gocta waterfalls

Within the Andean country, there are infinities of natural attractions to marvel at, from canyons to archaeological ruins and much more. Thanks to its wide variety of destinations, you will be able to appreciate the Andean country from countless perspectives, all with their unique tones and particular stories. Among those attractions, within the Peruvian north, you can enjoy one of the highest waterfalls in the world. We are talking about the Gocta Waterfalls, a visual spectacle where you can enjoy hiking trails and a series of dreamy landscapes. Therefore, together with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru, we want to tell you everything about these incredible falls.

Everything about the Gocta Waterfalls

One of the highest waterfalls in the world

gocta waterfalls description

The Chorrera or, in the native language of Chachapoyas people, Gocta, are waterfalls located about 771 meters high and are one of the highest waterfalls in the world. If you are planning a trip to Peru, you cannot miss one of its most emblematic waterfalls. To get there, it is necessary to walk along trails that go through cloud forests and large green fields. It is one of the most incredible attractions in northern Peru, where you can enjoy one of the most amazing natural spectacles.

You can also experience the numerous wildlife that inhabits the surroundings. If you are looking to explore the corners of this majestic country, this is one of its most remarkable places. There are several ways to get there, so the path will depend on how you would like to visit the place. If you are looking to enjoy vacations in Peru, we recommend visiting them during the rainy season. In rainy seasons, you can see up to 22 different waterfalls along the way, making it a great time to go.

Discovering that forgotten waterfalls

gocta waterfalls history

The Gocta Waterfalls have one of the most particular stories among the different attractions of the Andean country. The history of these falls is quite particular because it was not discovered by the outside world until 2002. A German explorer named Stefan Ziemendorff, along with a group of locals, came across the imposing presence of the Falls while exploring the biodiversity in Peru, especially in the region of Los Chachapoyas. Despite being very common for locals, these falls took on great importance recently. Today, it is a great option to enjoy adventure travel in Peru. According to the measurements it presumes, it is the third highest free-jumping waterfall in the world. That is why Peru remains a magical mystery, every day a new attraction can take a leading role, demonstrating the diversity that this beautiful country offers.

Gocta Waterfalls and an ancient curse

gocta waterfalls bottom

As we tell you, the waterfalls were discovered in 2002 by the German explorer aforementioned. But, How can such cataracts fall into oblivion through many years? Did the surrounding communities people know of its existence? Well, the answers can be found in the same people of Cocachimba, San Pablo (Small towns located in surrounding areas of Gocta Waterfalls), and Chachapoyas (Capital of Amazonas Region, in the north of Peru).

They indicate that a beautiful woman of blonde hair, similar to a mermaid, protects her gold pot from intruders. Of course, this treasure is hidden inside the bottom of the waterfall. Even, some local people tell that a giant snake surrounds the pot, attacking anyone who dares to plunge into its waters in search of the treasure. The locals refer that it was the cause because the Incas and other invaders never entered the depths of the Amazon in ancient times because they knew the curse and preferred to keep maintain away.

Mystery and beauty in your vacations in Peru, the Gocta Waterfalls. In addition, it seems that this legend comes from ancient times, when the Chachapoyas, a pre-Inca culture that occupied the zone, still lived. This legend can be the cause why many people of surrounding areas never tried to reach the Gocta Waterfalls through the years. Even, they tried if forget its existence, completely.

The best time to get to Gocta Waterfalls

how to get to gocta waterfalls

If you think that the Gocta Waterfalls can decrease their flow at some points through the year, don’t worry because these are located in the Jungle area of the north Peruvian Amazon. It means tropical and humid weather with rains year-round. In other words, the Gocta Waterfalls always have a good level of water flow. However, if you want to take a look at some small waterfalls throughout the way, the rainy season (From October to April) will be perfect for you. Of course, mud, rain, and a medium challenge of trekking will accompany your way.

Our recommendation

enjoy gocta waterfalls

Otherwise, if you want to appreciate the beauty of Gocta Waterfalls, enjoying perfect weather, we recommend you visit them in a range of times between the end of the rainy season and the first months of the dry season (From April to June). Because the weather is perfect and the rivers that feed the waterfalls, maintenance their volume by these months.

In addition, like Machu Picchu, the Gocta Waterfalls have a recommended hour to visit during the day, from 7 to 8 in the mornings. Peace, the song of the first morning birds, and the sound of their dying waters will be your reward.

Things to bring to the Waterfalls

walk to gocta waterfalls

Gocta Waterfalls and, in general, trekking in Peru means adventure, nature, and fresh breezes. Therefore, we want to give you some recommendations about clothes and things to bring to your Gocta Waterfalls trip.

  • Bottles of water or purifying pills, if you want to take a drink of some natural fountains through the way.
  • Repellent for the mosquitos. Remember, you will be in the middle of the Peruvian rainforest.
  • Sunblock, a hat, and sunglasses. During the dry season, the rays of sunshine can be powerful.
  • Good pair of trekking shoes. Both routes (Cocachimba or San Pablo) can be slippery for the clay that covers the wet floor of the ways.
  • Swimwears or extra clothes because you will arrive at the bottom of Waterfalls, where the humidity abounds.

Options to get to the Gocta Waterfalls

gocta waterfalls view

We have to think about how to reach Chachapoyas. Happily, we have four options to get there.

The first option is the route through Chiclayo. Similar to the Tarapoto option. Many flights operate this route from Lima to Chiclayo. Once there, you have the possibility of taking an overnight bus until Chachapoyas (10 hours of travel) or spending a night in Chiclayo and traveling to Chachapoyas the next day.

The second one is through Chachapoyas. Yes, the same city. Unfortunately, this is the uncommon option taken. Because there are not many flights from Lima to Chachapoyas (Just three frequencies a week). However, as we have already seen, tourism in Peru does not stop for these inconveniences. Below, you will have two more options to get to Gocta.

Through Jaen and Tarapoto

gocta waterfalls through tarapoto

The next one is through Jaen; there are many flights from Lima to Jaen per day. Once you arrive there, you can take transportation from the same airport to hotels located 3 hours and a half away, very close to Gocta Waterfalls. Or you can go, directly, to Chachapoyas city, 4 hours away from Jaen.

The last one is through Tarapoto. In the same way, there are many flights in and out every day, from Lima to Tarapoto. We recommend spending a night there and taking transportation to Chachapoyas the next day. The route on the bus lasts 8 hours but you will have the opportunity of spotting the most beautiful landscapes through all Peruvian rainforest until getting to Chachapoyas.

Walk to Gocta Waterfall

walk to gocta waterfalls

To get to the Gocta Waterfalls, it is first necessary to get to the town of Cocachimba. To save yourself time, the best thing you can do is organize a private tour of the area and take advantage of the great fortress of Kuelap, another of the best Peru sightseeing destinations. Otherwise, you will have to request or join a tour of the beautiful city of Chachapoyas. The tour is quite accessible and can cost from $ 20 to $ 30 depending on what the tour includes.


gocta waterfalls to cocachimba

Cocachimba town is located north of Chachapoyas city, 1 hour away. From there, you will begin trekking (It lasts 2 or 3 hours, it depends on your physical condition) to the bottom of Gocta Waterfalls. Through the path, you will find beautiful landscapes of a rainforest jungle, nature, and peace, the route is a great opportunity to do ecotourism in Peru. The trekking level is between moderate to high.

San Pablo

san pablo town in gocta waterfalls

San Pablo is another town located northeast of Chachapoyas, in the same way, 1 hour away. There are two routes to get to Gocta Waterfalls. The first one lasts two hours to reach the top of the waterfalls, however, this doesn’t have a connection with the base of Gocta, therefore, the visitors will have to return until San Pablo, if they want to visit the Waterfall’s bottom. The second way lasts 2 or 3 hours, and you have the possibility of reaching the mid-height of the waterfalls, even the bottom. Additional information is that this route has a connection with the Cocachimba trekking way.

Activities for everyone

gocta waterfalls landscape

The surrounding areas of Gocta Waterfalls offer history, mysticism, biodiversity, and peace. Diversity of options for everyone who wants to enjoy its wonders.

History and mysticism

kuelap and gocta waterfalls

Surrounding areas of Gocta are examples of many things to do in Peru. So, let’s begin with a Pre-Inca complex like Kuelap. It is a pre-Inca fortress built around the 11th and 14th centuries by Chachapoyas pre-Inca Culture. This archaeological complex had more than 400 houses and circular platforms, all of them surrounded by walls of stone, finely worked and polished.

Leymebamba museum contains more than 260 mummies of Chachapoyas culture. There you will know the mummification process of their dead and the reason why they prepared their deceased for the afterlife. Of course, if you visit the museum, The Revash mausoleums are a must-see on your trip. These were collective tombs that occupy natural caves in the rocky wall of an imposing ravine.

Karajia Sarcophagus


Karajia Sarcophagus, as their name indicates, are sarcophagus (Of anthropomorphic figures) nestled on top of a mountain. You will see 14 figures stuck at the top of a hill, like eternal watchmen of all the Valley. With more than 500 years of antiquity, each sarcophagus contains a mummy (embalmed in a fetal position), these were important citizens in the Chachapoyas Culture times.

Quioct is a cavern that goes deeper than 500 meters inside the earth. There, you will see cave paintings, where the history of the first years of Chachapoyas culture is registered.

Nature and beauty


If you want to get perfect chances to do a photography tour, Pomacochas Lagoon and Huembo Nature Reserve can be your opportunities close to Chachapoyas. Both have a variety of birds for someone who wants to practice bird watching. The types of hummingbirds that live there mean wonderful occasions to appreciate beauty and color in the zone. The biodiversity of Mayo River Valley is unique in all zone of the Gocta. Beautiful landscapes, Aguajales (giant palm trees), coffee plantations, and a variety of orchids are situated throughout all its rainforest.

Lodgings near the Gocta Waterfalls

gocta waterfalls where to stay

The region near Gocta Waterfalls is considered an Amazon region. You will be surrounded by huge cloud forests and large green fields, so there are incredible accommodation options in the surroundings. The entire Amazon region has become a popular outpost for enjoying animal sightings and adventure vacations. The Chachapoyas region is seeing this change gradually, so you will find some remarkable options around to enjoy your Peru itinerary. Places like the Hotel Casa Hacienda Achamaqui will make your stay unique. It has spacious and immaculate rooms, attentive staff, an excellent restaurant, and much more. Now, if you are looking to enjoy the views of the waterfall, the Gocta Miradores Hotel in Cocachimba may be an exceptional option.


We hope together with Machu Travel Peru to have been of help in front of your queries about one of the highest waterfalls in the world. If you want to know how to start organizing your tour, you can consult with our qualified advisors. They will guide you step by step on how to explore one of the most incredible areas of Peru.