GOCTA – PARADIES OF THE FALLS
Historic and magical corners
About the Gocta Waterfall
The peruvian waterfall Gocta (near Cocachimba) is one of the highest in the world at 771 meters. Its volume of water varies greatly, depending on the instantaneous precipitation in its small, rocky catchment, which lies at an altitude between 2500 and 3000 m. It is located in the province of Bongará, about 20 kilometers north of Chachapoyas, the capital of the Amazonas region of Peru. A few kilometers to the north is the waterfall Yumbilla, with a drop of almost 900 m, but only water-bearing during the rainy season.
The Gocta is named after the nearest village of the same name. The place name has its origin in the Quechua dialect of the local population.
Two myths entwine around the waterfall, whose proximity the descendants of the Chachapoya feared and whose existence they therefore supposedly sought to keep secret – for a long time one could not find the Gocta on any map. So the legend deals with a beautiful siren that lives in the lagoon of the waterfall. She is considered the mother of the fish of the river and guardian of a pot of gold. To whom his life is dear, the locals say, do not venture near them. The other legend is about the farmer Juan Mendoza, who disappeared inexplicably near the waterfall; Mendoza is believed to have been turned into a rock and now has to defend himself with his shoulders from the massive masses of water that fall from above.
The discovery by the German Stefan Ziemendorff
Stefan Ziemendorff, German development worker and coordinator of the “100,000 drinking water connections” plan, first recognized the imposing waterfall in 2002 during an expedition in the rough nature reserve. At the end of February 2006, Ziemendorff returned with a Peruvian research team to do the survey. The height of 771m could be determined with a measurement uncertainty of 13.5m.
At the subsequent press conference, Ziemendorff named the Gocta the third tallest waterfall in the world, surpassed only by Salto Angel in Venezuela (972m) and Tugela Falls in South Africa (948m), and Yosemite Falls in fourth. He cited 2005 National Geographic Society data. However, the criteria that determine a waterfall are controversial. For example, the Ramnefjellsfossen (808m) and the Mongefossen (773m) are also classified as waterfalls in Norway. However, both have hardly any free falls and arise only during the snowmelt in spring.
The developments through tourism
Near the waterfall, the area of the Sierra is dominated by many endangered species. These include spectacled bear, as well as rare hummingbird and parrot species. The rainforest is part of a 3,300 square kilometer nature reserve.
This natural paradise is increasingly threatened by the extensive cultivation of sugar cane, which until now has been the sole source of income for the nearby villages of Coca and Cocachimba. The inhabitants of the area live in very simple conditions. Visitors are asked to search for guides and buy food locally. This ensures that tourism revenues not only stay with the major travel agencies, but bring a direct improvement in living conditions to the local population.
Every visitor has to register in the town hall and pay 10 soles “access fee” for the right of access. For a walk of about three hours to the upper or lower foot, a local guide is essential. The cost is about 50 soles for a group of more than one person. Without a guide you may only visit the waterfall after written confirmation of the knowledge of the possible dangers.
At 8:30 am we leave for Cocachimba, a picturesque place with very friendly people from where we will start our 2-hour walk to the base of the second waterfall in the middle of lush vegetation typical of the cloud forest, inhabit the Gallito de las Rocas , Tucaneta Esmeralda, Yellow-tailed Choro Monkey, hummingbirds among other birds of the place. After a while at the waterfall and photographic shots, we return to Cocachimba for lunch included, then we move to Chachapoyas. The tour ends at approximately 5:00 pm.
- Tourist transport in shared service to the attractions to visit.
- Tourist tickets of the places to visit.
- Lunches during the visit.
- Tourism Guide, permanent and personalized attention.
- First aid kit.
- Personal costs.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- National and international flights.
- Additional services.
- In Holy Week, national holidays, Raymi Llacta (June 1 to 10), employer parties (August 1 to 10) long holidays and end of the year this rate does not apply, prices for high season will be informed if your trip coincides with those dates.
- The walk to Gocta is recommended for adults and children over 10 years old who are in good physical condition.