So while in South America we decided we needed to see the Amazon. Forget the fact that a huge chunk of it is in Brazil or in the North of Peru; both of which we decided not to visit. Fortunately, there is a small sliver of land in Columbia which drops down right in the heart of the Amazon; Leticia.
We arrived on December 5th and were greeted with 90 degree weather and 90% humidity. Wowza! Chelsia had arranged a pickup for us from the airport, which is always nice when arriving in new places. The van took us to Erik and Chelsia’s hotel at which point we said our see you later’s and ventured out to find our hostel. Unfortunately, the map on Airbnb was not remotely accurate, so we tromped around for 45 minutes looking for our hostel. Given the temperature and the fact that we were carrying backpacks both contributed to the rivers of sweat running down our bodies when we finally found it. Not pleasant, but hey it is the Amazon and I guess we’d better get used to it.
We arrived around 11am, so after checking in to our respective accommodations and then a quick stop for lunch we rendezvoused to determine our activity for the balance of the day. Leticia itself is a small city full of motorbikes, river boats, and birds; the main purpose of which is a launch point for Amazon adventures. Not wanting to sit around and wait for the tour we had scheduled tomorrow, Dash (Erik) and I arranged a night tour through an agency in Leticia.
Our first Amazon adventure started that night! The six of us: Erik, Chelsia, Cora (4 yrs old), Alia (2 yrs old), Autumn, and I went on a 4 hour river night tour to search for the Amazon’s night creatures. Very cool! The boat was a long, skinny, wooden motorized boat with a tarp cover. Fun fact, Leticia sits in a very cool location, at the corner of three countries; Columbia, Peru, and Brazil. When we left the (very small) port to venture out onto the Amazon River, we could see all three countries.
After 10 minutes or so in the boat we spotted a family of river dolphins. The handful that we saw were quite young and we were told that not only are the young dolphins small, but they are a grey color which fades into pink once they become adults. Talk about a great sight right out of the gate.
We continued on, but from behind us we could see a storm building with the occasional roll of thunder. So in preparation, we grabbed our rain jackets and pulled down the sides of the tarp. It was then that we got our first taste of the RAIN Forest. We continued to motor while the rain engulfed us. Fortunately, it only lasted 10-15 minutes and then we were free to pull up the sides again for a better view.
The next leg of our journey took us up a small river. The goal of this stretch was to see Cayman, Crocodiles, Owls, and other night birds. Mission accomplished. While we were told there some of crocodiles grow to 16+ feet, we didn’t find any that size. That was okay though because our guide spotted and grabbed a little Cayman for us to look at and hold. Definitely a first!
As we continued up the river, it continued to get smaller and smaller and smaller until we navigated through some areas that were wall to wall reeds. Add that to the fact that I was on the lookout for a 15 foot Crocodile and it made for an exciting boat ride.
On our way back down the river our guide grabbed a little Croc for us to hold and he showed us the difference between it and a Cayman. Definitely more camouflaged and with a more mean look about it.
We also saw owls, frogs, spiders, and night herons. Very cool.