The Most Colourful River In The World

The river shown in the photographs is the Caño Cristales, which is located near the town of La Macarena in Columbia, South America. The river, world famous for its colourful display, has been called "the river that ran away to paradise", "the most beautiful river in the world" and "the river of five colours".

During Colombia's wet season, the water flows fast and deep, obscuring the bottom of the river and denying the mosses and algae that call the river home the sun that they need. And during the dry season there is not enough water to support the dazzling array of life in the river. But during a brief span between the wet and dry seasons, when the water level is just right, the many varieties of algae and moss bloom in a dazzling display of colors. Blotches of amarillo, blue, green, black, and red - and a thousand shades in between - coat the river.

The part of the river where the colourful blooms occur is quite isolated and is not accessible by road. Adventurous tourists can now fly into La Macarena and then make their way to to the river site on foot as part of guided tours. The site was effectively closed to tourists for several years because of guerrilla activity in the region along with concerns about the impact of unregulated tourist traffic. However, the site was reopened to visitors in 2009.

So far, some 1,000 people have visited Caño Cristales, including around 100 foreign tourists.

The tours will follow four clearly marked and authorized paths and one is no longer permitted to stay overnight or cook, as this was ruining the area previously.

Just wanted to share some amazing information about the world around us. There are things we just can't imagine, vistas we will never see, people we will never meet, and things we will never know. But now you know about this!!

So what do you think?


  1. Mary Marvella // February 22, 2010 at 1:04 AM  

    Mary, loved the photos! Thanks.

  2. Judy // February 22, 2010 at 8:49 AM  

    Loved the photos, Mary! Thanks for sharing. It always amazes me to see how beautiful the world can be.

  3. Anonymous // February 22, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

    Amazing! I had never heard of this river. The photos are amazing, lovely and awe inspiring. What a lovely site to set a romance! Thanks for sharing.


  4. Mary Ricksen // February 22, 2010 at 12:59 PM  

    Sorry for the way the writing posted. Looked fine in the preview. Don't know how to fix it.
    I never saw a colored river before!

  5. Patrice // February 22, 2010 at 1:32 PM  

    Mary, Absolutely gorgeous. I agree with Judy's comment - what a beautiful world we live in. May God keep our planet safe.

  6. Pamela Varnado // February 22, 2010 at 2:24 PM  

    Why is this river not considered one of the wonders of the world. I can tell just by looking at the pictures how amazing it really is.

  7. Mona Risk // February 22, 2010 at 2:42 PM  

    What a gorgeous river. Thanks Mary.

  8. Margaret Tanner // February 22, 2010 at 4:51 PM  

    Wow Mary,

    I have never seen anything like that before. Absolutely stunning.

  9. Marianne Evans // February 22, 2010 at 4:52 PM  

    How beautiful, and intriguing! Love it! Great post. :-)

  10. Traci // February 22, 2010 at 5:10 PM  

    that is gorgeous - thanks for sharing, Mary!!

  11. Allison Chase // February 22, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

    I can hardly believe this is real! Wish I could see it in person but pictures are the next best thing. Thanks, Mary!

  12. Joanne // February 22, 2010 at 6:37 PM  

    So colorful, Mary. Thanks for an interesting post.

  13. Scarlet Pumpernickel // February 22, 2010 at 6:39 PM  

    These pictures a breathtaking. I would love to visit during that special season when the river is in bloom. What an amazing sight. Thanks so much for sharing these with us.

  14. Nightingale // February 22, 2010 at 8:22 PM  

    I want to go there. I love water. I'm inspired by the pictures though I'm suffering a bad case of writer's drought.

  15. Autumn Jordon // February 22, 2010 at 8:26 PM  

    Absolutely beautiful. Sometimes when I look at pictures like these, I think how lucky we are to have the techonology to share. SO pretty.

    Thanks, Mary.

  16. Scarlet Pumpernickel // February 22, 2010 at 10:38 PM  

    Now the question no one has thought to ask, Mary did you visit this amazing place? If not wherever did you find these lovely pictures? If you visited you should tell us more about it.

  17. P.L. Parker // February 22, 2010 at 10:47 PM  

    Absolutely beautiful.

  18. Hywela Lyn // February 23, 2010 at 4:13 AM  

    Absolutely beautiful, Mary, I've nevr even heard of his river before, although I used a similar natural penomena in snow for one of the planets I wrote about! This is stunning though, the colors are so vivid. Thank you so much for sharing.

  19. Annie Holloway // February 23, 2010 at 8:31 AM  

    Mary - those photos are so gorgeous! Are you a professional photog as well as a writer? What a beautiful montage. Thank you for sharing it!
    Ann Yost

  20. Caroline Clemmons // February 23, 2010 at 4:12 PM  

    Mary, those are gorgeous photos. I, too, wonder if you took them and if you've seen this sight firsthand? Does the bloom affect the fish? In North Central Texas, we occasionally have a golden algae bloom at Lake Possum Kingdom and part of the Brazos River. This bloom kills many types of fish, though. Hope the one in the photos doesn't do any damage--it's so pretty. Thanks for sharing.