The river Caño Crystals It is a true river rainbow. It is located in the middle of the eastern Plains of Colombia, surrounded by an exuberant and extremely diverse flora and fauna (it is estimated that the ornithological biodiversity is the largest in the world), and is born south of the Sierra de la Macarena until it disappears in the Guayabero river.
This river is also known as "The river that escaped from Paradise", because more than water, the river seems to drag syrup. Syrup of different flavors. Specifically, five flavors and five colors. Yellow, blue, green, black and red.
The secret of its colors
These varied colors are produced by the presence of algae, an aquatic plant called the macarena pegbox. Caño Cristales, then, could cross the region it describes perfectly Charles Kingsley in his 1863 novel The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby: "Candy Territory". One of the three regions surrounding the Aguachirle Sea, whose soil is made of sticky tofe. But the Caño Cristales river of flavors exists outside the books, fortunately.
Caño Cristales is abundant, has waterfalls, and the presence of rocks in the bed causes some rapids. So imagine the sensation that must be offered to observe how a river that looks like blood or pitch accelerates vertiginously through a magical landscape surrounded by pictograms and petroglyphs belonging to the ancestral cultures of the region. As if a rainbow had been liquefied.
Since 1948, Colombia protects this place through a law of the republic so that people can still bathe in the five colors of the river. The most appropriate way to approach this lost world is by land, from a trip that departs from Villavicencio, which lasts eight hours and which is advisable to do in a group and well equipped.
Another alternative is to observe the place from the heights, in a single-engine public service plane, which takes off from Villavicencio airport and that fly over the 100 kilometer long river in an hour, to contemplate how one or another color is dyed according to the section or also according to the time of the year, because according to the level of water that there will be more or less sunlight to the algae.
Finally, the plane lands at the base of Sierra de la Macarena, where you can take a walk and get a little wet in the river before returning. But remember that the season for tourism lasts from June to November, and the rest of the year the area remains closed to visitors. And that it is highly recommended to get vaccinated against yellow fever and tetanus.
But it is worth it: the Serranía de la Macarena is considered by scientists as "the seed of biodiversity." It exists since before the formation of the Andes Mountains and it is believed that from here the species began to be distributed throughout this territory.