Puerto Nariño, Colombia – A Must-Visit in the Amazon (Full Guide)

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If you are planning on visiting the Colombian Amazon then I highly recommend visiting Puerto Nariño. It is an amazing peaceful town in the middle of the Amazon.

Many people who visit the Colombian Amazon will just do day tours from Leticia. But if you want to experience local life in the Amazon then spending a few days in Puerto Nariño is a great place to go.

We spent 5 days in Puerto Nariño and it is one of our favorite trips ever. So keep reading to find out all you need to know about Puerto Nariño! 🌴

How to get to Puerto Nariño

To get to Puerto Nariño you will first have to fly into Leticia. Leticia is the biggest town in the Colombian state of Amazonas. You will have to fly there because the nearest road to Leticia is over 800 km (500 miles) away!

There are direct flights to Leticia from Bogota. So any other major city in Colombia will transfer through Bogota on the way to Leticia.

Once you are in Leticia you will have to catch a boat for 2 hours down the Amazon River to Puerto Nariño. Read here all about how to get from Leticia to Puerto Nariño by boat 🚤

A woman in a red t shirt waiting to allow people onto a boat from Leticia to Puerto Narino
We spotted dolphins on the boat ride both ways! 🐬

Puerto Nariño Weather

As Puerto Nariño is in the middle of the Amazon jungle it is hot and humid all year round. Temperatures are about 33°C (90F) during the day with humidity of 80%. So you will get sweaty! ☀️

But the cabañas we stayed in surprisingly really cooled down at night. So even without AC, we were able to sleep without being too hot. Plus there was a fan.

Best time to visit Puerto Nariño

The best time to visit Puerto Nariño is when it fits your schedule. June to September are the driest months and February to April are the wettest ones. But all seasons have their benefits and downsides.

For example, in the wetter months, the Amazon River carries way more water making it much easier to spot wildlife above and below the water. It also changes the landscape around Puerto Nariño making it more lush and green.

While in the drier season, well, you have to worry less about rain and mud 😉 We went in the drier season (September) and had one day and night rain out of 7 days which was awesome to experience in the jungle.

Trees in the Amazon marked by water
You can see on these trees the water marks from when the water is high!

Getting around Puerto Nariño

Getting around Puerto Nariño is super easy as it is a small town so you can walk everywhere. The walking paths in town are wide and made with bricks so if you expect dirt roads you will be pleasantly surprised.

Puerto Nariño only has two vehicles in town: One is used for construction and the other is to take people to and from the hospital. Amazing!

Because there are no vehicles, walking around town is peaceful and relaxing. You never have to dodge loud speeding motorbikes which is the case in most of Colombia. Plus you will hear jungle sounds 24/7!

🗺️ Tip: Download the offline map for Puerto Nariño on maps.me before arriving. There are a lot more details on the maps.me app than on Google Maps. Plus there is not much wifi in Puerto Nariño.

What to do in Puerto Nariño

1. Watch Dolphins

Many people have no idea that there are dolphins in the Amazon. But around Puerto Nariño you are almost guaranteed to see them in the rivers and lakes nearby.

River dolphins are much different from their cousins in the ocean. They have very different-looking faces and one species even has pink skin!

There are two species of river dolphin around Puerto Nariño: Grey and pink dolphins. The Colombian part of the Amazon has protected them and banned hunting.

This is great because other neighboring countries such as Peru and Brazil have not outlawed the hunting of these amazing creatures.

To see the dolphins you will jump in a boat with a guide and cruise around until you see them.

Amazon river dolphins are unfortunately much shyer than ocean dolphins. So do not expect close-up photos of them jumping out of the water. The ones above have been our best shots 🙈

You will usually just see their backs popping out of the water when they come up to breathe. But it is still an amazing experience particularly if you see a pink river dolphin up close and hear them breathe!

🐬 Our private dolphin spotting tour costs 120,000 pesos (30 USD) for two people. We booked it through our accommodation Cabañas Alto del Aguila. The tour lasted for about 5 hours and included piranha fishing so it was great value for money.

2. Fish Piranhas

After the dolphin watching you will usually have the option to go piranha fishing. This actually ended up being one of our favorite things that we did in Puerto Nariño so I highly recommend it.

We caught 3 piranhas and 2 other types of fish within 20 minutes. We used basic fishing lines that were provided by the guide. They are made of a piece of wood with a line attached to them. It works!

Katharina even caught 3 different species of piranha in a row. The guide was super excited because he had never seen that before. Usually, people catch the same piranha species.

The only species we didn’t catch was a black piranha. So if you go you can try and catch all 4 and break our record! If yes, let us know in the comments below.

💰 Tip: We booked all of our Amazon tours via our accommodation. Our hosts had two guides that they recommended for all their guests. So just ask your accommodation for tours. This will save you tons on tour operator costs plus you support local guides directly.

3. Spot Sloths in San Antonio, Peru

San Antonio is a Peruvian village on the opposite side of the Amazon River from Puerto Nariño. It is well known as a great place to spot sloths in the wild.

This is because sloths only feed on a certain type of tree and there are plenty of those trees near San Antonio.

To visit San Antonio from Puerto Nariño you have to book a tour. We did the full-day tour and can highly recommend it! Once again we booked it directly at our accommodation.

The full-day tour includes transport (boat), a jungle walk in San Antonio, seeing the lotus flower, lunch and sloth spotting for 300,000 COP (70 USD) for 2 people 🌴🍽️🦥🪷

The half-day tour includes transport (boat) and sloth spotting for 220,000 COP (50 USD) for 2 people 🦥

We really enjoyed doing the jungle walk before looking for sloths. Our guide was so knowledgeable about the jungle and showed us many interesting plants, huge trees and insects.

But be prepared to get hot! Each part of the tour requires walking through the jungle for about 1.5 hours. So you will get very sweaty and you will need some protective layers.

A beautiful black bird resting on a tree

4. Go on a Jungle Nightwalk

Going on a walk through the jungle at night is a classic thing to do in Puerto Nariño. It is a must-do because it is a unique experience.

At night the jungle really comes alive with all kinds of unusual sounds coming from the darkness. But you will need to have a guide in order to spot animals. We saw a few tarantulas, a poison dart frog, and many other cool-weird-looking insects.

The tour costs 90,000 pesos (20 USD) for 2 people and lasts about 2 hours. You will need a headlamp and boots but your guide should be able to provide them for you. Wear long sleeves and long pants 🌛

A yellow and black poison dart frog sitting on a large lead in the jungle while doing a tour in the Colombian Amazon near Puerto Narino

5. See Monkeys at Cabañas Alto del Aguila

Cabañas Alto del Aguila is where we stayed in Puerto Nariño. But it is also a tourist attraction because of all the wildlife that hangs around the property.

In fact, many tours will actually bring people to the property to see the monkeys. So in my opinion the best idea is to stay at Cabañas Alto del Aguila. But you can also visit the property and pay 10,000 pesos (2 USD) to see the monkeys 🐒

6. Watch Sunset from the Mirador

One benefit of staying in Puerto Nariño is that you can watch the sunset from the Mirador. Most people only visit Puerto Nariño on a day trip so do not get the chance to go up the lookout at sunset.

There will probably only be a few other people at the top with you. It only costs 5,000 pesos (1 USD) to go up and the view is amazing! The view is still great during the day but it’s magic to see the pink-tinted clouds over the jungle at sunset 🌅

A woman walking into the entrance to a mirador in Puerto Narino that is shaped like the jaws of a jaguar
The awesome entrance to the Mirador!
View of some jungle with some mist drifting over the top at sunset
The view from the Mirador at sunset

7. Enjoy Amazonian Food at a Street BBQ

Our favorite place to eat in Puerto Nariño was at one of the street BBQs at night. Every evening people set up BBQs in the street and grill local fish, meat, plantains, and arepas. We ate at a BBQ nearly every night and it was always delicious.

Eating at the BBQs was also a great way to soak up the atmosphere of the town. While you are eating you will see kids playing and people enjoying their evening.

You pay depending on what and how much you choose from the grill. Our meals usually ended up at about 20,000 pesos (5 USD) each. This was more than enough to fill us up.

To find the BBQs just walk past Las Margaritas restaurant up the hill and you will see them by the first intersection.

🐠 Tip: The banana leaves have fish inside them that have been steamed in a sauce. It was super good! So I highly recommend trying it.

A street bbq with fish, plantain and arepas in Puerto Narino in the Amazon

8. Find all of the Monuments in Town

A quirky thing about Puerto Nariño is that there are monuments all over town. Most of them are about local wildlife and the town’s history.

Usually, I find this kind of thing tacky but in Puerto Nariño I think it actually added to the charm of the town.

If you find the strange dolphin statue it represents an even stranger local legend: Pink river dolphins transform into a man at night and impregnate local women! Very weird! But it is a funny statue to take a picture of 📸

A statue of a caiman at the water front in Puerto Narino Amazonas

9. Visit Reserva Wochine Fish Farm

Reserve Wochine is a fish farm and an area where a local guy also looks after rescued animals from time to time. But the star attraction of Reserve Wochine is the chance to see the monstrous pirarucu.

A pirarucu is a fish native to the Amazon that is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. It regularly reaches up to 200cm (6.5ft) in length and weighs 200kg (440lbs)! But there are reports of pirarucu 450cm (14.7ft) in length being found 🐉

Fish swimming in a muddy fish pond
We didn’t catch the piracucu on a photo but it is 3x bigger than these fish!

The piracucu is covered in large scales with red around them that makes its tail look like a dragon underwater. There is one piracucu in the pond at Reserva Wochine and it is huge!

Even though it is not a wild piracucu it is still awesome to see how big it is swimming in the pond.

When you arrive at Resera Wochine you will need to pay 10,000 pesos (2 USD) to enter. The manager of the site will then take you to the pond to see the fish. After that, he will take you on a walk through the forest to see a huge tree 🌳

There may also be some animals on the property that they are looking after. When we went there there was a baby sloth and baby monkey in the tree!

How to get to Reserva Wocine

To get to Reserva Wochine you can always hire a guide. This will only cost around 50,000 pesos (10 USD).

But we went by ourselves and we really enjoyed just being able to relax while we walked. The easiest way to find it is to have maps.me on your phone.

You will need to find Carerra 3 and walk east along this street until you see a green sign pointing you to Reserva Wochine.

A sign pointing the way to Reserva Wochine near Puerto Narino
A woman walking along a path in the jungle with palm trees on either side of her near puerto narino
Super nice walk including jungle sounds!

10 Visit the Fundacion Nautama Underwater Museum

Fundacion Nautama is a unique little museum that educates you on the local wildlife in and around Puerto Nariño.

You will need to speak at basic Spanish to understand the museum as you will be shown around. But you will learn some fascinating facts about the Amazon.

🎟️ Entrance is 10,000 pesos (2 USD) and the tour lasts about 20 min. They made a cool exhibit demonstrating day and night in the Amazon.

A woman in denim shorts and a black singlet walking along a wooden walkway to a museum in Puerto Narino in the Amazon
Entrance to the museum

11. Cool Off with Amazonian Ice Cream

Puerto Nariño has quite a few shops selling ice creams and popsicles for melting tourists. The cool thing is that many of them are flavored with local Amazonian fruits that you cannot find in other parts of the world!

The best one we tried (and didn’t give you a sugar coma) was acai flavored and inside a travel agency. They are 5,000 pesos (1 USD) each and super good ❄️

To get one walk to this point on Google Maps. You should see a statue of a turtle here. Make a left and walk about 100m (328 ft). The travel agency will be on the left-hand side and there will be a sign saying artisanal ice cream for sale.

Where to stay in Puerto Nariño

We stayed in Cabanas Alto del Aguila in Puerto Nariño and absolutely loved it! It was seriously one of our favorite places we have ever stayed in all our travels.

However, do not expect a 5-star hotel. The cabañas are quite rustic. So you will just have a pipe coming out of the wall for a shower and basic furniture.

But they are comfortable, cool at night, and the mosquito nets work well so you do not have to worry about being eaten alive.

The reason you stay at Cabañas Alto del Aguila is to get up close and personal with the wildlife that visit the property. There are 4 species of monkeys, macaws, turtles, pugs, kittens, and a baby caiman that visit or live at the property 🐒🦜🐢🐊🐕🐈

A man in a blue hat with a black singlet on walking towards a blue cabana in the Amazon at Puerto Narino
A blue and red wooden cabana with jungle in the background

There is also a kayak at the property that you can take out on the lake by yourself for free if you feel like some adventure. They even gave us some fishing rods to try to catch some piranhas from the kayak.

Another huge benefit is that they have Starlink wifi so you will have internet with 290 mbps in the middle of the Amazon! All of this is from only 15 USD per night!

Cabañas Alto del Aguila is not for everyone. But if you have a bit of adventure in your heart you will love it there. You can book them here 🏡

Puerto Nariño Hotels

If you want to stay at accommodation that is a little bit more comfortable then Refugio Maiku Puerto Nariño is also a great option.

They are located closer to town and have much more modern rooms and very good reviews. Although it is still in the Amazon so do not expect a 5-star hotel.

Where to eat in Puerto Nariño

Most restaurants in Puerto Nariño are either open for breakfast, lunch or dinner but not the whole day. Google Maps is also not accurate so you will have to look around a bit.

Best lunch place

For lunch, I recommend Dona Iris which is always popular with locals. The menu del dia is 18,000 pesos (5 USD) and comes with a hearty soap, a main meal and a refill of homemade juice.

The restaurant is not on Google Maps. But just look for Las Margaritas restaurant and then walk a couple of minutes past up the hill and you should see a black chalkboard out on the street saying “Dona Iris”.

A palte of food in Puerto Narino with fish covered in a red salsa, white rice, salad on top of a pink table cloth
Super good!

Best lunch buffet

The most popular restaurant in town is Las Margaritas with a lunch buffet for 25,000 pesos (6 USD). I didn’t like Margaritas too much as it is where all the tourist groups go. But the food is good and you get a lot!

Best dinner places

My favorite place to eat in Puerto Nariño was at the street BBQs. These are held every night and what is cooked depends on who is doing the BBQ. Find the description of the location here.

If you feel like some good ceviche then I can recommend El Tigrillo. The ceviche here was super fresh for 25,000 pesos (6 USD). They have pizzas and burgers on the menu as well.

What to pack for Puerto Nariño

  • Mosquito Repellent – this is a must for the Amazon. I hate using repellent with DEET in it but the spray really works. In some areas, you will get eaten alive without it. You can also cover your skin up but the mosquitos will devour any skin that is exposed.
  • Lightweight clothing – this will help protect you from the sun and mosquitos. I personally just wore shorts and a t-shirt the whole time. But you will have to use far less sunblock and insect repellent with proper clothing.
  • Sunscreen and hat – the sun is super strong in the Amazon with a very high UV Index. Despite lightweight clothing, protect exposed skin with it.
  • Washable sneakers – simple running shoes worked for us.
  • Refillable water bottle – all accommodations we stayed at had free cold refills!
  • Camera, GoPro, or a good phone – you will want to take good photos!

🎒 Tip: Pack smart and light! It’s hot in the Amazon so you need breathable layers for protection but not much in general. We traveled with hand luggage only which also saved quite a bit of money on the flight tickets.

Internet in Puerto Nariño

The two main cellphone providers in Colombia are Tigo and Claro. In Puerto Nariño you will get quite a good signal if you have a Claro sim card.

But if you have a Tigo sim card there is almost no signal. We had a Tigo SIM card we had to stand in very specific parts of town just to get a very weak signal.

So if you want to have access to the Internet while you are in Puerto Nariño I recommend getting a Claro sim card.

Most accommodations will not have wifi either. We were lucky because our cabañas had Starlink (290 mbps!) which was quite amazing. So you can get good internet in the Amazon, but it’s not given! 🛜

Enjoy amazing Puerto Nariño!

Puerto Nariño is an amazing town in the Colombian Amazon and to us a must-visit. There are plenty of things to do while you experience local tranquil life in the jungle.

If you found this travel guide helpful let us know in the comments below! Also, ask away if you have any questions and make sure to check out our other guides on the Amazon too.

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Travel, health and fitness fanatic from New Zealand. Co-founder of Happy Healthy Nomads and always on a hunt for good food.

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4 thoughts on “Puerto Nariño, Colombia – A Must-Visit in the Amazon”

  1. Great article, very thorough. It sounds like you guys travel much like we do (myself, wife and two teens). We love destinations that are kind of off the beaten track, rustic accommodations and especially street food for the most authentic experience. Thanks for the many tips!
    D&T in Canada

  2. Kia ora from a fellow Kiwi!

    Leticia (and surrounding places) have been on my list to complete an Amazon Trip in, though up until now I struggled to see how I could fit it into my LatAm trip (Part 1) at the end of this year, starting in Colombia and finishing in Rapa Nui.

    Your blog and pics have sold me on visiting Puerto Nariño too, so thanks heaps for the tips! I’m going to (try) work this in between Cali’s ‘Feria de Cali’ and Pasto’s ‘Carnaval de Los Negros y Blancos’, which will mean I’ll leave the northern part of Colombia for another trip…

    About to dive into your travel experiences throughout LATAM. Have fun in Guatemala in the meantime (also on my places to visit!)

    1. Hi Elaine, happy to hear you got inspired through our blog. We really loved Puerto Nariño, it’s an amazing place. Have fun in the Amazon and in Cali. We will have more articles on Guatemala coming out in the next weeks. We actually just arrived in New Zealand, so there will be some article about that published soon too 🙂

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