Amacayacu Park. Vast in size, abundant with wildlife and rich in indigenous culture, the Colombian park remains one of Colombia’s most popular attractions.
One of Colombia’s Most Popular Attractions
Covering an area of 11,350 square miles in the southern part of the Amazonian Trapezoid, avid rainforest explorers find themselves in absolute awe of the sheer immensity of the protected area, delight in seeing such a diversity of flora and fauna and feel privileged to witness the traditional customs of one of South America’s oldest tribes—the Ticuna.
- From the world’s smallest monkey to the world’s biggest freshwater turtle, the Colombian natural park will keep animal lovers entertained for hours given the uniqueness, and incredible variety, of its wildlife.
- Despite the passing of 400 years, in which the Ticuna tribe has been threatened both by aggressive Spanish colonization and the powerful influence of globalization, the native inhabitants continue to speak their own language, practice customary rituals and create traditional artwork.
Accessible by boat from neighboring Leticia, and best visited during the May-October dry season, Amacayacu invites tourists to feel at one with nature from the beginning of their trip. Possibly observing Colombia’s famously large crocodiles along the way, visitors’ admiration of the spectacular natural environment will only heighten as they venture further into the depths of the tropical rainforest. With almost 500 bird species and 150 different mammals, of which many, such as the three-toed sloth, comical-looking tamandua and cotton-top tamarin, are endangered, visitors certainly won’t have to look far to find Colombia’s fascinating fauna. Moreover, a visit to the Tarapoto Lakes is a must for anyone hoping to set their eyes on the area’s aquatic treasure—the pink dolphin. Known locally as botos, the, unfortunately endangered, pink dolphins captivate the attention of park visitors as they catch momentary glimpses of their almost magical-looking skin. For yet another unique wildlife experience, visitors should next head to Islas de los Micos which, literally translating to Monkey Island, is home to hundreds of pygmy marmosets—the earth´s smallest primate.
As for the park’s flora, Amacayacu is equally plentiful and, although problematic at times, it is only thanks to the area’s severe flooding that the plant and tree species continually flourish. More commonly known as Victoria Regia, the world’s largest water lilies are found on nearby island Mocagua. Native to South American they may be, but the 7 to 8 meter-long pads were later named in honor of the United Kingdom’s newly-crowned Queen, Victoria, in 1838. While it is virtually impossible to know the name of every tree specie in the park, tour guides should be able to point out the more unusualtypes including the suitably-named axebreaker – its roots are exceptionally strong— and the strangler fig which, slowly and sinisterly, smothers the tree it uses for support to death.
After having thoroughly explored the best of Amacayacu’s natural environments, many visitors are keen to immerse themselves in the indigenous lifestyles of the park’s two main Ticuna communities. Accompanied by local guides, tourists can embark on a hiking adventure along Amacayacu’s numerous trails and discover more about the intriguing Ticuna cultural traditions as they go. In fact, it is even possible to stay the night in a maloka, a large hut-like structure, very similar tothe dwelling places of the native inhabitants themselves.
With its extraordinary biodiversity and unspoilt natural surroundings, Amacayacu Natural Park provides visitors with a once-in-a-lifetime experience which they will certainly not forget or regret.