In our March Globetrotting Issue, we present some of the most unique places in the planet that you, intrepid globetrotter, need to visit. Sit back and fantasise, as we bring you more than 20 sites that will rock your world. Next up: Caño Cristales in Colombia:
Caño Cristales, Serrania de la Macarena National Park, Colombia
2° 8’ 56” N, 73° 56’ 39” W
For most of the year, Caño Cristales is like any other river in Colombia: a bed of rocks covered in dull green mosses. But for a few weeks from July to October, the river transforms into a living rainbow. During that short time between the wet and dry seasons, when the water level is just right, a unique species of algae called macarenia clavigera that lines the river floor turns a vibrant red, along with brilliant explosions of yellow, orange, blue and green. Locals call it “The River of Five Colours” and “The River That Ran Away From Paradise”. That’s a lot better than what we call some rivers in Malaysia: “The Giant Monsoon Drain”.
How to Get There:
Caño Cristales is in a remote, isolated area not easily accessible by road. And to be honest, the river was closed for years because of guerrilla activity and drug trafficking in the region. But it was reopened in 2009 and there’s a large military presence there—so technically you should be safe—and several tourist agencies will now fly you from Bogota to La Macarena for about RM450 return. From there it’s a short trip to Serrania de la Macarena National Park, and then you’ll have to make your way to the river site on horseback, donkeyback or on foot. Takes a few hours and tour prices start at about RM75.
Words by Lennard Gui and Sara Cowling.