Leticia is the Southernmost city of the country and one of the major ports on the Amazon river. The city is located in an area called “Tres Fronteras” (3 borders) as it’s at the junction of 3 countries’ borders: Peru, Brazil and Colombia. Agriculture and tourism are the main sources of income for the city.
Leticia is adjoining the Brazilian city of Tabatinga and therefore the two cities cooperate closely. On the other side of the river, on Peru’s territory, you’ll find Santa Rosa. It’s actually quite easy to travel from one city to the other and it’s unrestricted as long as you stay in this area.
If you wish to go further “inland” in Brazil or Peru, make sure to stamp your passport…
non-Colombian citizens have to pay the “impuesto al turismo” upon arrival (around 20.000COP).
Leticia – WHAT TO DO
Leticia being in the Amazon forest the main attractions are nature-orientated.
Firstly, general indications which could be of great help: Leticia is in a tropical area with high humidity levels (average of 86% yearly), frequent rain (the “dryer” season being in July/August and the wettest being January) and high temperature (average temperatures: 30°).
Because of all those factors, mosquitoes are legions and a real pain if you don’t protect yourself properly. Apart from the itchiness of their bites, they also transmit nasty diseases.
Vaccination against yellow fever is therefore compulsory (it’s free in Colombia, can be done at the Bogotà airport or any vaccination centre…
Ask for “la vacuna gratuita contra la fiebre amarilla” 😉 ), vaccination for other diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus and rabies are highly recommended. Keep in mind that some vaccinations have side effects such as fever or stiffness for several days after the injection and it generally takes around 2 weeks for them to be effective. So you better anticipate!
Museo etnografico (ethnographic Museum), situated next to the Parque Santander, this little free museum is about amazonian cultural diversity and shows native amazonian tribes’ objects (Ticuna, Huitoto, and Yucuna indigenous groups) such as tools, weapons and masks. It also Explanation boards are both in English and Spanish.
Orellana and Santander parks are the main parks of the city. Nothing much to say about those parks except for the Santander park who’s famous for the ballet of thousands of parrots coming at sunset to rest for the night. If you ask nicely at the church next to the park, you’ll get access to the church’s bell tower to watch the show. A small donation is required (COP 2,500). The tower also offers a nice view over the city and the Amazon river.
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El Parque Ecológico Mundo Amazónico (Amazon world Ecological park)
is an environmental learning center about endemic Amazonian plants and fruits. There’s also an aquarium where exotic fishes are displayed. It’s a great place for families with kids. The park is located 15 minutes away from Leticia.
Parque Nacional Natural Amacayacu
It is the only area in the system of parks in Colombia that conserves flooded forest of the Amazon River. Those flooded areas are drastically different during the year depending on the rainfalls.
During the dry season (around September), the river banks are bare and as rain increases, the river’s water level reaches 10 meters of flood (around May), in an area of at least 500 meters of flooded forest on the banks of the Amazon.
The forest accommodates hundreds of animals, such as the world’s smallest monkey “el tití leoncito”, caymans, snakes, jaguar, manatí, pink dolphins etc…The park is also the house of the ticunas, indigenous people living in the Amazonian forest in Colombia as well as in Peru and Brazil.
Isla de los Micos (Monkeys island, and no, we’re not talking about a video game… 😉 )
After a 45-minute-boat ride from Leticia, you will reach this island where you will meet with the island’s inhabitants : monkeys! Trails across the island gives you the opportunity to identify different species. To complete the experience, you can visit the flooded areas with a tour in a typical canoë. Going until the Tucuchira lake, you will discover the fishermen’s traditional fishing technique.
Is a small town located 85 km from Leticia and the only way to reach it is by boat. The city being “motor-free”, there are no cars / motorbike around and walking or taking a boat is the only ways to move around.
Apart from the forest hiking, visit Tarapoto Lake. 2kms away from Puerto Nariño, where pink and grey dolphins can be encountered (best chances to see them is either early morning or late afternoon), Lake Tarapoto is a must see in the area. Puerto Nariño is also a good place to try piranhas fishing.
are “kayak-friendly” and nearer from Leticia (around 2kms from the city) than Tarapoto lake. Along the way on the river, you’ll see numerous plants and trees such as rubber trees, red cedars and the famous “Victoria Regia” -the biggest water lily in the world- to name but a few.
Among the trees, eagles, herons and monkeys catch travellers’ eyes and if you’re lucky, you’ll meet up with pink dolphins They can access the lake as it flows into the river Amazonas.
Reserva natural Tanimboca
It’s an ecolodge in the middle of a natural reserve. Rooms are nestled on treetops like “Malokas”, traditional indigenous houses. From there, you can hike in the lush jungle, fish, kayak or take a canopy tour, you choose!
They also have a serpentarium. If you choose to stay there, bare in mind that the property being located 1 km inside the Natural Reserve, check-in must be done before nightfall (5pm).
Leticia – HOW TO GET THERE
As there is no roads leading to Leticia, there’s only 2 ways to reach that city : by boat or by plane.
From Colombia, Latam and Avianca airlines flies there from Bogota.
From Brazil, flights departs from Tefé or Manaus and lands in Tabatinga, the Brazilian “twin city” of Leticia.
You’ll have to depart from Iquitos or Santa Rosa on the Peru’s side or from Manaus on the Brazilian side ( this boat stops at Tabatinga).
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