Grand Canyon of the Marañón and Kingdom of the Clouds, Northern Peru

Cajamarca, Peru

Marañón Experience
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14 reviews
Duration: 11 days
Group size: 4 - 18
Grand Canyon of the Marañón and Kingdom of the Clouds, Northern Peru
Cajamarca, Peru

Marañón Experience
  • Email address verified
  • Facebook verified
14 reviews

Duration: 11 days
Group size: 4 - 18

About this trip

A trip delivered in partnership with Paddle 365.

This trip has it all: the colourful culture of the high Andes, exciting class III - IV rapids navigating one of the last free flowing rivers in the world, heart warming visits to remote riverside villages, hikes to ruins, waterfalls and pools in lush Amazonas seasonally tropical dry forest and ancient Cities atop mountain peaks in the Kingdom of the Clouds. 

We begin the adventure by rafting through the 'Heart of the Marañón' on a 7 day whitewater rafting/kayaking expedition where jaw dropping views can be found around every bend. We camp on remote sandy beaches and enjoy a surprisingly tasty menu. Most days offer side hikes into stunning canyons, waterfalls, natural pools and/or friendly villages. This river journey through the Grand Canyon of South America is unforgettable and for good reason - Rio Marañón as source of the Amazon is one of the most important and endangered rivers on the planet. 

After 145km on the river we travel into the mountains and arrive to the town of Cocachimba, in the Amazonas Region. We hike through pristine cloud forest to experience Gocta Waterfall, at 771m it is one of the tallest on the planet. We will also walk around the ancient Citadel of Kuelap; a remnant of the fascinating Chachapoyan Culture with 20m high stone walls and over 420 circular stone buildings. Kuelap is thought to have been an important Chachapoya ceremonial center with some 3,000 inhabitants with some dedicated to rituals and solar observations.

This is truly one of the most unforgettable multi-sport adventures out there, in a pocket of the world which is still largely untouched and unknown. You will be travelling with Marañón Experience/Marañón Waterkeeper guides, experts in sustainable eco-tourism in this area; our mission is to ensure that the Marañón River, Source of the Amazon, is protected in its free flowing state, and everything we do forms a part of this mission - from interactions in local villages, to sharing this wealth of knowledge with guests.

Download our Brochure for the river section, packing list, arrival and departure information

What do we eat on the river expedition?

This is one aspect of the trip you definitely don't need to worry about.
Our menu will knock you socks off considering that we carry everything we need with us on the rafts, including coolers with frozen goods and ice to allow for cold beers and beverages. We will eat breakfasts with fresh fruit salad, homemade granola, local yogurt, scrambled eggs, pancakes or french toasts. For lunch we prepare sandwiches, wraps or pasta/rice/quinua cold salads. The warm dinners can be the worldwide known Ceasar salad, dutch oven lasagna, chili, or peruvian classics lomo saltado, arroz chaufa or ají de gallina. Mid morning snacks like fresh fruits, snack bars and nuts keep us going until lunch and appetizers and dips allow us a relaxing afternoon after setting up camp while dinner is getting ready.

We're happy to cater for all kinds of dietary requirements and restrictions (no dairy, no gluten, vegetarian, etc), just let us know what you need!

What makes this trip unique?

This trip connects some of the most iconic Peruvian landscapes and cultural sites, in unforgettable style. A raft or kayak trip down the Grand Canyon of South America is like no other; exciting big water rapids perfect for beginner and intermediate paddlers, warm water and weather, incredible menu, stunning riverbeach campsites, side hikes, deep wild canyons and heart warming interactions in remote riverside villages await.

When we arrive to the Amazonas region and journey into the Kingdom of the Clouds you will experience ruins that rival Machu Picchu, but without the huge crowds, and trek to one of the highest waterfalls on the planet. All of this while staying at comfortable accomodations in front of Gocta waterfall, surrounded by nature and tasting delicious food.


The best season for this rafting expedition is May to November when the water levels and weather are optimal. 

The upper Marañón is an Andean fed river where the rainy season happens during the southern hemisphere summer, between December and April, though the first rains can start in early October and finish in Late May. Even though the river can be run at high levels, during the rainy months there are high chances of having flood stages where the river runs off its banks and gives no room for error or comfy camp sites. Thus, it´s not recommended to run the river during these months, unless you are prepared and ready for a potential epic.

May - June can provide some of the best high - medium flow runs, with almost certainty of no flood stages, running the tail of the rainy season while the water level drops into the dry season. Little rises can occur with the last rains, but most likely the water level will stay at fun runnable levels.

July - September are the driest months, with most likely sunny days and low clear water.

October - November are the most uncertain and exciting, as it can still be dry, or the rainy season kicks off. Dry hot days with low water levels are possible, as well as rainy weather and rising water that normally stay within fun runnable levels.

Packing List

Personal Items:

Daypack (small) or fanny pack

Water bottle with a locking carabiner (To clip onto raft throughout the day.

Carabiner must be able to lock when clipped onto raft)

Headlamp or flashlight with batteries (rechargeable is ok)

Sunglasses with securing strap

Toiletries (natural ingredients & biodegradeable where possible)

Small towel and washcloth

Sunscreen and lip balm: waterproof and SPF 30 or higher (travel size)

Moisturizer for hands and face. (travel size)

Insect repellent (non-DEET repellent is preferable, can buy in Peru)

Small personal first aid kit with band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen,

diarrhea & anti-nausea medication, etc.

A spare pair of glasses or contacts if you use these (It is possible that

water and sand can cause problems for people using contacts)


On River shoes (Water shoes or sandals)

Lightweigth Hiking boots or Shoes (for side hikes)

Sandals or flip-flops for around camp


Neoprene or wool socks for the river (optional)


Long-sleeved shirt & long pants for off river

Long pants or shorts + leggings & long sleeve shirt for on river (long sleeves & pants important for sun and bug protection)

Medium weight fleece, sweater or jacket

T-shirt and/or lightweight quick-dry top

Board Shorts

Undergarments as many as required for the trip

Bathing suit

Lightweight Jacket, windproof and waterproof. (highly recommended if

travelling in wet season November-May)!

Optional Items:

Tent. (Tents are provided, however feel free to bring your own lightweight

shelter if you prefer.)


Bandana and Bug Net

Camera (spare battery recommended) and/or Binoculars.

Paddling gloves for sun & water protection

Reading, writing, drawing, painting materials

Small travel-sized game

Cap or visor that can fit under a helmet

While in Kingdom of the Clouds:

Comfortable shoes for Hiking

Rain Jacket

Hiking Pants / Shorts

Hiking Shirt + mid layer

Warm Coat, Sweater or Jacket

Water bottle


Clothing for evenings after the days activities

Toiletries & underwear

What’s included

  • Hotels (4 Nights)
    Twin Share accomodation. One night in Cajamarca before trip, and 3 nights in Cocachimba while in Kingdom of the Clouds.
  • 7D/6N Raft Expedition
    Includes tents, delux sleeping pad, sleeping bag and drybags to keep your gear dry and all safety equipment.
  • Professional Guides
    Our trained, bi-lingual river guides will help you safely navigate the whitewater, and also get the best cultural and natural interpretation of the area.
  • All Transport
    Pickup, Dropoff to Airports and everything in between.
  • All Meals
    Welcome dinner in Cajamarca and all meals on the river trip and Kingdom of the Clouds until Day 11 breakfast.
  • Park Entrance Fees
    All park entrance fees to cultural sites and local guides to explain the history of these sites.
  • Flights
    You will need to purchase your flights to arrive in Cajamarca, Peru on Day 1; and you can depart from Chachapoyas or Jaén, Peru on Day 11.
  • Personal Medications
    Bring all your own personal medications, it is best to transport these in your carry on, so there is very low chance of losing them.
  • Travel Insurance
    We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance which covers rafting up to grade 4 and medical evacuations.
  • Items on Packing List
    Check the Packing list for all other items that we recommend to bring.
  • Alcoholic Beverages
    We provide a small selection of drinks on the trip. You are welcome to purchase your own supplies in Cajamarca or email us and make a beverage pre-order.

Available Packages


Full package as a guided rafting paddler or passenger  

Deposit: $500

Full package as a kayaker, includes Kayak and Paddle 

Paddle options: Werner Powerhouse or Surge, 197 cm, straight or bendshaft options

Kayak options:

Zet Raptor (two available)

Waka Steeze

Waka Stout (two available)

Waka Gangsta

Waka OG

Drago Rossi DR9

Spade Blackjack (two available)

Spade Bliss

Wavesport Habitat 74

Fluid Bazooka M

Pyranha Burn S

Dagger Nomad 8.5

Dagger Mamba 8.6 

Dagger Axiom 8.5

Deposit: $500

Available options


Day 1
Arrivals to Cajamarca & Welcome Dinner

Upon arrival to Cajamarca Airport a private taxi will be waiting to take you to the hotel. You have free time throughout the day to explore Cajamarca. Perhaps a swim in the hot-springs used by Atahualpa, the last Incan emperor, the chance to wander through the city marvelling at its colonial architecture, vibrant Andean textiles and delicious local cheese.

We will meet in lobby of our stunning hotel at 6pm and head to the restaurant for a welcome dinner and briefing about the adventure to come.

10 minute taxi transfer to hotel

Your Organizer

Marañón Experience
14 reviews
We offer the finest whitewater rafting journeys down the Marañón River, Peru - Source of the Amazon and accompanying experiences in Northern Peru.


This was the best organized trip that I have ever experienced from an outfitter. All the gear was well taken care of and of great quality. The guides and staff were exceptionally friendly and more importantly sharp/solid boaters. Our group felt safe on and off the river and all variables and logistics relating to this trip were just phenomenal. I plan on returning!
By Courtney T for Courtney Taylor Final Deposit on 02 Dec, 2022
Thank you so much Courtney!! Lookong forward to you return!
By Marañón Experience on 06 Dec, 2022
We had an incredible trip. Luigi had all the details of gear and logistics accounted for. Our boats were rigged and ready to go when we arrived to the launch point. He managed expectations well by explaining what each day held for us, what rapids and activities lay ahead and approximate distance we need to make. He also gave us options for the days that we could discuss with the group. He was well connected with the local communities in the Marañon canyon which was evident by how well they received us. One advice would be make two smaller kitchen boxes and two smaller kitchen barrels because the bigger containers are very heavy. Luckily no one squished a toe. I hope to have the opportunity to do this trip again. It was an incredible white water river and cultural experience.
By Jakub B for Courtney Taylor Marañón Nov. 2022 on 28 Nov, 2022
Thanks Kuba!! and for the advices, we agree and will improve those heavy boxes and barrils. Looking forward to share another river trip with you!
By Marañón Experience on 06 Dec, 2022
What a fantastic experience. Maranon Experience lives this river and Luigi knows the folks who live there too. I was excited to part of a team that is committed to saving this river from damming. With a great crew we safely explored for 10 days on the Maranon's crazy rapids, sandy (albeit buggy and/or windy) beaches, and never went hungry. Great local food, the BEST fruit I've ever eaten....huge waterfalls, ruins, locals with cold beers, and did I say the best crew?? Thanks guys, I'll be back someday.
By Jeff L for Love Boat Paddle Co comes for a Marañón Experience! on 03 Oct, 2022
Thank you so much Jefe!!! was an amazing trip. Looking forward to have you back!!
By Marañón Experience on 06 Dec, 2022
Amazing trip with Luigi, Jaume, Lobo, Roy and Breisthon! Great food, weather and hiking. Not only did we love the river we enjoyed the visits into the villages and the cultural experiences that Luigi put into each day. Highly recommend the Maranon Experience!
By AARON B for Aaron Bryant and family - Row your Own Heart of the Marañón on 06 Aug, 2022
Thank you Aaron, Meghan, Heidi, Logan and Autumn! Was an amazing trip with an inspiring family! Wishing you all the best in the coming year, hope to see you sometime soon!
By Marañón Experience on 06 Dec, 2022
We had an absolutely incredible time with Luigi! He created a custom Peruvian experience for us. We started our trip in Pusste Copuma and saw nobody for the first 6 days. It was just us in the remote Andes. After the 7th day, we started to encounter more villages and people. Luigi has kept up great relationships with the locals; we were able to get hot meals and even beers along the river! I will never forget our 14-day Marañón trip. Thanks so so much for making it unforgettable.
By Jessica D for Kayaking in Northern Perú on 23 Jan, 2022
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