The history of the Amazon region in Colombia dates back to the year 1532 when colonization by the Spanish Crown was in full swing.
Francisco De Orellana was the first conqueror to reach the area, after having undertaken a tour of the river that he later called Dos Amazonas.
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Peru and Brazil launched a series of attempts to annex this territory and after several conflicts, Colombia now only retains one outlet to the Amazon River.
On July 6 1991 the Department of Amazonas was created, one of the most recent in Colombia. It is the largest Department in Colombia but also the least densely populated.
Most of the population lives in and around Leticia, the capital and major trade center. Founded originally as a military garrison and river port by the Peruvians in 1867, the jungle pueblo passed into Colombian hands in the 1930s. Despite recent growth and the introduction of tourism with regular air service, Leticia retains the atmosphere of an outpost.
No usable roads penetrate the rainforest so travel is entirely by river or air.}
Colombia has more than 87 different indigenous peoples, although they make up only a small percentage of the country´s inhabitants. They have a rich cultural diversity and therefore a great impact on customs and traditions throughout the country.
The most numerous are Curripaco, Puinaba, Wayu, Piapoco, Tucano, Desano, and Ticuna.
Present-day Amazon territory is believed to have been populated originally from the north by nomadic groups of hunters and gatherers. At that time the climate was significantly drier than today and large areas of what is now jungle were probably savannahs. In the following millennia, the climate became more humid and the jungle expanded. The inhabitants gradually came to depend on fishing and agriculture. During this time that the culture of the rainforest was developed.
Rain forests are bursting with life. Not only do millions of species of plants and animals live in rainforests, but people also call rainforests their home. In reality, indigenous people have lived in rainforests for many thousands of years. Many indigenous people still live much as did their ancestors all those years before them.
These communities organize their daily lives differently from ours. Their food, medicines, and clothing come primarily from the forest.
Indigenous people revere the forest that, until today, has protected them from outsiders and given them everything they need.
Amazon indigenous tribes, who depend on the rainforest for their culture and survival, say forests have a spiritual rather than an economic value.
They live a sustainable existence and consequently use the land without doing harm to the plants and animals that also call the forest their home.
*If you’re the type of traveler that loves nature and culture, then check out our 4-Days el Guaviare – Rock paintings & amazon jungle
Traditionally indigenous groups in the Amazon venerated many different gods, animals, and objects. Most gods were linked to nature and most cultures believed in animism, meaning they thought every object and thing possesses a divine spirit. A wise indigenous man once said “the earth is our historian, our educator, the provider of our food, medicine, clothing, and protection. She is the mother of our race.”
There is a direct relationship between humanity, spirits, and nature. Any action, any intervention has a consequence. We all breathe the same air.
Ever since the Spanish invaders arrived the indigenous have faced repression, exploitation and displacement. Only since 1991 have they achieved equal rights, yet in spite of all these difficulties most of them urge us to conserve their cultural traditions.
Amazonian indigenous peoples sometimes spread across borders, inhabiting two or three countries without regard for geopolitical boundaries.
The climate in Leticia is hot, humid, and overcast. During the course of the year, temperatures vary from 71f/22c to 88f/31c and rarely go below 74f/24c or above 93f/34c. The Amazonas is a tropical rainy jungle, varying between humid and very humid, with rainfall between 2,550ml/100” and 4,250ml/167” per year.
A tropical monsoon climate, marked by one or more dry months, but still supporting rainforest vegetation.
Get all the information you need to start planning your trip to this magnificent destination, check the weather and climate facts of Amazon here!
Adventure awaits you in this remote jungle of Colombia. The Amazon is not only one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, but it is also rich in ancient wisdom and traditions preserved by the indigenous communities inhabiting the area.
If you are a traveler who relishes immersing yourself in nature, then this is perfect for you. Here you interact with the environment in a unique way and experience virgin territories where you can meet native communities and witness their mysterious rituals.
The small pueblo is the capital of the Amazonas Department and is located right on the border with Brazil and Peru. Daily flights connect with Bogotá.
Hotels, restaurants, and some tourist attractions are found here, but in truth, there is little to do in Leticia. but it is an excellent base for your trip to the Colombia Rainforest.
This antiquated Amazonian pueblo is inhabited mainly by indigenous communities. The only way to get there is by boat and the place is entirely car-free. The village is a remarkable model for sustainable living and a testimony that people and nature can co-exist peacefully.
Amacayacu National Park:
Reached by boat from Leticia the park is massive. Home to over 5,000 plant species and more than 450 varieties of birds.
The Ticuna people, who assist the park administration, will share their experiences living in the jungle and will be your hosts. There are also many trekking trails and surveillance places where you can witness species that are in danger of extinction.
Exploring this island is one of the most enchanting happenings in all of the Amazonas. Passing along trails with unusual sounds, eyes peering at you from branches up high while you observe the different species of monkeys that live there. Amazingly these beautiful and curious little creatures are very relaxed around humans, making the experience even more memorable.
Natütama Interpretive Centre:
Located in Puerto Nariño, the Centre is a simulated underwater world where aquatic mammals, fish, and others demonstrate the virtuosity of Amazon conservation. In addition to learning about this ecosystem, your contribution will help to protect it through the Natütama Foundation.
Other amazing activities to participate in include:
There are several Indigenous Villages that you can visit including those of the Ticuna, Yaguas, and Cocamas. Learn about their fascinating culture and history.
*Get close to more indigenous tribes of Colombia, but now in the Pacific. Check out our 3-day Kipara TE Indigenous to Discover the beautiful landscapes of the EJUA SAPOPOA BU sacred trail
Take a riverboat tour down the Amazon to search for pink dolphins. They can be seen only here in the Amazonas, along with other varieties of dolphins.
*You can also swim with the dolphins and learn about the history along with a lot of wildlife in our 4-Day Guaviare package
Flor de Loto Nature Reserve to understand and admire the largest lotus lily in the world, and the Victoria Regia.
Parque Santander in the early evening to see thousands of little screeching parrots fly to the sanctity of the trees in Leticia to sleep.
An expedition is never complete if you do not venture to try the local dishes. The Amazon is extensive and very rich in fauna and flora and this is expressed in its cuisine, heavily influenced by Brazil and Peru. Fish is the basis of almost everything and in particular Pirarucú, the largest freshwater fish in the world.
The most popular serving is chicharrónes de pirarucu, small pieces of breaded fish deep fried. The moquette fish is another typical dish served in the typical indigenous style. Wrapped in banana leaves, smoked with an incredible flavor.
Some restaurants in Leiticia to try out include:
Tierras Amazonicas is one of the best restaurants in the city of Leticia. A spectacular menu with excellent service.
Mundo Amizonico is an excellent traditional, comfortable restaurant, with some of the best fish available, with vegetarian options.
Many of the places to stay in Leticia are very basic and do not offer much other than a bed. Hot water and air conditioning are only to be found in a few places.
Prices range from US$20/night to as much as US$125, so there are plenty of options for all travelers.
Phone signals and internet connection are very scratchy.
For most, it is best to stay in accommodation included on a tour rather than staying in town, where not a lot is happening
Planning Your Visit to La Guajira
Here at BnB Colombia Tours, we can help you plan your trip to the amazon. We can include it in our multi-stop tours but we can also customize a tour just for you whether that is just to Amazonas or part of the larger Colombia trip of your dreams. Contact us here to start planning today.