Guaviare River: map, and all you need to know about it

If you want to know all about one of Colombia’s largest rivers, I invite you to read all about the beautiful Guaviare River and the threat it faces.

Río Guaviare

The Guaviare River is the result of the union of two rivers, the Ariari and the Guayabero, which originate in the eastern mountain range of Colombia, make their long journey and then donate their waters to the Orinoco River.

This mighty river has as a tributary the Irinida, a few kilometres from the town of El Coco, when the Irinida joins the Guaviare, the spectacle is very similar to the union of the Orinoco with the Caroni, also receiving the waters of the pipes La Tigrera, Rico, Macú and Aceite, making a journey of one thousand four hundred and ninety seven kilometres, it is not navigable in its entirety, only six hundred and thirty kilometres and only small barges can pass, especially those used to transport goods. (see article: Cauca River)


The Guaviare River is of great importance to the department of the same name, and to San José del Guaviare in particular, as its waters serve as a means of transport, allowing its inhabitants to communicate with the rest of the communities.

There is a military checkpoint in San José, which facilitates the control of goods and prevents smuggling. The Guaviare River has two airfields, in San José and Miraflores, which serve to connect the area to the capital.

Map of the Guaviare River

The map below shows the course of the Guaviare River.

rio guaviare mapa

This beautiful river forms the border between the departments of Guaviare and Meta in the east, between the departments of Guaviare and Guainía in the north, and between the departments of Meta and Vichada in the south, before joining the Orinoco at the Venezuelan border in the state of Amazonas (see article Amazonas River).

Its first inhabitants were indigenous peoples such as the Piapoco, Nukak, Sikuani, Tinigua, Guayabero and Puinave, who lived near the river, surrounded by gallery forests and rainforest, and remained so for many years. With colonisation, the tribes disappeared until very few were left, and with the growth of cattle ranching, there was a change, the forest was reduced and the savannahs expanded.

rio guaviare bosqueThe Guaviare River had a large number of rubber trees, which led to the establishment of rubber collection centres at the end of the 19th century. It was not until the 1960s that agriculture and cattle ranching began, and by the 1980s this had increased greatly due to the growth of illicit coca cultivation.


Cacao is another product grown on the banks of the river. The Guaviare River is a great source of fishing, and due to its long course, a large number of species can be found for the consumption of its inhabitants and for trade.

Unfortunately, its banks are used for illegal activities and have been taken over by Colombian guerrillas and paramilitaries. A civil war is being fought on its banks between these groups and the army.

rio guaviare seco

There are oil reserves in the Guaviare River, and the government has issued the necessary permits for their exploitation, without first studying the methods that these companies will use to extract the oil. It should be noted that these companies only want to extract crude oil, without respecting the environment.

All this has been happening since 2013, the technology that these companies want to use is harmful to the entire ecosystem, it is a technique called “star” that consists of burning the oil well and with this to extract a high percentage of the crude that the deposit has, to extract the rest they have to burn again with greater intensity.

rio aeropuerto

This would turn the Guaviare River into a desert, an environmental genocide. The call is for the government and the companies to wait for the appropriate technology to be developed to remove the oil without harming the environment.

Despite all these problems surrounding the Guaviare River, it never ceases to amaze us with its beautiful scenery and leads us to look at the beautiful side it has, such as the dolphins, the great variety of fish including catfish, bocachico, among others.

As for birds we have a great variety, we can enjoy all those that inhabit the Amazon as parrots, hawks, toucans, etc.. You can also see macaws, snakes, wild pigs and many more.

rio guaviare union

In the river Guaviare they built a great bridge to connect the Colombian Orinoquia with the centre of the country, it is called Puerto Arturo Bridge, it is located on the road Villavicencio – Granada – San José del Guaviare.

In this short video you can see a tour of the Guaviare River, not only the water but also its surroundings, I invite you to enjoy it.

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