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Destination: Peru - Marañón River

Destination: Peru - Marañón River

The Marañon is the primary source of the Amazon. If you go upstream along the Amazon from the Atlantic Ocean, and at each fork in the river you choose the one contributing the greatest quantity of water, you will arrive to the Marañón.

Interestingly, this river was planned to be dammed in 2014, but due to massive local opposition, increased tourism and work of NGO’s including Marañón Waterkeeper; these dam plans have been stalled, cancelled or abandoned. Your support choosing the Maranon as your next tourist destination helps to build the case of why this river is more valuable free flowing!

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Luigi and Jessica

Luigi and Jessica

Luigi Marmaillo is a skilled Peruvian River Guide. He first saw the Marañón as part of the Remando Juntos project to promote its conservation and prevent 20 hydroelectric projects from destroying the source of the Amazon. Luigi’s specialty is mixing up an ice cold Chilcano using his father’s recipe in the evening light on banks of the Marañón.

Jessica Halter is an outdoor and adventure photographer who fell in love with Peru, and with Luigi while on the river and has been drawn back ever since. Jessie is a safety kayaker on trips and brings a womans touch to operations.



Benjamin Webb first went to Peru when he read about dams planned on the source of the Amazon, he founded Remando Juntos, and Marañón Waterkeeper to help create more awareness of this globally important river. Along the way he developed a passion for sharing this unique river journey with visitors and has been chasing rivers ever since. You will normally find Ben rowing the passenger raft, telling tales from the river.

River Sections

The best Grand Canyon style trip in Peru is certainly the Marañón River, with a 500km raftable section of wild, free flowing river available. Groups who choose to complete the whole journey would usually do this over 27 days.


The most popular and accessible section of the Marañón is the 7 day, class III-IV ‘Heart of the Marañòn. For this trip, guests can fly to the city of Cajamarca. After arriving to the river it is a 7 day raft journey; sleeping in tents, camping on the beaches and cooking in camp kitchen or sometimes over the open campfire. The trip finishes in the city of Jaén where guests can fly home, or continue exploring the northern Peru.  

Heart of the Marañón

  • Class III-IV

  • Balsas to Puerto Malleta

  • Length: 140km, 7 Days

  • Total elevation drop: 400m

Lin-Lin, San Lucas and Magdalena Rapids are always favorites on the Heart of the Marañón section; these are fun, big water, bouncy rapids that will leave you with a giant smile. The Lin Lin Rapid offers the perfect balance between technical fine line, big holes and waves and some action if you don't end up where you need to be! This Class IV rapid is the crux of the lower section and everyone who has rowed or paddled it agrees that it is one of the most aesthetic lines around, weaving in between the burly features.

Central Canyon

  • Class III-IV

  • Chagual to Balsas

  • Length: 162km, 7 Days

  • Total elevation drop: 350m

Samosierra Rapid, found in the Central Canyon is arguably the biggest runnable rapid on the river- over 1km in length, it keeps going and going... and going. Samosierra is a ‘wildcard’ rapid sometimes you have a beautiful, clean line, other times not so much because the rapid completely changes every couple when boulders and rocks move due to the wild, undammed nature of the Marañón.

Upper Grand Canyon of Marañón

  • Class: IV+ (V)

  • Putchka (Puente Copuma) to Chagual

  • Length: 198km, 14 Days

  • Total elevation drop: 900m

Wasson’s Landslide is the crux of the Upper Canyon. Parts of Wasson’s cross into class V-VI and rafts must be lined to avoid epic wraps, flips or losing gear into house sized sieves. This rapid normally takes a full day to navigate, or if you are slow you might even sleep overnight between the rocks…

After the trip


After extended river journey like this, we would like people to feel more connected to the natural rhythm of life along the river and accepting of the different cultures and ways of life that it supports. We hope that people feel more inspired by this place and its people to also become stewards of this little blue dot that we all call home.

Soul Rafter - Russell Fork

Soul Rafter - Russell Fork

Soul Rafter - Tullulah River

Soul Rafter - Tullulah River