Are you heading to Leticia? Aka Colombia’s gateway to the amazon. Excellent decision for Colombia and yourself. Keep on reading for your welcoming guide to one of the worlds most fascinating regions.
Oh the amazon. The beauty, the heat, and the mosquitos. It’s hard to articulate what you are heading into as the experience you have is highly dependent on the plethora of choices at your disposal. Now I won’t dive deep into your tour options on this post but just realize you aren’t going to be eye to eye with Jaguars and Pumas or have your hands ripped off by Piranhas.
Before arriving to Leticia my assumptions of this place were few and far between. I thought I would arrive to a city built into the jungle with little to no electricity, or really anything. Surprisingly, Leticia is WELL STOCKED with just about everything and anything you will need. (Strong WIFI isn’t there yet)
Where is Leticia located?
Situated at the intersection of Colombia, Peru, and Brazil, this area is also called the Tres Fronteras. Leticia offers the chance to hit 3 countries in one day. As cool as that is, the real beauty lies deep in the Selva (Jungle). Once you have taken the chance to explore Leticia and the 2 other intersecting countries, get out deeper into the jungle. However, before you arrive, here are some realities of Leticia.
Money: Because like the WU-Tang Clan has preached for the last 20 years, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” (For those not familiar with the reference, video below).
Don’t worry if you forgot to withdraw cash before your flight or boat ride. Leticia has more Cajeros (ATMS) than free drinks at ladies night.
Where to stay in Leticia?
Worried your jungle trip is going to break the bank? Don’t be, it’s not! (Unless you’re balling out) Leticia is developed enough to provide more options than a Peyton Manning play call. Various types of lodging here that will keep even the most frugal shoestring backpacker with deep pockets. My hostel cost 20,000 COP/night and most fluctuate between 20,000 COP – 30,000 COP.
Where and what will I eat in Leticia?
Most meals will consist of some type of Fish, Rice and Yucca. You also have your typical Colombian specialties of: Empanadas, Tamales, or Hamburgers readily available. Notable restaurant is:
Tierras Amazonicas. Sample the Piranha here. Yes, Piranha. Also, a typical Amazonas food, Casabe. Crispy flat bread made from Yucca. Often served with some type of meat and vegetables.
Will I have connection in Leticia?
Cell Service: Not the best, but you will most likely have a signal. As far as needing connection? You’re in the Amazon; disconnect for a little bit.
WIFI: Pretty brutal upload and download speeds, BUT it works. Don’t count on basing yourself here for a job where you need to be connected. Emails and posting a picture here or there will suffice.
Clothes, Chargers. Etc: They have it all here. Don’t sweat anymore than you have to because whatever you forgot is likely down at one of the many storefront shops.
Tours: Like I said I will dive deeper in another post but make sure to check out more than just Leticia. Need yourself a starting point? Puerto Narino will suffice
Expected daily costs of Leticia excluding tours: $15. This number can easily be higher or lower but this is a rough estimate.
What can I do in Leticia?
Leticia being the gateway to the jungle, is a fantastic home base for your jungle explorations. While waiting for your jungle explorations or your departing flight, here are some activities to keep yourself busy.
- Santander Park – Around 5:30pm everyday, thousands of parrots gather to deliver what might be the real call of the wild. A cacophony that can’t be missed, or unheard for that matter. Stroll the park or admire from the church across the street for a small 3,000 COP donation.
- Mercado – Leticia’s market is unique as you get a first hand look at what the river provides for the community. Take an early morning stroll and be amazed at the diversity of creatures that come from just down the street.
- Tres Fronteras – Not a single spot but a days worth of two new countries to check off the list. I’m talking about you Peru & Brazil. Here is my day guide to how you can easily spend a day making the most of your day in each country. How to Visit 3 Countries in one day from Leticia, Colombia
Now for most of you & MYSELF, safety is a big concern when visiting an unfamiliar city or country. So I will address what most of you are probably concerned about…..
How Safe is Leticia?
Safe. According to most locals, Leticia is actually one of the safer places of Colombia. Now I’m not advocating you to go walk around with all your valuables in plain sight and leave your cash stash out but exercise same caution as anywhere and keep your head on a swivel.
How Big is Leticia?
Leticia is quite small so it’s to easy acquaint yourself with the surroundings. Everything is walkable but if you do need a ride anywhere, Tuk-Tuks and motorbikes are almost more present than people.
Where to next after Leticia?
Heading back to Bogota from Leticia? Don’t miss your flight as prices can vary significantly day to day. Need some ideas of what to do in Bogota? Here is a welcoming guide to help situate yourself in the city.
Take a slow or fast boat to:
- Iquitos, Peru
- Manaus, Brazil
Have you experienced the Colombian amazon or any amazon for that matter? Drop a line to share your experience or give some more ideas for my return trip to this region.