Hike to Caño Cristales (Rive of Five Colors)

Waterfalls at Caño Cristales
A few hours south of Bogotá lies the Serranía de la Macarena mountain range, which is also home to a national park founded in 1971. It's an area of great bio-diversity, as it's a convergence point for three different regions of Colombia: the Amazon, Andes, and the Orinoco River lands. This results in a tropical climate and various eco-systems, including dry forest, rainforest, and savanna. It's also home to the "River of Five Colors," a 100-km (62-mile) section of the Caño Cristales River, known for its abundance of red algae that turns the running river water into a kaleidoscope of colors.

Excursions to view this unique phenomenon run from the village of La Macarena. Transportation is by motorboat on the Guayabero River, which feeds Caño Cristales, followed by an overland hike on a designated trail to the destination. Know that this natural occurrence is at its best during the months of July through October, and it's mandatory to visit with a licensed guide. The benefit to this is that on the trail to Caño Cristales guides point out all the exotic flora and fauna in the area, like howler monkeys, macaws, and freshwater turtles.

Tours that Include Hike to Caño Cristales (Rive of Five Colors)

Cartagena's walled city
Map of Bogotá, Caño Cristales & Cartagena - 9 Days
Bogotá, Caño Cristales & Cartagena - 9 Days

Sandwiched between Colombia’s mountainous capital and its romantic inner-walled city on the northern coast, this scenic 9-day journey highlights one of South America's most beloved ecological gems: Caño Cristales. After completing this two-day river adventure, you’ll fly back to Bogotá to visit the salt mines before heading north to Cartagena. Here, you'll have two days to explore the sites, culminating with a speedboat ride to the Rosario Islands.

Bogotá, Caño Cristales, & Highlands Tour - 8 Days
Map of Bogotá, Caño Cristales, & Highlands Tour - 8 Days
Bogotá, Caño Cristales, & Highlands Tour - 8 Days

This itinerary highlights one of Colombia's beloved ecological gems: the Caño Cristales. During certain months, the Guayabero River turns shades of rainbow colors in a vibrant natural display. Enjoy swimming holes and waterfalls before flying back to Bogotá, checking out a salt mine cathedral, and visiting Villa de Leyva, one of Colombia's most charming Spanish colonial villages.