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Caño Cristales has been referred to as the "river of five colors", "the river that ran away to paradise," and "the most beautiful river in the world."
It is indeed a unique biological wonder. For most of the year, the Caño Cristales is indistinguishable from any other river, with a bed of rocks covered in dull green mosses and a cool dark blue current. However for a short period each year the river blossoms in a rainbow of colors.
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. 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.