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

Cajamarca, Peru

Marañón Experience
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19 reviews
May 20 - 30, 2024
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
19 reviews

May 20 - 30, 2024
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
19 reviews
We offer the finest whitewater rafting journeys down the Marañón River, Perú - Source of the Amazon and accompanying experiences in Northern Perú.


the sounds of magic river in the nigths, stars and moon. clouds of imagination and waking up in the nature itself. Epic rapids, so much fun in the day, adventure, joy and happiness. what a crew, so profesionals, so nice, so cool. I re-learn that nature is the source of all benefits and this experience takes you in such unique prestige places... EPIC TRIP!!!
By Nicolàs L for Art + Conservation Coast 2 Coast / Marañón Waterkeeper trip on Oct 25, 2023
A fantastic and unforgettable experience which we would definitely recommend to do, if you're looking for an authentic Peruvian adventure! Amazing nature and unexpected extraordinary food. The guides are great, easy going and knowledgable. Go for it!
By Jesse v for Grand Canyon of the Marañón, Andes to Amazon on Oct 22, 2023
Got way more out of this trip than expected. Rapids were pretty mellow (170 m3/s in August) and the weather was perfect, but it was the cultural experiences that made this trip special. Luigi and Vera were awesome guides and cooks and were loved by all locals. They really made this trip an incredible experience. Thanks guys. I hope we get to boat (or Mtn bike) together again someday!
By Oliver S for Logan McDaneld - Row your Own Heart of the Marañón FINAL PAYMENT on Aug 31, 2023
Thank you so much Oliver! Was a pleasure to share this trip with you and your awesome crew! Samewise, hope we get to adventure together sometime in the future!
By Marañón Experience on Sep 08, 2023
Fantastic trip on a fantastic river! Luigi and team are outstanding and provide an incredible service for a truly unique adventure!
By Logan M for Logan McDaneld - Row your Own Heart of the Marañón FINAL PAYMENT on Aug 24, 2023
Thanks Logan! Was an awesome trip with an awesome crew
By Marañón Experience on Sep 08, 2023
5/5 one great trip!
By Seth K for Logan McDaneld - Row your Own Heart of the Marañón FINAL PAYMENT on Aug 23, 2023
Thank you Seth! The crew made it great!!
By Marañón Experience on Sep 08, 2023
Show More Reviews


Luigi and his team were amazing! We enjoyed a 3 night and 4 day adventure in the Marañon River in Peru. It was my first time rafting and I felt really save under his guidance. They customized the tour for us, since it was our honey moon. It was an adventure of a lifetime with so many beautiful memories! You’ll be deep in the nature, contemplating mesmerizing sunsets, wildlife and welcoming communities. Thank you, Luigi and team!
By Paula M on 22 Apr, 2023
We had a marvelous time on the river with Maranon Experience!!! I can think of no one better to adventure with down this magical river. Maranon Experience has a deep love for the river and works tirelessly to keep it free flowing (Rio Libre). This is a journey that cannot be missed!!! Such a wonderful experience.
By Elsa K on 14 Apr, 2023