The river of five colors: Caño Cristales

COL-53 / 3-day Trip

Nature & Culture of Colombia 1
OVERVIEW

Caño Cristales,  the “River of Five Colors” is referred to as the most beautiful river in the world due to its striking colors. From the end of July through November, the riverbed is variously colored yellow, green, blue, black, and especially red, the last due to the predomerance of Macarenia clavigera (Podostemaceae) on the bottom of the river.

This trip is a very comfortable way of enjoying this amazing natural wonder. Short hikes on easy paths in a beautiful and varied setting are puncuated by great photo opportunities of the colorful river and swims in natural ponds of crystalline water. After full-on nature experiences during the day, the evenings/night offer the comfort of staying in the charming and picturesque village Macarena – painted in all the colors of the river. Here you will get to meet with the locals, experience an authentic “llanera” concert and perhaps dance the local “Jorobo” with the locals.

If you choose a trip to Caño Cristales, you should be aware that you are supporting a strong local society that truly believes in sustainable tourism. It has managed to turn ecotourism into the main income for more than 300 local families, after many years of war and hardships with the guerillas presence. The area is nowadays totally safe and very well protected by the authorities.

IMPORTANT: There are no flight guarantees from Bogotá on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. We will check availability upon request. The flights to Macarena have a weight restriction of 10 KG check-in luggage and 5 KG hand-luggage per PAX. We recommend to store extra luggage at the hotel.

Due to the strict control of the park authorities, the visits mentioned below are only guidelines. The exact visits and the order will be determined upon arrival to Macarena.

Since May 2016 it is mandatory to have the yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter the park, please make sure to bring it along.


Day 1 Arrival to La Macarena
Day 2 Caño Cristales
Day 3 Departure
ITINERARY
Day 1

Arrival to La Macarena
Early morning transfer to meeting point in the airport in Bogotá (normally it’s a 5 AM). Transfer to the charter flight and fly to La Macarena town (sometimes with stops in Villavicencio). Briefing and hotel check in. Upon arrival to Macarena there will be an information meeting by the park authorities in order to get familiarized with the fragile and special ecosystem of Caño Cristales. Afternoon visit to either Cristalinos, El Mirador or Caño Piedra (depending on the schedule from the National Park). There you will have atypical box-lunch provided by the local staff. Return to the town of La Macarena at about 3:30 PM.
Included meals: Box-lunch, Dinner

Day 2

Caño Cristales
Today you will have a full day visit to different spots along the Caño Cristales. The tour starts with a short 20 minute boat ride on the Guayabero River, where we will have our first contact with the local nature. If lucky, we will spot caimans, iguanas, river turtles and parrots along the riverside. After that we will take a 4-wheel drive transport for another 20 minutes that will take us to a place called Manantial de Cajuche. From this point we will start our hike into the natural park.

The hike should last about 4 hours, but everything depends on the group’s rhythm and how long time it is used during the breaks for swimming. As this is a new place for tourism, it is important to prepare the clients for a quite relaxing and flexible time schedule! During this day and according to the assignment of the Park authorities, we will visit 3-5 of the places listed below during the hike. Some of the other places not visited this day, might be visited one of the other days.

  • La piscina del turista (The tourist swimming pool), excellent place for taking a dip in to the lovely waters of La Macarena.
  • La Silla de Tinigua (Tinigua’s Chair)
  • Tres Espejos (Three Mirrors)
  • Pozo Cuadrado (Square pool)
  • Las Escaleras (The Ladder)
  • Karol Cristal swimming pool
  • Caño Escondido
  • Cascada de la Virgen (The Virgins fall)
  • Cascada de Piedra Negra (Black stones fall)
  • Los Ochos. (The eight)
  • Acuaducto Romano (Roman Aqueduct)
  • El tapete Rojo (the red rug)

After the activities, we will return to Macarena village. Here there will be a folkloric show in order to enjoy and learn more about the local traditions of the area. Also there will be a local cuisine tasting and dance with music for a relaxing evening.

Included meals: breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Day 3

Departure
In the morning there will be a visit to either Cristalinos, El Mirador or Caño Piedra (depends on the schedule from the national Park), for a opportunity to enjoy the amazing settings and natural wonders. Return to Macarena for a last lunch, before we head back to Bogotá. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel in Bogotá.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch


IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
There are no flights guaranteed on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from Bogotá. We will check availability upon request. The flights to Macarena have a weight restriction of 10 KG check-in luggage and 5 KG hand-luggage per PAX. We recommend to store extra luggage at the hotel.

Due to the strict control of the park authorities, the visits mentioned below are only guidelines. The exact visits and the order will be determined upon arrival to Macarena.

Since May 2016 it is mandatory to have the yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter the park, please make sure to bring it along.

PRICING
COL-53 – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.


INCLUDED

  • Domestic flight:  Bogotá/Villavicencio – Macarena – Villavicencio/Bogotá
  • Tour in shared international group of max 10 pax
  • Spanish speaking Guide (will meet you in Macarena)
  • All transfers during the trip in La Macarena
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in hotel in La Macarena
  • Included meals specified in the day to day itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

  • International flights
  • Airport transfers to/from the airport in Bogotá or Villavicencio
  • Taxes to be paid locally in COP: 9 USD (entrance to Macarena), 19 USD (entrance fee to National Park of Sierra de Macarena), 3 USD (other taxes)
  • Optional: Private English speaking Guide. Price: 600 USD
  • Meals not mentioned in the program
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Personal expenses
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list
HOTEL

LA MACARENA: Hotel Punto Verde or similar

MAP
GALLERY
Tags: Colombia, Nature & Culture, River, Macarena