Araracuara, a name “sacred in the mythology of the Huitotos Indians, is also present in the memory of Colombians because it was for many years the site of the infamous Araracuara prison, from which “it was very difficult to escape and those who managed to escape ended up devoured by the jungle. Many of those who paid for their crimes there remember it as hell.
Geography of Araracuara
The Caquetá River separates the departments of Caquetá and Amazonas in this region. Two towns face each other across the river: Puerto Santander in Amazonas and Araracuara in Caquetá.
Born in the Colombian Massif together with the Magdalena, the Cauca and the Patía, and after receiving the waters of such abundant tributaries as the Caguán and the Orteguaza, the Caquetá River enters the Araracuara escarpment through a canyon 6 kilometers long, 80 meters high and 30 meters wide before rushing out with great roar, power and beauty through a giant step that turns the place into a landscape of superb spectacularity.
An 8-kilometer road, parallel to the river, exempts boats bringing cargo from Florencia from passing through the canyon. Downstream, very close to the Araracuara inspection, the Yarí, which collects the waters of the Chiribiquete National Park, delivers its flow to the Caquetá.
Things to do and see in Araracuara
Almost at the head of the airstrip of the airport of this inspection is the Devil’s Balcony, the only place from which you can see the canyon in almost its entirety and it is possible to appreciate, among other wonders, the pairs of macaws (monogamous birds throughout their lives) that fly across the superb flying across the superb abyss and leaving in the air their colorful plumage. It is not surprising then that the region has taken the name of this bird in vernacular language: ara means, in effect, macaw.
In the surrounding jungles of the Araracuara Canyon it is possible to find everything from big cats and anacondas 10 meters long to species such as the lion monkey, the smallest monkey on the planet, as big as the fist of a hand. The flora is typical of the Colombian Amazon rainforest: large trees, vines, mushrooms, liqueurs. At the time of the Gaucherías at the beginning of the 19th century, rubber was intensely exploited in the area.
Araracuara Canyon Useful Facts
- Location: In the middle-lower course of the Caquetá, breaking the Araracuara escarpment.
- Climate : 30°C on average.
- Access: It can be reached by river coming down from Florencia or by plane from Bogota or Villavicencio. You can also go up the river from La Pedrera, near the Brazilian border.
- Nearby towns Puerto Santander and Araracuara. The respective departmental capitals. Leticia and Florencia are far away.
- Fauna: Jaguars, pumas, tapirs, deer, anacondas, many poisonous snakes, turtles and caimans. The lion monkey among the primates. Fishing is abundant in the river.
- Flora: The typical of the great Amazon rainforest: gigantic trees, epiphytes, creepers, quiches, orchids, liqúenes, rubber.
- Recommendations: There are many places to visit: Angostura, Yarí river, City of Piedra, Caño Paujll. Keep in mind that Araracuara airport only has one plane per week.