Leticia, one with nature - Colombia
After a 2 hour flight from Bogota to Leticia, I am greeted by the warm air of the Amazon. Wow it's hot here!
A tuki tuki (moto-carro taxi) brings me for 15.000 cop from the center to Tanimboca. This accommodation is located 11 km from the city center in a nature reserve situated next to our friends from the Omshanty Hostel. I get a warm welcome by Leonardo plus I get a pair of rubber boots from Henry.
Tanimboca is not just a hotel/hostel. Here I sleep in a tree-house, 12 meters (=39ft) above the ground. To reach my tree house, I must first walk 15min deeper into the jungle. Before we do this, we pray to mother nature that nothing will happen to us and that we will respect her. The cottage is cozy and even has a shower and a toilet. There is also a small balcony where I see some mini bats. Around me I hear some jungle sounds. I feel one with nature!
Our friends from Omshanty Hostel offer great jungle tours-, activities and experiences.
Kike, the hostel owner explained me a little concept:
.the emphasis on recycling
.the school project they have for training in the culture of recycling collected from recycled items
.they are the first hostel in a real recycling
.the organic crops that take two years to be ready
.they SHARE; Omshanty is working 100% of their services like drinks, food (restaurant) and guidance with the community
.the support of a football team in the community
With them you can also visit the jungle and some sites of indigenous families living in the jungle. SUPER!
At 6:30pm the night walk starts.
We see different species of ants, and also the ones you see in the movies, which can cure wounds. I did not know they really existed.
Henry shows me the Acai tree and the Bamba. If you beat this Bamba tree with a solid stick, it makes a huge sound you can hear half a km (=1640ft) far.
People communicated this way to tell they were coming on a visit. Nowadays this is used when you're lost.
We also see several large spiders including a baby tarantula!
One particular tree has strong spines. Indians made graters with this tree. It is also used as a protective habitat for various small animals.
When we get to the giant 400 year old tree Tanimboca, Henry suddenly proposes to switch of our lanterns. At first I find it a bit creepy, but then when I look around me, I cannot believe my eyes: luminous leaves everywhere. I just imagine myself in the movie Avatar!
We walk to the Quebrada Jaguarkaka (= waterfall) and Henry refreshes himself with the delicious fresh water. He can drink the water here. We better not. Our stomach is not adapted to this.
Again, we switch off the lights and we see fireflies. Above us appears a clear night sky. Nature can be so beautiful! As we return to the base camp we hear a loud growl.
Henry tells me that these are toads that live high in the trees in cavities. It is because of the cavity of the tree that this grunt is that loud.
After an hour of walking, I end up in the cozy dining room of Tanimboca. Sarah makes me a delicious pizza with olives, tomato, mushrooms and cheese made of yuca dough. Yummy!
Henry accompanies me back to the tree house, where I take a refreshing shower before enjoying the jungle sounds lying under my mosquito net.
Last night it rained all night! The treehouse occasionally moved by the strong winds! How adventurous!
Henry picks me up at 7:30am already and helps me to carry my luggage to the Maloka. I get a nice breakfast and then get introduced to my 2 other guides: Rudolpho and Harry.
Rudolpho tells me the story of Kurupira. The mother of the jungle! We must 1st ask her permission to enter.
Then he tells me about the different trees and plants. He chops off some branches of a certain tree and scrapes off its bark. He also makes a pouch with the palm leaves, to carry everything. The bark can be used as a shampoo! I´ll try it tonight!
I also get to know the python they have. Its heavy around my neck but soft. It feels great. I'm not scared at all! A little sad though, afterwoods I discoverd that this phyton has a Asian origin.
We arrive at some tall trees! One tree is 38 meters (=124ft) high and we are going to climb it.
We use climbing gear. You work mostly with your legs and hands. This technique is called Jumar! It looks easier than it is! It is tough to reach the top! But it gives you a kick once you reach the crown! Then we do a little bit of ziplining, a little walkway and then a looooong zipline! Wiiiiiii, big fun! After the last piece we see a little monkey. Here they call those Leoncitos! So cute!!!! After this we are dragged down by a rope! It goes fast! I feel butterflies in my stomach.
(Grrrrr, my camera got broken because of the humidity).
We walk to the Quebrada de Yahuarcaca where we start a canoe trip to a place to have lunch. On the way we see special types of flowers and some fish. Our lunch consists of a large grilled fish (paco), salad and rice! Very tasty!
I love to be in the Amazon.
1. I washed my hair with that bark indeed! It would make my hair softer. This after repeated use! It smells like earth and it makes your bath very dirty. It's nice that it starts foaming and it is a fun experience!
2. In Leticia you can find everything you need: supermarkets, ATM, pharmacy, restaurants, …
3. Best travel period: each time (rain / dry) has its charm! :)
4. Do not wear leggings but heavy, long pants during the period of the mosquitos. Mosquitoes are more active from 5pm till early morning as the sun rises.
5. Repellent is your permanent friend!!
6. Bring a torch.
7. There is little WiFi! Organize your bookings in advance!
8. Put your camera and electric materials in plastic bags. Because of humidity they can damage quickly.
9. They did not ask me to show my Yellow Fever Certificate at the airport. But I had it with me just in case.
10. I paid environmental tax = 20.000 cop at the airport when I arrived!
11. Read here how to get to Leticia.
12. Here you can read how to cross the border between Colombia – Brazil – Peru.
14. Another great travel tip when you go to the Amazon is a visit to Casa Gregorio where you can get into the culture of the native Tikuna indigenous people! Heike, the Dutch owner of this unique hostel is doing an amazing job in San Martin de Amacayacu! She started lots of interesting projects with the local people. Definitely worth the visit!
15. The price of my flight ticket was 650.500 cop, visiting the Amazon in December.