Leticia is far removed from the Caribbean and Andean feel of the rest of Colombia, though it’s uniquely positioned near some of the country’s most important natural attractions and indigenous villages. Touching the Amazon, it sits at a three-way border crossing with Santa Rosa in Peru and Tabatinga in Brazil, and was claimed for many years by those two countries, though it has been firmly in Colombia’s hands since 1922. The city has been experiencing a recent surge in tourism and is actively expanding amenities in the form of eco-resorts, boutique hotels, and trendy restaurants and cafes.
Things to Do
Learn about the ways of life of the region’s indigenous tribes at the Museo Etnográfico del Hombre Amazónico, a cultural center with fine displays of tools and crafts. Hike along a clearly marked rainforest trail at Mundo Amazonico, a theme park set in a secure environment that limits jungle hardships. See snakes and reptiles up close at Serpentario Armero-Guayabal, a research institute with more than 200 species on display.
Leticia is Colombia’s jumping off point for trips deeper into the Amazon jungle. Take a guided tour in search of pink river dolphins or monkeys. Although you may see birds and butterflies right in the city, wildlife enthusiasts will want to head to Parque Nacional Natural Amaracayu, one of Colombia’s most important national parks, and the best place in the area to see animals in their natural habitat. Adrenaline enthusiasts kayak and zipline at Reserva Tanimboca.
Restaurants and Dining
Head to the fruit stands near the river and the local market to find exotic tropical flavors in fruits like the purple açaí berry, unusually sized reddish bananas, and the star–shaped carambola. For a taste of the local fish diet, take a seat at the kitschy Tierras Amazonicas. For Brazilian dishes you don’t need to go to neighboring Tabatinga. You can have your caipirnhas at Cozinha de Fazenda right in the center of town.
Pick up hand carved ceremonial masks of the remote Matis tribe at Galeria de Arte Indigena Uirapuru, the city’s largest craft shop. The museum quality collection of indigenous art and artifacts is the ideal place to pick up a souvenier. Smaller craft shops near the plaza also sell indiegnous souveniers, though if you want authentic and fairly priced items, go directly to the source at the Ticuna villages such as Huitoto.