As with the other Andean countries which share territory in the Amazon basin, Colombian Amazonia occupies a third of the national territory but is cut off both physically and culturally from the rest of the country. But with a rich ecosystem hosting a staggering array of tropical flora and fauna, and distinctive indigenous communities sprinkled along the river banks, it’s a beguiling destination for adventurous travellers.
With a history of disputed borders, the region has passed through turbulent times is now regarded as safe and peaceful, and tourism - still in its infancy among foreign visitors - is on the up. Little English is spoken, but the people are very friendly, and offer a genuine welcome.
There are no roads here. The only municipalities in Colombian Amazonas are the jumbly river port Leticia - accessible only by a two-hour flight from Bogotá and locally by river - and the idiosyncratic eco-village Puerto Nariño, reached solely by boat. The remaining 22 mostly riverside indigenous settlements - where there is no concept of private property and where evangelical churches thrive - earn a living from fishing, farming and a little tourism and are run by traditional self-governing councils.
The timeless, languid pace of life here in the sultry rainforest, where the seasonal rising and falling of the river’s water level is the most significant annual event, contrasts markedly from the rest of Colombia. Perhaps there is more in common here with the Amazonia of Brazil and Peru, the borders with which converge on Leticia, and which you can visit on the same day.