Gocta Waterfall: Waters that cut through the jungle
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Gocta Waterfall: Waters that cut through the jungle

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Gocta Waterfall: Waters that cut through the jungle

Its more than 700 meters high make it one of the largest in the world. Its majesty and natural beauty, which cannot be found just like that, make all its visitors fall in love. In the Amazon region, you can find a series of archaeological and natural attractions, such as the Sarcophagi of Karajía, the City of Chachapoyas or the Monumental Archaeological Zone of Kuelap. But its greatest natural jewel is the Gocta Waterfall, located in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.


This waterfall is besieged by tourists seeking to connect with a totally natural environment. Public or private transport does not enter here, so you can breathe the harmony of the flora and fauna in each space you pass through. And for the same reason that there are no tracks or asphalt, accessing the Gocta Waterfall has a certain degree of complexity. However, the journey is completely worth it, because witnessing the permanent waterfall is indescribable, because it fills your soul and transports your mind to a state of calm never before sensed.


 To locate ourselves geographically better, it should be noted that the Gocta Waterfall is located between the hamlets of San Pablo, Cocachimba and La Coca, which belong to the district of Valera, in the province of Bongará (Amazonas region). And to reach it, there are a series of alternatives that fit the adventurous spirit of its potential visitors: you will have to take different sections (or routes) where you will combine long walks and horseback rides to reach this natural charm, but beforehand you can approach to your destination with buses (from the city of Chachapoyas to Cocachimba or San Pablo) or hired cars.


History of Gocta Waterfall


The Gocta Waterfall was discovered in 2002. The German explorer Stefan Ziemendorf was investigating a series of caves found in the department of Amazonas, but it was not until four years later that, together with a group of the most experienced local guides, he first records and investigations on the waterfall, since it had confirmed that this attraction had not been previously discovered.


His topographical notes showed that the Gocta Waterfall measured 771 meters -being the third largest waterfall in Peru, only behind Las Tres Hermanas (914) and Yumbilla (895.4), located in the regions of Junín and Amazonas, respectively- and that , in the surroundings of this beautiful natural wonder that is divided into two falls, there are about 22 smaller waterfalls.


As a result of its discovery, the first legends that relate the waterfall to mythology were also born. One of the stories that gained more weight over the years was the story of a golden-haired mermaid who scared away visitors from Amazonas. This woman spent the night in the lagoon that lies at the end of the Gocta Waterfall, with the mission of protecting a brilliant treasure. And those who had the misfortune to get close, he made them disappear.


Gocta waterfall Salkantay Trek machu

The legend of the Gocta waterfall

If you've ever been near a large waterfall, you know that it makes an impressive noise. In the case of Gocta, the locals explain it with the legend of the mermaid:


According to it, Arturo, a local man, used to go chat with the charming mermaid near the falls, while he told his wife that he was practicing fireworks in a field. The mermaid offered him jewels to thank him for her good company, and one night Arthur came home, and forgot to empty his pockets.


His wife found the beautiful glittering decorations, but she preferred to say nothing and follow him the next time she went to "try his fireworks." To her great surprise, he took the path to the falls, instead of the one that leads to the field, and witnessed the mermaid's spell on her husband.


She had never seen him so passionate and exploded with rage emitting a shrill cry! This scream frightened the mermaid so much that she fell into the depths of the waterfall, dragging her husband with her. Since that day, the locals and the guides say that the sound of the waterfall is the sound of the fireworks that Arturo sets off from the other world.


Where is the Gocta Waterfall located?

Gocta is located 20km from Chachapoyas (north of Peru), in the district of La Valera, province of Bongará, in the department of Amazonas.


How to get to Gocta Falls?

From Lima to Chachapoyas it is approximately 25 hours of travel by land. The cost of the cheapest ticket is S/80. After arriving in this city in northern Peru, there are two ways to access the Gocta Falls: through the towns of Cocachimba or San Pablo.


If you want to enjoy your visit to the waterfalls to the fullest, avoid doing it in the rainy season. This includes the months of October to May. Both in Chachapoyas and in Cocachimba or San Pablo you can find various tourist service options to get to Gocta. There you can choose the one that best suits your budget.


Similarly, in the city or in the aforementioned hamlets, you can find several accommodation establishments. It is important to mention that getting to the waterfall is not easy at all; the path of ascent requires the traveler to have excellent physical conditions. However, there is the option of renting horses in Cocachimba or San Pablo; so you can make the route a little more accessible.


Leyend of Gocta waterfall


Chachapoyas – Cocachimba Route

The Gocta waterfall is located 44 kilometers north of Chachapoyas. The car ride takes an hour. Upon arrival in Cocachimba, you will start a walk of approximately 6 hours (round trip), in which you will cross the extensive forest surrounded by mist.


Chachapoyas – San Pablo Route

From Chachapoyas to the hamlet of San Pablo there is also an hour away. From there you will begin to discover a path of ascents and descents that will reward you with the impressive view of Gocta. This is the longest route, since the town has a better tourist infrastructure compared to Cocachimba.



The Gocta waterfall is 771 meters high, a number that positions it at number 15 on the world list of the highest waterfalls in the world.


How to get to Gocta from Chachapoyas?

On their own

Bus or collective from Chachapoyas to the Cocahuaico Bridge (1h, 5 soles)

Take a mototaxi to Cocachimba (15 soles), the little town where the walk begins

If you go by car, the journey from Chachapoyas to Cocachimba lasts 1h30

The entrance to Gocta costs 20 soles, the service of a guide costs 50 soles (per group)


With a one day or two day tour


The One Day Tour (Gocta)

If you have little time and do not want to worry about transportation, it is best to take a tour to Gocta Waterfall.


Includes transportation, guided walk, entrance fee, and lunch at a local restaurant.


The two-day tour (Gocta + Kuelap)

Another option, even more complete, is to take a two-day tour with pick-up from your hotel, which includes the Gocta waterfall, the Kuelap fortress, and lunch.

Gocta waterfall


What is the best time to visit Gocta?

You can visit Gocta all year round, but to make the walk easier, I recommend you avoid the months of October to April because it is the rainy season. But, on the other hand, if you travel in this season, you will see an extremely green landscape with a multitude of waterfalls in the valley!


#Take note

The recommended time to go on an excursion to the waterfall is between 7 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.

During the route you will be able to see some endangered species such as the cock-of-the-rock, the spatula-tailed hummingbird, the spectacled bear, among others.


What to bring for the tour?

  • Cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Climbing boots
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with long range lenses
  • Waterproof
  • Jacket
  • Drinking water
  • Walking stick

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