There are only few places in the world, of which you only need to see a single picture to be captivated enough to instantly start planning a whole trip based on just a photo.
For me, El Nido in the Philippines, the Jellyfish lake in Palau and Caño Cristales in Colombia are such places. The latter is not only one of the most beautiful destinations in Colombia, but also one of the most impressive and coolest places on earth.
Located in the “Serrania de la Macarena”, a mountain range in the southern central part of Colombia and probably the most biodiverse area on the planet, Caño Cristales is not easy to get to, but it can make your travel in Colombia unique and special.
The first and easiest option is to fly directly to the Serrania de la Macarena from Bogota with Satena, a small local airline operating in Colombia, selling tickets to La Macarena for around 150-200 USD. Since Satena´s website has no english page and payment options require you to call a hotline, you probably need to have a Colombian friend or be in Colombia yourself already – and test your spanish knowledge.
There are also many tour operators all over the country offering different packages and options for travelers. These options can vary from 500-600 USD including flight tickets for a 3-5 day trip. Another option is traveling to Villavicencio by plane or bus and take a small plane to La Macarena. However, this option takes a lot of time and the money you save won´t be worth the effort.
A trip to Caño Cristales and the Serrania de la Macarena won´t be cheap, so expect to pay around 50 to 100 USD per day as a single traveler. However, you will realize experiencing the probably most biodiverse spot on earth will be worth every penny!
The Macarenia clavígera glows the most in the months inbetween the dry and rainy seasons. Plan your visit between the months of July and October for a better experience. During these months expect to see the river with different tones of red, yellow, green and pink!
Useful information about Caño Cristales