Rio Claro – A Day At The River – All Infos

The Río Claro (Clear River) in Antioquia, Colombia, is a remarkable natural wonder, cherished for its unique ecological and geological features. This article will delve into its location, key attributes, and what makes it so impressive.

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How to get there?

The Rio Claro river is located in Puerto Trinufo a small local community in Antioquia and is about 3 – 3.5 hours from Medellin the capital of Antioquia. From the capital of Colombia, Bogota it will take around 5 hours to get to the beautiful scenery of Rio Claro. From Medellin a one way bus trip cost 19,000 Pesos. One of the bus companies that go frequently to Rio Claro is Coonorte. In Medellin the busses leave from the Terminal Norte. Make sure to tell the bus driver to advise you once you reach the Refugio which is the natural reserve at Rio Claro and where you basically want to enjoy the river and the nature around. 
Rio Claro
Rio Claro

Geological Marvel: The Marble Canyon

One of the most striking features of Río Claro is its stunning marble canyon, which has been sculpted by the river over millions of years. This natural phenomenon has created a series of crystal-clear pools, rapids, and caves that are encased by smooth, marble walls. The varying shades of the marble, combined with the clear water, create a breathtaking landscape that is both serene and majestic.

Biodiversity and Natural Habitat

Río Claro is not just a geological wonder; it is also an ecological treasure trove. The area surrounding the river is a lush rainforest that hosts a diverse array of flora and fauna. This region is a haven for birdwatchers, with many species of birds, including some that are endemic to the area. Additionally, the forest is home to a variety of mammals, reptiles, and insects, making it a vital habitat for wildlife.

Adventure and Recreation

For adventure enthusiasts, the Río Claro River offers a plethora of activities. Rafting and kayaking through the rapids provide an exhilarating experience, while more serene activities like swimming in the natural pools and exploring the caves offer a peaceful connection with nature. The area also has trails for hiking, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the rainforest.

Conservation Efforts

The Río Claro Valley is a protected area, with efforts in place to preserve its unique environment. Conservation initiatives focus on protecting the river’s ecosystem from pollution and deforestation, ensuring that its natural beauty and biodiversity are maintained for future generations.

Why It’s Impressive

Río Claro is impressive for several reasons:

  • Unique Geological Formation: The marble canyon is a rare and stunning geological formation, offering an otherworldly landscape.
  • Rich Biodiversity: The area’s diverse wildlife and lush vegetation are indicative of the rich biodiversity found within Colombia’s rainforests.
  • Adventure and Tranquility: It offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, catering to a wide range of interests and preferences.
  • Conservation Significance: Its status as a protected area highlights the importance of preserving natural wonders in the face of environmental challenges.

Accommodation in Rio Claro

I heard plenty of good things about Rio Claro from friends and colleagues and hence I thought it was about time to make my own opinion on how beautiful this place really is. A few days before the trip I booked a small Cabaña with a panoramic view in El Refugio a natural reserve at Rio Claro. One night at the Cabaña Panoramico cost 130.000 COP. The price includes 3 dishes per day. Obviously there are different options for accommodation available. The cheapest room is a dormitory and start at 75,000 COP in Low season and can accommodate 4-6 persons. Rooms get more expensive according to location and features. There is also the possibility for camping right at the entrance for the park but there are no prices stated on the Refugio website.

The reservation of the rooms in El Refugio is unfortunately not possible online you can only make some sort of pre-reservation or call the camp and transfer the funds via bank transfer which is a little complicated in case you have no Colombian bank account. But you can also just drop by at the reserve and book it there. This shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t go during Semana Santa the Colombian Easter holidays or other important Colombian holidays. I never had trouble booking on-site. In case you make the reservation online or via telephone the staff will send you some information that should be considered. The most important is definitely to bring a flashlight. If you need more information about El Refugio at Rio Claro just follow the link

Cabana El Refugio
Cabana El Refugio
El Refugio
El Refugio

My experience

When I finally arrived at Rio Claro after 3,5 hours noticed instantly that the clima is way hotter and more humid than in Medellin. This does not come as a surprise when you know that it is located only 150 meters above sea level. After I had to walk another kilometer from the main entrance in the tropical heat I arrived sweaty but happy at the reception of El Refugio. After check-in, the friendly receptionist told me that we still had to plan my activities for the next day. Equally friendly I replied to the nice lady that there wouldn’t be any activities for me as I was only here to relax.

But in case you don’t want to be just hanging around there will be plenty of activities like zip lining, rafting and canyoning waiting for you.

El Rio
El Rio

From the reception another few meters further along the river I arrived at my lodging which would have knocked my socks off if I had worn some in my flip flops. My Cabaña was the highest one in the entire reserve, completely open without a window and overlooking the valley of Rio Claro. It was just an amazing view that I was offered. And this is where paradise started. After I was able to move again as I was incredibly stunned I went for a round of Sunbathing and swimming at the Playa de Marmol.

I was very lucky that I was there at the beginning of the football World Cup and therefore I was basically the only person in the nature park. Only a Colombian couple also decided to escape the hustle and bustle of the World Cup.

After a very relaxed afternoon at the beach and a short walk along the river through the park in order to explore the Flora and Fauna of the area I returned to my routine task and that was doing nothing but chill. As I believe this is the best you can do there

After all I have to say that this short trip exceeded my expectations by far and this is how it happened that I returned only a few months later

Frequently asked questions about Rio Claro:

  1. What is Rio Claro known for?
    • Rio Claro is renowned for its stunning natural reserve, the Reserva Natural Cañón del Río Claro, which is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. It’s famous for its crystal-clear river, lush rainforest, and striking marble canyon.
  2. How do I get to Rio Claro?
    • Rio Claro is located between Medellín and Bogotá. It’s easily accessible by road, with buses available from both cities. The nearest town is Doradal, and from there, you can take a short taxi ride to the reserve.
  3. What activities can I do in Rio Claro?
    • Popular activities in Rio Claro include river rafting, caving in Cueva de los Guacharos, zip-lining, bird watching, hiking through the rainforest, swimming in the clear river waters, and enjoying the natural beauty of the marble canyon.
  4. Is there accommodation available in Rio Claro?
    • Yes, the Rio Claro Nature Reserve offers various types of accommodation, including cabins, basic rooms, and camping options. Booking in advance is recommended, especially during peak seasons.
  5. What is the best time to visit Rio Claro?
    • The best time to visit is during the dry season from December to March when the weather is more predictable, and the river conditions are suitable for activities like rafting and swimming.
  6. Do I need a guide to explore Rio Claro?
    • While you can explore some parts of the reserve independently, activities like caving and rafting require guided tours for safety reasons. Guides are also beneficial for wildlife spotting and learning about the ecosystem.
  7. What should I bring to Rio Claro?
    • Pack light clothing suitable for a humid tropical environment, swimwear, insect repellent, sunscreen, a hat, sturdy shoes for hiking, and a waterproof bag to protect your electronics.
  8. Is it safe to visit Rio Claro?
    • Rio Claro is generally safe for tourists, but like any natural area, it’s essential to follow safety guidelines, especially when participating in adventure activities.
  9. Can I visit Rio Claro on a day trip?
    • Yes, it’s possible to visit Rio Claro on a day trip, especially from nearby cities like Medellín, but staying overnight is recommended to fully experience the natural beauty and tranquility of the reserve.

Rio Claro is an exceptional destination for those who love outdoor adventures and pristine natural environments, offering a unique experience in one of Colombia’s most beautiful natural reserves.


Río Claro in Antioquia, Colombia, is a destination that truly encapsulates the beauty and diversity of the natural world. Its impressive marble canyon, rich biodiversity, and array of recreational activities make it a must-visit location for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. As a beacon of natural splendor and ecological importance, Río Claro remains a testament to the wonders that our planet holds.

Who would like to make another quick stop on way there or back can also visit the Hacienda Napoles that is only 20 minutes away from Rio Claro. The former property of Pablo Escobar now is a theme park and a popular destination for tourists and Colombian families.

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