The Strange and Beautiful Caño Cristales...
A week's holiday in Colombia from £1495pp
Every year in Colombia between July and December, you can experience one of South America's most magical sights by heading to the crystal-clear rivers of Caño Cristales.
That's because for half the year, these rivers turn red, pink, green, yellow and blue in a fantastic show of colour which is unique to this part of Colombia. The colours are caused by aquatic plants which cling to the rocky beds of the rivers, and the reason the colours are so bright is that the water is extremely poor in nutrients, meaning no fish or other animals and no other plants to compete.
Because it's a little out of the way, Tours of Caño Cristales haven't quite made it onto most people's Colombia itineraries yet, but it's only a matter of time... so make sure you get there before everyone else does!
- Day One: Arrival in Bogota
- Day Two: Free Day in Bogota
- Day Three: Fly to La Macarena
- Day Four: Tour of Caño Cristales
- Day Five: Further Tour of Caño Cristales
- Day Six: Back to Bogota
- Day Seven: Overnight flight back to the UK
Day One – Start of your Holidays in Colombia
We will meet you at the airport in Colombia's vibrant capital of Bogota and take you to your hotel in the city's metropolitan north side. After you’ve checked in why not take a stroll to one of the area's many restaurants and bars where you can enjoy your first taste of Colombian food... or maybe just the rum!
Day Two - Free time in Bogota
We’ve kept today free to give you chance to recover from your journey and introduce yourself to the city. We highly recommend heading to Bogota’s historic centre, known as La Candelaria, for some shopping and photo opportunities! The Plaza de Bolivar, the gold museum and the Museo del Oro are some more great sights you could explore today. This evening you could head to the top of Monserrate to watch the sunset and for fabulous views of the city. (Breakfast included)
- There is a huge amount to do in and around Bogota, so if you'd like us to organise your tours for you, then we can easily do that. If have an extra day to spend, you could go and visit the eerie Guatavita Crater Lake.
- Or if you have a little longer, then why not take a couple of days to visit the lovely colonial town of Villa de Leyva?
Day Three - Travel to La Macarena
It’s an early start this morning, as we pick you up from your hotel and take you to the airport for the short flight south to the town of La Macarena. This is a typical Colombian pueblo, an outmost in one of the most remote areas of the country, and the base for any visit to Caño Cristales. Upon arrival, we will take you straight to your hotel where you’ll be briefed on the itinerary for the next few days, which may alter slightly depending on the weather conditions. After you’ve had a chance to change into appropriate clothing we’ll head into the National Park for your first visit to Caño Cristales, the River of Five Colours. Particularly between the months of July and November the river appears to be a liquid rainbow, caused by a unique phenomenon, an overproduction of bright red algae that grows on the river bed. After a short canoe ride towards the Verada Cachivera, we will board a jeep into the jungle to begin our trek. By early afternoon we’ll reach the river, and where we’ll have a traditional picnic lunch served in a banana leaf, followed by some free time to swim and take photographs. We’ll return to La Macarena this evening for dinner in a local restaurant. (B/L/D)
Days Four and Five - Tours of Caño Cristales
Over the next couple of days we’ll explore more of the National Park. Again, our journey will begin by boat and jeep, before we continue on foot to explore more of the beautiful river and jungle. One of the highlights is the Quartz Waterfall, which is one of the most photographer and famous sections of Caño Cristales. Another highlight are some of the peaceful natural swimming pools, including Caño Escondido and Cascada de la Virgen. We will stop regularly to rehydrate and perhaps have a swim in one of the natural pools along the way, as the temperature can get quite hot and humid here. Lunch will be alongside the river again, and you should now be starting to see the colours of the water change depending on how far upstream you are. Late in the afternoon we will return by canoe to La Macarena for our evening meal, and on one night you’ll be able to experience a folkloric dance performance that will introduce you to the cultural history of the region. (B/L/D)
Day Six - Return to Bogota
This morning we should have chance for one more visit to Caño Cristales, to see the fascinating Los Ocos section, where craters in the riverbed create interesting circular waterfalls. During your canoe ride back to La Macarena your guide will answer any remaining questions and provide you with one last picnic lunch, before we take you for your flight back to Bogotá. Upon arrival we’ll take you back to your hotel so you can freshen up and head out to enjoy your last night here in Colombia. (B/L)
Day Seven - Last day of your Colombia Holidays
After a final free morning on the beach, your holidays in Colombia will sadly come to and end, and we will pick you up and take you to the airport for a short flight back to Bogota. Most flights to the UK leave in the evening, so you’ll arrive with plenty of time to check-in for your international flight home. (B)
Options for our Holidays in Colombia
San Agustin - from £850pp
If archaeology and history are your thing, then a few days investigating the prehistoric stone idols and rock tombs of San Agustin and Tierradentro are a must. Deep in the south of Colombia, they offer a fascinating counterpoint to the northern lost city of Teyuna,and are a must for anyone interested in this side of Colombian culture.
Lost City Trek - from £795pp
As well as the Tayrona National Park, Santa Marta is also the base for treks to Colombia's famous lost city of Ciudad Perdida. To reach this pre-conquest settlement involves trekking for days through the jungle, but your reward is an untouched and almost unvisited lost city ...
Mompox - from £495pp
To really get away from it all, how about travelling down the Rio Magdalena to the tiny colonial town of Mompox. In an ever-changing landscape of rivers, wetlands and lagoons, this is the perfect place to step back in time and forget the modern world.
Similar Holidays to South America
The standard price for this Cano Cristales holiday package is £1495 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels. However, as an introductory offer for the whole of September you can enjoy this tour for just £1395 per person instead!
That price includes all your accommodation, internal transport, transfers, tours, guides and entrance fees, plus breakfast every day.
We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2020.
So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.
We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.
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