There’s A Mysterious River In Peru That’s So Hot It Cooks Anything That Falls In

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If you thought Australia was the most terrifying place in the world, then maybe this will change your mind: Deep within the Amazon rainforest lies a river that is so Godforsakenly hot that it can and will boil you alive.

BUT, before you cross Peru off your “Places to Visit” list forever, you should know there’s actually some pretty fascinating history surrounding the river that make it worth a trip — provided you have extraordinarily good balance.

According to a website about the river and its history, local oral traditions describe the Boiling River as existing “before the time of the grandfathers.”

The river’s ancient name is “Shanay-timpishka,” which roughly translates to “Boiled with the Heat of the Sun.”


Science Alert reports that for centuries, Peruvian locals had talked about a mystical river in the Amazon that burned so hot it could kill. According to legend, Spanish conquistadors foolishly ventured into the rainforest in search of gold, and the few men that returned told stories of poisoned water, man-eating snakes, and a river that boiled from below.

Peruvian geoscientist Andrés Ruzo had been fascinated by the legend since childhood — but it wasn’t until he was completing his PhD project on geothermal energy potential in Peru that he began to question whether the river could actually be real.

In 2011, Ruzo took a chance and hiked into the Amazon rainforest with his aunt, and saw the famed river with his own eyes.

Doesn’t look so bad, right?

Unfortunately for Amazonian legend, the sun actually has nothing to do with the Habanero hotness of the boiling river.​

Ruzo, who was the first to get permission to study it, revealed in a 2014 TED talk that the two-lane, 6.24 kilometer (3.87 miles) long river’s temperature is actually a result of fault-fed hot springs.

Ruzo also discovered that the river’s temperature ranges from an uncomfortably balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit to a screaming 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is actually so hot that if an animal falls in, it’s cooked to death.


“The first thing to go are the eyes. Eyes, apparently, cook very quickly. They turn this milky-white color. The stream is carrying them,” Ruzo told The Telegraph. “They’re trying to swim out, but their meat is cooking on the bone because it’s so hot. So they’re losing power, losing power, until finally they get to a point where hot water goes into their mouths and they cook from the inside out.”


Australia — your move.

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