The Colombian Amazon is undoubtedly an unmissable destination for travelers looking to have close contact with natural wealth and with some of the best preserved cultures in the world.
The Colombian Amazon is a place where 212 species of mammals, 195 reptiles, 674 birds, 28 indigenous guards and more than 20,000 types of plants live. An ideal destination for those seeking peace in nature, and the adrenaline that generates the unexplored.
Updated information August 2019
10 PLACES YOU CAN VISIT IN THE COLOMBIAN AMAZON
Among the wide variety of places to visit in the Colombian Amazon, we have highlighted 10 destinations where you can get close to nature, go for ecological walks, sighting of flora and fauna, ethnotourism and some adventure sports.
HOW TO GET TO LETICIA FROM BOGOTÁ?
Leticia is the capital of the Colombian Amazon. Getting to Leticia from Bogotá is very easy, every day there are two direct flights, each one takes 2 hours to arrive and you can buy them here from $180,000 COP.
At Leticia airport you have to pay a tourist tax of $32,000 COP and take a taxi to the river port for $10,000 COP. Getting around the Amazon is very easy, just keep in mind that the speedboat schedule is 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 m. and 2 p.m., and the trips are obtained from $25,000 COP.
Now that you know how to get to the Colombian Amazon, it is time to show you 10 places and recommended plans to know the biodiversity of the “lung of the world” in all its splendor.
Leticia is the gateway to the Colombian Amazon and there you can meet the Amazonian Ethnographic Museum, contemplate the birds of the Santander Park, navigate the river, take night walks and participate in workshops of indigenous crafts.
Around Leticia you will find nature reserves such as Tanimboca, Calanoa, Victoria Regia and Tucuchira. También, you can visit Tikuna indigenous communities, and travel to the Tabatinga (Brazil) and Santa Rosa (Peru) villages.
In Leticia you have several lodging alternatives, some of the most recognized are Decameron Ticuna and Hotel On Vacation, and some more interesting and private like the Kurupira Floating Cabin, Omshanty Jungle Lodge and Amazon Bed And Breakfast Hotel.
When booking your stay, keep in mind that in most hotels, hostels and nature reserves on the outskirts of Leticia, the energy supply is usually 11 a.m. at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at 10 p.m. and the wi-fi and cellular connection is precarious or non-existent.
In your travel budget do not forget to include the tourist tax that costs $32,000 COP and that you must pay when entering Leticia.
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2. PUERTO NARIÑO
Puerto Nariño is one of the quietest places in Colombia. A municipality that is in the middle of the rainforest and on the banks of the Amazon River, where the most beautiful thing to visit is to be able to walk through its small 100% pedestrian streets.
You can reach Puerto Nariño on your own in a speedboat from Leticia for about $32,000 COP. In Puerto Nariño you must go up to the Naipata viewpoint, go to the Tarapoto lakes in search of pink dolphins, visit the community of Mocagua and the Amacayacu National Natural Park.
In Puerto Nariño you can spend the night in the Hotel Lomas del Paiyü, Reserva Natura Park, Flor de la Selva, Waira Selva Hotel, Casa Ayahuasca, Maloca Napu, Eware Refugio Amazónico or can you take this package that includes lodging, food and guided tours.
In Puerto Nariño there is 24-hour electricity, the cell phone signal works regularly and there is a free Wifi point. Upon entering this town of the Colombian Amazon you must pay a tourist tax of $12,000 COP.
3. LAKES OF TARAPOTO AND LORETOYACU
The Tarapoto wetland complex is a system of approximately 30 lakes that are located less than 15 minutes from Puerto Nariño and 80 kilometers from Leticia. An area inhabited by the Ticuna, Yagua and Cocama indigenous communities, and declared in 2018 the first Ramsar wetland of the Colombian Amazon.
A natural habitat where during the rainy months it can house up to 900 species of plants, 250 different species of birds, 200 mammals, 170 fish, 60 amphibians and 30 reptiles, where you can swim and learn from the artisanal fishing.
The lakes of Tarapoto is a protected ecosystem that is home to black caiman, piranhas, pink and gray dolphins, and pirarucú, the second largest freshwater fish in the world.
The lakes can be crossed by boat from Puerto Nariño, and along the route you can see rubber trees and red cedar, eagles, herons, river dolphins and kingfishers, and if you are lucky you can even see some lazy bears and monkeys.
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4. MOCAGUA AND MAIKUCHIGA FOUNDATION
Mocagua is a Tikuna community that is dedicated to the conservation of the ecosystem by monitoring primates and animals in the jungle, victims of illegal traffic, who are rescued, fed and cared for until they are strong enough to be reinserted into nature.
In Mocagua you can walk through the town and get to know the murals that illustrate the Amazonian environment and group the families under clans represented by pink dolphins, jaguars, manatees, pyrarucús, toucans, butterflies and royal victories. An ideal place to learn the indigenous worldview, the traditional Pelazon and go to the Maikuchiga Foundation.
In Mocagua, in addition to visiting the Maikuchiga Foundation and touring its murals, you can see pink dolphins, know the royal victory, enjoy the exquisite cuisine of La Ceiba and take a boat to Vista Alegre, in Peru, to look for the nocturnal monkey in its natural habitat.
You can reach Mocagua from Leticia by boat, the journey is 1 hour and a half along the Amazon River, and each journey is obtained from $30,000 COP. In the community you can spend the night in La Ceiba and in Awake.travel you can book your trip with dolphin watching, night walk and visit the Musmuki project in Vista Alegre.
5. TANIMBOCA NATURAL RESERVE
The Tanimboca Nature Reserve is a place where you can understand how nature reserves work for conservation, protection and research, delight in the delicious dishes of the Amazon region and spend the night over the treetops.
You can also find ecological trails where you can go hiking, and you can even take a night walk. An experience without equal, extremely sensory, in which you can perceive the sounds and smells of the jungle and observe animals that only come out at night.
In the Tanimboca Nature Reserve, you will also have the possibility of climbing to a height of 35 meters, where a set of 4 observation platforms connected to each other, will wait for you with one of the most exciting canopy and rappel routes in the world.
In addition, if you arrive to the Colombian Amazon in the rainy season or high waters, you will have the possibility of kayaking the Yahuarcaca River, a kayak tour of approximately one hour down the different lakes and surrounded by the jungle landscape.
If you arrive in low water season and it is not possible to go kayaking, do not worry, you can do an equally fascinating activity: tour the jungle in the company of an expert guide who will teach you a lot about native plants and animals.
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6. CALANOA NATURAL RESERVE
The Calanoa Nature Reserve is a protected area 60 kilometers from Leticia, on the banks of the Amazon River and right next to the Amacayacu Natural National Park and several Tikuna, Cocama, Huitoto and Bora indigenous communities. A perfect place to explore the jungle and learn about the cultural and environmental diversity present in the Colombian Amazon.
In this natural reserve of the Colombian Amazon, you can do activities such as artisanal fishing in the company of natives, and boat trips to San Martín de Amacayacu or Palmeras, two small towns in the middle of the jungle, where you can appreciate their traditional agriculture and enter the vastness of Amacayacu.
An unmissable plan in the Colombian Amazon, which will allow you to live a cultural exchange with the Shamans and indigenous spiritual leaders, in which you will learn some ancestral knowledge and approach rituals that will help you connect your body and mind with nature.
In the Calanoa Nature Reserve you will find accommodation services, jungle excursions, bird watching, tours related to indigenous arts and crafts, and an incredible place to spend a totally different honeymoon.
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7. NATURA PARK NATURAL RESERVE
La Natura Park Nature Reserve is located on the banks of the Amazon River, a magical place where you will find the ideal activities and spaces to connect with nature, admire unexplored landscapes and fill you with peace.
In this natural reserve of the Colombian Amazon you will discover one of the wildest and most exuberant areas of Colombia. A destination where you can do ecological walks, and know the Ceiba, the tallest tree in the Amazon, and giant water lilies, which grow in the waters of the world’s largest river.
In the Natura Park Reserve, you can also fish, bathe in blue clay and be part of a tattoo shop made with huito, a plant native to northern South America, and even if you want, you can ask the indigenous people to tattoo you one and understand The reason why they get tattooed.
Natura Park is 1 hour by river from Leticia, and if you don’t want to get involved with transportation, Here you can book your visit with transportation and guide included, and here you can book cabins from $70,000 COP.
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8. NATURAL RESERVE VICTORIA REGIA
A 15-minute boat ride from Leticia you can reach the Victoria Regia Nature Reserve, a natural site that has several trails to explore the jungle, enjoy the flora and fauna of the Colombian Amazon.
A place famous for housing the largest lotus plantation in the Colombian Amazon, and that has installed several bridges and docks where you can find beautiful macaws, and from which it is possible to appreciate the beauty of the lotus flower.
Victoria Regia is a water lily originating from the shallow waters of the Amazon River basin, with leaves up to three meters wide that float on the surface of the water and hold up to 80 pounds on its leaves.
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9. AMACAYACU NATIONAL NATURAL PARK
The jungle and the Amazon River meet in Amacayacu. One of the national natural parks of Colombia richer in primates, amphibians, birds, fish and home to indigenous Ticuna peoples.
Although the park’s visitor center is currently closed to the public, the Amacayacu National Natural Park is an unmissable plan on your trip to the Colombian Amazon, as it is still possible to know a part of it through the indigenous towns of San Martín and Mocagua.
So if you want to explore the jungles and territories of the indigenous communities of San Martín de Amacayacu and Mocagua, you can take a boat from Leticia that takes you along the Amazon River to Bocas de Amacayacu, there you can continue your boat trip to the Nainekü Lodge, spend the night and walk the park trails.
In the park you can go canoeing on the Amacayacu River, swim, walk through the jungle, share with the community of San Martin, visit the sanctuary of the Maikuchiga monkeys, do night tours in the middle of the jungle.
10. TUCUCHIRA NATURAL RESERVE
The Tucuchira Nature Reserve is located 32 kilometers from Leticia, in the Santa Sofía indigenous shelter of the Tikuna ethnic group, which is made up of the Yaguas, Progreso, Loma linda, Nuevo Jardín and Santa Sofía villages.
An ecotourism proposal that is based on two pillars, cultural immersion and interaction with nature, that’s why you’ll find rural, social and environmental development projects, craft workshops, reforestation processes, wildlife observation, artisanal fishing and agrotourism activities
To get to the Tucuchira Natural Reserve you must arrive by boat to the community of Santa Sofia, and there you will have to walk about 20 minutes to the center of the town and then another 20 minutes through the jungle until you reach the reserve.
Keep in mind that in Tucuchira you will not have electricity or data signal, so take it as a great opportunity to disconnect from the world, take night walks through the jungle in search of tarantulas and snakes, learn about traditional medicine and know the legend of the Machaca.
OTHER PLANS IN THE COLOMBIAN AMAZON
A. THREE BORDERS IN THE COLOMBIAN AMAZON
Colombia, Peru, and Brazil converge in different parts of the Amazon. The jungle landscapes do not understand borders, and from Leticia you can start an exciting canoe ride on the Amazon River that will take you first to Pueblo Iceland, a Peruvian town located on the banks of the Yavarí River, and the Brazilian municipality Benjamin Constant.
After visiting Benjamin Constant you will continue sailing along the Amazon River to the Peruvian island of Santa Rosa, you will know the Gamboa gorge, you can take a hiking route and learn about the customs of the indigenous tribes that inhabit the depths of the jungle.
B. AMAZONIAN WORLD ECOLOGICAL PARK
The Mundo Amazónico Ecological Park is an environmental interpretation center that has collections of endemic and fruit plants of the Amazon. An enclosure that highlights the importance of caring for the environment, and perhaps it is one of the must-see places in the Colombian Amazon to enjoy in the company of children.
In this park you can visit the botanical garden, the aquarium with Amazonian fish, some paths through the jungle and the typical Malacas of the Amazon. In addition, you can meet a representative sample of the indigenous cultures of the region and enjoy local lunch.
Getting to the Mundo Amazónico Ecological Park is very easy, since you can do it on your own, taking a bus or a motorcycle taxi from Leticia, the route is about 15 minutes and the tours can be hired in the park from $60,000 COP.
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C. MARASHA NATURAL RESERVE
The Marasha Nature Reserve is located in the Peruvian Amazon and the most special of this, beyond its many activities of kayaking, hiking or night safari in which it is possible to see the black alligator, is that it rises over the river and gives a gift of the best views of the Amazon jungle.
Getting to the Marasha Nature Reserve from Leticia is very simple, since you only have to sail about 30 minutes by boat on the Amazon River.
TIPS TO TRAVEL SAFELY TO THE AMAZON COLOMBIAN
Traveling to the Colombian Amazon is very easy, just keep these recommendations in mind to travel safely:
1. In the Colombian Amazon there is no presence of what is or was the armed conflict or of acting armed groups outside the Law, so it is a very safe destination. Of course, you should always take care of your personal belongings.
2. Take a small medicine cabinet with the necessary medicine, such as antihistamines and analgesics. Wear swamp boots, flashlight, sunscreen, insect repellent and a sealed bag to protect your equipment from moisture.
3. Get vaccinated against yellow fever at least 10 days in advance. In addition, other vaccines, such as tetanus and hepatitis A and B, are recommended.
4. Remember that animals are part of nature, so respect their space, avoid over-photographing them and using the flash. Do not hire tours or visit places that promote animal exploitation or abuse indigenous communities.
The best thing is that any season of the year has a world of possibilities to travel to the Colombian Amazon. According to its inhabitants, the less rainy months are usually between July to October, and from November to May is the greatest rainy season.
We hope that this guide to travel to the Amazon will be very useful and that it will help you live a responsible and enriching experience for both you and the communities that host you.
IN ADDITION TO THE COLOMBIAN AMAZON, YOU CAN VISIT:
Somos un medio de comunicación que conecta viajeros amantes de la naturaleza y la aventura con historias que inspiran a descubrir la Colombia inexplorada.