The immeasurable territory of the Amazon holds many secrets that are slowly being revealed. One of them is the legend of the boiling river, called Shanay-Timpishka .
This mysterious watercourse is in the middle of Matantuyacu, a healing retreat area in the Peruvian province of Puerto Inca. Access to the area is quite difficult, so the place has been isolated from the world for years and it has been difficult for researchers to get there.
Fortunately, this has changed and it has been possible, in recent years, to do studies and begin to know much more about the boiling river. We invite you to be captivated by the wonder that nature has reserved in this corner of Peru, and that it is only suitable for adventurous spirits!
What is known today about the boiling river?
Everything that is known today about the boiling river is thanks to the work of the Peruvian geologist Andrés Ruzo who, in collaboration with National Geographic , began the exploration of this area of the Peruvian Amazon in 2016, when he managed to get permission from the shaman to enter to the retreat and reach the source of the river.
The mysteries of the river are still many, but today we already have some real data about it:
- Meaning of the name Shanay-Timpishka : ‘boiled by the heat of the Sun’.
- Length of the river: 6.4 kilometers.
- Maximum width : 25 meters.
- Maximum depth: 6.1 meters.
- Water temperature : between 50 ° and 94 ° degrees centigrade.
- Origin of the waters: Andean glaciers.
- Cause of the phenomenon: geothermal, which is the heating of the waters in depth that emerge in a certain part of the river course, so that the temperature increases in a section of about 6 kilometers. This is the only non-volcanic area in the world where this phenomenon occurs.
Curiosities about the boiling river: everything you need to know
Regardless of the geographical and geological data of the boiling river, there are some curious questions about it, such as the following:
1. The area of the Matantuyacu community where the river is located is guarded by the shaman Juan Flores, an Ashaninka healer or vegetalista, who practices therapy with plants and hallucinogenic beverages, such as ayahuasca.
2. The magic number is 47 ° Celsius; from here, the water begins to “burn”. Thermal wells and waterfalls are around 30 ° C.
3. Popular legend says that hot water is created by Yacumama, ‘Madre de las Aguas’. This deity that the locals respect and venerate, is represented by a rock shaped like a snake’s head found in the river.
4. The jungle around the river has a unique and exuberant biodiversity. On this site, more than 70 species occur in each square meter.
5. The water temperature in some areas is deadly. Animals avoid approaching its shores and don’t even imagine that you can take a bath, as you will end up with third degree burns.
6. The inhabitants of the area know the river and the dynamics of the water very well, so there are areas identified to take thermal baths, wash clothes and collect water for consumption. From the source, the river begins with cold waters and then heats up ; This dynamic is repeated several times for 6 kilometers until the course of the boiling river flows into another stream of water.
Ethnic tourism and an amazing experience
In the Mayantuyacu area there is an Ashánika Medicine Center where you can participate in healing rituals and ayahuasca sessions, which, according to the vegetalista shamans, helps you connect with your interior.
Some parts of the boiling river are better avoided, although upstream there are areas where there are hot springs with temperatures suitable for taking therapeutic baths. The experience of the place is unique, since you will be able to know how the community lives around the river, relax and enjoy a natural environment with pure air and a timeless atmosphere that invites you to reflect.
How to get to this area
You have to be clear that, if you are going to travel to the Peruvian jungle, to get to each destination you have to make several connections. Because of this, travel times are multiplying. We recommend that you relax and cultivate patience to fully enjoy yourself!
If you are in Lima, the capital of Peru, you have to travel to Pucallpa. You can do it by car in a trip of more than 18 hours or take a flight and arrive in 1 hour and 15 minutes.
From Pucallpa, you have to leave very early towards the boiling river. Either in your car or in an excursion van, you should leave at dawn to arrive almost 2 hours later at the town called Honoria, in the department of Huánuco.
Here, on the Pachitea river, you take a boat that the locals call peke-peke and sail for half an hour. Once you disembark, there is a walk of approximately 1 hour and a half through the jungle to reach Mayantuyacu and its spectacular Boiling River.
Recommendations for traveling and getting to know the boiling river
Consider these suggestions to make this itinerary and have the best travel experience:
- Hire a guide or a planned excursion.
- Sunscreen and repellent are essential.
- For your safety, wear high-top shoes for the jungle walk.
Finally, more than a recommendation, a special request: respect this unique site in the world. Take back the garbage you generate and do not harm the environment.
Enjoy the boiling river, the connection with nature and the beauty of an almost unreal natural landscape, where the columns of steam rise from the water and are diluted in the jungle air at a slow pace, while you think about what small that we are before the generosity of Mother Earth.