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Caño Cristales – The River of 5 Colours

Cano Cristales is a biological wonder also known as “River of Five Colours”. This awe-inspiring stream of flowing water is located in Serrania de la Macerena province in Colombia and has been described as one of the most beautiful rivers in the world.

Why Cano Cristales (“Rainbow River”) is so colourful?  

The river is surrounded by three rich ecosystems: Andes, Eastern Llanos, and the Amazon rainforest. Each ecosystem has a unique flora and fauna which gives Cano Cristales a wide diversity.

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A massive range of colours is caused by the Macarenia Clavigera plants, they can range from: pale pink to bright red, green (usually in the shadow), blue and even yellow.

When should you visit Cano Cristales?

You need to visit the river between wet and dry seasons which is from July to November. This is the most optimal time window, keep in my mind though the weather is not always consistent. During wet seasons heavy rains cause the river to move too fast, the lack of sun also doesn’t allow Macarenia Clavigera plants to develop its’ colourful palette. And in dry seasons the vibrant life in the river simply survive.

Tip: always check the weather forecast before visiting.

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How to get to the river?

From Bogota get to Villavicencio, you can take a bus or a plane. If you are taking a bus the journey would take you approximately 3 hours and 15 mins. 

Can I swim in the river?

You can swim in the river but there is a cap of 200 people per day, so make sure to book an early tour. Your tour guide will be able to show you designated spots.