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  • Writer's pictureJuan Aponte

Leticia, Colombia: Gateway to the Amazon Rainforest

Leticia is the southernmost city in Colombia and Colombia’s gateway to the Amazon. It borders Santa Rosa, Peru to the west and Tabatinga, Brazil to the south. This area is known as the “Tres Fronteras”, the tripoint where the borders meet.

There’s not much going on in Leticia. We only stopped here to do an Amazon tour and then head to Iquitos, Peru via fast boat from Santa Rosa. Spanish is the most widely spoken language. There are quite a few accommodation options with most of them offering tours into the Amazon.

Getting To Leticia/Immigration:

There are various ways to get to Leticia. I was in Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympic Games with a group of friends and took a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Tabatinga with a connection in Manaus. Once in Tabatinga, our hostel hosts picked us up from the airport and took us straight to the immigration office. We already had an entry stamp into Brazil(Entry to Brazil via flight to Rio) and only needed an exit stamp at immigration. We then proceeded to Leticia and we all thought we needed Colombian entry stamps, but our hosts said we didn’t need one. Maybe because we were only staying for a day? Not really sure, but we made it!

If you’re heading to Peru afterwards(we were heading to Iquitos), you’ll need an entry stamp at the immigration office in Santa Rosa. Our tour guide took us to the immigration office after our tour, but the office was closed. Luckily, the immigration officer lives in the building so we kept knocking on the door until he opened.

FYI: Yellow Fever Vaccination Card is required. We were never asked for it, but I would get vaccinated and get the card if I were you just to be safe and not encounter any issues.

Amazon Tour:

The Amazon is extensive and this tour is an awesome way to experience a little bit of what the Amazon is like. The tour is about 8 hours long so make sure you are mentally and physically prepared. Below is a list of activities you’ll do while on the Amazon tour:

1. Isla de los Micos: As soon as you arrive, you’ll be flocked by squirrel monkeys. Monkeys are one of my favorite animals and this day was already turning out to be one of the best days ever. The staff will attract the monkeys with bananas and whistling sounds. Make sure you’re not wearing any jewelry that’s hanging, sunglasses, and/or hats as the moneys tend to take them. I had a fedora and sunglasses on, but the monkeys didn’t take them - they tried though.

2. Macedonia, Amazonas: It’s home to the Tikuna tribe. This is a perfect place to interact with the indigenous people and learn about their culture. I had a blast and their performance they did for us was beyond amazing.

3. Puerto Narino: It’s a small village where cars are banned. There are no roads and only sidewalks. Interesting village due to its strong commitment on protecting the environment. Lunch will be served here where you’ll get a chance to try local traditional dishes. We also ended up playing basketball with the local kids- they thought we were stars.

4. Tarapotos Lake: A jungle lake with huge water lilies. It’s home to the pink dolphin, but unfortunately, we didn’t see any :(

5. Puerto Alegria: Located on the Peruvian side of the Amazon. You will get a chance to see, hold, and take pictures with wild animals - sloths, caimans, macaws, parrots, monkeys, and anacondas. Kinda shady because the animals appear to be in captivity. Wild animals belong in their natural habitat!

Food & Drinks

I highly recommend you get tamales from the street vendors. The tamales were probably the best I’ve ever had. They don’t look very appealing, but once you bite down on one you’ll know why I think they’re the best I’ve ever had. They sell vegetable, pork, chicken, and all 3 combined. I had the chicken one and the interesting part about it was there’s a chicken leg inside the tamale.

Restaurante Punto Lounge:

A restaurant and bar that offers South American and Colombian dishes. We were recommended here by our hostel and since they know the owners, our drinks and starters were free. Great service. Close to the Brazilian border.

Carrera 4 5 -70, Leticia 910008, Colombia

Legends Rock Bar:

A rock bar with great music, decent priced drinks, and an amazing atmosphere. We went here with the hostel owners and they showed us a great time. Highly recommend this place for a low-key night.

Carrera 9 número 5 A - 123

Leticia, Amazonas

Next blog will be about Iquitos!!

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