Nestled into the foothills where the Andes meet the Amazon, the capital of Putumayo department is a place unlike any other in Colombia. While the town of Mocoa is a fairly disorganized and unattractive agricultural center, the surrounding area is a natural wonderland of waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, swimming holes and dripping jungle. This region, which is just a night-bus ride from Bogotá, offers an accessible taste of the Amazon for visitors without the time or resources to visit Leticia, deep in the jungle.
Mocoa hit the international headlines in early 2017 when a massive landslide flowed down several streams into the heart of the town destroying entire neighborhoods and killing 329 residents. The devastation was horrific and both the town and its residents are yet to fully recover. Despite this, the surrounding area's spectacular sights were unaffected by the disaster and tourism is vital to reinvigorating the shattered local economy.