A unique biological wonder, Ca?o Cristales has been referred as the "river of five colours," "the river that ran away from paradise," and "the most beautiful river in the world." For most of the year, Ca?o Cristales is indistinguishable from any other river - a bed of rocks covered in dull green mosses which are visible below a cool, clear current. However, for a brief period of time every year, the river blossoms in a vibrant explosion of colours. During the short span between the wet and dry seasons, when the water level is just right, a unique species of plant that lines the river floor called Macarenia clavigera turns a brilliant red. It is offset by splotches of yellow and green sand, blue water, and a thousand shades in between.
The ecotourist who wishes to make the excursion out to see this natural phenomenon will do well to check out the advice on Paisatours.com. There's a few simple, small hotels in La Macarena, where you'll need to spend a night before travelling onwards to Ca?o Cristales. From La Macarena, it's a 10 minute boat ride plus a scenic 4 hour walk (or 2 hours by horse, if there are any around), to the actual river. The green traveller should plan to spend 2 or 3 nights in the area.
It is almost essential that you find yourself a tour, and De Una Colombia Tours just that. You can choose between a 3 and 4 day excursion package or you can go for custom made. As they explain on the website Ca?o Cristales is an eco location, and because of this it is imperative that you listen to the local guide - things like sun tan lotion and mosquito repellent are forbidden in the area so as not to affect the beautiful plant life, so make sure you wear all the right clothes and heed of all advice that you can come across before you go.