Gocta

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Gocta is a 771m waterfall located near Chachapoyas, in the Peruvian Amazon.

Understand[edit]

La catarata Gocta, known locally as La Chorrera, is the world's 3rd highest waterfall (771m), Although there is some debate regarding the measurement method.

History[edit]

Discovered in March of 2006 in the Peruvian rainforest by a group of German explorers lead by Stefan Ziemendorff, who took topographic measurements, it is actually the third highest waterfall in the world, after Angel Falls (Venezuela 972m) & Tugela Falls (South Africa 948m).

Legends relating to the curse of a beautiful blonde siren helped by a giant serpent protect a gold vase; & the local Juan Mendoza who disappeared enchanted by the rocks behind the waterfall.

Landscape[edit]

In the same valley there are around 22 similar waterfalls.

Flora and fauna[edit]

The declaration as a national reserve could promote the conservation of flora & fauna & promote ecotourism, coupled with attractions like Kuelap.

Climate[edit]

Get in[edit]

From Chachapoyas it is a 1hr 5min journey by vehicle to the village of Cocachimba. There are no direct collectivos running regularly to Cocachimba, so if you are not a group of 4, there are 2 options: taking the colectivos towards Pedro Ruiz (S/. 5) and getting off in the small village called Cocahuayco from where its a 2 hours mostly uphill walk to Cocachimba, or you can negotiate a fare with one of the waiting mototaxis.

From Cocachimba it takes 2-2.5 hours to hike (about 5.5 km each way) to the base of the tallest fall. The trail is very up & down, so do not be deceived by the walk only being 5.5 km, it feels like much more. The trail can be hot, humid and muddy. Take water & sun protection. Make sure to wear boots after rainfall. Also, take a bathing suit in case you want to swim in the pool at the base of the falls.

There is another alternative route from the village of San Pablo to the base of the first fall, it is well signposted and passes some rock art. After viewing the first fall you can walk down a very steep trail to the lower falls and return via Cocachimba - it is approximately a 17km hike.

Tours are available from Chachapoyas for around S/. 40 that include transport and a guide.

You can rent horses from Cocachimba for S/. 25 both ways or S/. 20 for just the return from the main fall. The horses don't go all the way, so there's still a 40 min walk each way at the end of the path. The handlers guide the horses on foot so, so no riding experience is necessary. If you're on a tour you need to advise them well in advance that you want horses - before you leave or on the drive there is best.

Fees/Permits[edit]

Visitors needs to register & pay entrance at the office in Cocachimba. A local guide is theoretically mandatory (written in the "rules"), but de facto not required (and totally unnecessary). There are others services offered such as horse riding, camping gear rental, etc. The entrance fees are:

  • Adults: S/. 10
  • Students: S/. 5

Get around[edit]

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Lodging[edit]

Camping[edit]

There is a one hectare campground, "Camping Gocta", with modern bathrooms and hot showers, and good road access in San Pablo de Valera that can accommodate most any vehicle. Fees are S/.10.00 (about $3.50usd) per person per night. An additional charge may be applied for large vehicles or an electrical hook-up. It is located a few meters from the trailhead to Gocta; and it is a relatively easy two hour hike from there over to the Gocta Waterfall.

There is a small campground near the first (higher) waterfall. There are also several rest areas/rain shelters on the route.

Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

See the Get in section and do it reverse. When you get to the main road, just wave at the collectivos passing by and wait until one has available seats.


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