San Pablo, Peru – That’s a waterfall!

How could this escape the whole worlds’, the Peruvian government’s, the interested tourists’ eyes’ notice for so long? Despite worldwide satellite surveillance, despite Google Earth, and despite being in the age of communication? It was the year 2004. German Stefan Ziemendorff equips an expedition with some locals and field survey engineers. Their measuring was astonishing: The Gocta Waterfall north of Chachapoyas is on of the planet’s highest ones. The current as correct accepted measurement puts it with 771 m on rank three after Venezuela’s Angel Falls and South Africa’s Tugela Falls.
To see the falls we have to walk (or ride a horse). We pay 5 PEN admission fee in the tourism office and 20 Soles for Alvaredo, our guide. A guide is not necessary to find the trail, but they are knowledgeable in botany, zoology, and history. The cascade is honestly impressive. The upper stage is 231 m high, the lower one 540 m, and there is quite a lot of water. Alvaredo is kind, adjusts his speed according to what we allow. There is only one spot to see the falls in all their splendour, all photos from Gocta are taken from this viewpoint. Following we hike to the upper basin where the first stage splashes in to take a refreshing shower. For those preferring to go without guide, send me an e-mail, I’ll forward you a trail description. The entire hike is 12 km long and takes well two hours uphill and 1.5 hours down. You can visit Gocta Falls from the other side of the river from the village Cocachimba (turn left after the bridge). The hike there (one way) takes 3.5 hours and is steeper. During most of the hike you can see the cascade, but only the lower part, never the entire fall.

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