time, the river is filled with rains and just there is an abundant algae bloom.
Interestingly, Caño Cristales is a so-called hidden natural treasure. Until the 1980s and 90s, almost no one, except local residents, knew much about him (in particular, because it was unsafe in these places). It began to gain popularity among tourists at the turn of the XX-XXI centuries. And, I must say, even now Caño Cristales remains an exotic and somewhat mystical place not only for foreign guests, but also for the Colombians themselves.
How to get hereThis piece of paradise in Colombia is located north of the municipality of La Macarena, in the province of Meta. Most travelers prefer to stay in La Macarena, and from there go to Caño Cristales. To get to the miracle river, you first need to cross Guayabero by boat, which takes 20 minutes, then another 25 minutes by SUV and the remaining part of the way to go on foot - about an hour. So such a trip is suitable only for healthy and hardy people.
This magical route should be guided by an experienced guide who already knows the area.By the way, at the same time, you can order a boat trip on the Guayabero River (locals provide tourists with such a service), during which, if you're lucky, you will have a chance to see the wild inhabitants of this region - birds, turtles, and so on.
Once you get to Caño Cristales itself, you can not only admire its incredible color shades and take unique photographs that your friends will later take for photoshop. You can also swim in the clear river water, and these impressions are simply unforgettable.
By the way, the guides who take tourists to these places very much ask “bathers” not to use sunblock, sunscreen or repellents beforehand. The fact is that the water here is so pure that even a small amount of chemicals can have a negative impact on the ecosystem of the unique river. “Please just wear a hat and long-sleeved shirt to avoid sunburn,” locals ask.
Interesting fact about Caño Cristales and the surrounding area: Many years ago, the La Macarena area was a traditional coca bush cultivation site for the surrounding population, and the local authorities had to work hard to eradicate this long-standing practice and make this paradise an ideal tourist destination.
To live surrounded by bright colors seems to be an international aspiration. And in order to surround yourself with all the colors of the rainbow, you can not only travel the world in search of unique natural beauties. Sometimes it's enough just to be born in a rainbow city. We suggest reading about The most colorful cities in the world: from Chukotka to Bolivia.