The river shown in the photographs below is Caño Cristales, an amazingly colorful river in Colombia. The river takes on many different colors, including yellow, green, blue, black, but especially red, caused by the weeds at the bottom of the river (Macarenia clavigera).
The river is commonly called “The River of Five Colors”, “The Liquid Rainbow” “The River That Ran Away to Paradise”, and “The Most Beautiful River in the World” due to its striking colors.
This is what Caño Cristales looks like with its beautiful red color. Looks like something straight out of The Bible.
Interestingly, for most of the year the river is actually indistinguishable from any other river.
It’s normally just a bed of rocks covered in dull green mosses in the cool, clear current
However, for a short period of time every year, the river comes to life in a vibrant explosion of colors.
During the short span between the wet and dry seasons, when the water level is just right, a unique species of plant that lines the river floor called Macarenia clavigera turns a brilliant red. It is offset by splotches of yellow and green sand, blue water, and a thousand shades in between.
The site of the river 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.
It was reopened to visitors in 2009, and today there are several Colombian tourist agencies that will take visitors of a guided tour of the area.
This is what the red weed known as Macarenia clavigera looks like.