How Safe Is Leticia for Travel?

Updated On January 8, 2024
Leticia, Colombia
Safety Index:
70
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Nestled in the southernmost region of Colombia, the small city of Leticia is the capital of the Department of Amazonas.

As a result, it forms a border with Tabatinga, Brazil, and Santa Rosa, Peru, and is on the Amazon River.

Many visit Leticia because it’s considered the gateway to the incredible Amazon Rainforest, which boasts a rich indigenous culture and extensive plant and animal life biodiversity.

Compared to many other Colombian towns and cities, Leticia is generally a safe place to visit.

While visitors must always be aware of their surroundings, never flash valuables, and be vigilant for pickpockets, violent crimes are rare.

Like in most places, the greatest threats are at night if attempting to cross the border or wander into the Amazon without a guide.

If you’re interested in visiting Leticia, Colombia, it’s essential to understand the dangers, risks, safest and least safe places to visit, safety tips, and other helpful information.

Keep reading to learn more!

Warnings & Dangers in Leticia

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

Overall we rate Leticia as low-risk for traveling purposes, but there are some risks to talk about.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Given the small size of Leticia, taxi scams are rare since most distances are relatively short. The airport is only a few miles from the city center, and you could technically walk, although it is not advisable with luggage. Mass transit is limited to buses, and pickpocketing occurs occasionally but can be avoided by keeping your bag in front and no belongings in your back pocket.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM

Pickpocketing is the leading crime in Leticia, especially in crowded areas and on crowded buses. Using common sense and not being overly distracted by a local can save your belongings. Also, following the above transport tips will ensure you’re victim-free if you take the bus around town.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

Leticia is a hot and humid destination adjacent to the Amazon Rainforest, so severe thunderstorms, flooding, and mudslides occur regularly. However, the risk can be minimal if you’re staying in a hotel and are prepared for different situations. Also, dehydration from the heat and humidity and severe sunburn from not wearing the proper sunblock are common issues.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

While muggings randomly occur on tourists who have wandered into poorly lit or abandoned areas, they are not common. If you remain in well-lit and populated areas and don’t wander at night, you will have no issues with being mugged.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

Domestic terrorist groups like the National Liberation Army and other guerilla organizations operate throughout Colombia but not in Leticia. Attacks in the town have never occurred due to the military presence in the area, who are specifically searching for these groups.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: HIGH

Colombia has a high risk of scams, including Leticia, which comprises illegal ATM operations, fake police, distractions to lift your wallet or other items, or other bait-and-switch tricks. The best option to combat scamming is using common sense, trusting your gut, and following general safety tips, like keeping your bag at the front of your body in crowded places and keeping items out of your back pocket.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

The risk for female travelers visiting Leticia is low due to the high police presence in the town. That doesn’t mean female travelers shouldn’t follow normal precautions like never leaving their drinks unattended, never allowing anyone in their hotel room, not walking home at night alone, and always dressing respectfully according to the local culture and customs.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

Given the remote location of Leticia, the infrastructure found in larger destinations is greatly lacking, and this extends to drinking water. Always carry bottled water when visiting, which can be purchased in most tourist areas. Also, don’t eat raw salads or vegetables washed in water to avoid illness.

Safest Places to Visit in Leticia

The entirety of Leticia is reasonably safe for visitors due to an excellent police presence and the military base that’s in town.

The Amazon Rainforest is the main attraction; still, other safe areas include the Isla de Los Micos, Parque Santander, and areas around the Museo Etnografico, Catedral de Nuestra Senora de La Paz, Balneario Arbelaez, and Bioparque Etuena.

Places to Avoid in Leticia

Leticia is such a small town; no neighborhoods should be avoided as it’s generally safe, provided you use common sense.

However, avoid walking out of the town limits or into the jungle without an experienced guide, as there are plenty of dangerous animals, and it’s incredibly easy to get lost if you don’t know the routes.

Also, don’t attempt to wander across the border into Peru or Brazil at night, as this can be dangerous.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Leticia

  1. Always Go with a Guide to the Amazon. Trekking into the Amazon without an experienced guide is never safe. There are dangerous animals, plants, bugs, and sometimes people who can cause you harm. If you want to venture into the Amazon, sign up for one of the many tours leaving Leticia that will show you the best places to visit and keep you safe.
  2. Avoid Illegal Activities. Illegal activities like drugs and sex tourism should be avoided, even if you’ve done so in the past. Engaging in these activities significantly increases your chances of becoming a victim. Although Leticia is fairly safe, most tourist crime incidences are related to unlawful activities, so don’t be the next victim.
  3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings. While this is true in any situation and location, it’s essential to always be aware of your surroundings, including those around you. Motorcycle item snatching is common in Colombia, and Leticia is no different. The idea is a motorcycle pulls up to an unsuspecting tourist, grabs your belongings, and quickly rides away. Also, never be distracted by anyone as they could collaborate with another criminal to steal your items.
  4. Be Careful with Your Cellphone. Never be an obvious tourist. Speaking English loudly in flip-flops can quickly make you a target. This practice attracts unwanted attention, especially from criminals looking for their next victim. Cell phones are the most commonly stolen item in Leticia and across the country, so drawing attention and keeping your phone in your back pocket are great ways to have the next phone stolen.
  5. Be Vigilant on Mass Transit. Although Leticia is small and doesn’t have an extensive mass transit system if you must take the bus to another town, be vigilant and aware of who is around you. Depending on your route, buses can become crowded, so watch your pockets, phone, bags, and other belongings, as pickpockets can scoop up an item without you noticing until after exiting.
  6. Leave the Passport at Home. Carrying your original passport could have complicated consequences for the rest of the trip if it’s lost or stolen. Leticia has no consulates or embassies, with the closest being in Bogota, a several-hour flight away. Instead, bring a copy of your passport for extra identification and leave the passport in your hotel room.
  7. Never Leave Your Drink Unattended. It takes a matter of seconds for a criminal to slip a drug into your drink that will leave you incapacitated, wipe your memory, and leave you vulnerable to criminal aggression. Many tourists visit Leticia, so this practice is common, especially for those traveling alone. The best way to combat this is by always keeping an eye on your drink, never leaving it unattended, and never accepting drinks from strangers that you don’t watch the bartender make in front.
  8. Put Your Bag in Front. Backpacks, purses, and other bags are common petty theft items that are snatched in crowded places. Criminals also attempt to lift items from bags on crowded buses. These issues can be eliminated by placing your bag at the front of your body so you can view precisely what’s going on.
  9. Skip ATMS on the Street. When taking out money, always use an ATM at a grocery store, mall, or bank, and never on the street. A street ATM could be a fake or illegal operation, and you never know who is watching you withdraw money. Although rare, criminals can follow you to your hotel or a secluded place if they see you withdraw large sums of money.
  10. Stick to Well-Lit Areas. Wandering into poorly lit or abandoned areas can make you an easy target for a crime since nobody is around. Knowing your route before leaving the house is the best way to avoid an incident. If you end up in a secluded area, then calmly turn around and return the way you came or immediately use a ridesharing app.

So... How Safe Is Leticia Really?

As the Gateway to the Amazon in Colombia, Leticia draws plenty of international and domestic tourists each year, so police regularly patrol the town, and the military base keeps visitors safe from national terrorist organizations.

While you must exercise standard precautions and use your instinct and common sense in all situations, Leticia is a safe place to visit.

The main warnings surround drinking water and wandering into the Amazon without an experienced guide.

While drinking water can cause dysentery, the Amazon is unforgiving, with numerous dangers lurking around each corner.

If you plan to venture into the Amazon with a tour guide when visiting Leticia, then you’re unlikely to have crime-related problems.

How Does Leticia Compare?

CitySafety Index
Leticia70
Bogotá46
Medellin52
Cartagena82
Barranquilla47
Cali52
Santa Marta33
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

Although most countries don’t need a visa to enter Colombia for trips under 90 days, it’s best to check with your local state department before booking. Also, ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from entry.

Currency

Currency

The Colombian Peso is the official currency in Leticia and across the country. Most establishments take credit and debit cards, but it’s always advisable to have cash on hand. There are several ATMs in the town, but it’s essential to withdraw money only from banks, malls, and grocery stores.

Weather

Weather

Leticia’s weather is consistent with most of the rest of the country: hot and humid year-round. However, since it’s at the southernmost point of Colombia in a rather flat area within the rainforest, the temperature will be hotter, and the humidity can sometimes be unbearable.

Airports

Airports

Leticia is in a relatively remote area of the country, with few towns in the region, but boasts the Vasquez Cobo International Airport, the largest in the area, including the bordering countries. Although small, it’s considered an international airport due to the regional flights to Peru and Brazil. Best of all, the airport is only a seven-minute ride to Downtown Leticia, and you can walk from the airport, although it is not advisable.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Like with any destination, getting travel insurance is always recommended to protect you from the financial costs associated with valuable loss, theft, and medical problems that may arise. This is especially crucial if you’re planning to head into the Amazon.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Leticia Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 27° C
Feb 27° C
Mar 27° C
Apr 27° C
May 27° C
Jun 26° C
Jul 26° C
Aug 27° C
Sep 27° C
Oct 28° C
Nov 28° C
Dec 27° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
313131313030303132323231
Low
°C
232323232322222222232323
High
°F
888888888686868890909088
Low
°F
737373737372727272737373

Colombia - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Barranquilla47
Bogotá46
Bucaramanga32
Cali52
Cartagena82
Cucuta32
Leticia70
Manizales47
Medellin52
Popayan31
Santa Marta33

Where to Next?

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