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Parque Nacional Natural Sierra de la Macarena - Other Activity Villavicencio - Colombia

Those few travelers who ever make it to Parque Nacional Natural Sierra de la Macarena describe crystal-imbedded rock outcroppings from the Cenozoic Era that glitter in the Llano sun. The mountain range is 150 kilometers (90 mi) long and 35 kilometers (21 mi) wide, and gives birth to the Duda, Guayabero, Losada and Güéjar rivers. The only part of the park presently accessible is Caño Cristales, a series of pools and waterfalls. From April to June, its rocks are matted with green algae, then from June to November, those carpets turn a brilliant purple.

The park is still only accessible by air. Although some overland routes do exist, park officials advise against arriving by land because the road passes through the red zone. You can take a plane from Bogotá to Villavicencio (30 min) and then another plane from Villavicencio to La Macarena (1 hr). Additionally, some travel agents in Villavicencio arrange fly-in tours complete with lodging to the one corner of the national park, which is said to be safe.

The Sierra de la Macarena is in the red zone of Colombia’s civil war fighting, and the area is largely controlled by the FARC. Trekking and climbing in the park alone is not recommended due to the probability of land mines and other dangers. Go only with an organized tour or guide, who can safely lead you through the park. Guides typically charge $21 per day. Most hikes to Caño Cristales last two or three days. Also, check with the national park office in Bogotá about current conditions.

The delicate algae that grows at Caños Cristales is a protected species, so be careful not to disturb it. Do not take any rocks or plants home as a souvenir, and don’t leave any trash behind. Stay on the paths and follow your guide’s instructions.

Location:
Near Villavicencio, Villavicencio , Colombia

Other Activity Types:
Natural park

Price Description:

An all-inclusive tour with flight costs $470 per person.

Relative price: High End

Travel Skills: None

You Need to Bring:

Bring binoculars for birding; camera; swim gear to take a dip in the pools; insect repellent, sun block, hat; loose, light-colored, cotton clothing.

Villavicencio; Bioparque Los Ocarros; wildlife tours into the llanos; stay at an agro- or eco-tourist country inn.

Currencies accepted
Colombian Peso










By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

30 Aug 2011





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