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IMPULSE TRAVEL TEAM

We are a team of storytellers here to bring you the best Colombia has to offer. On our blog, we answer your most frequent questions and uncover our countries mysteries, culture, and highlights for you.

The Amazon, home to numerous animals, plant species, tribes and an oxygen factory for the whole world as 20 percent of the entire planet’s occurrence is produced alone by the this rainforest. It is done by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, so technically the earth's green lung!

The biodiversity of the Amazon region is almost infinite. Especially the abundance of fish exceeds all imagination. In this seemingly endless stream more different species of fish are expected to live than in the whole Atlantic whereby the number is estimated at about 1.500 species.

To further illustrate the immense biodiversity of the Amazon, there are about 2,000 bird species, 250 mammals and 2,500 different plant species. The number of tree species is estimated at approximately 3,000.

 

The Jaguar - King of the Amazon (animalplanet.com)

 

Colombia's tropical rainforest, the Amazon region of Colombia, lies in the southeast of the country. A huge, largely undeveloped area that covers almost a third of the country's surface area. Nature in the Amazon region is stunning, diverse and uniquely beautiful.

On a tour through the jungle you will surely enter at least one of the other two countries. The border formalities her are not quite as strict by the way. You can get from one country to another quickly and not bureaucratically. The tourist infrastructure is generally still in its infancy, so don't expect any luxury. A tour into the rainforest of Colombia is rather something for explorers, for adventurers who like to do without comfort.

The city in Colombia from where it is the easiest way to venture into the depths of the Amazon is Leticia in the very south of the country.

 

Laeticia - Gateway to the Amazon

 

Salsa dancing in Brazil, sipping a cocktail in Peru, then to the hotel in Colombia - and all in one day. What sounds like a jet set holiday can also be afforded by thrifty tourists in the Amazon triangle.

 

The triangle of three countries in the Amazon (noticiasser.pe)

 

There are no roads deep into the rainforest, the only possibility is to fly to Leticia. The small town of Leticia is considered the gateway to the Colombian Amazon. Leticia is located at the southernmost tip of Colombia, exactly in the border triangle of Colombia, Brazil and Peru.

From Leticia you go on the search for the described animal and plant world of the Amazon rainforest. The world's most water-rich river and the dense forests along its banks are home to an indescribable diversity of species. To see the pink river dolphins swimming next to you in the water, to watch the monkeys as they jump from branch to branch, to look at the many meter long anaconda, where the beginning and where the end of the giant snake is, to fish piranhas, to observe caimans and much, much more awaits you in the jungle. The most expeditions to the Amazon on Colombian soil start from Leticia. In addition to tours, it is also possible to chug by boat into the Brazilian Manaus or in the direction of Peru to the larger city of Iquitos.

Some parts of the Colombian Amazon region are under special protection of the government. As an example: the Chiribiquete Nationalpark is the largest protected area of Colombia and lies in the north (-ern part) of the Amazon.

 

Chiribiquete Nationalpark

 

The largest national park in Colombia and the most unknown and untouched part of the country will open its doors to visitors for the first time in June 2019. The city of Guaviare is likely to be the starting point for expeditions or a spectacular round trip by plane around the park.

 

The fantastic view over a rock plateau in the Chiribiquete Park (wwf.de)

 

Steep table mountains rise out of the dense, humid jungle. It is a mystical landscape full of different habitats: deep gorges, torrential rivers, green thickets in the lowland rainforests and rocky savannah in the higher regions.

Nature Reserve Serrania del Chiribiquete, Colombia has the largest rainforest reserve in the world, which at 4.2 million hectares it is larger than the Netherlands. The national park connects four different ecosystems with the Orinoco savannah, the Andes, the highlands of Guyana and the Amazon. The region is considered as the key to the survival of endangered species such as jaguar, pink river dolphin, tapir and giant salamander as well as various parrot species. Chiribiquete is also home to many indigenous peoples, including some who live in voluntary isolation.

 

Although the region is still poorly explored, scientists have already identified thousands of species in Chiribiquete. However, it is not only the biodiversity and the irreplaceably diverse habitats that are of value - the value of the national park also lies in its importance for the global climate and for Colombia's water supply. Here, millions of tons of carbon are stored in the treetops and soils. This is where the climate and precipitation of the entire region are regulated. Here are sources and headwaters of rivers, which are important for the whole country.

But not only plants and animals find a home in the Amazon region, indigenous communities also find a home under the protection of the forests.

 

Indigenous tribes and peoples

 

The indigenous people of the Ticuna or Magütes have several settlements in the Amacayacu National Park. Puerto Narino, a friendly Ticuna town with an idyllic village character, is situated in the middle of the fascinating wilderness and dense jungle. It is about an hour's boat ride from the park and vehicles are not allowed. The Páez, the Guajiro, the Emberá and the Zenú are other indigenous peoples of Colombia. Indigenous peoples have constitutional rights in Colombia. Nevertheless, the existence of many is threatened by the progressive destruction of the rainforest. Alliances of all indigenous peoples in South America stand up for their rights and thus also for the tropical rainforest.

 

Indigenous tribes, a heritage from the old world (climatechangenews.com)

 

However, the situation is not the best for the indigenous peoples of Latin America. In almost all countries of the "New World" they fight for survival. In Colombia the indigenous people have to defend themselves against several dangers: Paramilitary  and left-wing guerilla groups fight for supremacy in drug cultivation areas and illegal mining. Indigenous human rights defenders repeatedly fall victim to attacks because they oppose unscrupulous big landowners, the economic interests of large mining companies or even illegal groups.

What began more than 500 years ago with the discovery of America has continued to this day: the land of the indigenous people is being plundered mercilessly. Centuries ago it was galleons that brought the stolen gold of Latin America to Spain, today it is corporations and cartels that silver gold, coal, oil, cocaine and tropical wood. In former times it was the Spanish and Portuguese crown, today China, Japan, Europe and the USA earn the money with the raw material wealth of indigenous territories.

 

What you shouldn't forget

 

In the Amazon, the circumstances are usually somewhat different from what you are probably used to. In order to prepare yourself for this adventure in the wild, we recommend that you do not forget the following:

 
  • Here it is always humid and warm, but it can rain again and again and get a bit cool at night. It is advisable to take a windproof, light rain or weather jacket with you. In addition lighter clothes which dry fast.

  • As you are in the tropics the sun is relatively strong. Do not forget the sun protection in the form of sun cream, hat and glasses.

  • The climate here is not only hot but also humid, this means that you will sweat a lot. Pay attention to your fluid balance and take enough fluid and electrolytes to prevent dehydration!

  • The Amazon is teeming with insects. An insect repellent is highly recommended if you don't want to be eaten by the little beasts. This includes malaria prophylaxis and the usual vaccinations such as against yellow fever.

  • Since you probably won't show up with empty hands, we recommend a waterproof rucksack or a suitable rain cover to keep your equipment dry.

  • You should also make sure you wear good shoes. Some swear on rubber boots, others on Gore Tex trekking shoes. What will probably be out of place are flip-flops and cloth shoes, as they neither offer protection against damp conditions nor effectively protect against thorns or animals like snakes.

 

The circumstances around the “lungs of the earth” are dramatical. We are destroying the habitat for endemic species and the indigenous population that has to give way to industrialization as well as our biggest oxygen producer and consequently one of the biggest warriors against climate change.

 

Amazon - the green lungs of the earth (news.mongabay.com)

 

The only ones to benefit are the major international corporations.

 

A small contribution that you can make every day to counteract the deforestation:

 
  • Do not use tropical wood products

  • Only use paper if necessary, use it several times and then let it recycle.

  • Eat less meat and soy products. Forests are cleared for soy monocultures and cattle farms.

  • Avoid disposable products in the form of aluminium, then the forest does not have to give way to aluminium extraction.

  • Do not use prefabricated products as they are often made with palm oil. This in turn is accompanied by increased deforestation and palm monocultures.

  • Use as little plastic as possible. On the one hand plastic needs about 400 years until it was biologically degraded and on the other hand oil is needed for its production.

 

Be a part of it that will make tomorrow's world a better place!

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