Words used to describe the Amazon can seldom to do any justice to this remarkable place that stays imprinted on the memory. The incredible size of the Amazon River, an irrepressible source of life, and the crisscross pattern of the smaller tributaries that splay out through the jungle leave an indelible impression.

The Amazon is the second longest river in the world after the Nilo River. His water source receives the runoff of hundreds of rivers and streams that extend all the way from the Peruvian Andes north of the city of Arequipa representing the source of the 20% of fresh water in the planet. It runs for 6,275 kilometres from the Andes Mountains to Pará in Brazil, passing through the main cities as Iquitos (Peru), Leticia (Colombia) and Manaus (Brazil).

The city of Leticia is located on one of the banks of the Amazon River in the heart of the most resplendent and exuberant forest on earth. An imaginary line is drawn here creating a frontier between three countries:

Colombia, Brazil and Peru. Leticia is the capital of the Colombian Amazon Department and the arrival port for flights from Bogotá, boats from Iquitos (Peru) and Manaus (Brazil) and the departure point to explore the area. It was founded in 1867 as San Antonio and was originally a Peruvian town until 1922 when it was ceded to Colombia and renamed becoming this country’s access to the “Green Lung”. The expeditions launched to explore the jungle towards Manaus and Iquitos all departed from Leticia. 

It rains frequently in the Amazon but the wettest season is between February and April. The waters of rivers reach their highest levels from February until the start of June thus making it the best time for bird-watching, piranha fishing, pirarucu (sport fishing) and seeing the Victoria Regia – an enormous aquatic lily plant with large purple flowers, white petals and floating leaves that can reach up to two meters in diameter. In this season, it is a little bit easier to see forest animals and reach most places by boat. 

The driest months are in July and August. Rivers are at the lowest water levels from August to November, when many beaches are created by the retreating waters at the riverbanks, and this is when the river turtles lay their eggs. During this season, it will be more comfortable to explore the area as paths will be less muddy and there will be fewer mosquitos, but many places would have to be reached by land, therefore requiring longer walks. 

Numerous indigenous communities live in these areas including the Huitotos, Yaguas and Ticunas all of whom have protected their cultures and traditions passing down their practices from generation to generation such as their knowledge of medicinal plants, magic, ceremonies and aptitudes for survival in the jungle.

75 km and 2hrs by boat from Leticia in the upper Amazon River is the town of Puerto Nariño which is considered the cradle of life of the Amazon for its natural and cultural setting of peace and harmony. This community is located on the banks of the river Loretoyaco where motor vehicles are outlawed and the only way of getting around is on foot.

Puerto Nariño probably shows one of the purest and clearest examples of community’s concept, where people are deeply involved with the environmental issues, the preservation of sea fauna and green-life, living free of smog and pollution. The Tarapoto Lake is nearby and its waters are like a natural aquarium as it is home to grey and pink river dolphins.