Highlights of Colombia

Rio Claro Reserve

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Located in the eastern slope of the Central Andes, Rio Claro protects a 650ha remnant of what was once a great forest that extended across the Magdalena Valley, into which the Claro River drains. This humid tropical lowland forest is one of Colombia’s most important spots for endemism as many species of bird, plant, amphibian and insect can only be found here. The reserve is one of Colombia’s most beautiful natural spots, boasting a jungle-laden canyon and crystal-clear river. What makes Rio Claro so special? Aside from being part of the important Middle-Magdalena Valley bio-region, it is thought this particular area was once a Pleistocene wilderness where temperatures and forest cover remained constant while the surrounding regions underwent massive change in the ensuing epochs. Species sought refuge and, through millennia of isolation, diversified into the species we recognise today, many of which have remained isolated.

Rio Claro is also a geological marvel, a startling sheer-walled marble canyon formed after millions of years of water erosion, magnificent to behold when coupled with the beauty of the naked rock itself.

Located just three hours by road from Medellin, Rio Claro is a perfect spot for wildlife watching, birding, rafting, canyoning, tubing, zip-lining, caving and simply getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The open-sided rooms at one of the various accommodations offered by the reserve provide a clear view of the undisturbed state of the surrounding forest. Howler monkeys roar from high in the trees and toucans soar across the canopy as you make your way along the various paths through the reserve. One particularly interesting spot is the Oilbird Trail which takes you to a large cave where these strange, large nocturnal birds live, locally referred to as guacharos due to the sound they make when excited.

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