Overview

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.

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Off the beaten track Colombia: San Agustin and the Amazon

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Where to go when - our guide to The Colombian Amazon

Sunset in the Amazon

The weather in The Colombian Amazon is wide and varied

While much of the Colombian Amazon is inaccessible, you can visit the jumbly river port of Leticia and the charming eco-village of Puerto Nariño at any time of year. Here the seasons are split roughly in two, with the rainier season from Dec - Jun and the drier season Jul - Nov. During the rainier season, water levels in the rivers are high and many areas of the jungle flood. While some walking trails become inaccessible, you’ll have the chance to kayak through flooded parts of the rainforest. Temperatures at this time are hot, often over 30°C, and humidity is high. During the drier season the water levels lower, particularly in September - November, and there are fewer mosquitos. Most trails will now be accessible so you can hike further into the jungle, and chances of wildlife spotting are best this time of year. Temperatures are sweltering, sometimes over 40°C in the strong sun.

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    Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert

    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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