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Boiling Mayantuyacu River: the enigma of the Peruvian Amazon

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Boiling Mayantuyacu River: the enigma of the Peruvian Amazon

Among the lush vegetation of the Peruvian Amazon lies one of the most amazing mysteries of nature. It is the Mayantuyacu Boiling River, a place whose waters exceed 90 degrees Celsius. The uncertain origin of its temperature and its healing power make this place a great tourist attraction in the region. If you want to know the secrets of this enigmatic destination, you cannot miss this article in which we tell you everything you need to know to visit it. 

Traveling allows you to discover unimaginable places that provide unforgettable experiences. In Peru there are incredible destinations that seem to come from another world. One of them is Mayantuyacu, an impressive boiling river that surprises with its beauty and the steam that comes from its waters. 

Where is the boiling river of Mayantuyacu located?

The Mayantuyacu boiling river, known by locals as Shanay Timpishka, is located in the Honoria district, Huánuco department. Mayantucayu is a center for the study of medicinal plants in which science is mixed with traditions to explore all the benefits of the flora that grows here. 

Although this place is mainly visited to get to know the boiling Shanay Timpishka river, in reality Mayantuyacu has many more attractions. Here you can explore and analyze a large number of plants. Such is the diversity that, according to experts, this forest has more than 70 species per square meter. 

Discover the hot waters of the Mayantuyacu River

Deep in the Amazon jungle is an enigmatic hot water river that reaches temperatures of up to 89 degrees Celsius. It is said that there are areas where the temperature is so high that it is impossible to get close to this point. 

Mayantuyacu is located in the district of Honoria in the department of Huánuco, in the Amazon jungle. The particularity of this magical river calls hundreds of tourists who come to discover the high temperatures of the tributary and see how the intense steam reaches surprising heights. 

The area in which this natural sauna is located is known to be a sacred territory, since various indigenous communities inhabit it. In addition, it is recognized for having an Ashaninka medicine center, administered by some members of this reservation. This medicine has ayahuasca sessions, a practice carried out by shamans of the Amazon jungle to which different health benefits are attributed. This, thanks to the medicinal power of plants. 

Likewise, within this territory several stories are woven about the origin of the temperature of the river. According to the locals, the hot water that Mayantuyacu produces is the product of a giant snake called Yacumama (Mother of the waters). This animal is represented by a large rock that is located at the head of this tributary. 

Where does the water for this boiling river come from?

Herein lies the great mystery of the Shanay Timpishka River. Although it would be normal for this hot water to come from a nearby volcano, the reality is that in this case it is not the case. The geologists who study the area, among whom Andrés Rizo stands out, have a theory: the boiling river water comes from Andean glaciers and penetrates into deep areas of the earth, where it reaches this temperature. 

But like all mysteries, the boiling river of Mayantuyacu also has its own mythological story that explains its origin. According to the inhabitants of the area, who attribute numerous healing powers to the river, this water was created by a huge snake called Yacumama (mother of the waters), an animal that is represented by a large rock on one of the river's limits. . Be that as it may, the origin of these hot waters is still not known with certainty and experts on the subject continue to study this unique river. 

Scientific discoveries of the Mayantuyacu River

Mayantuyacu is a mysterious river 25 meters wide and 6 meters deep in which its waters reach high temperatures. But, one of its biggest enigmas is not its hot waters, but their origin, since they are not located near a volcano. For this reason, it has been the subject of investigations by geologists and scientists. 

One of the most important is the geologist Andrés Ruzo, a National Geographic scholarship holder, who is credited with important research. Likewise, he is recognized for having been the person who showed the world the existence of this natural wonder.

The true causes of this phenomenon are not exact. However, there is a theory that shows the possible origin of this boiling river. According to research, everything indicates that this is due to a hydrothermal system of water from the glaciers of the Andes that seeps into the interior of the earth, in which the temperature begins to rise gradually until it reaches the boiling point.

What to do in the Mayantuyacu River?

Within the Peruvian Amazon jungle you can do various activities to rest and discover the beauty of this territory. One of the traditional plans is to go trekking to get to know the flora and fauna that inhabits the area, and feel the benefits of fresh air and exercise. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and ends at the boiling river. 

The second place to visit is, of course, the Mayantuyacu River. At this point, the most important thing is to observe how the water boils inside this tributary, while the steam that emanates is perceived. The experience is really wonderful and unforgettable, because being in a place with these characteristics is a privilege. 

Likewise, within this site there are other attractions such as a hot water waterfall and its spring. In addition, there are several thermal pools where you can enjoy a hot water bath and its steam. 

Finally, you can visit the ceremonial maloca, a sacred place where social, healing, and ceremonial functions take place. Likewise, within this experience you can interact with the indigenous communities at the hands of the shamans, who carry out the ayahuasca sessions. 

The boiling river route

To get to know this elaborate natural attraction, you must start from Pucallpa (Ucayali), the most accessible route. Being in Tierra Colorada, you must board the buses or colectivos that go to the city of Campo Verde, like those who go west on the Federico Basadre highway. Then, take another vehicle that takes us directly to Codo del Honoria, one of the five districts of the Puerto Inca province (Huánuco). 

From here, in the port of Honoria, the land trip is exchanged for a boat tour bound for the shores of Mayantuyacu. The tour costs approximately 15 soles, a more than rewarding investment because you can spot the winged kingdom and some wild animals that sneak through the bushes of the riverbed. 

But this journey through the Pachitea River does not end there, afterward you have to enter the vegetation along a path. The trekking that lasts forty minutes, borders a hot stream that acts as a guide through this agitated jungle. The tour ends at the Mayantuyacu Sanctuary, which must be entered with a permit provided by the local guides as it is private property. 

Once this challenge is overcome, the first silhouette of the boiling river can be dazzled in the distance. A legend come true in the middle of the Peruvian jungle. A little corner of the Amazon where the humidity emanating from the steam extends towards the sky as if it were a natural sauna.

How to get to the boiling river Shanay Timpishka?

Like any other adventure in the Peruvian jungle, to get to the boiling river you will have to take different means of transportation. To begin with, your starting point should be the city of Pucallpa, located in eastern Peru, in the heart of the Amazon. For those tourists who are in Lima, to get to Pucallpa you will only have to take a plane: in just over an hour you will land in this city. 

Once here, we recommend you spend a night in Pucallpa to start the excursion to the boiling river very early in the morning. The next day, he tries to leave early for Honoria. From the Pucallpa bus terminal you will find vans that leave for this district from four in the morning. The price is around 15 soles (4.5 dollars) and the journey lasts more or less two hours. 

When you are in Honoria, walk to the port, where you will have to take a boat that can fit up to eight people and that costs 20 soles (6 dollars) among all the passengers. Although the journey over the Pachitea River is short (only 15 minutes), it is always relaxing and a great experience to travel the waters of the Amazon jungle and be able to observe its spectacular landscapes. 

After the boat ride and to get to Mayantuyacu, you will have to hike for about an hour which, although not complicated, becomes a bit uncomfortable due to the constant heat of the jungle. Once in Mayantuyacu, you will have to fill out a form and pay the entrance fee, which costs 20 soles (6 dollars) and entitles you to spend the whole day in and around the boiling river. 

What should you take to the boiling river?

For those who have never visited the jungle, it is difficult to pack a suitcase for such an unknown destination, so here we leave you some recommendations of what yes or yes you have to go in your backpack to explore the boiling river Shanay Timpishka. 

Waterproof trekking shoes: the jungle is unpredictable and since you are going to hike through it, it is important that you bring good waterproof trekking shoes, in case it rains or the ground is very muddy.

Sunscreen: The sun can be very extreme in the Amazon and, since you will be walking outdoors, it is always advisable to bring sunscreen.

Mosquito repellent: some areas of the jungle are full of mosquitoes that will not stop following you, so you can anticipate their bites with a good repellent.

Food and water: although there is a store in the center of Mayantuyacu, it is recommended that you bring your own food and water in case you get hungry or thirsty on the way. The temperatures are so high that you will surely need something to drink.

Clothing: although it is hot, to avoid mosquito bites it is always advisable to wear thin but long clothing. Also, don't forget your bathing suit, so you can relax in the hot springs of the boiling river. 

Facts about the Mayantuyacu River

  • Mayantuyacu is known by locals in the area as 'Shanay-timpishka', which translates as 'Boiled with the heat of the sun'.
  • The river water temperature is between 50 and 100 degrees Celsius.
  • The boiling river flows into the Pachitea river.
  • In Mayantuyacu you can find delicious dishes with river fish.
  • This place is also visited to fight diseases, since healing powers are attributed to its waters and the knowledge of the shamans.
  • Another very good place to stay is Sachamama Lodge & Expeditions.

History of the Mayantuyacu River

There is not much reference to the Shanay-timpishka river, its discoverer, the American geologist Andrés Rizo, an expert in volcanology and geothermal deposits, has made a detailed study of this torrent, concluding that it has a route of six kilometers and is born in a small amount of cold water, in which the temperature gradually warms up until it almost reaches the boil. 

Rizo, like several of us, heard the stories from his Peruvian father as a child. They were legends about El Dorado or Paititi, a city covered in gold, which led many Spaniards to explore extensive areas of the Peruvian Amazon. 

“The survivors came back with stories of warrior women (Amazons), gigantic snakes that ate men, and rivers of boiling water,” he says. 

However, motivated by the curiosity of that legend and using his experience as a geologist, he undertook an odyssey through the Huánuco jungle in order to identify the existence of this unique river in Peru. And he did it in 2011. There is so much to explore in this fantastic world that it never ceases to amaze us. So get out, travel, live, and most of all, be curious.

Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views. 

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticketin advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchuwithout any problem.

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