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…
The Short Answer – The Marañón Rafting Season
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), which is regarded as ‘the normal level’ for rafting on this river. 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, this usually continues until October or November when she begins to come up again.
You will have sunny days almost every day and warm temperatures both day and night. 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? What if we want to run the Brown?
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 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 camps 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. We don’t recommend running the Upper sections of the Marañón in this period.
Late October, November and December: 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 her at her lowest – around 100 CMS, or you could find her at what we’d consider some of the highest raftable levels, around 800CMS (more or less bank-full). It’s possible to get some days of rain, but the climate is still reasonably mild. We don’t recommend running the Upper sections of the Marañón in this period.
In high-water, you might even decide to 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.
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. This is located in the ‘Inner Canyon’, upstream (south) of Chagual. This crux rapid generally involves lining rafts down the right side of the river which can get more difficult with significantly more water.
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.
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 your 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.
When Don’t We Run The Marañon?
We don’t generally run any of the classic multi-day sections of the Marañón between January and April; neither as Outfitter or Commercially. The levels are reliably too high, and if you wanted to wait for a peaking level to pass by and drop down again, you might be waiting for days or weeks- which is not acceptable for most people! The chance of losing gear or having an incident is too high for us as a commercial company and outfitter.
It is definitely possible to paddle the river at those highest levels, but that should be left up to people who bring their own equipment and own knowledge of the river.
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