Just four hours from Bogota and three from Medellin, Rio Claro nature reserve makes a great break from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. The reserve offers adventure sports, swimming and hiking. Or for those who prefer to simply lie around in the crystalline river – some serious relaxing. Don’t forget your mosquito repellent!
Arriving at Rio Claro, you can pitch a tent on the river’s muddy banks or check into a cabaña if you don’t want to rough it. Then it’s a simple matter of choosing your own adventure: rafting, kayaking, caving or riding a zip line?
Caving has got to be the most adventurous adventure of all the adventures. Armed with clothes that can get wet and a flash light, the journey starts with a smooth 30 minute hike through the steamy jungle. Then it’s time to cross the river. Holding your flash light in one hand above the water, you have to swim as fast as you can against the current to reach the other side of Rio Claro.
From there on the hike gets a little bit tougher. You have to climb over sharp rocks, crawl under tree trunks and watch out for the poisonous worms. After scrambling up and down the side of the mountain for an hour through dense jungle, you finally reach the entrance to the Cave of the ‘Guacharos‘ — birds endemic to South America that are able to fly in the dark thanks to strange whiskers that sprout from their beaks.
“Stick together, be quiet and don’t drink the water as it’s toxic too,” the guide explains. Great, let’s go!
Inside the cave it is pitch black, forcing you to rely on all your senses. Listening to the hostile squeaky twitters of the Guacharos and wading through ankle-high water, you slowly get used to the darkness and the humidity. The squawks from the birds high high up at the cave’s roof indicate that they are not happy to have visitors. They love the cave’s deep darkness and visitors are forbidden to shine their flash lights up on them.
The walls of the caves are smooth and surprisingly white in the limited light. Stalagmites and stalactites are a reminder of time slowly dripping by.
After 15 minutes the cave turns into a playground. Waterfalls turn into slides, rocks into springboards. Everybody jumps, slides, swims and cheers like little kids.
30 minutes later the adventure ends with a jump into Rio Claro. For the exhausted it is time for some serious relaxing on the smooth white-grey stone of marble beach. Or for the ever adventurous, why not ride the river rapids all the way back to camp.