Class III-IV Expedition, PERU: Trips starting in July 2018

RÍO MARAÑÓN: The Grand Canyon of the Amazon (Main)
304 km (188 miles), class III-IV, 12-14 days

2018 Launches:
July 8, Sep16, Oct 24, Dec 7, Dec 23

Expertly Guided Expedition, Transfers to River from Flight, Food, Raft/Kayak and Paddles all included; if you'd like to add rental of personal gear (vest, helmet, tent, sleeping bag) on this trip-- let us know, as this can be done inexpensively.

TRIP COST: $2260 Maranon (Upper)-- 12 days; UpperGC + Inner Gorge) [$180 extra for flight Chagual-Trujillo]

TRIP COST: $2460 Maranon (Main)-- 14 days; Central GC + Lower GC) [$180 extra for flight Chagual-Trujillo]

TRIP COST: $1260 Maranon (Jungle Pongos)-- 5-6 days: P. Malleta to Imacita)

A $500 deposit holds your place.


Map_Maranon-1.jpg

The Amazon River (Río Marañon) in the Andes offers the finest raft-support trip in South America. Join our raft/kayak expedition as we paddle through the scenic and arid main Grand Canyon section, with fun class III-IV rapids, amazing side hikes, beautiful beach camps, friendly residents, and Incan ruins. Spread the word about the consequences of 12 planned dams and help us SAVE THE UPPER AMAZON! You also might have the option of starting on the UpperGC section and/or continuing into the Jungle Pongos.

Río Grande is formed by the confluence of two major rivers (Ríos Caine and Chayanta-San Pedro) draining a large chunk of the altiplano of Bolivia. The river is the largest Andean river in Peru and ideal for rafting as it flows with moderate gradient with plenty of water through a long, impressive and remote canyon to the end of the Andes with maximum class IV rapids. The trip can be divided into two ~10 day sections: the first 246 km on Ríos Chiuta-Chayanta-San Pedro to Puente Arce (class IV), after which we'll have a layover / resupply day in Sucre, and then the second 389 km section (class IV) where we will continue downstream through the desert and jungle sections of Río Grande to Abapó (by Santa Cruz). Most days will be class III, but about six days have significant class IV rapids. This trip is comparable to the Marañón in many ways. See PHOTOS.

Join us for a raft/kayak descent of this Grand Canyon style river in Peru and experience one of the few tropical wilderness rivers that remain in the world! See a range of ecosystems as you descend from puno scrubland to high forest to arid desert and finally into lush Amazon jungle and feel the soft warm muddy water that gives life to much of the Amazon downstream. Admire a range of wildlife, including parrots, capybara, and condors (we pass through the highest density area of Andean condors in the world)! Visit La Higuera, the last area Che Guevarra was seen rounding up revolutionaries when he was captured and executed.

Help us in our mission to publicize the canyon to increase visitation and provide more reasons to keep the river free-flowing without the planned 140 m-high Rositas Hydroelectric Dam project at the end of the river.


Activism Update: Some exciting news that has developed over the past year is that the prospects look better and better that the Río Marañón will remain free-flowing for the foreseeable future in parts.  The new Peruvian administration in power seems to be more favorable to keeping some precious rivers free-flowing [see the International Rivers article Headwaters of the Amazon Protected].  Although the administration’s statement only pertained to the JunglePongos section of the Marañón, other developments indicate that many of the dams planned in the more arid Grand Canyon section may no move forward in the next few years. Four megadams (Chadin2, Veracruz and Rio Grande I & II ) that were planned in this ~300km section of river between Chagual and Puerto Malleta would leave little of the amazing Grand Canyon section free-flowing.  However, Odebrecht, the company behind these projects, has put all the projects on hold at least temporarily [see Kaosenlared_Oct2015].  A synopsis of the reasons for this decision is listed below, but includes media coverage of resistance to the projects (both by SierraRios and local residents), as well as bribery scandals exposed at Odebrecht, and an oversupply of energy in Peru.  We have Ben Webb to thank for being behind the latest statement from the federal government that they will not be pursing any megadams in the jungle areas during their administration.  Ben arranged a meeting including himself, Bobby Kennedy and the new Kuczynski administration officials to discuss the issue, which directly led to the media statement.  Note that the Upper Grand Canyon section may still have several dams moving forward, including the Yaku project located just upstream of Puente Comaru, and we intend to focus more efforts on the resistance to these projects. 

Reasons for suspension of Chadin2 and possibly delayed/stalled other projects:

1. Guide Rocky Contos' SierraRios efforts.  Certainly our efforts have had an impact - by raising awareness of the river among the international community and Peruvian community (with media), by informing local residents of the threats and impacts of the dam projects, by helping organize resistance and meetings among local populations to the projects, by bringing many Peruvians and international tourists to the river to experience it firsthand, and by galvanizing others to take action (like Ben and you guys).  Your group is a part of that (albeit small so far). 

2. Local resistance efforts.  The resistance of villagers and publicity surrounding this has had an impact and has been reported in local media consistently from the time we first started helping make it known.  This also goes for some other projects in Peru - such as the megadams proposed on the Ene and Tambo rivers, which were shelved after lots of local opposition (and incidentally led to the award of the Goldman prize to Ruth Buendia).

3. Energy glut.  Other factors have also been important, especially in the decision of Odebrecht to suspend their project(s).  Their main ostensible stated reason is that they did not find buyers for the energy, and this is definitely the case, as Peru has a glut of energy and it is being sold at rates far below the rates that are required to pay off the loans of a megadam project.  So in effect, currently with the energy situation in Peru and abroad (where some of the energy was earmarked for export) there is no need for the energy and not likely to be such need for 10+ years due to all the other energy projects and dam projects due to start.  They also stated that they do not want to move forward with any project without the support of the local population (which they do not have and are not likely to get).

4. Scandals exposed in Odebrecht.  The bribes to the Humala family and his administration that Cuarto Poder exposed were important (Oct2015) and it was this month that Odebrecht announced they were suspending the ChadinII project (see Kaosenlared_Oct2015).   These and other types of malfaescence were the main reasons that CEO Marcelo Odebrecht was put in jail and is serving a long term currently.   With additional negative publicity about the company, they probably do not feel as bold or entitled to ask for concessions and approval from the government that were intended to be "purchased with bribes”, nor do the government officials feel they should grant them the rights to projects. 

5. Change in administration.   The new Kuczynski administration is aware that the previous Humala administration had accepted payments and bribes from Odebrecht and probably other companies seeking concessions (or easy approval of the EIAs), and the new administration is sensitive to this, and likely playing it safer. Also, they are aware that the energy situation does not demand other projects currently, so can easily take advantage and give some vague statements like they are "not pursuing the megadam projects in Amazonia”.  However, the EIAs of the Chadin2 and Veracruz projects are still approved and work can start as long as the companies feel it in their best interest financially and otherwise.  What is really needed is some federal legislation protecting the river from any dams and barring the currently approved projects. That would be a real statement in the right direction.

Article about Odebrecht suspending dam plans:

Kaosenlared_Oct2015

Some recent articles on the Marañón and dam status/etc:

AmericanWhitewater(JackBillings)_Mar2017

MensJournal(SaulElbein)_Jan2017

LaMula(DanieRivadeneyra)_Mar2017

RPP(JackLoLiu)_Sep2016

Altavoz(LuigiMarmanillo) 2016

We continue to help others experience this amazing river.  The expeditions have become quite popular with >20 groups organized to run the river to date.  With a brand new set of rafts and catarafts at the base in Trujillo and our strong relationship with the local communities, every participant on one of the trips is sure to have a great time. We have taken many local residents down the river and plan to continue to support others who want to experience the river trip.