Until only 20 years ago, the majestic Gocta Waterfall was unknown to the outside world; today it is one of the most stunning attractions in Peru.
Catarata de Gocta, one of the highest waterfalls in the world
Peru is one of the world’s most stunning and beautiful countries. It is famous for its many Inca ruins – most notably Machu Picchu. Peru is also one of the best countries in South America to enjoy a stunning and relaxing Amazon River Cruise. On top of everything, Peru boasts one of the world’s highest waterfalls – the Gocta Waterfalls.
It is basically impossible to truly do justice to Peru on a single trip; the country is just busting with awe-inspiring historical and natural attractions to explore. The Gocta Waterfalls are just another reason to return to Peru – even if one has seen Machu Picchu. The Gocta Waterfalls are found in the Andean Mountains, and the Andean Mountains are some of the largest and most stunning mountains in the world.
Gocta Waterfalls: The Highest Waterfall In Peru
The Gocta Waterfalls are called ‘Catarata del Gocta’ in Spanish, and the impressive water drops in two jumps into the rainforest. Gocta Waterfalls is located some 479 miles or 771 kilometers northeast of the Peruvian capital of Lima in the province of Amazonas. The powerful second drop is counted among the tallest in the world.
- Height: 2,530 Feet or 771 Meters
- Number of Drops: Two Drops
Since it was “discovered” by outsiders in 2002, the area has received improved infrastructure making access easier. At 771 meters, the Gotcha Waterfall was believed to be the third-highest free-leaping waterfall in the world – behind Angel Falls (in Venezuela) and Tugela Falls (in South Africa).
Angel Falls is also very remote, but it is possible to visit. Since it was measured in 2006, it has been considered the fifth-tallest in the world (after Ramnefjellsfossen and Mongefossen – both in Norway).
The largest (not tallest) waterfall in the world is considered to be the stunning Victoria Falls on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. One of the best things to do at Victoria Falls is to take a wild whitewater rafting ride at its base (among the crocodiles and hippos).
Discovery & Local Legends About The Gocta Waterfalls
Surprisingly, this isolated waterfall wasn’t known to the outside world until an expedition in 2002. That being said, it has long been known to the locals (it’s in full view of a nearby village, after all). The waterfall can be seen from several miles away. It was named after the closest settlement.
The local story is that the local people didn’t want outsiders to learn about the waterfall because they feared the curse of a beautiful blond mermaid who was supposed to live in the falls. The blond-haired mermaid spent the nights at the lagoon in the lower area of the waterfall. Local people claim to have seen the woman prowling the lagoon.
Who knows what other secrets the massive Peruvian jungle holds – after all, it was only recently the boiling river was discovered in Peru.
What To Know About Visiting The Gocta Waterfalls
Since the area around the waterfall was developed, tourists have been able to hike (or go by horse) to the misty base of the waterfall. A small hotel has been built around 6 miles or 10 kilometers from the impressive waterfall.
There are two ways to see the falls close up. One by taking the two-hour-long hike from the village of San Pablo. The other way is from the settlement of Cocachimba (located on the other side of the valley), where the stunning Gocta Andes Lodge is located. From there, it’s a three-hour hike through the cloud forest to the base of the lower falls. The Gocta Andes Lodge boasts breathtaking views of the waterfalls and the surrounding valleys and rainforests.
- Double Room: Approx. $140 Per Night
The lodge offers guided walks along the 5.5-kilometer (3-mile) trail to the falls for 65 Sol ($17). It is also easy to get other private tours of the area. Tours are normally combined with tours of the great fortress of Kuelap (the lodge offers tours to the fortress of Kuelap as well).
The altitude here is high; the nearby town of Chachapoyas is some 2,235 meters or 7,333 feet above sea level.
There are other great attractions in the area for visitors to explore. These attractions include the archeological complex of Kuelap, the Condores Lagoon, and the Quiocta caves.