municipality in Amazonas, Brazil

Tabatinga is a Brazilian city located in the northwest of the state of Amazonas, on the triple border with Brazil, Colombia and Peru. It forms a contiguous settlement with the Colombian town of Leticia, on the Amazon River. Santa Rosa on the nearby island in the river is in Peru.


The border with Brazil and Colombia at Tabatinga.

Tabatinga is located on the left bank of the Amazon River. The municipality has a population of around 70,000 inhabitants, being the sixth most populous in the state of Amazonas. Its population is quite heterogeneous, formed by Brazilians, Peruvians, Colombians, among them indigenous people of different ethnic groups. The city also receives non-permanent Brazilian inhabitants who are employees of government agencies or military personnel of the armed forces.

The city's economy is driven by a significant portion of the informal economy and subsistence agriculture. It is also made up of public sector jobs and the extensive financial exchange of the Colombian city of Leticia, which, based on dollar regulation, takes place in parallel in the city between the Colombian Peso and the Brazilian Real.


The formation of the city of Tabatinga dates back to the 17th century, when Jesuit missionaries founded a village close to the Amazon River. In 1766, a military post, a fiscal post and a border post between the Portuguese and Spanish colonies were installed in the region. From the creation of these two posts, the settlement of São Francisco Xavier de Tabatinga was founded. In 1866, the border between Brazil and Peru was drawn near the village. In 1898, the city became part of the newly created municipality of Benjamin Constant. A post between the borders of Tabatinga and Letícia in 1924 consistently defined the borders between Brazil and Colombia. On December 10, 1981, the municipality of Tabatinga was emancipated from the municipality of Benjamin Constant. The installation of municipal offices took place on January 1, 1983.


Tabatinga has a tropical rainforest climate with high umidity and minimal differences in average high and low temperatures throughout the year. Average temperatures range from 22 °C (71.6 °F) to 30 °C (86 °F) throughout the year. Rain falls throughout the year, although between June and September there is less rainfall.

Get inEdit

Inside a dense tropical rainforest with no land connection with other Brazilian or Colombian cities, it is only possible to reach Tabatinga by plane or by boat.


Movement between all three countries' border towns is unrestricted; but of course, make sure you're stamped into the correct country if leaving the border area. Try to minimize the number of times you go through immigration: i.e. if entering the region from one country and leaving from another, just get one exit and one entry stamp - even if you visit all three towns in this area. Anything more seems to annoy the immigration officers.

The Brazilian immigration office is located some way down Tabatinga's main avenue, Avenida da Amizade, next to the national police' station. Be aware that it is only open Monday to Thursday. Exit-stamps are given by the national police (next door to the left), not by the immigration!

The Colombian immigration office is at the airport, so if you're flying in and moving on to a different country you may as well get an exit stamp when you land. Don't wait several days between getting your exit stamp and the next entry stamp; however leaving it one day doesn't cause any problems.

The Peruvian immigration office in Santa Rosa is fairly central and easy to find, just ask someone.

By boatEdit

Boats and speed boats come upstream from Manaus in 36 hours (speedboat) to 6 days (3 days downstream). They leave at various times during the week and cost about R$ 370. Call the port in Manaus for details (tel. 92 3622-1330, fax 92 3233-2689).

Boats come downstream from Iquitos (Peru) to Santa Rosa (which is just another 10 minute ride with a taxi-boat). The trip is about 9 to 10 hours downstream, or 14 hours upstream, by fast boat, which costs $50 to $60. Slow boats cost about $30 (meals included) and take 3 days. The distance is about 625 km. The immigration office is in Santa Rosa. Make sure to check out of Peru before entering Brazil, and likewise to check in when entering Peru.

For detailed information visit the Voyaging along the Amazon River article.

By planeEdit

Get aroundEdit

Taxis and moto-taxis abound; just avoid the taxis at the port - they overcharge 2 to 4 times. The city is pretty large, walking in the heat of the day is something one might want to think twice about.


You can see all three countries at once at the 2 viewpoint Barranco da Comara and at a 3 viewpoint near the airport runway just 5 minutes walking away. Both are free of charge.

See also the "See" and "Do" section of Leticia for activities.


One of the greatest experiences in South America - voyaging down the Amazon.

  • 1 Tabatinga Port (Porto de Tabatinga). If you're coming from Manaus (or elsewhere down river) by boat, this is where you'll arrive.
  • 2 Federal Police (exit stamps here), Av. da Amizade, 2502-2530, Tabatinga - AM, 69640-000, +55 97 3412-2047. Exit-stamps are given by the federal police (next door to the immigration office), NOT by the immigration office!


Both Brazilian reais, Colombian pesos and Peruvian soles are generally freely traded in the town, though Peruvian Soles may not be willingly received.

Changing money is not difficult though. The fee in both money exchange services directly at the border is 12%.

Due to the isolation of the city and the distance from the capital of the state, the cost of living in Tabatinga is higher than in the rest of the state. However, shopping in the Colombian city of Leticia is tax-free, and for this reason, the locals and tourists generally prefer to shop on the Colombian side of the border.


  • Fazendinha. good pizza
  • 1 Restaurante Três Fronteiras, 398, R. Rui Barbosa, 308. Has a beautiful garden and a romantic atmosphere. The venue is specialized in BBQ and Peruvian food and known as the best restaurant in Tabatinga.
  • São Jorge, Av da Amizade 1941. Peruvian restaurant. Great ceviche and a good selection of Peruvian beers. A portion easily serves two. R$25 to R$40.


  • Vinicius bar, main street.


Note that the neighboring town of Leticia has a much greater and better choice in accommodation. You don't need to pass Colombian immigration to stay there.


  • 1 Pousada da Praça (formerly: International Bagpackers Hostel, Hotel Internacional, Travelers Jungle Home), Rua Pedro Texeira 9, second floor (in the former Blue Moon Hotel three blocks from Tabatinga’s Porta da Feira), +55 31 2585-8855, +55 31 3219-5121, . With a dorm room and several rooms with private bath, this inn is barebones. Hotel Internacional Bagpackers does have a common kitchen and a place to hang out and share jungle tales with other travelers. Linens included. Complimentary port or airport pickup in Tabatinga, Leticia and Santa Rosa. From its terrace it offers a spectacular view on the Amazon River. Skype: @TabatingaBagpackers . Owner Tony/Miguel offers guided excursions. R$ 35 (single).
  • Pousada do Sol (near to the Preifetura de Tabatinga (Tabatinga city hall) behind the main street). The owner Osmar is a very talkative and friendly man in his 40s. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese but not English. R$ 70.

Go nextEdit

Boats and speed boats head downstream to Manaus in 1 to 3 days. Boats head upstream to Iquitos (Peru) from Santa Rosa (about 60h with a slow boat, 13h with a speedboat).

Flights connect to Manaus and to Bogota, the latter from the airport in Leticia.

For detailed information visit the Voyaging along the Amazon River article.

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