[well]Cano Cristales Quick Facts

  • Touted as at the most beautiful river in the world
  • Features various colors and is nicknamed the Rainbow River
  • Key feature for Toubkal National Park


Cano Cristales

Cano Cristales is a river within the country of Colombia that is often referred to as either the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow” seeing that as you look at this natural tableland, it seems to exude a variety of vibrant colors. Depending on the season and time of year, the colors change due to the type of rock that makes up the entire bed.

The end of July through the November will bring about the river colors of yellow, green, black, blue and predominately red on the bottom of the river. The reason in which the red is so prevalent is because there is a vast amount of Macarenia clavigera, a jelly-like river weed. It has been said that the quartzite rocks that make of the river were formed nearly 1.2 billion years ago and belong to the oldest exposed rocks found throughout the entire world.

The river itself is very fast flowing and contains several rapids and waterfalls throughout. There are also several “giant’s kettles”, small circular pits on the bed of the river that were formed by pebbles or chunks of harder rocks. These create a sort of cavity where the wtare current rotates and begins to carve the cavity wall increasing the overall dimensions of the pit.

Seeing as this natural wonder is located on the border of three large ecosystems including the Andes, the Eastern Llanos and the Amazon rainforest, the flora and fauna that make up Cano Cristales and its surroundings are extremely diverse.

Although diverse, it is often a struggle for plants and animals to thrive due to the poor nutrients found within the solid rock surface of the tableland. However, Cano Cristales is still home to an average of 420 different species of birds, 43 reptiles, 10 species of amphibians and 8 types of primates.

The waters although very rich in aquatic plant life, lack completely that of a fish population. Because there is such an absence of both fish and nutrients, it makes for a very clean and particle free river.

Where is Cano Cristales located

Cano Cristales is located in the Serrania de la Macarena province of Meta in the country of Colombia.

The coordinates for Cano Cristales are 2°15’51″N and 73°47′40″W.

Best Ways to See and Experience Cano Cristales

In order to reach Cano Cristales, you will need to make your way to the municipality of La Macarena, Meta within the Meta Department choosing two different ways in which to arrive. The first option is to take a cargo aircraft from Villavicencio or head in by direct flight from Bogota.

Though the journey may sound difficult, once you finally do arrive there, you will be nothing short of glad that you decided to experience such a lively and beautiful natural wonder. Hiking on trails and around the river is one of the best ways to capture the various views and scenery of the colors of the river.

Find yourself surrounded by vibrant colors, fresh air and plenty of things to see and explore while there.

Best Times to Explore Cano Cristales

There are plenty of tours available throughout the year with the best time to visit being between mid-May to the beginning of December. Temperatures are fairly consistent with Colombia sitting so close to the equator.

Cano Cristales Travel Tips

More travel tips coming for Toubkal. If you are a travel expert familiar with Morocco or the Toubkal area, you are invited to contact Seven Natural Wonders with advice and tips.