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The most beautiful river in the world

The most beautiful river in the world...(cano2.jpg)

Building a tourism industry in Colombia in the wake of the country's famous guerrilla warfare is a delicate business. In regions such as La Macarena, where the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) ruled for many years, tourism is starting to pick up. But operators know all it will take is the sighting of one guerrilla to bring it all tumbling down. Which is a shame – because the region is home to Caño Cristales, 'the most beautiful river in the world'.

The most beautiful river in the world...(cano.jpg)

It was explorer Andres Hurtado who give it that title in the 1980s when he brought the attention of the world to this pink river. Well, the seasonally pink river, that is. For most of the year, Caño Cristales looks like most rivers (blue), but for a short period of time each year, the river changes color.

The most beautiful river in the world...(cano-cristales1.jpg)

In between the wet and dry seasons, when the water level drops enough for the sun to warm the moss and algae on the river's bottom, the flora bursts into color – a rainbow of it.

The most beautiful river in the world...(cano6.jpg)

As yet, reaching the river at the critical moment is a fine art. Some Colombian tourist agencies will fly visitors to the nearby town of La Macarena, and from there they can reach the river on horseback. But, for now, many locals are still nervous about entering the area.

It's said pictures don't do the river justice, and that it's best seen in person. If you decide to go, watch your back. RM

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