Want to explore the Grand Canyon of Peru? Book Now for 2020! Join us for your fully guided all inclusive 7 day rafting trip, an 11 day package which includes 3 days exploring ruins and treks of Northern Peru or let us help you arrange your private outfitted adventure up to 28 days long.
Last Fully Guided Package for 2019! There are a few spots available on our final fully guided ‘Heart of the Marañón’ Package, beginning 30th Sep 2019. This is the jewel of the Marañó offering stunning riverscapes and heartwarming visits to villages. It is 7 days on the water, with two nights spent in hotels either side to allow for arrival and departure. All participants of this upcoming journey have decided to add-on three days trekking and exploring ‘The Kingdom fo the Clouds’ to top off this incredible journey. Contact us if you are interested to join this trip!
Book Now for 2020! If you are thinking to travel down the rio in 2020, get in touch with us now! Our most popular months have already begun to book up. Reserve your dates now to ensure you travel on your optimal days!
Explorations in the North! This year we completed the first descent of Rio Palaguas, a side creek which enters close to Marañón Libre Conservation Area and we continue to refine the ‘Kingdom of the Clouds’ add-on journey so that our guests have the best chance to explore Northern Peru while they are here.
We now offer a 3 day add-on package which includes visits to the Citadel of Kuelap, Leymabamba Museum and Gocta Waterfall. These are all must see cultural sites while you are so closeby in the North of Peru.
Rio Palaguas was a stunning, non-stop class IV-V creek cascading its way down to the Marañón. Enjoy these photos from the trip.
Protecting the Río and Sustainable Development We continue to work with Marañón Waterkeeper to help protect the river. We have been running outreach trips in Lonya Grande these past months, and continue to have a positive impact in local villages through genuine exchange and contributions to schools and medical facilities.
A highlight of the season was being able to support local schools by designing and bringing Sporting Uniforms to the village of Mendán.
This year has been an amazing adventure for us. We have run trips for high schools, summer camps, universities and research groups; as well as some amazing private and public trips. Thank-you to everyone who has joined us on the river, and we look forward to meeting those that have not yet had the chance!
It was a pleasure to host a summer camp Telluride Academy on the Rio with energetic and engaged young people from USA!
Hope to see you soon! Saludos from the Marañón Experience team!
We get asked this question a LOT! And it’s not a particularly easy one to answer, this is because the Marañón is such a long river with sections of varying difficulty and it has such huge variations in water levels between wet and dry seasons.
So. What is the best season to come rafting and kayaking on Rio Marañón – Grand Canyon of South America? When do you get the best water levels on the Marañón? Well- it all depends what you are after…
May – November: Dream water levels, and perfect weather.
The best time to come whitewater rafting on Rio Marañón is between late May and early November. This is when levels are predictable and the weather is perfect. This is what we call the Dry Season in the Marañon Valley.
Levels are reliably between 100cms and 200cms (Balsas Gauge). Rapids are fun and at their normal difficulty rating (if the map notes a class III or a class IV, you can generally expect a class III or a class IV rapid coming up). Character is drop pool with some rocks and holes as obstacles.
Usually by late June the river is running clear, bringing out her beautiful deep Jade Green colour.
You will have sunny days almost every day and warm temperatures both day and night, with very low chance of rain. It’s a reliably awesome water level, with dream weather. You cannot go wrong in the dry season.
For info on temperatures on the river in the dry season, see here.
What about the Shoulder Season? Can we run the river in the wet season?
We have run some of our most memorable and delightful trips in shoulder seasons.
Mid April and May:
Expect higher water levels, with likely fluctuations while you are on the river. The Marañón will probably be running brown and probably somewhere between 200-600cms. Many smaller rapids wash out, and big rapids can get bigger. Character is big water with some huge waves and huge holes. Still pools begin to flow a lot faster, different camp options are available compared to low-water season. It is much more likely you will get some days of rain, as this is still considered the wet season. Storms are possible. We don’t recommend running the Upper sections of the Marañón in this period.
Late October – January:
This can either be the end of the low water season, or the beginning of the high water season. It’s a roll of the dice. You might get the river at a low level – around 100 CMS, or you could find the river at at what we’d consider a very high level, and this may change throughout your trip. It’s possible to get some days of rain, and the weather is not predictable like in the dry season. It is southern hemisphere summer and the temperature is generally warm and humid. There is possibility of thunderstorms which bring strong winds and rain without much warning.
We don’t recommend running the Upper sections of the Marañón in this period, but the lower half of the river can still be run by groups who plan accordingly in terms of equipment and group experience.
If very high-water occurs, you may need wait a day or two until rising waters pass. Don’t worry though, the faster flows mean you can make up time and probably still stay on schedule to make it out of the canyon on time.
February – April
It’s very possible the river will be too high to run, and may take several days or weeks for high-water to retreat to a runnable level. It may possible to run the river through this period, but that is for experts only.
Scheduling for the Upper Sections of the Marañón Canyon
For a full descent of the River (usually 24-28 days), you need to pass through the crux known as Wasson’s Landslide and several other challenging class IV-V rapids in the ‘inner canyon”, upstream (south) of Chagual. These crux rapids involves lining rafts and running some challenging sections which become un-portageable.
To pass Wasson’s we recommend a level below 300cms (Balsas gauge).
The earliest we’d recommend scheduling to pass Wasson’s is the beginning of June. This means you could plan to start your full river trip around the 20th of May to arrive there by the end of the month, but the weather is unpredictable.
The Latest we’d recommend aiming to pass Wasson’s is in November,. However some years the river might not come up until late December or January, meaning you could potentially do a full descent over christmas- if you’re lucky. This time of year (late October onwards) can be unpredictable and the river can come up quickly meaning you might decide to change plans and put-in lower down, such as at Chagual, or re-schedule the trip based on weather patterns close to the date.
We launched the 2019 rafting season on the Marañón in Peru on 9th of May with a crew from Thompson Rivers University. The crew came as part of their final year assessment to complete their course in Adventure Studies. As part of this assessment they were charged with all aspects of trip planning from food to mapping to group management and mapping; Marañón Experience guides were along for the ride to help with cultural interpretation and backup river safety.
Level: 350cms (min: 320cms, max 400cms)
Take-Out: Puerto Malleta
River KM: 250km
River Days: 12