Free Range Colombia: Day 13: Into the Jungle

We’ve landed in the Amazon and are staying in Leticia for the night. It’s essentially an outpost for the rest of the Colombian Amazon, and we’re cozied up in a cheap hotel room with an AC unit, slow Wi-Fi and dubbed Lion King on TV. It’s awesome. It’s also our last evening this week with such comforts.

We leave tomorrow for 5 nights at the Calanoa Jungle Lodge, where we will spend our nights in woven huts under mosquito nets and our days in villages and on walks and in boats. I’ve been emailing back and forth with Diego Samper, a photographer, music collector and owner/builder of the lodge. He seems lovely and the website looks gorgeous, but to be honest, I’ve been a bit nervous about the whole thing. The Amazon is huge and unknown and scary.

My nerves simmered slightly today as we wandered around town and exchanged smiles with folks. They simmered more slowly and quietly as Jesús, one of the docents at the Museo Etnográfico Amazónico, took the time to explain some of the traditions of the native peoples in the region. I forgot about those nerves completely when Jesús walked us to an info board with striking and beautiful pictures, all of which were attributed to Diego Samper.

Diego Stamper - Photographer in Leticia, Colombia

I told Jesús we would be meeting Diego tomorrow and he smiled: everyone knows Diego because of his great work, and please, pass along greetings. I’ll take that as a damn good sign of things to come.

Aside from the museum, it seems that the most fascinating part of Leticia is its huge military and parrot presence. Both gather at dusk in large amounts in Parque Santander, though one is significantly noisier than the other.

leticia-colombia-2

 

I’m sure we’ll have plenty of stories, photos and sounds to share upon our return. Until then, we’re off to see the jungle.

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Elise is a native St. Louisan turned Chicagoan working as a teaching artist and singer. Ever since she first traveled throughout Europe on tour with a children's choir, she's been a happy traveler, having learned to trust her travel instincts and the value of a big, fat smile.
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