The Caño Cristales river is one of Colombia’s most spectacular natural wonders. Running for 100 km through the Serranía de la Macarena National Park in Colombia, this incredible five-coloured river has its source to the south of the park and flows eastward to become a tributary of the Guayabero river. The colours of the rivers come from the Macarenia clavigera river weed that grows underneath the fast-flowing river water.
Caño Cristales is often called “the river of five colours” or the “liquid rainbow”, and according to local legend, it escaped paradise to flow through the Earth. While the river’s kaleidoscopic colours may seem like the work of supernatural forces or Colombian magic realism, it’s actually the result of a unique biological phenomenon that generally takes place from June to November.
Macarenia Clavigera is an aquatic plant – Not an algae! – that grows in the bed river of Caño Cristales during the raining season – From June to November.
The colour of this plant change according to its sun exposure. It goes from Green to Brown – When it’s burned. Hence, the 5 colours of Rio Cristal are: Green, Pink, Red, Purple, Brown.