Visit the Colombian Amazon from Leticia
The Colombian Amazon, for decades shunned by visitors concerned about security, is now peaceful and slowly opening up to tourism. Colombian families are now joined by overseas visitors keen to experience a genuine, time-ignorant Amazonian ambience before the commercial big hitters move in.
Wander the mango tree-shaded streets of an unmodernised Leticia. The modestly sized but principal port hosts a thriving market with rainbow-coloured mountains of exotic fruits and freshly landed fish, and a crowded dock where fishing boats and dugout canoes jostle with traditional wooden Amazon river vessels and zippy motor launches.
The river dominates the town: rickety houses on stilts crowd the waterline, and works art - sculptures and murals featuring dolphins and indigenous icons decorate public buildings and squares. If you stay at one of the modest but well-equipped hotels here you can also experience the invasion of parrots in Parque Santander at sunset – a glorious feast of colour and sound.
Outside town, visit the well-run Tanimboca Nature Reserve (11km away) offering jungle walks, zip lines and kayaking, Puerto Nariño, a delightful and tranquil eco-village 75km upstream, Tabatinga on the Brazilian side of the border and Isla Rosa or San Antonio settlements on the Peruvian side. You can visit all three countries in one day. It’s only a short boat ride to visit any of a number of welcoming, unspoilt riverside indigenous settlements such as Mocagua, or Marashá in Peru.
Tropical wildlife can be spotted along the river with grey and pink dolphins breaching the water’s surface on the Amazon and lagoons: a glorious sight at any time but especially at sunset.