#1 Rafting and Natural Pools Destination in Colombia: The Güejar River
Many foreign travelers and even Colombians have no idea about the hidden treasure that the Canyon of the Guejar River is. Nestled in a remote zone of the Meta department, in the Colombian Llanos, the canyon formed by the Guejar river is just starting to be explored by adventurous travelers.
Some years ago, it was not possible to access the zone due to Guerrillas settlements, but now there is nothing to worry about, the place is safe and boasts incredible beauty. Turquoise waters that form natural slides, pools, waterfalls, and Jacuzzis, shaped by huge polished rock formations and surrounded by lush vegetation -these are the reasons to travel to the Guejar River in Colombia.
In this post, you will find all the information you need to know to travel to the Guejar River, such as what the charm of the Guejar River is, how to get there, the best time to visit, and what to do there.
Discovering the Guejar River
As already mentioned, the Guejar river is a natural treasure that remained hidden for many years until the 2010s. The view is stunning. A long river makes its way between big rock formations that easily beat the 20 meters high.
Some of these rocks are among the oldest on the planet, because they belong to the millenary Guiana Shield, which is born in Venezuela, crosses the La Macarena mountain range, and reaches Ecuador and Brazil.
The forest surrounding the stunning canyon is still pristine and undiscovered. The canyon is part of the special management area of La Macarena National Natural Park; hence it hosts amazing wildlife and flora. Birds and butterflies of all colors flying around you all the way. Sometimes, otters, sloths, and monkeys are spotted next to the river.
During the tour along the river, you will find refreshing natural pools, fun slides, waterfalls, and even Jacuzzis. If you like to watch wildlife in their habitat, go birdwatching, venture out into the wilderness to hike and explore rivers, mountains, forests, and plains so you have a deep connection with nature, the adventure activities, and interact with local cultures, the trip to the Guejar river is for you!
How to get to the Guejar River
There are two routes you can take to get to the Guejar river. Both pass by Villavicencio, the capital of Meta, but differ from the town you arrive in to stay the night and start your trip to the river.
Bogotá – Villavicencio
Depending on where you’re staying in Bogota, there are 2 highways you can take, both to the south of the city. From the southern city limits, there is 105 km (65 mi) until the city of Villavicencio, a trip of a bit more than 2 hours.
Route Villavicencio – San Juan de Arama
From Villavicencio, getting to San Juan de Arama means traveling 120 km (75 mi) on a paved road, a trip that takes about 2.2 hours by car. You have to take the Ruta Turística del Ariari, which allows you to see the vast plains on both sides hosting different kinds of birds and even the Macarena mountain range.
There are 2 tolls on the road. You can stop by any establishment to taste the local delicacies. Once in San Juan de Arama, it just takes 15 minutes to get to the starting point of the rafting tour by the Guejar river canyon, which is within the village of Mesetas. Local guides take the visitors to the Limonar bridge in their 4×4.
Route Villavicencio – Lejanías
The route from Villavicencio to the village of Lejanías has a similar distance to the route to San Juan Arama, 126 km (78 mi) or 2.2 hours. A popular stop, 1.5 hours from the village, is Finca El Diamante, a small lodge where you can camp, stay the night in a cabin or just eat something before the adventure.
To get there you must pay a local to take you in a 4×4 or a motorcycle since the road is very bumpy. Once there, you have the advantage of only having to walk a few minutes through the forest to be facing the Guejar river.
Where to stay
San Juan de Arama
- Hotel Palacio Real, you get a double room for COP 40,000 – 50,000 with an air conditioner or fan.
- Finca El Diamante in the “Maravillas del Guejar” viewpoint offers accommodation in cabins or camping. The price per person per night is COP 50,000 in a cabin and COP 7,000 in camping. Although the cabins can accommodate up to 6 people and the overall price is COP 100,000.
- Hotel Casa Blanca Cubarral, you get a double room for COP 40,000 – 50,000 with an air conditioner or fan.
Best time to travel to the Guejar River
There are no seasons in Colombia, at least the traditional 4 seasons that you have in North America or Europe. However, there is a rainy and dry season. During the rainy season, which goes from late March to November, you can see the Caño Lajon waterfall in all its glory.
The access road, though, gets more complicated to travel along and, since the water flow rises, it is riskier to bathe or practice rafting in the river.
During the dry season, from December to March, you observe the color of the river get more vibrant, plus the cool water will be well appreciated because of the heat you’ll be standing.
To sum up, we consider that the best time to travel to the Guejar river is during the dry season.
What to do there
It is said that you can witness 5 marvels in the Guejar River, in no specific order:
Pozo Escondido is found by surprise on an ascending hike. It consists of natural pools of green waters that cannot be more refreshing.
Caño Lajón waterfall is a wonderful sight, especially when the river flow is high you can enjoy a mighty stream falling of rugged stones covered in moss. You can even stand behind the falls and freshen up with the mist.
Sliding down the slippery stone slabs is so much fun! You can find several natural slides that flow into turquoise pools.
At another point in the river, you can get a free massage in the natural Jacuzzis of the river, areas with a strong flow of water and small falls that offer pure relaxation. Water at this point is more crystalline and seems turquoise.
Caño Jordán waterfall is also called ‘El vómito’ -the vomit, because of the shot that can be achieved from a precise angle in the viewpoint. This fall is a wonderful sight because of the intense green that frames it.
You can meet all these marvels on a hiking tour. However, rafting in the Guejar river canyon is the to-go option for the courageous travelers who want a rush of adrenaline in wild Colombia! A rafting tour takes about 5 hours, the distance to be covered is 17 km, 10.5 mi rowing with the hope of not falling off the boat.
The river is classified as level 3 out of 5 in difficulty. A big plus: midway through the journey, you find ‘the Titanic’, a sharp oval stone that seems like the front of a ship that has run aground in the middle of nature. This is the first stop, where there is time for having a snack, a talk, and a rest. Depending on the agency, the cost will be around 160,000 COP (40 USD) per person.
What to consider for your travel to Guejar River?
For you to have an unforgettable experience in the Guejar river and no setbacks, consider the following aspects:
- Wear light and comfortable clothes, long pants if you want to avoid mosquito bites and scratches. But shorts are fine.
- Wear trekking shoes or shoes with grip soles that can get wet. Walking along the river is risky due to the slippery stones, so not wearing any shoes is not an option.
- Wear a hat or cap, plus sunscreen. Also, bring insect repellent.
- Don’t forget your swimsuit!
- If you prefer, bring a towel and a change of clothes.
- A GoPro is the most suitable equipment to record your experience, but if you bring any other device, make sure you have airtight plastic bags too.
- Respect the environment, do not leave trash nor remove fauna or flora from their habitat.
- Always book your tour with local guides and certified agencies to practice extreme sports.
This is all you need to know to travel to the Guejar River Canyon. If you are planning a trip to Colombia, we are happy to help you have an unforgettable nature experience! Contact us!
About the authors
Ana María Parra
Current content writer for Sula. Modern Languages professional with an emphasis on business translation. Interested in the cultural adaptation of written and audiovisual content. Passionate about knowing new cultures and languages, tourism and sustainable living.