Gocta Waterfall is an incredible 770 metres drop. At one point, it was considered the third highest waterfall in the world. The falls are located 40 kilometres from Chachapoyas in the Amazonas region of Peru, 700 kilometres northeast of Lima and flow into the Cocahuayco River. Comprising of two dramatic vertical drops, the top fall is 230 metres and the lower 540 metres.
La Chorrera, as it has been dubbed by locals, was revealed to the wider world in 2005 by the German explorer Stefan Ziemendorff, who stumbled upon it while trekking in the area. Of course the local people have always known of it and many believe that a mermaid lives in the pool at the base of the falls. The legend goes that the mermaid would place a curse upon the native people if they revealed her waterfall to the outside world which perhaps answers Gocta’s secretive past.
The falls are surrounded by vast stretches of virgin cloud forest in nearly all directions. I was enchanted by the beautiful flora and fauna along the Gocta Waterfall hike and engulfed by the sounds, sights and smells of the cloud forest. Before you see Gocta, you’ll hear it, and as you get closer the volume increase as does the anticipation. The trail crosses small streams and gorges spanned by short bridges until the falls are revealed in their incredible majesty.
The hike to the falls is about six kilometres and a very good workout which had me gasping for breath many times. It is certainly not for the faint hearted but the reward of seeing the falls close up is worth every bit of effort expended.
We enjoyed three nights in Cocachimba at the lovely Gocta Andes Lodge. It is one of the special spots in the Northern Highlands, sitting on a severely idyllic setting with distant, unimpeded views to the falls, both from the rooms and the small infinity pool. The pool was great for relaxing after the day’s hike.