The Origin Of The Amazon River - 5 Days

Nevado Mismi is a 5,597m (18,358ft) mountain peak of volcanic origin located in the Andes mountain range of Arequipa, Peru. A glacial stream on the Mismi was firmly identified as the most distant source of the Amazon River in 1996 by scientist expeditions; this finding was confirmed in 2001 and again in 2007. The waters from Nevado Mismi flows into the Quebrada Carhuasanta and Apacheta, which flow into the Río Apurímac which is a tributary of the Ucayali which later joins the Marañon to form the Amazon proper. Nevado Mismi is about 160km west of Lake Titicaca and 700km southeast of Peru's capital city, Lima, in the Arequipa Region. It is one of the highest points of Colca Canyon. There are several glaciers on the peak as Quehuisha, Huilcayo and Choquecorao. Their defrosting forms a small lagoon near the summit which is known as Laguna Inti Cocha (in ancient Quechua language meaning “sun lagoon”).
From Arequipa is possible to get to Mismi Mt by private 4x4 or rarely public bus passing through Chivay (Colca valley), Canocota and Tuti. The distance to drive is not more than 200km. In the summit of Mismi it happens a "Divortium aquarium": The waters of their defrostings are divided and take two-way traffic: On the one hand they go away towards the Pacific Ocean (Through river Colca, Majes and Camaná) and by the other side towards the Atlantic Ocean (Through river Apurimac, Ene, Ucayali and Amazonas).
Quebrada Carhuasanta is at 4.900 meters high (16,072 ft.); in the beginning the small river is called Lloqueta, then Challamayo and finally Hornillos River (This we can see it in the road to Caylloma); after few kilometers Hornillos join its waters in “La Angostura” with Apurimac River (or Caylloma that comes from Vilafro lagoon. In its route the Apurimac receives waters of many tributary rivers that contribute to increase considerably their volume more and more impressive. When joining itself with the Apurimac in La Angostura and being a greater river goes towards Cusco, soon will cross the departments of Apurimac, Ayacucho, and part of Junin until arriving in Loreto to continue his fabulous trip towards Brazil.
Mismi Mountain - Amazon Source - Quebrada Carhuasanta - Amazon River - Tour To Mismi Summit - Excursion To Amazon Source And Mismi Mount - Colca And Mismi Tour - Trekking To Mismi Mountain - Nevado Mismi - Information About Source Of Amazon River - Climbing Tours To Nevado Mismi - Montaña Mismi - Trek From Tuti To Mismi Mount - Rio Amazonas - Origen Del Rio Amazonas - Mismi Base Camp - Camping And Trekking To Souce Of Amazon River - 4WD Tour To Origin Of Amazon River - Picture Of Nevado Mismi - Mismi Guided Tours - Mismi Arequipa Peru
For serious weather report about Nevado Mismi CLICK HERE ...
Origin Of The Amazon


The Cousteau Amazon Expedition: In 1982 Jean Michael Cousteau led a large scale scientific exploration of the Amazon from its mouth to its origin. The “Cousteau Amazon Expedition” cost eleven million dollars and culminated in a six-hour television documentary titled “Cousteau’s Amazon” released in 1983. It offered study information to last years and gave insights into the biology and geology of the largest river system on earth. Traditionally, explorers and geographers defining the origin of a river system by tracking the longest tributaries while heading upstream, as volume can change dramatically from month to month. In a system as complex as the Amazon basin with dozen of streams as candidates in previously poorly mapped areas, no consensus could plausibly be substantiated for some time, and the origin was left to speculation. Half a dozen sites claimed title to “The Origin of the Amazon“and until 1982 several were in the running. Using an international team of twelve and bringing in expeditionary specialists from Germany, France, Argentina, Peru and the USA, Jean-Michel Cousteau put together resources and logistics spanning a thousand miles of unknown jungle.
The Upper Amazon expedition (The Flying Expedition) included an Eastern European multi-axle reticulated Land Rover for use on land, a float plane Papagaiu, for air support and reconnaissance, and the Peruvian Air Force offered a high elevation helicopter to reach the upper levels of the Cordillera de Chila Mountain range in Peru.
Expedition support bases were established in Cusco, in the mountains, in Arequipa near of the Pacific coast, and high in the Cordillera de Chila at Caylloma for the quest to find the origin of the Amazon. Many locations were remote, making it necessary to surmount language, terrain and logistical difficulties, as the mountain team made their way up the Río Selinke to the flanks of Nevado Mismi. At this mountain's base, Jean Michael dispatched a team of German alpinists who climbed the 18,000 foot volcano and returned in two days. During their descent, they found melt water dropping into a fissure. This cleft varied from two meters to half a meter wide, angling down the slope. This stream flowed nearly fifty meters before disappearing, emerging again lower down to flow between stones and continues its course. They discovered that within the fissure, the water was deep enough to float a small craft and realized that they were presented with an opportunity. Utilizing pack llamas, kayaker Caril Ridley was brought to the site, and in June 1982, navigating by kayak, became the first person to run the origins of the Amazon. Later expeditions refined our understanding of the river's many origins and its subsequent course to the Atlantic Ocean.
National Geographic Society Expedition: In 2001, it was verified that the main headwater of the Amazon River has its glacial source on Nevado Mismi. An expedition of the National Geographic Society discovered that Carhuasanta stream flowing into Río Apurímac originates on the mountain's northern slopes and then runs its course through other tributaries and rivers to help form the main Amazon River. The fact that the headwaters of Río Apurímac are the source of the Amazon River was confirmed by Brazilian scientists in 2007, who pointed at Quebrada Apacheta as the most probable source of the Amazon.
PERU ADVENTURE TOURS thanks to other expeditions not mentioned in this page. Thanks to those expeditions the region of Mismi Mt is getting more popular for mountain climbers and hikers coming to visit all these remote places located on the heart of the Andes of Peru.
We invite to all explorers and expeditions to contact us and provide relevant information about the source of the Amazon River to add to this page.
Nevado Mismi

El Nevado Mismi: This ice mountain is on the continental divide, one side drains through the Amazon River to the Atlantic Ocean, and the other to the Pacific Ocean. By PERU ADVENTURE TOURS.



After breakfast, at 8AM you will begin your trip to the Colca canyon/Mismi volcano, We leave the city of Arequipa by the road that goes near the snow peak Chachani to Pampas Cañahuas (National Reserve of Vicunas). We also will visit the Sumbay caves, Vizcachani, Chucura (altitude of 4850m), here we can observe the Cordillera del Chilla, the Colca Valley, and the town of Chivay.
After lunch at Chivay, we continue driving on the right bank of the canyon, to the village named Tuti at 3840m - Today we wwalk for about 3 hours to get altitude and set up the tents near of RanRan farming village (L - D).


At 7AM we hike up in the andean landscape, crossing small canyons, past corrals used for herding Alpacas and Llamas, after 6 hours hiking through the small canyons, rivers, small lagoons we will arrive to the quebrada de Acqenta (4600m), where we make camp between huge mountains and near of spring to get water for cooking - If the weather is good you will enjoy amazing starry sky or get heavy rain/snowing (B - L - D).


Around 7AM will be breakfast and enjoy the first sunshine over the mountains - Today we hike uphill for about 6 hours following narrow paths used by sheep herders - All the way up includes nice canyon view of quebrada Karqhuasanta (4700m), impressive views of the mountain range of Shila, and the mystical mount of Mismi - Today we use the base camp of Mismi (5100M) to put the tents and prepare our lunch - Around 4PM we hike to find the source of the Amazon River, the source is located on the upper zone of Quebrada Karhuasanta - This memorable moment will be unforgettable for you because you will be standing up at origin of the world's largest river - After 1 hours there return to the base camp for dinner and rest (B - L - D).


Today we advise to wake up around 3AM for breakfast and begin nice uphill hike on the dark to the summit of Mismi Mount (5585M) - The hike up takes not more than 4 hours and 1 hours back to base camp - From Mismt summit you can enjoy spectacular view of the landscape of Colca canyon and mountain range of Chila - Lunch at base camp and then we move the camp around the mountain finding lower place for better resting (B - L - D).


This day at 7AM we descend further into the gorges of the Colca, passing old Inca terracing and canals into warmer weather. We begin to evidence patchwork agriculture and a chance to see agricultural activities near of Coporaque village - From here we will be picked up by private transport and taken to a restaurant in Chiva and around 2PM and travel back to Arequipa (B - L).
OPTIONAL: To stay overnight in Chivay and the next day morning to joing a group and visit the condor cross and back to Arequipa or get a transfer to Puno after lunch time.


  1. Experienced Mountain English-Speaking guide
  2. Porters to carry the foods and camping gear (tents & sleeping mats)
  3. Personal porter to carry the items of each participant (Private Service only)
  4. Public bus (Backpacker Service only)
  5. Private transport (Private Service only)
  6. Camping Equipment (Four seaons mountain tent and mattresses)
  7. Dining and cooking tents (Private Service only)
  8. Cooking gear
  9. Experienced cook (Private Service only)
  10. Climbing equipment such as crampons, ice axe and rope (if is needed only)
  11. Meals on the Mountain (2 lunches - 1 hot dinner - 1 hot breakfast)
  12. Plenty hot drink at every meal
  13. Oxygen bottle and first aid kit for the participants and our camp staff
  14. Communication system, guides climb with their mobile phones
  15. Tents and food for our camp staff

If this is your first time going to the Andes or High Mountains we recommend getting information about the ALTITUDE SICKNESS, see below some websites recommend by High Mountain doctors and scientists from over the world.
ISMM – International Society For Mountain Medicine
MEDEX – Medical Expeditions


Any day
(April to Nov)

Some days in the rain season, between december to March

Born Of The Amazon River - 5 Days
Backpacker Service (Public bus)
1 to more participants $478 USD each

Private Service (Private 4x4/Guide)
2 participants $715 USD each
3-4 participants $575 USD each
5 to more participants $493 USD each
Discount: $5 USD of discount for South American Explorers Club Members
Discount 3%: Tour Operators or Travel Agencies Only
Students: $5 USD discount only with valid green ISIC card
Organized Groups: We offer private and any time departure
Group size: 4 participants per guide according tecnical recommendations - We need minimum two participants to develop this trip
BOOK HERE: We highly recommended to book space prior your arrival to Arequipa
All prices stated above are subject to change.
Exchange rate $1 USD = S/. 3.02 (rate may vary daily).
Booking Private Service includes porter to carry your backpacks.


  1. Travel insurance - Peru Adventure Tours is not responsible for any loss or caused by third people or natural phenomena
  2. Alcoholics drinks
  3. Sleeping Bag
  4. Breakfast on the first day/lunch on the last day
  5. Tip for guide and camp staff.


December to March. Some days blue sky with good conditions to climb.


April to November, on the rain season same days are with good weather (blue sky) permiting to climb this volcano. Before to book your tour please see the weather report.


To have good acclimatization, good physical conditions and good quality winter clothes. One day before all the climbers will have meeting with the mountain guide at our office or in the hotel, who will give a BRIEFING about this climb and also you can check the quality of the climb gear will be used on the mountain.


  1. Backpack 65Lt
  2. Sleeping bag -15ºC (can be hired from our office of Arequipa, for $5 USD per day)
  3. Rain gear or poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Peru)
  4. Strong comfortable and waterproof footwear
  5. One complete change of clothing
  6. Sweater and jacket (something warm)
  7. Bottle of water 10Lt minimun per person
  8. Flashlight and batteries
  9. Hat or cap to protect you from the sun
  10. Sun block (sun protection cream)
  11. Toiletries, towel and toilet paper
  12. Selection of snacks, chocolate, dried fruit, biscuits etc,
  13. Camera, plenty of film and spare batteries
  14. Swimsuit (if you plan swim in the hot spring of Chivay, after the trek)
  15. Binoculars
  16. Personal first aid kit
  17. Optional: walking sticks or poles.
PORTER SERVICE will cost $95 USD per day, to carry your personal items. You will need to carry with you a daypack with your Camera, bottle of water, snacks, a fleece or something warm and a poncho in case of rain (unlikely in Dry season but as a precaution) and anything you will need before lunch as porters do not walk alongside you. Your bag will be waiting for you in your tent at campsites.
Please note there are fines if you give an excess of 18 kgs so try to underpack rather than overpack. You can hire a porter from Arequipa to carry your pack over the base camp.

For more information about the tour or you request a new date to departure for this tour, please contact us....

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