SierraRios Marañon trip: Grand Canyon Amazon: Chagual launch details

Río Marañón: Information for expeditions starting in Chagual

This webpage describes additional information relevant to Marañon trips based out of Trujillo that start on the river in Chagual on the Central Grand Canyon Amazon section.

Be sure to explore all links that are available from the main Marañón webpage, and especially the Safety/Health and What to Pack pages. Generally you will need to bring your own personal camping and paddling gear. Many items are available to Rent if you are joining a trip.

Also, be sure to read the summaries of previous trips at: Sep28, Jan16, and Jun4. Note that although we met suspicious residents in Mendán/TupénGrande on the Sep28 trip, we received warm welcomes on subsequent trips. SierraRios actually provides a donation on behalf of each tourist to the villagers for their fight against Odebrecht.

Everyone should be in Trujillo the day before departure for a pre-trip meeting and to get any bags ready for leaving in Trujillo or sending to Bagua. Most of these trips are planned to end at Puerto Malleta sometime Days 12-15, though some trips may continue into the Jungle Pongos section. 

It is best to contact me by email with any questions/concerns. Contact numbers are below. When I'm in Peru it's best to call me on my Peruvian cell phone. Messages can be sent to anyone in the group via the appropriate satellite phone [note that Peru's country code is +51; the USA country code is +1; satellite phones have their own code +011]:

Rocky cell (Peru): +51 950 730 797  
Rocky cell (USA):  +1 206 484 5820
Pedro Peña cell (Peru): +51  997 813 827 
Satellite phone#1: 011 870 776 308 910
Satellite phone#2: 011 870 771 001 899
Rocky email:



For launches in Chagual, the main group rendezvous will be Trujillo. Most SierraRios gear is located at the storehouse (Suarez 447; Trujillo Cercado; house of Carlos Vilela) or at the bar/hostal of Fernando Garcia Grados (Avenida America Sur Nro 2973; located 1 block from the Transportes Linea terminal; 044 471 233; 971 625 179; Fernando speaks English). The storehouse is part of the residence of Carlos Vilela Rodriguez, so if you need to get in, contact Carlos (942 056 160) or one of the guides who may be there. You're welcome to decide your own place to stay there, but most groups have opted for Huanchaco, a beachside community with great surf that is popular with tourists. It is about 25 min drive from central Trujillo. You might consder arriving 1-3 days early to visit some of the sights such as the main plaza in Trujillo and the archeological sites of Huaca del Sol (Moche culture; 100-800 A.D.) and/or Chan Chan (850-1470 A.D.), to try surfing, to try paddling Río Moche, and/or to just hang out on the beach and in town.

In Huanchaco, you can consider the reasonably-priced Naylamp Hostal to stay for your group. It's located at Avenida Victor Largo 123 and is a nice place to hang out before the start of the trip. Costs are generally between about $8USD for a bed in a 5-bed room to $25 for a shared double room and there is a restaurant in the hotel. There are other hotel options within Trujillo proper and also in Huanchaco.

Before we depart for the river, the group can leave bags (such as a suitcase) to be sent to Bagua Chica (end of the trip) or Lima to be waiting for you after the expedition - or you can leave it in Trujillo at the hostal, at the SierraRios storehouse, or even at Fernando Garcia's hostal. If sending your bag, there will be a small fee for the transport of a package (encomienda) to Bagua or Lima, which you pay when you pick up. You will need to place a tag on the package with your name, passport #, contact phone # or email, the sending city (Trujillo) and the destination city (Bagua Chica, Lima, or elsewhere). It is best if the bags are all kept together and sent at the same time the morning of departure (or sometime a little later). The transport company can hold the bags for up to a month at the destination (no extra charge).

To get to Trujillo from Lima, you can fly (check LAN  and Avianca; generally ~$140 each way) or take a bus (9 hr; 30-100NS; $11-35USD). There are several bus companies servicing the Lima-Trujillo route, the main ones being Transportes Linea, Movil Tours, and Cruz del Sur. Higher prices usually mean bigger and more reclining seats. It can be quite comfortable taking the overnight bus with the "cama" seats and the movies shown. Some of the bus companies with a sample of daily schedules are below (but note schedules vary day by day):

Movil Tours: 10:00pm (60NS-80NS); Paseo de la Republica 749
Transportes Linea: 8:30am, 9:40am,11:59am, 9:00pm, 10:00pm, 10:45pm (30-45NS normal; 70-125NS semi-cama/cama); Paseo de la Republica 941
Oltursa: 12:00pm (50NS) Aramburu 1160
Cruz del Sur: 8:00am, 12:30pm, 2:45pm, 10:00pm, 10:45pm (75-100NS); Javier Prado Este 1109

If you're going by bus, you generally can buy tickets at the bus stations, which are close to the center of Lima (but it is best to arrive >1 hr prior to departure). It's possible to purchase your ticket and reserve your seat online, but sometimes the online websites won't process foreign credit cards well. If you are going from the Lima airport to the bus terminal, it should cost about 30NS-50NS ($11-$19) for the taxi ride. Taxis cost less if you walk out of the airport and hail one on the main avenue by the airport (Avenida Faucett). All taxi drivers know these streets and bus terminals.

Note that most of the bus companies have more than one bus terminal in Lima. For example, Transportes Linea and Cruz del Sur each have their main terminals in the central Lima area of La Victoria and another terminal closer to the airport to the north ("Plaza Norte": at Tomás Valle/Tupac Amaru). However, not all buses heading north to Trujillo stop at the Plaza Norte terminal. Movil Tours also has two bus terminals in Lima, one in the central area (La Victoria) and another in the northern area closer to the airport (this one is called Los Olivos). If you're going directly from Lima to Trujillo and not planning to tour around the center of Lima or Miraflores at all, it's probably better to go to the Plaza Norte or Los Olivos terminals as it is enroute out of Lima and cuts off ~50 min from ~9 hr ride to Trujillo. 

Participants flying into Lima may want to spend a day there checking out the capital of Peru. General info about Lima can be found on the Lonely Planet website (scroll lower on this site for links to essential info like money, getting around, etc). You can get money in ATMs or by changing in Casas de Cambio. The currency of Peru is the nuevo sol (NS) with a current exchange rate of ~2.9 NS/dollar. At the airport, there are ATMs (~2.9 NS/dollar but you must pay a fee to use) as well as money changers (these at the airport do not give a good rate of exchange: ~5% surcharge). It is better to change larger sums of money at a casa de cambio in a city (in Miraflores, Trujillo, or Huaraz). You'll first need some cash leaving the airport to go to a bus station or hotel. It's usually a 50NS ($17USD) taxi ride to Miraflores or the centro, but can be $12-$14USD if you walk outside the airport and catch a taxi on the Avenida Faucett. Miraflores is a bit far from the airport but one of the nicer parts of town to stay in and not too far from the central bus stations to Trujillo or Huaraz.  Nice things to do in Miraflores are to run/walk near the beach or on the cliffs above, try paragliding, walk around Parque Kennedy in the center of Miraflores, and visit Huaca Pucllana ruins (pre-Inca). You can also consider a visit to the centro of Lima with its cathedrals, catecombs, and remains of Pizarro - half-day guided tours are popular.  You'll have to book your own accommodations in Lima/Miraflores. I put some options below:  

If considering a stay in Miraflores, check out various Miraflores hotels/hostals with private rooms. A reasonably priced one is Friend's House (~$15-20/night; email them at friends ). Other links to check: ; ; LonelyPlanet Hitchhiker's Hostel  ; Albergue Miraflores 

Hotels close to the Lima airport:
If you arrive to Lima late and have a connection early the following morning or just need to pass a night comfortably, the Ramada Costa del Sol hotel is right at the airport in Lima and can easily be walked to, but it is expensive (>$150/night). An alternative hotel much more reasonably priced and within walking distance from the airport is Hotel Mundo Albergue Aeropuerto ($25-$40/night).  If you go with the latter option, walk out of the airport main building to the right to Avenida Faucett, cross the pedestrian bridge, then walk left, make a right on Avenida Tomás Valle, make the next right, and eight streets down on Calle O you'll find the hotel.  There are other hotels near the airport - some less expensive and some with better reviews - but they require a taxi to get to.  Check for hotels in Callao on Taxis can be cheap (10-15NS; $4-6) for short rides but only if you walk outside of the airport parking area to the main Avenida Faucett to catch them.  Getting a taxi within the airport will cost a minimum of ~25NS ($9).  

SAMPLE ITINERARY (14-day trip)

Nov21 rendezvous in Trujillo
Nov22 Day0 ride to Chagual; camp at put-in or stay in Hostal El Amigo Kevin
Nov23 Day1 Chagual (km207); rig and launch; class II-III; cover 5-15 km; to km 212
Nov24 Day2 pass Vijus; hikes; to Sinichbin; class III; km 245
Nov25 Day3 layover
Nov26 Day4 hike in morning; Calemar (lunch); to Muro Poso; km 281
Nov27 Day5 hike Sute cliff dwellings; Montevideo ruins; km 310
Nov28 Day6 Llanten (III+); Samosierra (IV); camp by road access; guide departs for food resupply/cooler exchange; km 340
Nov30 Day7 pass Balsas; meet guide with full coolers; lunch in Balsas; arrive near Playa El Cura; km 370
Dec1 Day8 visit hilltop ruins; El Choclón; visit Mendán; camp at Tupén Grande; km 411
Dec2 Day9 visit Tupén; paddle San Lucas; Playa El Inca; camp nearby; km 432
Dec3 Day10 Magdalena; Vaqueria Narrows hike; Linlín; to Ledges camp; km 450
Dec4 Day11 Linlín; Sauce; to Q.Agua Blanca charcos; km 475
Dec5 Day12 layover
Dec6 Day13 easy day; Palaguas; visit Amazon Cavern; camp at Silaco; km 488
Dec7 Day14 arrive Puerto Malleta (km 501); 2-3 hr derigging/cleaning; 2 hr drive to Bagua Chica; hotel; km 501
Dec8 Day15 buses out to Chiclayo, Chachapoyas or Tarapoto; consider a group visit to Chachapoyas/Kuelap

 The evening before the trip we will have a meeting explaining to everyone what is going to happen - generally around 6 pm or 7 pm. If you want to send bags to the take-out, you will need to label it with your name, passport #, and the destination (Bagua Chica). The next morning bags can be left with a SierraRios helper to take to the transport company. You will pay the transport fee when you pick up the bag (usually 15-40NS or $5-$13) and assume responsibility for your bag.

DAY 0: DRIVE: Trujillo to Chagual
This is the day of driving the river and is a very long time in a bus or van (12 hr). It counts as the first day in Outfitting Service rates. We will generally have a truck for the gear and a private van/bus for the group. On departure day, the group should be up and ready to depart very early (eating breakfast around 6 am) - for a departure by 7 am. This is important to leave on time as it takes ~5 hr to Huamachuco (and then another ~7 hr to Chagual) and there has been road work just past Huamachucho that closes the road from 1-6 pm. [thus you need to make it past the cutoff point by getting there before 1 pm]. Lunch is not provided so bring a little cash. We will stop at a restaurant along the way to eat. Generally we should arrive to Chagual by 9 pm and set up camp by the river but it is possible to stay in a hostal in Chagual [the cost for a hostal room is 30-50NS ($10-18)]. In the morning you will notice the no-see-um bugs in Chagual and on many places during the trip, so put on some repellent in the morning at Chagual and/or cover up! To get an idea of locations of Chagual and other access points, see the OVERVIEW MAP

Note that it is possible to arrive to Chagual by flight ($140; 1 hr; Atasur; departures 7am Tue, Thur, Sat) and this can be chartered if many in the group want to do it (a plane holds 8 passengers going from Trujillo to Chagual, and 10 passengers coming back).

DAY 1: Rigging/Launching
In Chagual on the second day, a simple breakfast will be set up by the gear where everyone should rendezvous and then set to work finishing the rigging of the rafts [often this is minimal because a guide arrives the previous morning in the cargo truck and has much of the day to inflate rafts and rig the frames]. When breakfast is done, the food, stoves, and table will be put away for packing. The whole rigging process is expected to take 3-5 hr. Lunch will be purchased for the group and available in a restaurant by the hostal. After lunch and final rigging, the group will have a safety talk and then launch. The river has some class II-III rapids on the first day of the trip. This first day the group is expected to cover only 5-15 km.

DAYS 2-6: Central Grand Canyon Amazon
These days will be spent covering the 149 km (93 mile) Central Grand Canyon section. Although it is possible to move along quickly if desired, it generally seems best to plan on 6 days to cover the distance comfortably with plenty of hikes/off-river excursions and a layover day.

DAY 7: Balsas
There is a good access point to the river at Balsas, about midway through the trip at the end of the Central GC section. This is an ideal passenger exchange, food resupply, and other excursion point. On general SierraRios trips launching in Chagual, we will not need to do much resupply of food here, so although there will be a stop in Chacanto (to buy lunch and possibly a few other items like cocos helados and mango) and Balsas (to visit the Odebrecht's Chadin II dam promotion office), we will continue downstream that same day.

Passenger exchanges. Participants entering or leaving the trip at Balsas/Celendín will need to make their own travel arrangements to get to Cajamarca, the closest large city with an airport and regular flights to Lima. It is a ~3 hr ride to Celendín, and then another 1.7 hr to the river [at Chacanto/Balsas]. A taxi is the best way to arrive or depart and would be covered for general participants on SierraRios trips. If you will be entering the trip or leaving through Cajamarca, there are regular flights to/from Lima [on LAN (1 hr; $178) and on LCPeru (1 hr; $120)] as well as bus service [~14 hr; $20-40; see Movil Tours, Transportes Linea, and Cruz del Sur; note that a midway point on the bus route is Trujillo: 6 hr].  You might want to plan some sightseeing in Cajamarca, a renowned colonial town where Pizarro met and conquered Atahualpa (conquest of the Incan Empire) and where you'll find the Baños del Inca hot springs, a charming downtown plaza, and various historical structures/sites/Incan ruins.

[If you are on a trip where the plan is to spend a layover day near Balsas (usually for food resupply or to visit Celendín or Chachapoyas/Kuelap), then folks in the group would have several options: (1) hang out near Balsas at the river camp, (2) take the 1.7 hr ride up to Celendín, a small city with nice hotel to stay at (wifi/hot water/restaurant) where resupply shopping occurs, or (3) take the 3 hr ride up to Leymebamba and spend the next day touring the ruins of Kuelap. Coordinate this with the guide.]

Celendín: If a major food resupply is planned, the guide and some folks on the trip will go up to Celendín where more foods are available. Those going up should take 2 empty barrels (for chips, bread, and root vegetables) as well as 2-3 empty coolers: the cold (ice) cooler, a produce cooler, and a dinner cooler. It is possible to have passenger exchanges this day in Celendín. Others going to Celendín can enjoy a shower and possibly visit some other sights in the region.

The payment for Outfitting Services or normal SierraRios trips covers participant's stay at the layover camp at Balsas. It does not cover the ride, hotel or food for the excursion up to Celendín/Cajamarca (or Chachapoyas). The ride up and back usually costs ~60NS (~$25).  In Celendin, we generally stay in the Hotel Villa Madrid, which is ~70NS($25)/night for a double with wifi and hot water. There are other hotels nearby. Depending on the trip and group, from 0, 1, or 2 nights can be planned for the midway excursion. For those staying in Balsas with the gear, food still on the rafts can be cooked/prepared (generally a spaghetti or stew meal), and there are basic restaurants in Balsas that you can eat at. 

DAYS 8-14: Lower Grand Canyon Amazon
These days will be spent covering the 143 km (89 mile) Lower Grand Canyon section. Although it is possible to move along quickly if desired, it generally seems best to plan on 7 days to cover the distance comfortably with plenty of time for hikes/excursions as well as a layover day.

END OF TRIP: Puerto Malleta/Bagua
Trips generally will be ending at Puerto Malleta, but some may continue into the Jungle Pongos section. Please read the detailed discussion about the end of these trips at: TRIP END. This includes the take-out plan, post-trip options to consider, transport from the ending rendezvous city of Bagua Chica, and the considerations about heading further downriver into the Jungle Pongos. On this Oct14 trip, we will plan to end at Montenegro, where we will derig and contract a ride back to Bagua (1 hr) for us and our gear. In Bagua the gear will be left at Transportes Linea to be cleaned, dried, and organized the following day, and then sent back to Trujillo or Huaraz. SierraRios service ends in Bagua. Each person must arrange their own hotel and travel from there (see TripEnd for options). This is because folks usually go different ways at the end of the trip. It is relatively easy to get back to Trujillo on buses. See TRIP END for details.

Safety/Repair Items:  There will be two spare kayak paddles, raft patch kits and material, duct tape/Gorilla tape, and at least one spare oar for each raft.  Each raft will have a 100' bow line.  There will be at least one Z-drag setup (bring one if you have it) which might be employed in the event a raft gets stuck somewhere.

Electronics: On general SierraRios trips we will generally bring a GoalZero Sherpa100 solar charger/inverter and one or two Nomad20 solar panels. These are available to rent to private groups if desired. Also, it is possible to recharge electronics in Balsas, and possibly in some villages.

Satellite Phone: For communication we will have a Inmarsat satellite phone on the expedition.  You can make calls anywhere in the world for $1.50/min or send texts for $0.50 each.  The signal was always very good everywhere checked.  Also, some areas on the river have cell phone coverage.  

Be sure to check out the following links (present on the main Marañon trip info page at the top left) for additional preparatory information on the trip.

Below you will find some information on health issues. The first thing to know is that on general SierraRios trips there will be guides or others trained in wilderness first aid who can provide medical attention to injuries.  We will have at least one major first aid kit and one minor kit.  You may want to get some of your own medication if you think you might be suffering from something in particluar on the trip.  Our first aid kit will have some pharmaceuticals such as ibuprofen, immodium, Tums, antibiotics, anti-allergy pills, and possibly an epinephrine pen. You might consider a visit the doctor before your journey to Peru to prepare for the following.

Immunizations/Malaria: It is recommended by the CDC that folks traveling to Peru be vaccinated against Hepatitis A,  Typhoid, and Tetanus.  If you're entering the jungle areas, you might also consider getting Yellow Fever and Rabies immunizations and taking anti-Malaria medicine. Standard child vaccinations that everyone should have include Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) and Diptheria-Tentanus-Pertussis (DTP), but note that Tetanus boosters need to be given every 5-10 years. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for those who might have blood or sexual contact with infected people. Note however, that with regard to mosquito-borne illness, in general the main Grand Canyon of the Amazon section down to near Bagua is in drier desert-type terrain with few mosquitos, where the CDC puts little risk of Malaria/Yellow Fever as well. [see this Malaria MAP from the CDC]. If you are planning to visit a doctor before the trip and get some immunizations, you should also request some additional prescriptions to treat/prevent Traveler's Diarrhea and/or Altitude Sickness (below). 
Traveler's diarrhea: One of the most common ailments among tourists in Peru is traveler's diarrhea (gastrointestinal problems), also referred to sometimes as Montezuma's Revenge.  You should try to minimize chances of getting it by avoiding potentially dirty foods before the trip. During the trip we'll do what we can to prevent it by strictly adhering to NPS Sanitation Guidelines: basically minimizing the microbe exposure through liberal use of sanitizing solutions (bleach in water at about 100 ppm) for hand-washing, dish-washing, table-wiping, and cleaning veggies/fruits. There will be a hand-wash station at camp that you should always use after bathroom use and before handling food/plates. See the FOOD/WATER section for more details. Despite these measures, and perhaps because there is contact with river water and other microbe-containing surfaces, invariably many foreigners still get traveller's diarrhea on a river trip. It almost never afflicts Peruvians or folks who spend a lot of time there and are used to the microbes. When it strikes you, the symptoms are upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, lack of appetite, general fatigue and sometimes vomiting. It usually lasts 1-3 days but sometimes lasts longer (especially the loose stools). You can treat some symptoms with immodium and anti-nausea pills, but if you want to eliminate the problem completely, you should start a course of antibiotic (ciprofloxacin) immediately and take for 3 days or until symptoms subside. We will have some ciprofloxacin on the trip, but it might not be enough. If you can get some to bring along, please do so (and let Rocky know).

Altitude Sickness: When folks are accustomed to sea-level, journeying across the high passes of the Andes (such as from Trujillo to Chagual; or from Lima to Huaraz) can precipitate altitude sickness - also called soroche in Peru. Symptoms are light-headedness, headache, nausea, and fatigue. If you live in a place like Denver or Salt Lake City, you're already acclimatized somewhat to the altitude, and it probably will not affect you. If you normally live closer to sea-level, you might suffer. You can prevent altitude sickness with acetazolamide (also known by trade name Diamox), a prescription medicine that increases bicarbonate excretion in urine and therefore lowers the pH of your blood (high blood pH is one of the primary causes of altitude sickness).  Folks who take acetazolamide starting 1/2-1 day before getting to high elevation often can go up to above >16000 ft for a day or two without adverse effects.  If you're going to the doctor to get immunizations and/or antibiotics, you might also mention that you'll also be at high altitude, and request a dose of acetazolamide. It's surprisingly hard to find in Peru. The common "anti-soroche" pills they sell down there are simply aspirin or tylenol, which do little for most of the symptoms. 

Major First Aid box:
The major first aid kit on Marañón trips is a large ammo can and will contain bandages, implements (scissors, safety pin, syringe and needle), tape, bandaids, a Sam splint, and some pharmaceuticals:

- analgesics (percocet, vicodin)
- anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, tylenol, aspirin)
- anti-histamines (Claritin, diphenhydramine)
- GI treatmens (Pepto-bismol/Tums, immodium)
- anti-fungals (clotrimazol)
- topical antibiotics (neomycin, tri-ointment)
- anti-itch (ointment/creams)
- cold symptom relief (Halls, decongestants)
- vaseline/heel cracking lotion (Bag balm or similar),
- oral antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, amoxicillin/other (for respiratory or ear infections),
- epi pen (though this may not be up to date - if you are allergic to bees, you should bring your own epi pen]

Liability: Each paticipant must realize that whitewater river expeditions involve certain inherent risks and must agree to voluntarily assume those risks. Also, each partipant in charge of a raft, kayak, or other SierraRios LLC gear is responsible for any damage or loss that occurs while the equipment is in their control. You should also fill out a participant information questionaire with all your contact info and passport #, allergy and health issues, various preferences, and emergency contact information. We require all participants using SierraRios LLC equipment or joining SierraRios LLC trips to sign a liability waiver. This is true even if you are only utilizing outfitting services. Those using Outfitting Services assume all responsibility for what happens to them on the river. Guides are there to advise, but can sometimes make mistakes. Also, private groups must agree to provide compensation for lost or damaged gear.

Traveler's Insurance: We strongly recommend that you get a travel insurance policy that covers emergency evacuations, medical treatment, theft, loss of equipment, and missed flights that might arise during your travel abroad. You can find such insurance policies through Squaremouth, Travelguard, and Travelsafe. You are responsible for your own equipment loss, missed flights, evacuation or medical costs before and during the expedition.

Crisis plan: In general, on this river we'll never be very far from trails/roads out, so in the event of incapacitating but non-life threatening injuries, the plan will be to raft the person to the nearest point out and arrange a ride to the nearest city/hospital. In some cases, we may build a litter and carry the person to the nearest road. With exceptional injuries/circumstances or life-threatening conditions, we may use the satellite phone to contact the nearest government officials with access to a helicopter and request an air evacuation. SierraRios LLC is not responsible for evacuation or medical costs incurred for problems arising during the expedition.

All maps of the river are marked with rapids and available online (i.e. a "guide") to members of SierraRios with an acknowledgement from you that the access codes or map copies will not be given out to anybody - rather, you have to agree to direct others interested in the maps to the SierraRios website or Rocky.  The links to the maps, various artcles, the film, petition, and trip info are:


You can read/see more about the river and area, and Peru in general at the following (I'll have a lot of these books along on the trip):

Articles about the Marañon:
American Whitewater: Grand Canyon of the Amazon; by Contos
International Rivers: R ío Marañon; by Contos
Canoe & Kayak: Grand Canyon of the Amazon; by Contos

Movie: Aguirre, the Wrath of God  : unforgettable imagery and story
Book: Last Days of the Incas : McQuarrie does a great job describing the conquest of the Incas: Pizarro's defeat of Atahualpa at Cajamarca 
Book: Running the Amazon  : Joe Kane and Piotr Chmielinski with others kayak/raft the Apurimac-Amazon 1987
Book: Three Rivers of the Amazon : Tim Biggs kayaks down Marañon, Urubamba, and Apurimac 2008
Book: Two Against the Amazon  : Brown/Snow and the sources of the Amazon (Marañon) 1953
Book: My Amazon Adventure   Sebastian Snow travels down the Marañon-Amazon from the source (1953)
Book: River of Darkness : Orellana's Amazon first descent voyage of 1540
Book: Lonely Planet Peru: great travel guide

Amazon Source News:
True Source of the Amazon (C&K magazine article now online)
Fastest to the Atlantic Wins (Outside magazine article now online)

AREA: Correct Placement of the Most Distant Source of the Amazon in the Mantaro River Drainage : [scientific article]
La Republica article: (national news of Peru)
National Geographic article (blurb about new source but dissing it somewhat)
Fox News article nonlinonlin
Geography Directions post (something I wrote about the discovery)

You should be clear that on the CentralGC and LowerGC sections, there are several village stops.  This river is not a park - it is a place open to development and residence, and as such many folks live along the way.  Most particpants actually find the stops and encounters with villagers on this section one of the charming aspects of the trip. Do consider that it is generally a good idea to support the villagers in some way so that they see a benefit from tourists coming down the river, and also help them out. For this reason, on SierraRios trips we usually try to resupply at riverside villages where possible, purchase fruit from local growers, purchase lunches at several of the villages for the group (Calemar, Balsas, and Tupén), enter/visit/talk to residents in some places (always Tupén), and give a donation on behalf of each tourist to certain rondas to help in their fight against the dams. A list of the villages is below:

Vijus: After Chagual (where you launch), the first village you'll see is Vijus - a gold mining town about 15 km downstream that was built up over the past 20 years. On trips starting on the UpperGC, we usuallly stop here to resupply food and beer. However, groups launching in Chagual generally will not stop here.    
Calemar: At Calemar, guides generally will purchase a lunch to eat (usually consisting of a soup and a plate of rice with a chicken/veggie/potato or some other typical course). Calemar is a village not reachable by road yet, but note that they are building a road on the RR side down from Vijus.  The town was where Ciro Alegria lived for several years early last century and where he formulated and wrote his book "La Serpiente de Oro". You can walk up and see the remains of his house.  

Tingo La Palla:  There might be a stop at a pueblo by Río Crisnejas, though we generally have not stopped around here.  

Chacanto/Balsas:  Chacanto/Balsas is another logical stop and the midway point where the guides will go up to Celendin to do a resupply.  On the longer 30-day trips, we often spend two nights camped nearby, but for launches at Chagual, it can be arranged to just spend one night near Balsas.  Chacanto is the village by the road bridge. Balsas is actually another community about 2 km downstream on the right.  If you go into Balsas, you can see the Odebrecht office set up to promote the Chadin 2 dam, touting the energy and jobs it will provide. [good to go there and boo it!  or explain your opposition to anyone attending the office].

Mendán, La Mushka, & Tupén Grande:  Two other villages to stop at downstream of Balsas are clustered nearby: Mendán and Tupén Grande.  These are communities that are working very hard against the Chadin2 dam that will flood their homes and force them to relocate - and they have been suspicous of river runners in the past since the dam survey crews doing their studies came down on rafts in the past few years.  I and the guides know the heads of the rondas (community citizen patrols) and many residents,  so you are not likely to encounter any problems.  Tupén in particular, is impressive in all the slogans spray-painted on walls in the village "No Represas" "No a Chadin II", etc.   We often pay someone in the village to cook a lunch for the group.  Also, on each trip, a donation is given per tourist to be used in the anti-dam efforts. [this policy may be set up for other villlages affected by planned dams as well - basically Calemar, Tingo La Palla, and many others as the dam surveys are now being completed on every possible segment of the river.]