Deep in the isolated mountain range of Serranía de la Macarena, Colombia is the river Caño Cristales. For nearly half the year, there is nothing remarkable at all about this particular river, but from July through November a phenomena occurs that would leave one to believe that Mother Nature has hand painted this pristine locale.
Because of the burst of colors that occurs during this time period, Caño Cristales has been long referred to as the most beautiful river in the world. “The River of Five Colors” and “The liquid rainbow”, as this water has also been called, features a grand display of the color spectrum: yellow, green, blue, black, and a remarkable red hue burst through the landscape that draws in visitors from across the world.
The most vibrant of these colors is the deep red, which is caused by the growth of the Macarenia clavigera, a plant that grows on the bottom of the riverbed. Depending on the time of day and amount of sunlight coming through, the Macarenia clavigera can appear anywhere from magenta, to bright red, to a deep purple. It is because of this red’s brilliance that the other colors of the river pop against nature’s backdrop.
The blue waters, black rocks, green sands, and yellow algae of the river combine with the Macarenia clavigera to produce a cornucopia of tones that rush the senses. The breathtaking beauty is elevated to yet another level by the pristine waterfalls of various sizes that turn up along the length of the waterway.
Over millennia, the waterfalls have eroded cavernous holes into the rock, and created deep pools into the riverbed. These deep, clear pools in the middle of the otherwise plant-life covered river are a remarkable place for swimming-inclined sightseers who want to take in the surrounding sights and sounds of the River of Five Colors in a more intimate way.
Another unique feature of this particular river is a complete lack of wildlife within the waters. Though there are some amphibian and reptile species in the area, the river itself is lacking any fish or mollusk populations, as the river’s solid rock surface and bed lack nutrients necessary for fauna to survive. Nature-wary visitors know that they will be unfettered by any unwanted creatures sharing the relaxing pool.