Monday, February 01, 2010

The Magnificent River of Five Colors; Cano Cristales

The river shown
in the photographs is the Caño Cristales, which is
located near the town of La Macarena in Columbia, South America. The
river, world famous for its colourful display, has been called "the
river that ran away to paradise", "the most beautiful river in the
world" and "the river of five colours".
Colombia's wet season, the water flows fast and deep, obscuring
the bottom of the river and denying the mosses and algae that call the
river home the sun that they need. And during the dry season there is
not enough water to support the dazzling array of life in the river.
But during a brief span between the wet and dry seasons, when the water
level is just right, the many varieties of algae and moss bloom in a
dazzling display of colors. Blotches of amarillo, blue, green, black,
and red - and a thousand shades in between - coat the river.
The part of the
river where the colourful blooms occur is quite
isolated and is not accessible by road. Adventurous tourists can now
fly into La Macarena and then make their way to to the river site on
foot as part of guided tours. The site was effectively closed to
tourists for several years because of guerrilla activity in the region
along with concerns about the impact of unregulated tourist traffic.
However, the site was reopened to visitors in 2009.
So far, some
1,000 people have visited Caño Cristales, including around
100 foreign tourists.

The tours will
follow four clearly marked and authorized paths and one
is no longer permitted to stay overnight or cook, as this was ruining
the area previously.

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