Home to the river called Caño Cristales, the long-lost 629,280-hectare Parque Nacional Natural Sierra de La Macarena ★★★ is going to be on everyone’s radar in a few years once Instagram sets in. This is the reason anyone comes to this isolated area; there’s nothing else around. Caño Cristales is often called the “River of Five Colors” because from around July through November (the wet season), the river bed turns shades of yellow, green, blue, black, and red because of an aquatic plant named macarenia clavigera, which blooms during that period.
From La Macarena, you’ll ride horseback or take a boat along the wildlife-rich Río Guayabero—keep an eye out for turtles, iguanas, and birds of prey—before reaching the crystal-clear river system, where you can explore the many swimmable natural pools and waterfalls. It takes about two days to explore all three branches of the river.
All visitors must enter the park with a licensed guide, which can be set up on the ground in La Macarena or through tour operators in Bogotá. Rates are about COP$754,000 per person for a 3-day/2-night package (without flights). Some recommended agencies include Caño Cristales (www.cano-cristales.com; tel. 321/842-2728), Aventure Colombia (www.aventurecolombia.com; tel. 1/702-7069), and Ecotourism Macarena (www.ecoturismomacarena.com; tel. 8/665-3870).
Note: Parque Nacional Natural Sierra de La Macarena is closed to visitors from January to the end of May.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.