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Air

All foreigners must pay a COP$32,000 tourist tax upon arrival at Leticia's airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Alfredo Vásquez Cobo, to the north of town. Taxis into town cost around COP$10,000; if traveling light, hop on a moto-taxi.

Avianca (www.avianca.com) and Latam (www.latam.com) have several daily flights to Bogotá.

Tabatinga International Airport has flights to Manaus daily with Azul (www.voeazul.com.br). The airport is 4km south of Tabatinga; colectivos (shared taxis, minivans, or midsize buses) marked 'Comara' from Leticia will drop you nearby. Don't forget to get your Colombian exit stamp at Leticia's airport and, if needed, a Brazilian visa before departure.

When departing Leticia's airport, all foreigners must check in at Migración Colombia before proceeding through airport security, regardless of whether they're leaving Colombia or not; you'll be directed there after check-in if you haven't done it already – it's a painless and free procedure that takes a matter of seconds.

Boat

Buy tickets for Puerto Nariño and other points upriver from one of the three agencies at Transportes Fluviales. Boats to Puerto Nariño depart from Leticia's Muelle Turístico at 7am, 9am, noon and 2pm daily (COP$31,000, two hours). Arrive in good time for your boat, as the dock can be hard to find. You'll need your passport when buying tickets.

If you're departing from Tabatinga (Brazil), be aware that it is one hour ahead of Leticia. Don't miss your boat!

Getting to Manaus

Slow boats depart from Tabatinga's Porto Fluvial for Manaus on Wednesday and Saturday at around 2pm. A hammock space (buy your own hammock in Leticia) costs R$400, while a stuffy, cramped cabin for two costs R$1620 for the three-day, four-night journey. Bag your hammock space early for the best spot: ventilation is important. Buy your ticket directly from the boat a day or two before departure. Basic meals are included in the price but the quality leaves much to be desired; bring your own bottled water and plenty of snacks.

Don't want to go slow? Take an Ajato speedboat to Manaus (R$600, 36 hours) on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday morning. It's not as atmospheric, but has reasonably comfy airplane seats and TV entertainment.

Getting to Peru

High-speed passenger boats between Tabatinga and Iquitos (Peru) are operated by Transtur and Transportes Golfinho. Boats leave from Isla Santa Rosa daily at around 5am (Brazilian time!), arriving in Iquitos about 10 hours later. Don't forget to get your Colombian exit stamp at Leticia airport's office of Migración Colombia the day before departure. You can buy tickets through Selvaventura in Leticia, as neither company has an office in town.

The journey costs US$75 in either direction, including breakfast and lunch (mint-condition banknotes only; or COP$225,000). During dry season you can sometimes access Isla Santa Rosa only from Tabatinga's Porto da Feira, where water levels are always high. Check ahead. In fact, it's always easier in the middle of the night to go from Tabatinga, but taxi prices from Leticia can skyrocket to COP$30,000 for the ride.

Be warned: there are slower, cheaper boats to Iquitos, but they are not comfortable, often unsafe and best avoided.

Note there are no roads out of Iquitos into Peru. You have to fly or continue by river to Pucallpa (five to seven days), from where you can go overland to Lima.

If you need a Peruvian visa, there's a Peruvian consulate in Leticia.