Caño Cristales or also known as Rainbow river, in the Colombian National Park of La Macarena has been called the most beautiful river in the world and is a wonderful escape.
Between July to October, water vegetation and corals, as well as the red plants, grow on the rocks all through the riverbed, creating a rainbow of shades right under the water surface.
Caño Cristales is an absolutely incredible place of magical realism. You may never see a more beautiful river in your life, and the experience of visiting it will be something you will never forget.
So how to get there?
- Even getting to this river is a difficult adventure in itself.
- You cannot visit the river itself without being accompanied by a licensed tour guide.
The guides can be found in the town, but you will need to ask for a permit to visit the park from the National Parks Office in advance. Only limited numbers of visits per day are allowed and they are mostly given to agencies.
- First, you will need to fly to La Macarena town and then take a taxi to the Serrania de la Macarena National Park.
- From there, you can walk or even ride a horse to the Caño Cristales.
The local airline company, La Satena, offers direct flights from Bogota and back three times per week (each Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday).
Another option is to book a tour
A standard tour includes three days and two nights in La Macarena.
Two-day hike, a short canoe trip, a Jeep ride, and a short hike of less than an hour.
The average price will be around 1 million pesos, or about $500.
The cheaper but also adventuresome travel option is to go to the Rainbow river by bus.
- From the bus terminal in Bogota, take a bus to Villavicencio. The expected time of travel is 2.5h.
- Once you are at the bus terminal in Villavicencio you have the option to take a taxi or bus to the downtown, and from there take the bus to Vanguardia Airport. There are flights to Macarena every day at 10 am. The takes 1 hour to reach Macarena town.