Cano Cristales – The River of Five Colors in Colombia

Cano Cristales is a beautifully exotic Colombian river located in the Serrania de la Macarena, province of Meta. The river is commonly called “The River of Five Colors” because the river is home to a unique natural phenomenon. For a brief period of time every year, the river blossoms in a vibrant explosion of colors. Rio Cano Cristales has been bestowed with many titles such as “The Liquid Rainbow”, “The River that Ran Away from Paradise,” and even “The Most Beautiful River in the World” due to the striking colors at the bottom of the river giving it a unique appearance.

The unbelievable natural phenomenon can be observed during for a special period of a few weeks from July through to December when the water level is just right. During the short span between the wet and dry seasons, a unique species of plant that lines the river floor called Macarenia clavigera turns a brilliant red. It is offset by splotches of yellow and green sand, blue water, and a thousand shades in between.

The river is approximately 100 kilometers long and no more than 20 meters wide. It runs to the east, flowing into the Guayabero river. For most of the year, Cano Cristales is indistinguishable from any other river: a bed of rocks covered in dull green mosses are visible below a cool, clear current. However, the river is still beautiful as it is surrounded by fantastic rock formations that are so steep they are said to hide away the view of numerous waterfalls and natural swimming holes.

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