Experience the enchantment of the famous colorful river in Colombia
Discover stunning waterfalls, secluded streams, and refreshing swimming holes on this immersive, 5-day tour of Caño Cristales with a local guide. Not yet well known by travelers, the colorful river in Colombia is located in the remote Serrania de la Macarena National Park. We’ll take care of all the details of your trip, so you can relax and enjoy this hidden natural paradise.
Travel to the small town of La Macarena, where a local guide will meet you and lead you along the many trails to different and unique sections of Caño Cristales. This five-day experience allows you enough time to fully immerse yourself in the local town of La Macarena, a charming Colombian town with a vibrant culture.
You’ll explore the many streams and paths in the natural park, which contains countless waterfalls, colorful waterways, swimming pools, and a host of flora and fauna only found in this region. Even after 5 days, you won’t want to leave this beautiful, exotic wonderland.
The best time to travel is between July and December, when the river runs a rainbow of hues in a display that can only be witnessed here. You’ll have ample time to tred along its shores and take a dip in the vivid waters. Your guide will point out the unique flora indigenous to the area, and you’ll spot some of the park’s howler monkeys and colorful birds.
Rounding out the trip in La Macarena with an immersive evening of Colombian music, dance, and food, you’ll return home with a deep understanding of regional culture and biology, with many photos and memories of Caño Cristales to cherish for years to come.
- The best time to go is from July to December.
- You must have a valid yellow fever vaccination and certificate of proof.
- Starting from Villavicencio – Departing every day
- Starting from Bogotá – Departing every Thursday
- Staring from Medellín – Departing every Monday
- Starting from Cali – Departing every Monday
- Visit the famous colorful river in Colombia, one of the world’s natural wonders.
- Discover hidden waterfalls, trek along scenic jungle pathways, and take a dip in natural swimming pools.
- Immerse yourself in the local culture of La Macarena through evenings of music, dance, and food.
- See the exotic birds, reptiles, amphibians, and primates that inhabit Serranía de la Macarena.
Day 1: Entry into the national park
- Take an early morning flight to La Macarena, where you’ll meet the local guide for an introductory session.
- Enjoy lunch in the charming city center of La Macarena.
- Explore the trails in the national park. Get your first taste of the natural beauty of the area, and learn about animals and plants that live in the unique region.
- Have dinner in La Macarena before getting some sleep to prepare for a trek to the colorful river the next day.
Day 2 : Experience the colorful river in Colombia & trek along its banks
- Eat a hardy breakfast of local products before you depart to the national park.
- Take a boat ride on the Guayabero River and enjoying the jungle landscape. Your guide will point out flora and fauna as you sail toward Caño Cristales.
- You’ll take a short trek through the forest to Caño Cristales, and you’ll get your first glimpse of the spectacle.
- Enjoy a light lunch on the river bank.
- Return to La Macarena for dinner. You can explore the quaint town before you head to the hotel to rest.
Day 3 : Explore other hidden gems near Caño Cristales
- Enjoy breakfast before departing in the morning for another boat ride on the Guayabero River.
- Take a different trek toward Caño Cristales. Discover hidden waterfalls and whirlpools. Go for a refreshing swim in the colorful river before a lunch of banana leaves.
- Return to the city center for dinner with the local guide.
Day 4 : Immerse yourself in the local culture
- Breakfast and boat transport into the stunning national park.
- Learn about the unique nature surrounding Caño Cristales. Spot howler monkeys, innumerable types of birds, and vibrant plants. Enjoy lunch as you rest on stunning and ancient rock formations.
- Night of integration: Enjoy a folkloric show, experience the gastronomy of the region, and listen to music as you learn to dance with locals in the community.
Day 5 : One more trek and depart La Macarena
- Depart very early after breakfast for a final trek in the national park. Take in the beautiful, serene trails and unique nature for the last time.
- Enjoy a final lunch in La Macarena before catching a late-afternoon flight back to your starting destination.
- Air transport from Villavicencio, Bogotá, Medellín or Cali (wherever you choose to begin)
- Land and river transport in the area (for the trips described)
- All permits, entrance fees, and taxes
- All meals excluding breakfast on day 1 & dinner on day
- 4 nights private accommodation in La Macarena
- Spanish-speaking tour guide
- Assistance insurance
- Tourism Tax contribution to the municipality of Macarena
What’s Not Included
- Beverages, water, and snacks
- Personal expenses (tip for guides, souvenirs)
What to Bring
- Clothes suitable for hot weather: shorts, lightweight long pants (no jeans), long sleeve shirt for sun protection, & light socks
- Bathing suit, swim goggles or swim mask
- Waterproof and anti-slip shoes: sandals, comfortable walking shoes, good hiking boots
- Water bottle
- Flashlight with batteries and spare batteries.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and hat
- Insect repellent
- ID and travel documents
- Personal first aid kit
Try not to schedule your trip over a holiday, as access to the national park will be limited.
Remember you will be in a place where clothing and footwear will be constantly wet, so it needs to be lightweight and fast to dry. If you plan to swim in Rainbow River, keep in mind that you won’t be allowed to use any body lotions, sunscreen, insect repellent, or soap. Protect your skin with long-sleeved, light clothing.
La Macarena is a small, traditional town with no luxury hotel infrastructure. All the hotels are comfortable but basic. They have a private bathroom, however, they do not have hot water.
Caño Cristales, La Macarena, Meta, Colombia