The famed Caño Cristales river, one of Colombia’s most beautiful natural sites and one of the most stunning water phenomenons on Earth, is slowly becoming more accessible to visitors as the guerrilla hold on the region has weakened, local authorities said Thursday.
The site remains virtually undiscovered and unexploited as a tourist destination as the Caño Cristales river was closed to the public until 2009 due to the presence and activity of Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, in the region which lies below capital Bogota in the central department of Meta.
However, recent increases in levels of security and the budding development of the tourism industry in the region are making the site more accessible to visitors both foreign and domestic.
A record 4,000 people reportedly made the trip to the Caño Cristales in 2012, though Norberto Ruiz Guiza, the Government Secretary of La Macarena , described this figure as a conservative estimate.
“Thanks to God, and also to the National Army, we are enjoying a period of calm and of completely guaranteed security” Ruiz told Colombia Reports, detailing how an increased military and institutional presence in the territory has led to a dispersal of the FARC presence, if not a decrease in rebel numbers.
According to Ruiz, the government’s consolidation of the territory surrounding the river has now opened the door to allow all comers to enjoy “in complete tranquility” what the Macarena mayor’s office regards as “the best touristic destination in the country.”
The Secretary said that the municipality expects up to 8,000 new visitors for 2013 and stated that preparations are already in place to welcome them to see this “unique and exclusive marvel of the world.”
Location of the Caño Cristales river
- Interview with Norberto Ruiz Guiza
- “El año pasado vinieron 4.000 turistas a visitar Caño Cristales” (La Republica)
- Un viaje por la troncal del ‘Mono Jojoy’ (El Tiempo)