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
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!
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.
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
Undergarments as many as required for the trip
Lightweight Jacket, windproof and waterproof. (highly recommended if
travelling in wet season November-May)!
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
Hiking Pants / Shorts
Hiking Shirt + mid layer
Warm Coat, Sweater or Jacket
Clothing for evenings after the days activities
Toiletries & underwear
Full package as a guided rafting paddler or passenger
Full package as a kayaker, includes Kayak and Paddle
Paddle options: Werner Powerhouse or Surge, 197 cm, straight or bendshaft options
Zet Raptor (two available)
Waka Stout (two available)
Drago Rossi DR9
Spade Blackjack (two available)
Wavesport Habitat 74
Fluid Bazooka M
Pyranha Burn S
Dagger Nomad 8.5
Dagger Mamba 8.6
Dagger Axiom 8.5
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