(atmospheric music) – Imagine a river, hot enough to kill you, said to be the home of a powerful Amazonian water spirit. That place is real, and I’ve been there. It’s the Shanay-timpishka, the
boiling river of the Amazon. (lively music) My name’s Andrés Ruzo, and I’m a geothermal scientist and conservationist. As a boy in Lima, my grandfather told me this crazy story about the search for the lost city of gold. (speaking in foreign language) But there was a detail in that story, about a river that boiled. I certainly imagined it, but never really dwelled on it, it was just a detail. It’s getting much hotter. It turns out this place is real. So the boiling river’s located in the heart of the
central Peruvian Amazon. (bubbling water) The hottest temperature I’ve measured was over 210 degrees Fahrenheit. To put that into everyday terms, the average coffee is roughly 130 degrees. It’s hard to physically imagine that much hot water. You stick your hand in, and you will see second and third degree burns in a matter of seconds. I’ve seen a number of animals fall into the boiling river, everything from birds to reptiles. (falling water) Complex organisms like us, we don’t do well at
those high temperatures. We literally start to cook on the bone. Feeling that heat come into you, breathing in this thick hot air, where you can feel the air heating you up inside your nose, you can feel it going into your lungs, you can feel the presence of your lungs because of the heat of the air. It still gives me goosebumps. The true name of the boiling river is Shanay-timpishka and that means, according to one of the local shamans, boiled with the heat of the sun. It’s spectacular. This place has totally redefined what it means to be sacred for me. I think once you’ve experienced something that’s truly moved you, you love it. And you can’t let that go.