Find The Source Of The Amazon River And See The Deepest Part Of The Colca Canyon In 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.
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Mismi Snow Mountain


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.
Source Of The Greatest River In The World

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.



At 8AM picking up from your hotel and transfer by private 4x4 from Arequipa to Tuti (3800m – 12,464 ft). Along the way to get there we will stop in different places to appreciate the Andean landscape, the flora and flora of this region. If you book the trek including round trip public bus service (backpacker service).we must need to depart from Arequipa at 5:30AM PERU ADVENTURE TOURS recommend the Private VIP Service.
After 4 hours of drive from Arequipa upper part of the Colca valley (Sibayo 3880m) passing Andean landscape, national reserve of Vicuñas and Andean birds. Spectacular views of the volcanic range of the south of Peru, Snow Mountains and highland viewpoints. Around 12PM we will arrive to Mollepunko, this is a place where is located the cave painting dating between 6 and 7 thousand years B.C.
Continue with our guided tour and driving on unpaved road descends to La Ventana Del Colca (The window of the Colca canyon). It is a geological formation located at 4300m that wind and rain erosion, has taken the form of a window. From the natural viewpoint can clearly see the road entrance to the Colca Valley (from top), and the confluence of the rivers.
At 1PM arrive to the Andean town of Sibayo, there will be the lunch at local restaurant and check in a little familiar lodging.
In the afternoon OPTIONAL moderate trek to the thermal bath located on the left bank of the Colca River, late afternoon return to the lodge to have dinner and rest (Lunch - Dinner).


At 7AM leaves Sibayo towards village of Callalli and Tuti, from there we ascent through La Gran Pampa and Ran Ran until Aquenta, from this point we’ll drive for about 1:30 hours until close to Carhuasanta. Trekking along single track to see were the waters coming out from the vertical rocks on the slopes of the Mismi snow mountain. This is the “Source of the Amazon River as known the longest river in the world and flow to the Atlantic Ocean.
One more hour of trek and arrive to the base camp located at Quebrada Carhuasanta (4750m – 15,580ft). During the trek we can appreciate a typical high Andean landscape with its classic fauna (llama and alpaca) and flora (Ichu straw grass and Yareta moss). Today the trek price includes donkeys to help us to carry our camping gear, meals and your backpacks (Breakfast – Lunch - Dinner).


Today we must need to wake up around 2am to attack the summit of the Mismi Mount (5585m -18,318ft). This is the climax of the trek on the south highlands of Peru. According to the season we must bring the technical equipment, this is mostly trekking on high altitude and that is the main reason to get good acclimatization. The ascent to summit takes around 5 hours and from there you will get spectacular view of entire Colca canyon as known as Colca valley and snow-capped volcanoes of the Region.
After appropriate time for pictures on the summit of Mismi snow mountain downhill of 3 hours to the base camp to get lunch and then one more hour of trek to find our 4x4 and then 45 minutes of transfer to the hot spring of La Calera.
Late afternoon will be the transfer to select hotel in Chivay (3630m – 11,906ft), dinner and rest (Breakfast – Lunch - Dinner).


At 6AM leave by the left side of the Colca River through colonial villages as Yanque, Maca, Pinchollo, and then short walk along the Colca canyon before to arrive to the lookout of La Cruz Del Condor from you can see the deep of the canyon and the majestic flight of the Andean Condors as known as the king of the Cordillera De Los Andes. From this lookout is possible to see picturesque villages into the canyon where still people live practicing the agriculture using incredible pre-Inca terraces dating like 1400 years ago, where they growing different type of Potatoes, amaranth, maize, and lot fruits trees as avocado, lemon, mango, orange, etc.. OPTIONAL 3 hours of trekking from Tapay viewpoint to Cabanaconde town (3280m – 10,758ft), we hike along the the spring and then downhill along the single track. Lunch will be served in Cabanaconde, check in at the hostel and free afternoon for personal activities (Breakfast – Lunch - Dinner).

DAY 5: CABANACONDE - HUAMBO - LLUTA - HUANCA - YURA - AREQUIPA (Off The Beaten Tourist Path Option)

Today we will drive our 4x4 through remote villages located in different points where the tourists don’t go. On the off the beaten tourist path you will recognize spectacular views of Ampato Mount, more pre-Incas terraces, lot contrast between very dry deserts and green valley as Lluta (3010m – 9,872ft) and Huanca (3070m – 10,069ft).
Today we will get the last lunch included on the half way to Arequipa.
Today we will drive on unpaved road seeing more fauna of the region. Around 4pm arrive to Arequipa and end of this trek (Breakfast - Lunch).


  1. Experienced Mountain English-Speaking guide
  2. Personal porter to carry the items of each participant, meals and camping gear (Private Service only)
  3. Public bus (Backpacker Service only)
  4. Private 4WD (Private Service only)
  5. Entrance to the Colca canyon
  6. Camping Equipment (Four seaons mountain tent and inflate 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, only if is necessary to reach the summit of Nevado Mismi
  11. Meals on the Mountain (5 lunches - 4 dinners - 4 breakfasts)
  12. Plenty of hot Coca tea
  13. Bottle of medical oxygen (Private Service only)
  14. Communication system, guides climb with their mobile phones
  15. Tents and food for our camp staff
  16. Headlamp - Wind proof gloves - Wool hat - Walking sticks or poles (Private VIP Service only)
IMPORTANT: This tour can be done on the opposite way to get more acclimatization to the altitude. Also this trek can start or end in Puno with additional cost for picking up or drop off, you just need to tell us at booking time and we will fix the best for you to safe time beginning or ending this trip on the correct destination.

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

Find The Source Of The Amazon River And See The Deepest Part Of The Colca Canyon In 5 Days
Backpacker Service (Public bus)
Available under request only

Private Service (Private 4x4/Guide)
2 participants $945 USD each
3-4 participants $861 USD each
5 to more participants $695 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 tour.
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).

Private Service includes donkeys to carry your backpacks on the second and third day.


  1. Alcoholics drinks
  2. Sleeping Bag
  3. Breakfast on the first day/lunch on the last day
  4. 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 -10ºC (can be hired from our office of Arequipa, for $4.00 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: This service 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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