Discover the astonishingly bright colors of the liquid rainbow river, called Caño Cristales, on this 3-day trip. Stay in La Macarena and get to know the local culture.
Embark on a wonderful and colorful adventure to the liquid rainbow river: Caño Cristales. From June to November, the plants in this crystal-clear river make the water run with five colors: black, red, yellow, blue, and green, giving the river its name of “liquid rainbow”. Enjoy three days of beautiful scenery and relax, as we take care of all the logistics. On this trip, you will stay in the lovely village of La Macarena in the southern region of Colombia. You will get to try a traditional Colombian beef meal called “Ternera a la Llanera” and dance to the fast-paced and melodic local “joropo” music.
Duration: 3 days
Start and end location: Bogota
Availability: June-November recommended
Day 1 – Fly to La Macarena and Hike to the Colorful Natural Pools of Caño Cristalitos
Get up at first light, have breakfast and meet our driver at the hotel entrance to take you to the airport by 9:00 am. You will fly for about an hour to La Macarena, a village located in southern region of Colombia. It was once unthinkable to visit this village, due to internal conflict, but it has now become an important travelers’ hub. La Macarena is a good example of a community that has managed to work together to preserve and benefit from the natural treasure they have just a few miles away: the liquid rainbow river of Caño Cristales.
After being picked up at the airport by your local guide, you will be taken to a mandatory 30-minute brief given by Cormacarena, the location’s tourism bureau. After that, you will walk for 10 minutes through the village to La Cascada Hotel: a clean and basic hotel with friendly staff and comfortable rooms.
Put your hiking shoes on because the action starts from now on! After you settle in, you will have lunch, your local guide will pick you up, and you will board a boat that will take you up the Guayabero River for 25 minutes. After that, you will walk for about an hour to reach Caño Cristalitos, an amazing natural spa of small ponds filled with the characteristic algae that give this river its liquid rainbow look.
For those in better physical shape, the visit will continue on to El Mirador, a point where you will enjoy an amazing view of the wild savanna bordered by the Macarena Mountain Range (1.5-hour hike up to the top of a mountain). In the afternoon, you will go back to the hotel and have dinner at La Macarena.
Day 2 – Hike to and Swim in the Gorgeous Caño Cristales River
Today you will visit the main sector of Caño Cristales River. After having breakfast at the hotel, your guide will pick you up and take you on an hour-long ride by boat and jeep to the starting point of your hike to Caño Cristales. This hike is flexible in terms of difficulty level and can be from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
Once you reach the river, you will visit many different spots. You will have the chance to swim and relax at the Willy Wonka-like ponds and enjoy your box lunch at the site. In the afternoon, you will have time to rest at the hotel before the dinner event. For dinner, you will enjoy a “ternera a la llanera,” a typical beef dish of the Colombian flatlands, while listening to a live “joropo” band playing characteristic music of that part of Colombia.
Day 3 – Admire a Stunning Canyon Hiking to Los Pilones or Take a Refreshing Dip at Caño Pedra
On your last day at La Macarena, you will visit Los Pilones on a scenic hike through a stone canyon with lush green vegetation. This is a true delight for nature lovers. Alternatively, you will visit Caño Pedra, another good spot for taking a dip in the crystal-clear river water in the in the middle of the vast savanna (this option doesn’t involve hiking).
At the end of the Los Pilones hike, you will visit a new section of the river and be back at La Macarena for lunchtime. In the afternoon, you will go back to Bogotá. Upon arrival, a driver will pick you from the airport and take you to your Bogotá hotel.
After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.