Leticia, Colombia 🇨🇴 Gringo's Guide
The Amazon Jungle Calls You...
If I had to describe Leticia using only three words, they would be:
The place is certainly not like anything else you will encounter anywhere else in the world.
It's not even like the other ports along the Amazon, partly because it's the only Colombian port.
I can't say for sure how long you will want to stay in Leticia, but it's certainly worth checking out as part of your nomad journey.
Let’s dig in!
Leticia, Amazonas, Colombia 🇨🇴
Leticia is actually part of an area where Colombia, Brazil and Peru all meet together.
The city of Leticia itself has around 33,000 people in total living in it.
Right across the border, Tabatinga in Brazil has another 67,000 or so. And on the other bank of the Amazon River, the Peruvian town of Santa Rosa has less than a thousand people.
There really are no suburbs here. These towns have all been carved out of some of the world's densest jungle, so they are pretty compact. Civilization ends abruptly with the last house on the edge of the rainforest.
If you like cold and dry weather, you are permanently out of luck in Leticia:
Honestly, the times I was there, I never once even saw the humidity below 90 percent. It does get quite a bit nicer at night, however.
Also, this is the rainforest, and rain it will. The numbers on the above charts speak for themselves. Even the least rainy months will still get several inches of the water from the sky.
Come here prepared for it to rain at any time.
It's recommended to bring boots that won't get soaked in the rain, and appropriate rain gear, especially if you are going outside the city centers.
Why Visit Leticia, Colombia?
Who doesn't want to see the Amazon River in real life? Trust me, it's impressive.
You'll meet a lot of very cool people and cool cultures
The dating scene is surprisingly good here
The food and the flora and fauna are super unique
It's also surprisingly cheap to stay in Leticia
There is one major downside to Leticia and surrounding areas, however. The internet and phone service is less than stellar. It can vary from day to day, but it's generally very slow. This is unfortunately a potential deal-killer, I know, especially for longer stays in Leticia.
If you are planning on coming, I recommend you come when you can do work that isn't super internet-dependent, or just make a vacation out of it.
How to Get to Leticia, Colombia 🇨🇴
There's no way to reach Leticia by road, at all.
You can come into Bogotá and catch a flight from there. It usually costs between 400-600,000 COP for a one-way ticket.
The flight will take almost exactly two hours each way.
Likewise, Tabatinga in Brazil has its own airport. You can only go back and forth from Manaus here, though. In almost every case, it's going to be way cheaper and more convenient just to fly through Bogotá:
The only other way in and out of Leticia — and all the towns along this part of the Amazon — is to take a slow boat up or down river.
This option doesn't appeal to me, and probably won't appeal to most of the people reading this. Travel times are long, conditions are far from comfortable, and it's surprisingly expensive!
More for curiosity's sake, this is what's out there on the river in that part of the world. If anyone actually got the bug to make this journey, they'd probably start in Iquitos, Peru and make their way downriver:
Just the short leg on the left of the map from Iquitos to Leticia takes almost 12 hours, and the cost is 100 Peruvian Soles, or about $28 USD. The journey from there to Manaus takes at least four whole days, and from Manaus back it would be even longer, since it's upriver.
If you plan on visiting anywhere in this region, make sure you have your yellow fever vaccine, just in case.
If you don't have it already, get it at least a couple weeks before getting on that plane. This is both because it can take that long for the vaccine to take full effect, and also, sometimes you get a bit sick after getting it.