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Gocta is a waterfall located in the province of Bongara, department of Amazonas. It is a must-see destination for hiking, trekking, and archeology lovers. It currently ranks 17th in the world ranking of waterfalls, with a height of 771 meters in its two stages. It is also the third highest in Peru, behind the Tres Hermanas (914 meters in the Junin region) and Yumbilla (896 meters in the Amazon region).  

Around this magical destination, the surrounding valley is home to 22 more waterfalls. Gocta is located in northeastern Peru, in the district of Valera, province of Bongará in the Amazon region, in an area of abundant jungle. The region’s capital, Chachapoyas, is 50 km from the waterfall. The closest places from where you can access Gocta are the villages of San Pablo and Cocachimba. The origin of the term Gocta refers to several legends: On the one hand, it is linked to the sound emitted by the yellow-tailed choro monkey that lives near the waterfall. Others speak of the term’s similarity with the sound of the drops falling and colliding with the stones that make up the walls of the path to the waterfall. 

Several routes can be taken to reach the waterfall. The first is starting the journey from the city of Chachapoyas or Jaen (Cajamarca) to the village of Cocachimba; there, you can find all the basic services (food, lodging, etc.). and then walk for about two and a half hours, you can also make the journey on horseback. 

The second option is to go through the town of San Pablo, from where you start a walk where you can see animals and birds in danger of extinction, such as the cock of the rock. This visit is part of Peru’s northern tourist circuit, including the pre-Hispanic fortress of Kuelap, the Sarcophagi of Karajía, the mausoleums of Revash, and the Inca trail in Amazonas, the cavern of Quiocta, among many other archaeological and natural attractions.

A legend states that in Gocta dwells a mermaid who was the victim of a curse, so she had to stay in the waterfall assisting a snake while both guarded a pot of gold. 

Another legend commonly spread by travelers tells that a mermaid used to harass men who, enchanted by her beauty, followed her until they were dragged to the depths of the waterfall. Some villagers still say that a local man, Juan Mendoza, remains in the rocks behind the waterfall, where he was dragged after an enchantment. 

In high season, approximately 1,000 tourists a day visit the Gocta waterfalls. The department of Amazonas is, thanks to the ruins of Kuelap and the Gocta waterfalls, the fourth most important tourist destination in Peru.

What is the history of the Gocta Waterfall?

The contemporary history of the Gocta Waterfall begins in March 2006. At that time, a group of explorers led by the German Stefan Ziemendorff decided to take topographic measurements of the waterfall and discovered that its total height of this is 771 meters (in two stages), which places it in the 17th place in the world list of waterfalls and as the third highest waterfall in Peru. 

Since then, the Gocta waterfall began to be visited by many tourists. In high season, even more than a thousand a day. 

While it is true that the waterfall was known to the local people, their distance from it and fear of myths about mermaids and enchantments kept them away. 

Historically, near the Gocta Waterfall, the Chachapoyas culture developed remarkable military and family architecture and, especially, a complex funerary architecture that indicates the importance that this culture gave to their ancestors and death. 

What is the significance of the Gocta waterfall?

The Gocta Waterfall is an awe-inspiring natural wonder located in Northern Peru. It stands as one of the tallest waterfalls in the world and has become an iconic symbol for the region of Chachapoyas. Aside from its immense size, Gocta has a unique cultural significance in Peru. The waterfall is believed to be home to Kusi Kamayu, a mystical being that locals revere as a protector and guardian spirit. This belief has historically brought tourists to the area and made it a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers.

Gocta Waterfall stands at an impressive 2,530 feet tall and contains two distinct cascades fed by the Chiriaco River far upstream. While visiting this magnificent site, visitors will find themselves standing on a high plateau overlooking vast expanses of lush tropical forest. These forests contain an array of endemic species, making them hotspots for biodiversity conservation efforts in Peru. In addition to its stunning beauty and abundance of wildlife, hiking along the trail that leads up to Gocta’s base offers unique views across valleys filled with coffee plantations.

Gocta Waterfall is deeply embedded in Peruvian culture and continues to be revered as a sacred place by locals who live nearby. According to local lore, Kusi Kamayu lives at the top of Gocta’s highest cascade, granting wishes made by anyone that can make it up there without turning back. Tourists often come bearing offerings such as food or jewelry to leave at the base of the fall in hopes of earning Kusi Kamayu’s favor. Therefore, while embarking on your journey towards Gocta, you may very well find yourself joined by other pilgrims offering gifts out of respect for this mythical being that many believe still inhabits these lands today.

Is the Gocta Waterfall important to the history of Peru?

Yes, The Gocta Waterfall is important for the history of Peru. 

That is because, despite being known by the locals, it was not until the expedition to Chachapoyas made by the German explorer Stefan Ziemendorf that he managed to document the size of the falls, one of the highest in the world, and its importance for both geography and tourism in the area.

In addition, Gocta is located where the Chachapoyas culture developed and expanded. 

Where is the Gocta Waterfall located?

The Gocta Waterfall is located in the province of Bondara, Amazonas region. To get there, it is necessary to follow the road that passes through the town of Cocachimba, located 4 kilometers to the south. The waterfall flows into the Cocahuayco River and is northeast of the Golondrinas Waterfall and north of the Utcubamba River. The region’s cloud forest also surrounds it.

What are the coordinates of the Gocta waterfall?

The coordinates of Gocta Falls are:

Latitude: -6.0229842446375415

Longitude: -77.8873088887487348

Altitude: 2630 meters

Gocta Waterfall Trip

What are the tours to Gocta Waterfall?

Below s a list of some of the most popular tour options to the Gocta waterfall. 

  • Day tours typically depart from nearby cities such as Chachapoyas or Tarapoto and include round-trip transportation, a guide, and a visit to the waterfall. These tours perfectly fit those traveling with families, elders, and children. However, a tour by horse is highly recommended to those with no previous experience hiking. The day tours begin early in the morning before 7am when you get picked up at your hotel or meeting point in the charming city of Chachapoyas, the capital of Amazonas Region and gateway to the archaeological sites of Leymebamba and Karajia. From here, you will drive for about one hour through the Utcubamba river valley and arrive at the village of Cocachimba, where you’ll start your hike towards Gocta waterfall. Hiking tours: Some tour operators offer guided hiking tours that take visitors to the waterfall via a trail through the Amazon rainforest. Depending on the itinerary, these tours can last anywhere from one day to multiple days. 

  • Combination tours: Some tour operators offer combination tours that include visits to other attractions in the area, such as the ruins of the ancient city of Kuelap or the nearby Cocachimba waterfall. As you walk through lush tropical rainforest, you will be surrounded by an incredible variety of endemic plants that can only be found in this area, like Peru’s national bird, the Andean cock-of-the-rock; tall palm trees; colourful wild orchids; ferns; bromeliads; as well as unique tree species such as red sandalwood, cedar and mahogany. You may even encounter some wildlife during your hike! Furthermore, you will get to admire the majestic views of the surrounding valley while taking a break to appreciate how big Gocta is from afar. The combination tours will take you to the majestic Kuelap Fortress. Depart Chachapoyas at 8:00 AM in a comfortable vehicle before making a stop on the way to admire the archaeological site of Macro, located on the right side of the Utcubamba River and top of a hill surrounded by cactus and native flora. Later, you will arrive at Nuevo Tingo, where you will board a cable car and enjoy a panoramic ride to Malca. There, you will begin an easy 30-minute hike to Kuelap. This place hides an incredible past, as it was built on the Barreta mountain at 3,000 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by breathtaking scenery and views. Inside are three platforms surrounded by circular buildings decorated with rhomboidal shapes and zigzags. After your exploration, you will be transferred back to Chachapoyas.
  • Self-guided tours: Some people also visit the waterfall on their own, by taking a bus or hiring a taxi to the trailhead and hiking on their own.

What is the best season to visit the Gocta waterfall?

The best season to visit Gocta Falls is the rainy season, between October and April. This is when we can see the falls at their maximum splendor. It should be noted that the rains are intermittent; however, when there are, they are torrential and require you to be prepared with waterproof equipment and an extra coat to arrive safely at the end of the tour. On the other hand, if you prefer the safety and ease of the hike, you can visit the falls between May and September, when there is no rain, and the hike is easy; however, you will not enjoy the falls in their greenish splendor.

What are the hiking trails to Gocta Waterfall?

There are three routes available to reach the Gocta waterfall. Your route will vary if you decide to enter from the town of San Pablo or Cocachimba:

Route 1: From San Pablo to the first fall of the waterfall: 6 kilometers.

Route 2: From Cocachimba to the second fall of the waterfall: 5.2 kilometers.

Route 3: From San Pablo to Cocachimba: 15 kilometers.

You can do the complete circuit from San Pablo to Cocachimba -or vice versa- but it is advisable to start in San Pablo since the return to Chachapoyas will be closer to Cocachimba. This route also involves a complete tour of the first and second Gocta falls, so you can see the entire marvelous site.

You can also choose to go from Cocachimba to the first fall and back there. This variant is 10 kilometers long, while the complete circuit is 15 kilometers long. Suppose you consider it difficult to traverse this route due to physical effort, rain, or safety issues. In that case, you may hire a horse from San Pablo to the second fall, walk from there to the first fall and hire another since the section between the first and second falls is very steep for these. Horses are priced between $10 – $12. When traversing these routes, it is essential to consider seeing the first and second falls and the greenery of the forest surrounding the trail.

Please note that prices in dollars have varied in recent months in Peru. At present, the dollar is approximately 3.88 soles.

What are the closest destinations to Gocta Waterfall?

The closest major destination to the Gocta Waterfall is the city of Chachapoyas. 

However, it should be taken into consideration that Gocta is adjacent to the villages of San Pablo de Valera, Cocachimba, Cocahuayco, and La Coca. From the first two, there are popular routes to reach the falls. Likewise, the main attraction is the waterfalls in both of them. And they are access points to this. It is worth mentioning that the waterfalls can be seen on a full-day route, but you can still return to Chachapoyas. This is because nearby are the ruins of Kuelap and the sarcophagus of Karajia.

There are two checkpoints from where you can register and start the trail to Gocta. These are the towns of Cocachimba and San Pablo de Valera.

The fundamental difference between one town and the other is the distance to each waterfall. In San Pablo de Valera, you can easily access the first fall – the highest – while from Cocachimba, you can access the second fall; the latter is the most visited by tourists due to the greater number of tours and accommodations.

Distances to be taken into account: 

From Chachapoyas to Cocachimba

By bus or car: about one h

– From Cocachimba – to Gocta (second fall)

Hiking: 2 h 30 min approximately (on foot or horseback)

How to get from Cusco to Gocta Waterfall?

1. Take a flight from Cusco to Jaen, the capital of Amazonas Province in Peru. Depending on the airline you choose, it can take anywhere between 6 to 10 hours, so make sure to plan ahead and book your tickets accordingly. There are no direct flights from Cusco to Chachapoyas, and all flights will have a stopover in Lima.

2. From Jaen, it is a 3 to 4-hour drive by car to Cocachimba, the nearest village to Gocta Waterfall. Check the weather before leaving, as some roads may be inaccessible due to rain and muddy conditions.

3. Once you reach Cocachimba village, several local guides can take you on a 20-minute hike up to the waterfall entrance. It’s essential to wear comfortable shoes for this part of the journey, as there will be plenty of steep steps and uneven terrain. 

4. At Gocta Waterfall, you’ll have to pay an admission fee before entering the park area, where you can marvel at its beauty. If you want to take home something from your trip, you will also find several restaurants, cafes, and souvenir stalls.

 Finally, you can continue to Chachapoyas and visit the Kuelap fortress.

Gocta Waterfall Trip

What should I know before going to Gocta Waterfall?

Listed below are the things to know before you travel to the Gocta Waterfall, considering the climate and geographic space in which it is located.

  • Food and Drink: Bring bottled water and a light snack. 
  • Insect Repellent: You will encounter mosquitoes and other insects. Remember insect repellent; bring some to reapply after getting wet. 
  • Sun Protection: Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Good Footwear: Wear good hiking shoes or sneakers. The clay on the trail can be slippery, so make sure they have good traction. 
  • Water-Resistant Clothing: You will get wet near the waterfall regardless of the rainy or dry season, so bring a waterproof jacket or poncho.
  • Altitude Precautions: Like many other destinations in Peru, the Gocta waterfall is 2,000 meters above sea level. This means that anyone intending to hike to Gocta Waterfall should take precautions regarding the altitude. 
    • Some of the hills are very steep and can be much more challenging due to the shortness of breath caused by the altitude. Remember to carry plenty of water and take breaks when you need them.  
  • Money for Entry Fees: The entrance fee to Gocta Falls is ten soles which cannot be paid for by credit card, regardless of the starting point, and this is the standard cost to visit one level of the falls.
    • If you wish to visit both the upper and lower levels of the waterfall, you will have to pay twice as much for a total of 20 soles. 
    • Both in San Pablo and Cocachimba, there are stands where tickets can be purchased.
  • Walking Assistance: Carrying a trekking pole can help you hike more safely and with less physical exertion.
  • Swimwear: Swimming in the natural pool that forms at the waterfall’s base is possible. However, care must be taken when descending the last few meters to the pool as it is a natural path of stones, and the water is cold.

When is the Gocta waterfall open?

The Gocta Waterfalls are open to the public from Monday to Sunday from 7 AM to 5:30 PM. The entrance ticket costs ten soles for adults and 5 for students. If you want a guide, the cost is 50 soles. Credit cards are not accepted. Bring all your money in cash.

What is the itinerary at Gocta Waterfall like?

You can take different itineraries to reach and enjoy the Gocta Waterfall.


You will start the day in Chachapoyas, a northern Peruvian city in the Amazon region, which can be your base to visit most of the main attractions in the surrounding area.

Depending on your travel style and budget, you can arrive at the start of the trek from Chachapoyas independently or take a tour to Gocta Waterfall, so you don’t have to worry about arranging transportation.

Don’t worry; even if you have to change buses, getting from Chachapoyas to the start of the Gocta Waterfall route is very easy since it is one of its main tourist attractions.

In the morning, you have to walk to the Municipal Bus Terminal, where you have to ask which bus goes to the falls.

Generally, no colectivos go directly to San Pablo or Cocachimba.

So you take a scheduled colectivo to the town of Pedro Ruiz for S/.5. The driver will drop you off in a small town called Cocahuayco at the crossroads where you have to find a tuk-tuk that will take you to San Pablo or Cocachimba depending on your itinerary.

Tuk-tuk drivers usually wait at the junction and take you to the trailhead for S/.10 (one way).


You can do the complete circuit from San Pablo to Cocachimba (or do the hike in reverse order, but we recommend starting in San Pablo, as it will be much easier to take a return trip to Chachapoyas from Cocachimba).

The other, more popular option is to go from Cocachimba to the Lower Cascade and back.

The full circuit is 15 kilometers, while the in-and-out version is 10 kilometers.

Our tip: In case you are not sure if the hike will be strenuous for you, it is possible to rent a horse for the full 10 km hike; when doing the circuit, it is possible to rent a horse from San Pablo to the Upper Waterfall, then walk to the Lower Waterfall, and rent another horse from there, because the section between the Upper and Lower Waterfall is too steep for horses.

The price is usually 40 to 50 soles per horse.


Upon arrival at San Pablo and paying the entrance fee, you will be directed to cross the plaza to get to the trail leading to the falls.

Don’t worry because the trail is well-marked.

Follow the road and then come to an intersection, where you turn left, and the road begins to climb.

It is a path with many stone steps surrounded by coffee plantations, and from time to time, it reaches a viewpoint with views of the surroundings.

The views of the canyons and deep valleys are breathtaking, and if you want to see more of this unique landscape, be sure to visit Sonche Canyon as well.

After four kilometers, you reach an intersection where you continue straight ahead for 1.8 kilometers and finally arrive at the Cascada Superior.

After enjoying the space and place, return approximately 1.8 kilometers to the intersection. You turn left and descend a fairly steep kilometer until you reach the main trail to the Lower Falls from Cocachimba.

From this point, it is only one kilometer to the base of the Gocta Waterfall. It is also where you will see more people, as the in-and-out version is more popular than the longer trail hike.

It must be said that the view from the base of the Gocta Waterfall is breathtaking and that most photos need to do justice to the enormous waterfall.

The stretch from Gocta Waterfall to Cocachimba is an uncomplicated 5-kilometer hike with some scattered views. Still, the trail leads up and down to the village is more challenging than the stretch.

The first part of the hike is much more attractive because of the lack of people and the wilder nature there than in the valley.

What is the best way of transportation to visit the Gocta Waterfall?

Driving by either car or bus can take you most of the journey, but the final stretch to reach the waterfall must be done on foot. The hike takes five to six hours round trip, depending on your pace. The hike is of moderate difficulty, but there are many uphill and downhill sections in both directions. You can rent a horse to ride part of the way if you need to. Horses can cover about 2/3 of the trail. 

How many hours should a person spend at Gocta Waterfall?

Ideally, you should allow a minimum of one full day to explore and enjoy its beauty. To get the most out of your experience, however, it’s best to plan for 2-3 days at least. This way, visitors can take their time savoring the spectacular view of the falls from various angles and trekking along trails for birds-eye views of this natural wonder. Additionally, you can explore and discover many exciting species of flora and fauna in nearby areas that have yet to be explored by humans. If you have more time available, exploring nearby villages or taking longer hikes to even more remote parts is highly recommended.

Is it possible to stay at Gocta Waterfall?

Yes, it is possible to stay overnight near the Gocta Waterfall and enjoy its majestic views at sunrise. There are two main lodges for visitors to choose from, the Gocta Andes Lodge and the Gocta Natura Reserve.

The Gocta Andes Lodge, located in Cocachimba, offers a luxurious option for visitors with 20 rooms with spectacular views of the waterfall. The hotel’s rooms, garden, and pool overlook the waterfall, making it one of the most impressive accommodations in the area. However, making reservations for the Gocta Andes Lodge  in advance is essential to ensure availability.

Alternatively, the Gocta Natura Reserve, also located in Cocachimba, offers eco-friendly boutique lodging as part of an environmental initiative in Gocta. The reserve is committed to supporting the recovery of the cloud forest and biodiversity and supporting development projects in the local community. This can be an excellent option for those looking for a more sustainable and responsible way to stay near the waterfall.

Additionally, it is also possible to stay at the home of locals who offer rooms to visitors; this is a great way to experience the local culture and hospitality.

Gocta Waterfall Trip

Which civilization used the Gocta waterfall, and for what purpose?

At Gocta Waterfall, archaeological evidence of the Chachapoya civilization was found, such as cave paintings, buildings, terraces, and burials. 

In addition, evidence of the development of traditional activities such as cattle raising, agriculture, and the production of chancaca in handmade mills was also found there. 

The ancient members of the Chachapoyas civilization developed a very complex architecture and the cult of respect for death. They used more than one type of burial, and the Karajía sarcophagi show us an alternative burial format to that observed in Kuelap. 

In Karajía, we can appreciate a series of giant sarcophagi, beautifully carved and painted with naturally extracted dyes. Each is about 2.5 meters high and made of wood, straw, and mud.

Their location is one of their most mysterious and curious aspects, as they were placed on high cliffs, inaccessible to most. Although it is clear that the Chachapoyas preferred to bury their dead in high places, the exact reason behind this remains an unknown secret.

However, some archaeologists believe they wanted the dead to take care of nearby villages.

The Chachapoyas culture developed between 800 AD and 1570 AD in northeastern Peru. Their territories extended some three hundred kilometers along the current regions of Amazonas and San Martin. The stage in which they flourished and established their identity is known as the Classic Chachapoya, from 800 AD until the Inca invasion around 1470 AD.


The Chachapoyas culture developed in isolation. However, there is evidence that they sporadically interacted with other groups living north and west of the Marañon River. The remains of both their artistic and architectural production seems to suggest that they were descended from Andean immigrants who adapted their ancestral culture to the new environment. 

What is the geological profile of the Gocta Waterfall?

The geological profile of the Gocta Waterfall is as follows:

It is located in the eastern Andes of Peru. Its flow results from the union of the Shique, Upa, and Zuta streams, which emerge in the grasslands between 2500 and 3000 meters above sea level in the Quechua region and descend to the natural Yunga region where the average temperature is 22°C (72°F).

The waterfall descends in two falls, the first measures 231 meters high and the second 540 meters high, reaching a total fall of 771 meters.

The first fall is accessed through the San Pablo village (1934 masl), while the second is accessed through the Cocachimba village (1796 masl). It is possible to join the two accesses to visit both falls. 

What are the findings at Gocta Waterfall?

The area around the majestic Gocta Waterfall has long been a source of wonder and amazement. But it is only recently that we have begun to truly appreciate its secrets, as archeological findings from this region offer insight into what life was like for the Chachapoyas people who inhabited there between 900-1470 AD.

From stone monuments believed to be used in ceremonies to open courtyards surrounded by large stones, these findings help us unravel fascinating aspects about their culture and religious practices. Intriguing artifacts have been discovered in the area, giving us a glimpse into an ancient civilization’s culture and daily lives. Necklaces made from shells, bronze bells, and ceramic vessels – these precious items offer valuable insight into days gone by. Furthermore, excavations of burial sites with human remains to provide information on their funerary traditions; elaborate ceremonies are believed to be part of Chachapoyas tradition.

Finally, it appears they used stone structures for astronomical observation or as places for veneration- making this people’s legacy even more mysterious and awe-inspiring.

How many cities are there in the Gocta Waterfall?

There is only oone city that is located close to the Gocta waterfall which is Chachapoyas. Chachapoyas is 44 kilometers from Gocta.  

Gocta is located near the town of San Pablo, Cocachimba, and La Coca, district of Valera, province of Bongará, department of Amazonas in northeastern Peru.

What are the myths about the Gocta Waterfall?

Among the best-known stories are the following:

1. The myth of the enchanted mermaid and Gregorio. Gregorio was a fisherman who encountered a beautiful blonde mermaid at the foot of Gocta Waterfall, accompanied by a giant snake carrying a golden vase. The mermaid granted him good catches, which included gold rings and bracelets. His wife suspected he had stolen the treasure and followed him on his third visit to the waterfall, only to see her husband talking to a woman with a glittering golden tail before plunging into deep waters, taking Gregory along, never seen again.

2. The myth of Juan Mendoza from Cocachimba. He wanted more than friendship from the mermaid, but she turned him into stone instead, now being featured in the landscape near the falls’ base.

3. The myth of the ancient city. Another myth surrounding Gocta Waterfall is that it was once part of an ancient city with many secrets hidden within its depths. Legends tell of those brave enough to explore deep into its dark tunnels, discovering hidden chambers and underground passageways leading to forgotten treasures. But alas, no such places have ever been found beneath Gocta’s waters.

4. The myth of the giant snake. There are also stories about a giant snake living in the waters around Gocta Waterfall, which can only be seen by people blessed with “the gift” – an ability few possess! Many believe this mystical creature guards an entrance to another world and can take travelers back and forth between reality and imagination.

5. Finally, there’s a legend that states anyone who takes a dip in the pool at the base of Gocta Waterfall will receive great strength and good luck forever after – although this has yet to be proven.

Is the Gocta Waterfall safe?

Yes,Gocta and the Amazon region has been declared a safe destination to visit. In this area, the imposing Kuelap Fortress, the beautiful Gocta Waterfall, and the Chachapoyas Huancas tourist spot received international approval from Safe Travels. 

What are the books about the Gocta Waterfall?

The following is a list of the most interesting books about the Gocta Waterfall and the Amazon region. 

  • AMAZONAS. surprising, dazzling, wonderful. Oscar Llerena Ponce. Amazonas Regional Government. 
  • Chachapoyas. The Lost Kingdom. The Lost Kingdom. AFP Integra. 2002.
  • The Chachapoya(s). Ancestral dwellers of the Peruvian Amazonian Andes. Federico Kauffman Doig. Alas Peruanas University, Lima 2003.
  • The Memoirs of Don Germán – Germán Santillán Bernuy.

Who are the scientists who have worked on the Gocta waterfall?

Below is a list of the most renowned scientists who worked in the Gocta waterfall area. 

  • Stefan Ziemendorff, a German scientist who investigated several burial temples in the Chachapoyas region. In 2002,he saw the Gocta Waterfall in the distance, which had never been scientifically explored. In 2006 he made an excursion to study and measure the length of this wonder. 
  • Federico Kauffman Doig: recognized for his work on the Kuelap fortress and the Chachapoyas culture.

Is the Gocta Waterfall a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

No, The Gocta Waterfall is not listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Gocta Waterfall Trip

In which district is the Gocta waterfall located?

The Gocta waterfall, known locally as La Chorrera, is located near the village of San Pablo, Cocachimba, and La Coca, district of Valera, province of Bongorá, department of Amazonas in northeastern Peru.

What was the economy like at Gocta Falls?

The inhabitants of the Chachapoyas culture depended on pastoral agriculture, hunting, and gathering for their subsistence. In addition, they based their economy on the domestic production of pottery and textiles. Food production and exchange helped consolidate social networks and alliances between populations.

Agriculture developed by taking advantage of access to a variety of ecosystems. The slopes of the hillsides were transformed into wide cultivation terraces, and the lowlands were used to grow tubers such as potatoes, mashua, and olluco. 

On the other hand, quinoa and kiwicha were produced in areas ranging from 3200 to 3800 meters above sea level.

What was daily life like at Gocta Waterfall?

The Chachapoyas culture developed in the vicinity of the Gocta Waterfall. Different ethnic groups that shared a similar cultural tradition in the territory between the Amazonas and San Martin regions joined together in a sort of confederate state at the beginning of 800 AD. The large provinces were independent of each other and were each controlled by a powerful curaca. These groups shared the same language and similar daily life (customs and farming techniques, etc.). They assembled for religious ceremonies or to defend themselves from attack by enemy people.


They developed a symbolic language with characteristic geometric motifs in triangles, rhombuses, serpentines, and square ornaments, which appear on the circular dwellings in stone friezes. The symbols were of significant value, both ethnically and socially.


In the Chachapoyas culture, pieces were found in the tombs of the Laguna de Los Cóndores, which testify to the skill of the weavers of the Chachapoyas culture, not only in the art and technology of manufacture but also in the original iconography of their designs. 

According to the Spanish chronicler Pedro Cieza de León, the inhabitants of the Chachapoyas culture made rich and precious clothing for the Ingas. Today they make it very premium and tapestry so fine and colorful that it is to have in much by itself primor.


The pottery of the Chachapoyas culture is coarse, and much of the pottery found is utilitarian and worked simply. The decoration techniques were appliqué, stamping, stippling, and incised technique.

The vessels had banded rim applications; some had incisions or small protuberances on the body.

Archaeological evidence of the Chachapoya culture was found at Gocta Waterfall, such as cave paintings, buildings, terraces, and burials. 

Traditional activities include cattle raising, agriculture, and the production of chancaca in handmade mills.


The housing and monumental constructions are circular, with high bases, cornices of large stones, and flat stones protruding above the surface of the bases. They have inclined ramps or stairs directed towards the entrance. The architectural complexes of Olán, Yalapé, Purunllacta or “Monte Peruvia,” Congón (renamed Gran Vilaya), Vira, Pajatén, and others. But Kuelap is undoubtedly one of the most grandiose monuments of the pre-Inca cultures, almost 600 meters long and with walls that reach 20 meters high.

Funerary architecture also characterizes the Chachapoyas culture and includes two types of burials: the sarcophagus and the mausoleum. The sarcophagus is an evolution of the funerary bundle expressed in mountain and coastal areas of the Tiahuanaco-Huari times.

They stood out for having two types of burials, the sarcophagi of Karajía, single-person tombs with human form, and the mausoleums of Revash, collective sepulchers. Both sarcophagi and mausoleums are located high in the mountains.

Highlights include the fortress of Kuelap and the mummies found there and the Sarcophagi of Karajía (the Chachapoya custom of burying their dead in sarcophagi, coffins whose shape follows the contour of the human figure).

What were the religious beliefs at the Gocta waterfall?

Little is known about the religious beliefs of the Chachapoyas (a culture that developed near the Gocta Cascade). However, the complexity of the funerary architecture indicates the importance that this civilization gave to ancestors and death. This culture has detected two funerary patterns: the sarcophagus and the mausoleum. 


Also called purunmachu, it is an evolution of the funeral bundle. They had a human shape and were made of clay with the help of sticks and stones; they were kept inside a space to place the deceased in a squatting position and wrapped in textiles, usually carrying offerings of ceramics, textiles, and gourds. False heads with flattened faces, prominent chins, and large noses were placed on the sarcophagus. Examples of this pattern are found in Karajia, Chipuric, Petuen, Guan, and Ucaso.


Also known as chullpa or pucullo, it had a quadrangular shape and up to three levels of niches, where the dead rested accompanied by offerings such as necklaces, feathers, ceramics, and musical instruments. Both inside and outside the mausoleum, red paintings were made with designs of crosses, rectangles, and shapes similar to the letter T. Examples of mausoleums are found in Revash, Usator, and Laguna de Los Condores.

How is the past of the Gocta Waterfall presented to foreign visitors?

The past of the Gocta Waterfall is presented to foreign visitors as follows: 

The Gocta Waterfall, its official name in Spanish, or La Chorrera, its local name, is located in the Amazonas department of Peru, near the town of Chachapoyas. Flowing into the Cocahuayco River, the Gocta Waterfall is in the view from nearby villages and has been for centuries. 

The world did not know of its existence until 2002 when German researcher Stefan Ziemendorff and a group of locals made an expedition to the waterfall. After their visit and subsequent pressure on the government, the waterfall was finally measured in 2006. Since then, thousands of national and international tourists have visited it annually. Tourism constitutes a large part of the area’s income. 

Its official ranking among the highest waterfalls in the world has varied and changed over time. According to the World Waterfall Database (Gocta, Catarata, Peru – World Waterfall Database), this towering waterfall currently ranks 17th for its total height and fourth for its highest free fall. The second free fall reaches an impressive 540m.

Two other waterfalls in Peru, Las Tres Hermanas and Yumbilla, are higher in total height. Still, Gocta is the best known and easiest to access.

The world has known about the existence of this waterfall for only a short time. The waterfall gained some fame in 2002 after an outsider visited the area with some locals. Still, it wasn’t until the official measurement in 2006 that the world took notice. Before this, only locals knew about the Gocta waterfall. 

But why didn’t the locals talk about such a beautiful place in their backyard? In short, the locals feared a curse if they got too close. 

Legend has it that a beautiful blonde mermaid, guarding a pot of gold, cursed whoever approached its waters. At the bottom of the waterfall, the water even splits into a U-shape, imitating the mermaid’s hair. To make matters worse, a giant snake, the mermaid’s bodyguard, dwells in the pool below. 

Today, many travelers arrive at the falls without experiencing a curse or seeing these mythical creatures. However, the haunting and disappearance of a local farmer named Juan Mendoza reinforce the dismissal of this local legend.

How is the Gocta waterfall preserved?

Given the importance of the Gocta waterfall, the authorities of the Amazon region are working to conserve and protect the riches that exist in the area, such as valuable flora and fauna.

On April 26, 2019, the Ministry of Environment recognized the Gocta waterfall as a Private Conservation Area (ACP) to protect the site’s water resources, flora, and fauna.

Is there a modern city at Gocta Falls?

There is no modern city by the name of Gocta.

The trip to reach the Gocta Waterfall begins in the city of Chachapoyas and to the village of Cocachimba. This village is the best-known access to reach it.

What is the geography of the Gocta Waterfall like?

 The geography of the Gocta waterfalls is characterized by stunning and imposing mountains and an abundance of lush vegetation like towering trees, ferns, orchids, passion fruits, bromeliads, and a variety of other exotic plants that blanket the surrounding land. The Gocta River begins its journey in the Andean mountain range bearing its name. Then, it flows through the area to feed into the majestic Gocta waterfall before plummeting down 771 meters (2,530 feet) in its two-tiered drop – first 535 meters (1,755 feet), then 72 meters (236 feet)..

Along the way, you can also admire up to 22 waterfalls, which are much more impressive and beautiful during the rainy season.

 What is the Gocta waterfall map like?

What are the most important historical ruins at Gocta Waterfall?

Below is a list of the most important historical  ruins in the Gocta waterfall area.

  • The fortress of Kuelap. Kuelap is an archaeological marvel located atop a mountain in northern Peru, and was built by the Chachapoyas civilization between the 6th and 16th centuries. The site is remarkable for its 400 or more circular houses decorated with intricate carvings believed to be symbols of fertility and prosperity, as well as its 20 meter-high stone walls which made it impenetrable even in ancient times. There are also several other smaller structures scattered throughout the complex such as storage buildings and burial grounds which offer further insights into life within this seemingly impregnable fortress.  Kuelap stands testament to the grandeur of pre-Incan history, drawing thousands of tourists each year from around the world seeking out this incredible piece of history.
  • The Sarcofagi of Carajia. The Karajia sarcophagi or Karajiaa necropolis are funerary structures consisting solely of clay bundles shaped into human forms adorned with intricate geometric designs. Archeologists consider the Chachapoya people the authors of these burials. They ordained the bundles in pairs or groups and allocated them carefully on high cliff faces that may have been used to protect them from looters. 

What is Gocta Waterfall’s contribution to Peru’s tourism?

The contribution of the Gocta Waterfall to tourism in Peru is significant. In high season, approximately 1,000 tourists a day visit the falls. The department of Amazonas is currently the fourth most important tourist destination in Peru.

Does Gocta Waterfall have a no-fly zone?

No, it does not have a no-fly zone. While it is true that there is no explicit rule that states that there is an exclusion zone in the area of the Gocta waterfall, in Peru, it is forbidden to fly drones over restricted areas, such as the Government Palace, military areas, airports, archaeological centers, and protected natural areas unless authorized by the corresponding entities.

Is the Gocta Waterfall in danger?

No, the Gocta Waterfall is not in danger. Given the importance of the Gocta waterfall, the authorities of the Amazon region are taking steps to protect the riches that exist in the area; for example, valuable species of flora and fauna.

On April 26, 2019, the Ministry of Environment recognized the Gocta waterfall as a Private Conservation Area (ACP) to protect the site’s water resources, flora, and fauna.

How many artifacts have been found near the Gocta Waterfall? 

There are hundreds of archeological artifacts and other evidence belonging to the Chachapoya culture, such as cave paintings, buildings, platforms, and burials, that have beeb found at Gocta Waterfall. 

Some samples of artifacts from the Gocta Waterfall.

  • Chachapoyas Culture Ceramics.
  • Chachapoyas Culture Textiles. 
  • Handicrafts Chachapoyas Culture.

What are the movies about the Gocta waterfall?

Below are some documentaries and reports that have been made about the Gocta Falls;

  • TV Peru. Gocta, Report on Peru
  • AMAZONAS The Valley of the waterfalls. Report on Peru – AMAZONAS the valley of the waterfalls 
  • Andean News Agency

Feature: Gocta: the imposing waterfall in the middle of the Amazon

  • Gocta: the imposing waterfall in the middle of the Amazon – YouTube
  • America Tv

Program: Cuarto Poder.

Report: Virgin Paradise



Waterfall BASE Jump in Peru

  • Waterfall BASE Jump in Peru – YouTube
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