From the mountain called La Serrania de la Macarena in Colombia, originates the world’s most beautiful river, the Cano Cristales. For most of the year Cano Cristales is just like any other river. Normally we see a crystal clear current of water flowing above a bed of rocks covered with green mosses. For a brief period of time every year the river transforms into a bed of vibrant colors like red, blue , yellow , orange and green. This spectacular natural wonder is also called as the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow”.
Initially people thought that the colors came from the algae and the moss growing below the water. The real reason is Macarenia clavigera, a unique species of plant that grows on the river floor. This plant requires precise conditions the right level of water and specific amount of sunlight and it turns brilliant red. These brilliant red plants cling to the black rocks. The green algae, blue water and yellow sand together produce a rainbow effect. Macarenia clavigera most commonly turn red or into different shades of red from blood red to maroon. They are sometimes light pink sometimes bright pink. The plant is also seen in different colors like bright green, blue, yellow and orange as well giving the river a magnificent effect.
This happens for a brief period in between wet and dry seasons for a few weeks from September through November when the water level and sunlight is just right. During the wet season the water flows fast and is deep. Macarenia clavigera does not get sufficient sunlight then. In the dry season the water is not enough and it goes into a colorless hibernation. The river also has interesting rock formations, natural swimming pools and waterfalls. Tourist rush to witness the display of this natural work of art.
Experience shared by visitor on the web:
The time to visit the river is between June to November. In June, color is very soft, a clear rose and plant are growing, but with the time and growth, the color is more intense. In September and October, the red color is very intense and the contrasts are amazing. There are some waterfalls and pools (holes) where it is possible to swim. There water is warm always, and delicious.
Beautiful red bleeding to death in deep water resembles the torment of a heart.