Caño Cristales is a place where taking pictures is a true pleasure. Its astonishing and one-of-a-kind beauty makes the River of Five Colors a natural playground for photographers. Below is a collection of images of Caño Cristales taken by the Colombian photographer Mario Carvajal. These images may be used freely by any person or business (including for commercial purposes) wanting to promote Caño Cristales as a beautiful destination worthy of being visited, respected, and preserved for future generations.

If you wish to use one of the below images, simply click on it and then download it in high resolution. When you use it, don’t forget to give proper credit and the link required by Creative Commons licensing.


All of the above photos of Caño Cristales have a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license that permits their use. Feel free to download and use them for any project you like: websites, brochures, books, magazines, flyers, posters, etc. There’s no need to write us for permission, as permission is already granted by means of the license.

Don’t forget that the use of any of the photos of Caño Cristales published here requires that you provide credit and a hyperlink to this website. It’s very simple to give proper credit:

Below is the code to use for the credits:


Just in case you have any questions regarding the use of these photos, the photographer answers them for you here. If you have any other questions, contact us so we can add it to the list.

Do I have to pay to use these photos of Caño Cristales?

R/ ” No. If you wish to show your appreciation, you’re welcome to make a donation to my PayPal account. If you don’t wish to make a financial contribution, however, it’s not necessary to pay anything and you won’t be guilty of any wrongdoing for using the photo without paying.”.

Do I have to let you know when I use an image?

R/ “No. You may use it without writing us for permission, seeing as the whole idea of the license is to allow you to use the image immediately without any hassles or red tape. Simply download the photo, use it, provide credit, and you’re good to go. Although each photo has a digital watermark that allows me to keep track of the websites that use the images via an automatic tracking system, I enjoy receiving emails with comments about how the photos were used, how they helped you, etc. This helps me improve my work and offer better and more useful images in the future. But, remember, this isn’t required.”.

Why don’t you charge anything?

R/ “My main line of work right now is photography—I make a living from the money I earn when I’m hired for private projects. I know that not everything in life is about money, though. That’s why one part of my work as a photographer is paid for by private companies and the other I make free via Creative Commons licenses. It’s a way for me to give back to society a part of the many benefits I’ve received from others who have done the same. It’s a balance I’ve strived to maintain between paid and collaborative work.

I support the Caño Cristales project because I’m in love with this amazing place and I want to support the community of the town of La Macarena that benefits financially from Caño Cristales: guides, hotel owners, agencies, drivers, boat operators, etc. These are people who are invested in changing the history of their town and their lives, marked by a recent past of violence and illicit crops. I firmly believe in supporting these initiatives through the concept of responsible tourism.

To promote Caño Cristales, however, it’s critical to have excellent photos. Although there are dozens of photos online of Caño Cristales, it’s often unclear how they may be used. Many agencies and operators use them and infringe on laws protecting intellectual property rights, but more worrying is the fact that they’re not high-quality photos that accurately reflect the beauty of the place.

That’s why this photo gallery of Caño Cristales—the first of its kind—seeks to offer to any and all who wish to promote this destination the ability to use images of Caño Cristales that are high-quality and high-resolution, as well as the security that comes with lawful use in accordance with copyright laws in both Colombian and international territories.”.

Will you be publishing more photos?

R/ “Yes. Each season I’ll add more and more images of every corner of Caño Cristales and La Macarena, and they’ll be published right here. My next photo shoot in Caño Cristales will be in September 2016, and I hope to publish the photos in (Pendiente). You can sign up for our newsletter to be one of the first to see them as soon as they’re published.”.

Who finances these photos?

R/ “This project of free photos of Caño Cristales is primarily paid for out of my own pocket. That being said, it’s also kept afloat by voluntary donations, by participation in the Caño Cristales photography workshop, and by the purchase of travel packages through this website, from which I receive a small amount. There are also essential contributions that can’t be counted in pesos or dollars but that are still very important. For example, each time you use and credit a photo properly, you too are contributing to this project.”.

Do you have videos of Caño Cristales as well?

R/ “No, not at the moment. In the near future (2016), however, our project will include high-quality and high-definition (HD) clips of Caño Cristales to be freely used and distributed.”.

Can you teach me to take photos like that?

R/ “Absolutely! Each year I lead a photography workshop where you can learn highly useful techniques to improve your travel images. You’ll need an SLR camera (digital or analog), and to get the most out of the workshop I recommend a tripod, neutral density filter, and polarizing filter. In three days you’ll learn a great deal and have a blast. You’ll also meet people like you who are interested in the photography of beautiful places.”. El próximo workshop será en octubre de 2013. Suscríbete a nuestro boletín para estar atento, o únete a nuestra página de Facebook…”

Can I modify one of your photos?

R/ “Feel free! You can crop them, apply filters to them, convert them to grayscale, change their dimensions, and even turn them into paintings, like one Greek artist did in early 2013. If you wish to distribute this new work under the terms of the Creative Commons license, you’re free to do so but under no obligation. You’re also free to sell your new work and under no obligation to pay royalties of any kind.”.

Can I get a certain photo in high-resolution TIF format?

R/ “Yes. Send me an email and I’ll send it to you within 24-48 hours through an FTP system for large file transfers (these images are usually 80 MB).”.

How can I be a part of your project?

R/ “The best way is by using the images correctly on your blog or website and by giving credit in the way described in the license.”.

Can I use the images and not provide credit?

R/ “No. You’d be violating the license and could run into legal problems, stemming from the improper use of the image. It wouldn’t be classy and you’d also risk not being able to sleep at night :-)”.

What should the credits say?

R/ “It’s very simple: ““Photograph of Caño Cristales: by Mario Carvajal(cc) 2012” (don’t forget to include the hyperlinks)”.

Where should I put the credits?

R/ “Preferably close to the photograph that is used. However, if your website’s design makes this inconvenient for you, it’s not a problem. You can place them somewhere where they’re not visually distracting, like in the article’s footer. If you use them, for instance, in a video, you can put the credits at the end of the video. As for the hyperlink, you can include it in the description once you publish it on YouTube or Vimeo, for example.”.

Where can I find the text of this license?

R/ “The summarized text of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license can be found here: I encourage you to make yourself familiar with it and to consider using it for some of your own work. After all, it never hurts to give back. You’ll also find these photos in the Wikimedia Commons project.”

Can I sell products such as calendars, postcards, or books with these photos?

R/ “Yes, of course. Feel free to create commercial products using the photos of Caño Cristales. Books, calendars, postcards, mugs, T-shirts, magnets, key chains, etc. You can make money from the sale of these items, and you’re under no obligation to compensate us.”.