The Incredible Sight Nicknamed “The Liquid Rainbow”

Eco Adventure

Tucked away inside Colombia’s Serranía de la Macarena National Park is a river called Caño Cristales, or “the river of five colors”. Although the river is nothing out of the ordinary for half of the year, the months of June to November are a different story. During these months the river bed transforms into various bright colors including yellow, red, blue, and green due to runoff from the reproductive process from the river’s aquatic flora. The results of this are stunning.

The region in Colombia is also unique in that it is a point of convergence of the Andes, Amazon, and Orinoco regions, each of which holding their own distinct biological properties. The combination of the characteristics of these regions make the National Park prone to unique phenomena such as Caño Cristales, but as a result is prone to negative consequences as well

Caño Cristales is the only known place in the world where this process occurs, and as a result has become a prime tourist destination for Colombia, attracting thousands each year. Many are concerned that the recent spike in tourism could eventually destroy the river’s colors, but so far everything has gone well amidst the surge, with designated areas being completely protected from swimming.

The area was also a factor in Colombia’s civil war, and as a result is under threat by deforestation. Colombia faces a pressing problem with deforestation, with countless square miles falling every day. The Macarena region home to the Caño Cristales is certainly no exception. Despite the concerns about preservation, many in the tourism industry see the exposure as a chance to educate people about the incredible phenomenon and lead to further preservation by gaining a better understanding of the beauty of the region and the threats that it faces.