Updated: 07/01/2011 12:47 | By MSN Travel contributors
In pictures: the world's 50 most beautiful things

Most beautiful river

The fantastic colours of algae brighten Canos Cristales (© David Ochoa)
  • Halong Bay: a seascape of some 1,600 steep-sided islets (© Daryl Benson/Getty)
  • Tourists gather round Da Vinci's masterpiece, Mona Lisa (© Martin Keene/AP/PA)
  • The Colonna Venus represents an ancient ideal of feminine grace and beauty (© Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/PA)
  • An ancient Greek attempt to capture the unearthly beauty of Ganymede (© Louvre)
  • People gather to watch the sun set over Manila Bay (© Bullit Marquez/AP/PA)
  • The fantastic colours of algae brighten Canos Cristales (© David Ochoa)
  • The beautifully lit and elegantly tiled Khaju Bridge in Iran (© Mark Daffey/Lonely Planet)
  • Paro Taktsang monastery nestles on a remote cliffside in Bhutan (© Sally Dillon/Lonely Planet)
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We could have picked the River Li in China for its celebrated hills or the Amazon for its extraordinary variety of wildlife. But we've gone against the flow and picked an obscure little waterway in Colombia as the world's most beautiful. Caños Cristales is actually a rather ordinary river for much of the year, but for a short time between the wet and dry seasons, when the water level is just right for its unique algae and moss to flourish, it erupts into a rainbow of extraordinary colours. The river is buried deep in the Sierra de la Macarena in central Colombia, and is only accessible on foot or horseback.

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