Where the Cordillera Oriental plunges into the Amazon forest is Mocoa. This Putumayo Department capital tucked in an emerald-green landscape is a pleasant stopover for travelers roaming from San Agust√≠n to Pasto, or to take the backdoor crossing into Ecuador. For those who cannot afford to fly down to Leticia, Mocoa also affords a taste of Colombia‚Äôs jungle. Mass tourism has yet to arrive here.
The focal point of Mocoa is Plaza Santander. On one side is Catedral San Miguel with columns gleaming beautiful gold and silver inlays. The city has a multi-ethnic flavor. Over half of the population has migrated from other parts of Colombia, drawn by mining and petroleum exploration. Indigenous nations include the Kaf√°n and Inga.
Many rivers flow through Mocoa, draping the countryside with clear-watered swimming holes and waterfalls. The most spectacular cascade is Fin del Mundo, plunging into the green jungle far below. Hiking into the jungle reveals the region‚Äôs rich natural beauty and birdlife. Mocoa is also home to many taitas (shamans) who can open the door into other worlds.