A panoramic photo of Puerto Narino © Sergio D. Spadavecchia
Nestled deep in the heart of the Colombian Amazon, Puerto Nariño is a hidden gem that has remained largely untouched by the trappings of modern civilization. With no motorized vehicles allowed in the town, it is a tranquil and peaceful haven for those looking to connect with nature and experience the region’s unique culture.
Puerto Nariño is located approximately 85 kilometres upriver from the bustling city of Leticia and is accessible only by boat. Once there, visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant and colourful culture of the Indigenous people who call this place home. The town specializes in eco-tourism, offering a variety of activities that allow visitors to explore the Amazon rainforest while supporting sustainable tourism practices.
One of the highlights of a trip to Puerto Nariño is a visit to nearby Lake Tarapoto. This is one of the best places in the world to spot pink dolphins, a rare and majestic species that is a beloved icon of the region. Visitors can take bushwalking tours or boat trips to explore the lake and see other amazing wildlife such as caiman, monkeys, parrots, and toucans.
For those interested in learning more about the culture and history of the region, a visit to the Interpretation Centre is a must. The Centre is dedicated to protecting underwater life and animals and provides valuable insight into the region’s unique ecology. The Omachu Foundation and Natütama Foundation are other essential stops for visitors interested in conservation and animal protection. The Natütama Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with the local community to promote sustainable management of resources and biodiversity based on cultural and scientific knowledge.
Puerto Nariño is also home to several Indigenous Malocas, which are traditional longhouses where local people gather to share stories and wisdom. Visitors can learn about the ancient traditions and practices of the Indigenous people and even participate in storytelling sessions.
Jungle walking day and night is another activity that visitors can enjoy in Puerto Nariño. The sights and sounds of the Amazon are entirely different at night, making this a unique and unforgettable experience.
When it comes to food, Puerto Nariño has a unique culinary culture that is heavily influenced by the Amazon rainforest. Visitors can try delicacies such as white cocoa, a fruit with sweet white skin that is sucked for its seeds. Another must-try dish is patarashca, a method of cooking fish from the Amazon that is wrapped in a bijao leaf and grilled to perfection.
The local market is also a great place to sample the flavours of the region while mingling with the locals. Visitors can buy food, crafts, and other goods while sharing stories and learning about life in Puerto Nariño.
Whether you’re interested in conservation, culture, or simply soaking up the natural beauty of the Amazon, Puerto Nariño is a must-visit destination for eco-tourism enthusiasts. With its stunning wildlife, vibrant culture, and welcoming locals, this little town is truly a jewel of the Colombian Amazon.