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Introducing Leticia

Despite its isolation and often oppressive heat, Leticia is a remarkably spruce little town, with brightly painted houses, pleasant outdoor cafés and restaurants, and a well-maintained grid of streets. It also has a complete infrastructure to support travelers, with hotels in all price categories, regu- larly scheduled flights between Leticia and Bogota, and a long-standing military presence that keeps the city and surrounding region safe. Note that all foreigners must pay US$5 tax upon arrival at Leticia's airport.

Founded in 1867 and christened San Antonio, Leticia remained part of Peru until a 1922 treaty ceded it to Colombia. The town's new masters renamed it Leticia and made it their gateway to the Amazon. Though it's the departmental capital - and the largest town for hundreds of miles - it feels very much like a small, frontier town.

With boat connections upriver to Iquitos, Peru and downriver to Manaus, Brazil, it can serve as a gateway to further Amazonian adventures. July and August are the only relatively dry months. The wettest period is from February to April. The Amazon River's highest level is reached between May and June, while the lowest is from August to October. The difference between low and high water can be as great as 15m.