16 October 2010

The Most Colourful River In The World

The river shown in the photographs is the Caristales, which is located near the town of La Macarena in Colombia, 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".

During 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.  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 colours. 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 re-opened to visitors in 2009.

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

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