The Japurá River or Caquetá River is a river about 2,820 kilometres (1,750 mi) long (some sources[who?] say 2,414 km) rising as the Caquetá River in the Andes in southwest Colombia. It flows southeast into Brazil, where it is called the Japurá. The Japurá enters the Amazon River through a network of channels. It is navigable by small boats in Brazil.
The river is home to a wide variety of fish and reptiles, including enormous catfish weighing up to 91 kg (201 lb) and measuring up to 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) in length, electric eels, piranhas, turtles, and caimans. It also serves as a principal means of transportation, being plied by tiny dugout canoes, larger ones, motorboats, and riverboats known locally as lanchas. The boats carry a multitude of cargoes, sometimes being chartered, sometimes even being traveling general stores. In the Colombian section, the presence of guerrillas and soldiers often severely limits river traffic.
Much of the jungle through which the eastern Caquetá originally flowed has been cleared for pasture, crops of rice, corn, manioc, and sugar cane, and in the past two decades, particularly coca crops.
West of the Rio Negro, the Solimões River (as the Amazon's upper Brazilian course is called) receives three more imposing streams from the northwest—the Japurá, the Içá (referred to as the Putumayo before it crosses over into Brazil), and the Napo. The Caquetá River, later to become the Japurá, rises in the Colombian Andes, nearly in touch with the sources of the Magdalena River, and augments its volume from many branches as it courses through Colombia.