("Amazon river village sunset" by Paulo Philippidis under CC-BY license)

Stepping into the Jungles of Colombia

Stepping into the Jungles of Colombia

Colombia is nothing short of a heaven of biodiversity. This country is believed to be the home of nearly 10% of the flora and fauna species in the world. Colombia is slowly becoming one of the global hotspots for ecotourism. A major part of the earth’s green lung, the Amazon rainforest is also present in Colombia. These rich jungles are full of life, from exotic birds to strange animals, through the native tribes who are still practicing the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. This and much more is what you will get to experience when you visit Colombia, a step away from the industrialized and motorized world. You can explore the jungles, take boat rides across mighty rivers, see the wildlife in its natural habitat, and learn the ways of the indigenous people.

The town that serves as the entrance to the Amazon is Leticia, which is a nice and laid-back small community. Every year for long 3 months, water in the river remains about the flood level. Section of the jungle that sits on the Colombian side is usually safe from flooding, resulting in a very unique ecosystem. While you are in Leticia, one of the best lodging options is the Omshanty Jungle Lodge. Along with wide parking space, there are options to either cook your own food or have it served from the on-site restaurant.

There are places near Leticia that offer plenty of exciting activities like zip lining from treetops, bird and wildlife watching, kayaking in lagoons and rivers, etc. The town also has delicious local cuisine that you can sample. The Amazon rainforest spans over two million square miles, which also includes one-quarter of Colombia’s total area. The primary mode of navigation is by plane or boat, as there are no road connections to the rest of the country. Leticia is also on the border of Peru and Brazil. You can freely explore the border towns of these two countries from there without having to worry about a visa. Here are some of the activities and places you can visit in the jungles of Colombia.

Puerto Narino

This unique eco-community is a couple of hours of riverboat ride from Leticia. This extraordinary village has adopted the policy to ban motorized vehicles and has a great recycling program. There are quite a few eco-friendly projects going on in this village, which you can learn about in the village museum. You can cover the whole area in a round day trip but it is recommended to spend a little bit more time here.

There are also great wildlife viewing activities in this area, especially manatees and dolphins. The Tarapoto Lake which is merely 2 kilometers from the village has a rich population of dolphins. The local guides are familiar with the best areas for spotting them.

Zacambu Lagoon

One of the most adventurous activities here is the three-day tour to the Zacambu Lagoon. This lagoon sits on the Javari River in the portion of Amazon which is in Peru. Depending on the level of adventure you are seeking and the water levels, you can a hike through the rainforest to reach the lagoon, or you can ride all the way on the boat. This splendorous body of water is home to the famous pink dolphins of the Amazon. You can go for a refreshing dip in the serene waters, fish for dinner, and go for caiman spotting in the evenings. There is also an option to camp in the forest. During the flooding season which lasts from March to May, the only mode of transportation about the area is boats.

Omshanty’s Jungle Tours

While staying at the Omshanty Jungle Lodge, you might as well take some amazing tours they offer. The Omshanty tours in the jungles of Colombia offer exciting activities and opportunities for you to have an unforgettable Amazon rainforest experience. There are a number of multi-day trips and excursions across the Amazon rainforest. You will get to experience the rich biodiversity of this exotic habitat in its full blossom. You can witness the full-of-life vegetation and wildlife, interact with the indigenous tribes, learn and acquaint yourself with their way of life. There is plenty here for adventure seekers like zip-lining from the top of trees that are over 30 meters tall, going for a hike to the heart of the jungle and much more. You can choose from the existing tour plans like wildlife sightseeing, hiking, trekking, canopying, canoeing, kayaking, visiting the native settlements, fishing, etc. or you can have a trip custom made with just the activities that you want to experience.

Ziplining

The ultimate thrill of ziplining from great heights can be experienced here. There’s a road named “the kilometers” which is just ahead of Leticia on the road. There are a few reserves in that area which offer quite a few adventurous activities including ziplining, forest walking, staying in treehouses, wildlife sightseeing and much more. There are eco-lodges where you can stay overnight and explore the forest during the night. This area has an abundance of exotic birds. On top of that, you can also find indigenous folks who are settled near that area. There are bodies of water in case you fancy a dip. These areas are generally safe but it is recommended to take a local guide with you.

Kayaking

The waters around the rainforest are ideal for kayaking. You can easily rent kayaks from the riverside hotels in Puerto Narino. Kayaking is usually a part of the tours offered in this area. The Tacana river and Tanimboca reserve are great spots for kayaking. The Lake Tarapoto is also an excellent spot, which is known for its huge water lilies. These Victoria Regia are the largest water lilies in the world. Gliding around them is nothing short of a spectacle. You can also swim in the lake.

Birdwatching

The abundance of exotic bird species present in the jungles of Colombia makes them a prime location for birdwatching and other ornithological activities. You can enter the Amacayacu National Park with local guides for watching these birds or stay at the lodges in Los Kilometros. Wherever you go, you are going to find plenty of parrots squawking around.

Learn Ancient Traditions

One of the most unique ways to have a true Amazon experience is by learning the native and Indigenous traditions and cultures. Luckily for you, it is very easy to learn about the lifestyle of the natives, as there are a lot of indigenous communities and villages in the area who are happy to receive tourists. You can have the first-hand experience of traditional farming, hunting, fishing and cooking techniques used by the natives. These communities are very friendly to the visitors and all you have to do is be respectful to their culture and lifestyle.

Try Local Cuisines

Food is a very important part of any culture and it is quite a treat to try the unique cuisine and delicacies of this area. There are a variety of dishes available here that you are not going to find anywhere else. Majority of dishes are made from freshly caught fish.

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