In the far north of Peru, backpackers have the choice of undertaking an exciting excursion to visit one of the world’s tallest waterfalls. Catarata Gocta has an interesting history. One of the most interesting aspects of the story is that it was only discovered in 2005. That is, it was discovered by the outside world.
The water tumbles from a ridge cliff face of 771 meters high. The water “leaps” from ledge to ledge, making it the third tallest in the world for this kind of falls. It’s actually visible from the closest village, from where the falls gets its name Gocta. So, the local folks have known about it for quite a while, but the story goes that they feared a curse if they were to reveal it to outsiders. It would be a blond mermaid witch, whose white locks are said to be visible at the bottom of the water shoot, who would cast the spell.
Well, the falls were discovered in 2005 by a German explorer. 2005! Imagine walking along, and suddenly finding a world-record waterfall. Any backpacker could’ve been the lucky one! Soon after the discovery, the government set up the area for tourists, and now it’s your turn to behold Gocta Falls.
You’ll have to don your trekking boots, because you’re going to have to hike a bit to get there. From your likely hostel in Chachapoyas, you’ll arrive by minibus to the small town of Cochachimba. From there, the trail leads you for 3 to 5 hours, depending on your level of excitement and hiking abilities, to the falls. The trail can be tough in some places, so it’s best to go with a buddy. Take lots of drinking water and food.
Once at the falls, you’ll need to whip out the compact camera to snap the essential photo as proof of your triumphant adventure.