MAJOR RIVERS OF COLOMBIA
There are many important rivers in Colombia. The major ones are: the Magdalena River, Cauca River, Caquetá, Putumayo, Guaviare, Meta and the Atrato Rivers.
THE MAGDALENA RIVER is the most important commercial waterway in Colombia, as well as a source of electric power and natural beauty. It originates in the southern region of the country, near the Magdalena Lake in Páramo de las Papas of the Colombian Massif. The Magdalena River flows northwards through Colombian territory to the Caribbean Sea in Bocas de Ceniza. Its total length is 1,558 km, navigable without interruption for about 1,300 km. It is the longest Inter-Andean River in South America. Its basin has an area of 256,622 square kilometres. It has about 500 tributary rivers and more than 5,000 streams drain into it.
THE CAUCA RIVER starts in the Colombian Massif near Laguna del Buey, flowing northwards between the Western and Central cordilleras to its mouth at the Magdalena River in Bolívar department. With a length of 1,350 km and a navigable area of around 620 km, the Cauca River is the second longest in the country.
THE CAQUETÁ RIVER flows eastwards through Southern Colombia for about 2,200 km from its source in Páramo de las Papas in the Colombian Massif, to its junction with the Amazon River.
THE PUTUMAYO RIVER begins its course in Nudo de los Pastos and flows 1,800 km eastwards, serving as a border between Colombia and Peru and between Colombia and Ecuador. It is a major transportation artery, navigable for almost its total length. The Putumayo is a main tributary of the Amazon River.
THE GUAVIARE RIVER, with a length of approximately 1,350 km, is formed at the junction of the Ariari and Guayabero Rivers in the Cordillera Oriental in the western part of Meta department.
It meanders east-northeastward between Vichada and Guainia departments until it joins the Orinoco River.
THE META RIVER is the main river of the Colombian Eastern Plains (Llanos Orientales), with a total length of 1,200 km. It is formed in Meta department by the junction of the Humea, Guayuriba and Guatiquia Rivers. It flows east-northeastward across the Eastern Plains to its mouth at the Orinoco River.
THE ATRATO RIVER is 700 km long and holds the highest volume of water of any river in Colombia. It originates in the Cordillera Occidental and flows into the Gulf of Urabá in the Caribbean Sea.
CIÉNAGAS = SWAMPS
There are about 1,900 swamps that cover more than 7,800 square kilometres of the Colombian territory.
REPRESA = DAM - = EMBALSE = RESERVOIR
LAGO = LAKE - LAGUNA = MINOR LAKE