Want to know more about the most colorful river in the world? Look no further than Cano Cristales, the most colorful river in Colombia. Located in the remote Serrania de la Macarena National Park, Cano Cristales is a stunning river known for the wide array of natural colors in the water. Travelers can marvel at the shades of green, yellow, blue, red, and black as they go for a swim in the “liquid rainbow.” It’s not well known by travelers yet, making it the perfect off the beaten path adventure!

river of five colors

During the prime visiting season of July through December, you can explore the unique flora and fauna of Caño Cristales which has become an exciting ecotourism highlight of the country. As you journey along the river and trek the trails throughout the park you can spot howler monkeys, unique bird species, vibrant plants, and even eat some banana leaves!

When visiting this colorful river in Colombia, be sure to bring a swimsuit and take a dip in the crystal waters! The abundance of hidden waterfalls and pools along the river make the area even more fun to dive in and explore. Visitors travel from all over the world to spend days exploring the endless rapids and waterfalls.

Where is Caño Cristales?

The colorful river in Colombia is located in the Serrania de la Macarena National Park. Situated in the central region of Colombia, the national park is quite remote and surrounded by very few towns. The colorful river in Colombia is generally a less crowded travel spot, making it ideal for a serene walk through the trails or an intimate swim under the falls.

The closest town, La Macarena, is a traditional Colombian town with an abundance of charm and culture. After nights full of local music, dance, and food your stay in La Macarena will be one you will not forget! While visiting Caño Cristales you will have the opportunity to explore the town and get a taste of Colombian culture that is highlighted in tours such as our 3 day Cano Cristales tour.

How To Get to Caño Cristales

In order to preserve the park’s natural beauty, visits to Caño Cristales are strictly regulated and require that an expert guide be present. There are options for both private tours and larger group tours available for booking ahead of time, such as our 2 day Cano Cristales package. Because the park regulations are so strict and require that a guide be present at all times, it is extremely important to book ahead of time.

To get from La Macarena to Caño Cristales, you will take an incredibly scenic boat ride through the national park. After which, most will take a small trek among the rock formations and rich biodiversity to the area they choose to explore that day. The park is filled with beautiful, serene trails that are dotted with hidden waterfalls and whirlpools just waiting to be explored! Continue reading for specifics on your travel options.

colorful river in Colombia

From Bogota to La Macarena: La Macarena can be reached by plane from Bogota every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Additionally, there are opportunities to charter flights on other days throughout the week. There is also a route that accesses La Macarena from Bogota via car that takes about 24 hours to travel. Book a Cano Cristales Tour from Bogota >

From Medellin to La Macarena: Additionally, there are planes departing from Medellin and Cali every Friday. If you are looking to depart any other day of the week you can also charter a flight, though this can be quite pricey.

Alternative Route to La Macarena: If you are on a tight budget, you can take a three hour bus from Bogota to Villavicencio, where you can then take a taxi to the airport and fly to La Macarena. Flights depart from Villavicencio everyday.


River of Five Colors Facts