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Parks & Nature

Rio Claro

Reserva Natural, Cañon Del Río Claro
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Entry Fee

Free Entry


Reserva Natural
Cañon Del Río Claro


8am to 6pm
Monday to Friday

Official Website


Table of Contents

Stay & Explore in one of Colombia's largest Natural Reserves

The Rio Claro Nature Reserve is a protected area located about 170km southeast of Medellin, Colombia. It is home to a unique ecosystem that supports a diverse array of flora and fauna. The reserve covers an area of approximately 4,200 hectares and is managed by the Colombian government’s environmental agency, the National Parks Unit.
The Rio Claro River, which flows through the reserve, is the main attraction of the area. The river is characterized by crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming, rafting, and kayaking. The river also has several waterfalls and natural pools that are popular among visitors. The reserve’s forests are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including monkeys, toucans, and jaguars. The reserve also supports several species of reptiles, such as iguanas and snakes, and amphibians, such as frogs and toads.
One of the most unique features of the Rio Claro Nature Reserve is the cave system that runs beneath the forest. Visitors can explore the caves with the help of experienced guides who will take them on a journey through the underground world of stalactites and stalagmites. The reserve has several trails for visitors to explore. The trails are well-maintained, and visitors can hike through the forest to see the diverse plant and animal life that call the reserve home. There are also several viewpoints that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Visitors to the reserve can stay in one of the many eco-lodges that are located within the reserve. These lodges are designed to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, and they offer a unique and authentic experience of living in the heart of a tropical forest.
The Rio Claro Nature Reserve is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing Colombia’s natural beauty and diversity. From the crystal clear waters of the Rio Claro River to the underground caves and the diverse wildlife that calls the reserve home, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The reserve’s focus on conservation and sustainability makes it a unique destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors.

History of Rio Claro

The history of Rio Claro Nature Reserve dates back to the early 20th century, when it was owned by a wealthy Colombian family. The family used the land for agriculture, logging, and hunting, which had a significant impact on the reserve’s natural environment.
In the 1970s, the family decided to sell the land, and it was eventually purchased by a group of environmentalists who were concerned about the rapid destruction of Colombia’s natural habitats. The group envisioned turning the land into a nature reserve that would protect the region’s rich biodiversity and provide a space for ecological research and education.
With the help of volunteers and funding from international organizations, the group began the process of restoring the land to its natural state, planting trees, and reintroducing native species that had been driven out by hunting and deforestation.
Over the years, the reserve has grown and expanded, and today it covers over 4,200 acres of pristine rainforest and limestone cliffs. The reserve’s ecological restoration has been a resounding success, and it is now home to a vast array of plant and animal species, many of which are endangered or rare.


Rio Claro is a paradise for adventure sports enthusiasts, with a wide range of activities to choose from. One of the most thrilling activities is canyoning, which involves descending into a canyon by rappelling down waterfalls, jumping into pools of water, and sliding down natural water chutes. The Rio Claro region boasts an impressive canyon system, with its clear waters and lush vegetation providing the perfect backdrop for this exhilarating activity. Experienced guides lead visitors through the many challenges and obstacles, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Canyoning is an ideal way to explore the natural beauty of Rio Claro up close and personal, and visitors are sure to leave with unforgettable memories.

Cave Exploration

For those looking for an underground adventure, caving is a must-try activity in Rio Claro. The region is home to several fascinating cave systems, with intricate rock formations, underground rivers, and natural pools. Caving is a unique and thrilling way to explore the underground world of Rio Claro, with experienced guides leading visitors through the many twists and turns of the caves. Visitors can expect to see stunning natural formations and get up close and personal with the region’s geological wonders.


One of the best ways to experience the reserve’s natural beauty is by hiking its trails. The hiking trails at Rio Claro offer a range of options for visitors of all skill levels. There are easy, well-marked trails that wind through the forest and along the river, allowing visitors to take in the stunning scenery at a leisurely pace. For those looking for more of a challenge, there are more difficult trails that climb up steep hills and offer breathtaking views of the reserve from above.


One of the most popular activities at Rio Claro is ziplining through the forest. This thrilling adventure takes visitors high above the trees, offering a bird’s eye view of the reserve’s lush canopy. The zipline course at Rio Claro consists of several different lines, each offering a unique and exciting experience. Visitors can soar through the air above the river, feeling the rush of the wind on their face as they zip from one platform to the next.

Kayaking and Rafting

Kayaking and rafting are also popular activities in Rio Claro, with the region’s rivers and waterways providing ample opportunities for adventure. Rio Claro’s rapids are beginner-friendly. Kayakers and rafters can enjoy the thrill of navigating the rapids while taking in the stunning scenery of the surrounding countryside. With experienced guides and well-equipped facilities, kayaking and rafting in Rio Claro are sure to be unforgettable experiences.

Where to Stay

Rio Claro, nestled in the heart of the Colombian rainforest, is a popular destination for adventure sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. The region offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels and eco-lodges. However, when it comes to truly immersing oneself in the natural beauty of Rio Claro, there is no better option than staying inside the Rio Claro Nature Reserve.
The reserve is home to several eco-lodges, offering visitors a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Rio Claro up close and personal. Staying in an eco-lodge inside the reserve is an experience like no other, with breathtaking views of the forest and river, and a chance to explore the many trails and waterways of the reserve.
The lodges are built with locally sourced materials and are integrated into the natural surroundings, providing visitors with an authentic rainforest experience. Guests can wake up to the sounds of monkeys and the chirping of exotic birds, and enjoy stunning views of the forest canopy from their own private balconies.
While there are accommodation options outside of the Rio Claro Nature Reserve, none can compare to the unique experience offered by the eco-lodges inside the reserve. Staying in an eco-lodge allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Rio Claro, while also supporting conservation efforts and sustainable tourism. Whether you’re an adventure sports enthusiast or simply looking for a relaxing getaway in the heart of the Colombian rainforest, staying in an eco-lodge inside the Rio Claro Nature Reserve is an experience not to be missed.

To stay in one of the Cabins you need to make a reservation, like booking a hotel. You can contact the Nature Reserve office between 8am and 6pm at the number below. To learn more about reserving and looking at the pricing for the cabins please visit the following site at @ Booking Prices

The reserve has 3 different type of lodging options and also a hotel. You can learn more about their accommodations at the following link @ Hotel & Lodging

What to eat and drink

Nature reserves often have limited dining options, especially if they are located in remote or secluded areas. Rio Claro Nature Reserve is no exception to this and mainly offers simple and traditional meals that are locally sourced. Visitors may expect to find dishes made with fresh fruits and vegetables, local meats, and fish caught from the Rio Claro River. Colombian cuisine is known for its variety and flavor, with dishes such as arepas, empanadas, and bandeja paisa being popular choices.
As for drinks, visitors can expect to find freshly squeezed juices made from local fruits such as guava, mango, and passionfruit. Coffee is also a popular drink in Colombia, and visitors may have the opportunity to taste locally roasted coffee. Right at the entrance of the nature reserve there is also a restaurant located. It’s a good idea to buy some water and snacks before entering the park.

Travel Tips / FYI

Keep in mind the reserve has high and low seasons. Following is considered high-season

Pet Policy: Pets are allowed into the park with day passes ONLY. 
Pets ARE NOT allow in the cabins or overnight.

Location Hours

Office Hours: 8am – 6pm for Reservations

Restaurant Hours: 
 – Breakfast: 8am – 10am 
 – Lunch: 12pm -2pm 
 – Dinner: 6pm – 8pm 

How To Get There

Located approximately 170 km southeast of Medellin, Rio Claro is a popular destination for adventure sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. While the region is easily accessible by car or bus, there are several transportation options for those looking to make the journey from Medellin to Rio Claro.

By Car: One of the most popular ways to get to Rio Claro from Medellin is by car. The journey takes approximately three hours and involves driving south, passing through several small towns and scenic countryside along the way. The road is generally well-maintained and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Car rental services are available in Medellin, making this a convenient option for those who want to explore the region at their own pace.

By Bus: For those who prefer public transportation, there are several bus companies that offer daily services from Medellin to Rio Claro. The journey takes approximately three hours and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside along the way. Buses typically leave from the Terminal del Sur in Medellin and arrive at the Rio Claro bus station, located right next to the nature reserve entrance

By Private Shuttle: For those who prefer a more comfortable and convenient option, private shuttles are also available from Medellin to Rio Claro. These shuttles offer door-to-door service and can be arranged in advance through a travel agency or tour operator. While more expensive than other transportation options, private shuttles are a convenient and stress-free way to travel.

Regardless of the transportation method chosen, the journey from Medellin to Rio Claro offers stunning views of the Colombian countryside and a chance to experience the natural beauty of the region. Whether you’re looking for adventure sports or simply a relaxing getaway, Rio Claro is a destination not to be missed.