The Boiling River of the Amazon is not a legend

boiling river
Legends , popular narratives that tell real or fabulous events adorned with fantastic or wonderful elements of folklore, have become one of the main attractions of many places, such as the famous Loch Ness or Belchite, one of the most visited ghost towns in Spain . However, in most cases they remain just that, simple legends, although many times we wish that these popular tales that were transmitted orally became reality, as has happened recently with one of the most famous legends of Peru.

A few days ago the story of Andrés Ruizo came to light, who did everything possible to discover if the legend that his grandfather had told him when he was a child about the existence of a boiling river in the Amazon was true. Surprisingly, the stories that this Peruvian geologist had been told about this river were totally true. He discovered it himself with his own eyes. We will tell you more about this interesting discovery below!

The legend

As Andrés Ruizo himself says in an article published in Gimodo, when he was little his grandfather told him a famous legend about the conquest of Peru by the Spanish, who apparently went from town to town asking where there were more civilizations to conquer. According to legend, the Incas encouraged them to enter the Amazon, where they could find all the gold they wanted. However, it was a revenge of the natives, who were aware of the dangers that could be found within this thick jungle. As Ruizo explains in the article, legend has it that the few Spaniards who managed to return told stories about shamans, warriors with poisoned arrows, immensely tall trees, spiders that ate birds, and snakes that could be swallowed whole men. Also, the legend spoke about a boiling river. Considering that many of these things were true, why wouldn’t there be a boiling river?

boiling river1


Apparently, when the young man was working on his doctorate he remembered the legend and began to inquire about the subject, asking his colleagues from the university, the Government, the oil, gas and mining companies … However, nobody I had no idea about the existence of a boiling river in the Amazon. And it is that, although these types of river currents exist, they are related to volcanoes, since it is necessary that there be a powerful heat source to cause a river to boil . However, neither in Peru nor in the Amazon are there volcanoes.

boiling river2

The discovery

One day, Andrés’ aunt assured him that on one occasion she had been in the boiling river and that she had even bathed in it, something that can only be done after a very heavy rain. Thus, the young man was encouraged to enter the jungle guided by his aunt who, apparently, is a friend of the wife of the shaman who protects the river. His surprise came when he suddenly saw smoke rising through the trees. He had found the place spoken of in the legends. Of course, in order to study it, he needed the blessing of the shaman, who put a condition on it: to pour the samples he took from it back into the river. In this way he discovered that, although the water did not reach 100º C, it did get quite close. Although in the rest of Peru no one knew of the existence of this place, the locals had always taken advantage of the water vapor for different uses: cleaning, cooking, taking medicine … They still have to investigate more about this place, but it seems that the reason for that the river has these high temperatures is due to a large hydrothermal system.

Photographs: Sofía Ruizo and Devlin Gandy