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November 2010

Colombia Flag Colombia: Macedonia Flag Colombia

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Arriving by boat to Macedonia, Colombia

The Colombian settlement of Macedonia has nothing to do with Macedonia the European country, nor with Macedonia the region of Northern Greece.

I don't know who chose the name of the Historical lands of Alexander The Great for this place, but I'm sure it wasn't its inhabitants.

A shop in the town of Macedonia in Colombia

Macedonia is home of the Ticuna, one of the most representative indigenous tribes of the Amazon.

Most Ticunas are found in Brazil, but there are sizable communities in Colombia and Perú.

The Ticuna of Macedonia are in regular contact with Colombia's main population.
This means that they don't live like their ancestors anymore: they don't go hunting for all their meals and they dress mostly with cotton clothes.

There is a hospital in Macedonia, homes have electricity and cable TV.

The town is small, so there are no roads and no cars.

Kids on the way to school in the streets of Macedonia, Amazon rainforest, Colombia

There is a school in Macedonia and kids have to wear an uniform.
This might seen unbelievable for such a remote place, but it's the way it is.

The Ticuna speak spanish but have their own langage, which is a very interesting one. It's a tonal langage, like the ones spoken in Asia.

At school, they are thought in Spanish and Ticuna langage, so nowadays their roots are respected by the government.

The school of Macedonia, Colombia

Two Ticuna words can be read when when you get to Macedonia: Mea i pe gungü which means "welcome" and and pe taãegü which means "be happy".

It is thought that the Ticuna language is a language isolate, with no relationship to any other language.
Well, given the fact of how remote this area is, it wouldn't be a surprise. The ticunas lives here isolated for centuries before the European conquest, and even after that.

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Houses in Macedonia in Colombia

Tourism plays a big role in Macedonia's every day life.

A lot of Ticuna work as craftsmen rather than being hunters, so they're happy to see tourists come to buy their goods.

But unlike some places very touristy places like Cartagena, Phuket or Sharm El Sheik, they are not insistent and remain polite if you don't buy anything.
In other words, they consider you a human being, and not a walking dollar note.

Tourist shops in the town of Macedonia in Colombia

When tourists come to Macedonia, women in traditional dress dance and sing for them.

I spoke to Olivia, one of the dancers, for a while. She told me about the dance they performed. It was part of a ritual done when a girl becomes a woman.

She told me a lot about their life and their traditions, and the way they keep them alive.
The Ticuna from Macedonia are a great example of people with a double culture: They're Colombians, and they're Ticuna. They take the best of both worlds: embracing modernity while keeping their most important traditions.

Esmeralda, Ticuna girls from Macedonia

Although I didn't spend the night there, but maybe someday I will come back, as I would like to learn more about this community.

The trip continued to Amacayacu National Park.

Colombia Links:

Colombia official Tourist board
Lonely Planet Colombia guides
Compare cheap flights to Colombia
Hotels in Leticia near Macedonia with

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Colombia travel guide

Colombia travel guide

Put that Gabriel García Márquez novel down and start planning your Colombian adventure! Before you know it, you'll be strolling the cobbled streets of colonial Cartagena...

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