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Gocta Cataract-A Way High Waterfall!

2 Months in Peru—May 7, 2015—Day 39.

Rough night, after losing the wallet, but in the morning we got onto the tasks of canceling the lost bank cards and making arrangements to transfer money to the last accessible account. We had planned to go to Gocta Cataract (Falls) today, but had given up on that plan, even though many of the Kuelap group had agreed to go there together. Ega and Pamela had encouraged us to go to Gocta later in the morning after we finished our financial tasks. They were very kind in saying they would wait for us and we could go together! Well, that’s what we did.

The other big issue last night and this morning was the Hostel we were at. The showers were cold last night and luke warm at best, this morning. Further, they said that no eggs were available to purchase for desayuno, even though we had seen them for sale all over town yesterday. Ega was very fed up with the treatment they had received and decided to move to another hostel! We said the slow internet, cold showers, and poor breakfasts made us ready to move too. So, we checked out and walked our packs up to the Casa Vieja, a hostel Karen had marked as a good possibility in our guide book. They had rooms for both couples, and the entire experience was wonderful! HOT showers, fast internet much of the time, and a fine desayuno in their adjoining cafe. The rooms were even warm, with a down comforter on the bed. This move helped balance out the lost wallet.
Day 39-Interesting Landforms

Day 39-Interesting Landforms

Day 39-More Beautiful Views

Day 39-More Beautiful Views


Day 39-Karen Saw it First

Day 39-Karen Saw it First

Day 39-Poinsettia Shrub

Day 39-Poinsettia Shrub

Day 39-Surrounding Scenery

Day 39-Surrounding Scenery


We were on the road by 10am for Gocta. The 4 of us had been joined by a sweet couple from the city of Huarez in the Cordillera region of Peru. The drive to Cocachimba, the trailhead for Gocta Falls was 1.5 -2 hours long. At Cocachimba we made our choices, as before, for the post visit meal. Then to the visitor center to pay the trail fee and be assigned a guide ( no one gets on the trail or to the falls without a 30 sole ($10) guide)!
Day 39-On the Trail to Gocta

Day 39-On the Trail to Gocta

Day 39-Local Flora

Day 39-Local Flora

Day 39-Falls from Afar

Day 39-Falls from Afar

Day 39-Gocta Falls 1

Day 39-Gocta Falls 1

Day 39-Fossils in the Rocks

Day 39-Fossils in the Rocks

Day 39-A Little Closer

Day 39-A Little Closer


Gocta Cataract is a new tourist attraction in Peru. It was “discovered” in 2005 by a German traveller hiking in the hills around Cocachimba. No one except the locals knew about it, not even the Peruvian Government! This is somewhat surprising because it is likely the third highest water fall in the world ( although some others with different affiliation dispute this)! The falls were measured by a survey team and returned a total height of 741meters! The upper falls are 201 meters high, and the lower falls are 540 meters.
Day 39-Getting Closer

Day 39-Getting Closer

Day 39-Continuing Down the Trail

Day 39-Continuing Down the Trail

Day 39-Group Shot

Day 39-Group Shot

Day 39-The Entire 740m Falls

Day 39-The Entire 740m Falls

Day 39-Trail Goes Up and Down

Day 39-Trail Goes Up and Down

Day 39-Sugar Cane Pressing Hut

Day 39-Sugar Cane Pressing Hut

Day 39-Mountain Stream

Day 39-Mountain Stream


Local lore believed that Gocta Cataract was enchanted and evil. The folks of Cocachimba believed that there was a golden vase at the bottom of the falls, protected by large serpents. A mermaid guarded the pool and enchanted anyone who came near, then the serpents would devour him (or her, but mostly him)! No one ventured near the falls, no one talked about it. The German adventurer who hiked to the base of the falls had to beg the town folk to provide a guide to accompany him. Finally a local hunter with a good reputation agreed, to lead him via old Inca trails to the falls. They returned unscathed, and the town was amazed!
Day 39-Rick and Gocta Falls_

Day 39-Rick and Gocta Falls_

Day 39-Karen,Ega,Pamela, Gocta Falls_

Day 39-Karen,Ega,Pamela, Gocta Falls_

Day 39-Karen at Gocta

Day 39-Karen at Gocta

Day 39-Karen and Gocta Falls_

Day 39-Karen and Gocta Falls_


We hiked a newer, easier (Ha Ha) trail built by a group of Italians, and now maintained by the local people.
Day 39-Workers on the Trail

Day 39-Workers on the Trail


Day 39-Closer, Yet

Day 39-Closer, Yet


We started a bit higher in elevation than the base of the falls, but the trail was relentlessly up and down. About half way to the falls we came to a hut that could be rented out for groups of up to 22 people who wanted to be there early in the morning to see the birds and monkeys that reside in the area.
Day 39-Suspension Bridge

Day 39-Suspension Bridge


Day 39-Ega Plays Tarzan

Day 39-Ega Plays Tarzan

Day 39-Pamela Tries Out for Jane

Day 39-Pamela Tries Out for Jane


A bit farther on we came to a structure that sold snacks, water, cerveza and shots of liquor! Ega bought the 4 of us cervezas and we drank them as we hiked! As we got close to the falls we met most of the group from the day before at Kuelap. They were pleased to see us and said they were sad when we were not on their morning tour.
Day 39-Steep Cloudforest Hillside

Day 39-Steep Cloudforest Hillside

Day 39-Karen and Rick at Gocta

Day 39-Karen and Rick at Gocta


The hike to the falls was challenging, due to the altitude, 1900 meters at the start of the hike, 1700 at the base. The falls were amazing up close, the wind generated by the falling water, impressive. The free-fall of a drop of water from the top of the lower falls to the pool, by the way, is about 20 seconds! By the way, the falls are named Gocta after the sound the local monkeys make - goc - and the sound of a drop of water hitting the pool below the falls - ta. We lingered a while at the base of the falls, celebrating our accomplishment in a variety of ways, then started our return hike.
Day 39-The Gocta Pool

Day 39-The Gocta Pool

Day 39-Rick Heading Towards the Pool

Day 39-Rick Heading Towards the Pool

Day 39-Lower Falls, 540 meters

Day 39-Lower Falls, 540 meters

Day 39-Karen Heading Toward the Pool

Day 39-Karen Heading Toward the Pool

Day 39-Insect at the Pool

Day 39-Insect at the Pool

Day 39-Karen Above the Pool

Day 39-Karen Above the Pool

Day 39-Rick Above the Pool

Day 39-Rick Above the Pool

Day 39-Ega (32 Anos) Celebrates

Day 39-Ega (32 Anos) Celebrates

Day 39-Rick (65 Anos) Celebrates

Day 39-Rick (65 Anos) Celebrates

Day 39-Candelario, our Guide

Day 39-Candelario, our Guide


It was even more difficult than the approach. The same up and down trail, but we were tired and hungry, and the daily afternoon downpour did nothing to make it easier.
Day 39-Karen at Trail Portal-Rain Shelter

Day 39-Karen at Trail Portal-Rain Shelter


At Cocachimba we were happy to sit, dry out, and enjoy a warm meal.
Day 39-Lower Falls, Another View

Day 39-Lower Falls, Another View

Day 39-Post-Hike Meal Celebration

Day 39-Post-Hike Meal Celebration


Then the long ride back to Chachapoyas, where we finished the evening at the Fusion Cafe with a celebratory Coca Sour!
Day 39-Celebrating the Hike with Coca Sours

Day 39-Celebrating the Hike with Coca Sours

Posted by Rick-n-Karen 21:21

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Comments

That was an amazing falls, and the 3rd highest is pretty cool. That bright insect I saw on my iPhone at first and thought it was a kayak or something...but then reopened it on my laptop and got a bigger view. The pics of both of you look great! You look like you are having fun and taking care of each other. The photo of both of you catching the waterfall was neat....it almost looked like Rick was going to drink it out of your hands.

I am sorry about your wallet experience. I guess it evens things out: Karen first with her purse and now Rick with his wallet. That should be it for bad luck for the rest of the trip. You solved the crisis pretty quick and kept your cool. Now you can both move forward and enjoy your trip again.

Anyway....I gotta run off to work.
Love ya both. Keep living the dream:)
Mark & Bob

by Mark & Bob Prochnau

Hello dear friends
Be aware that we are following you on your blogs all the time, also overhere in the Netherlands. What a wonderful country,having seen all the pictures.And what a story about your wallets stolen and lost. Do not end up washing dishes somewhere in order to get back home!
Enjoy your trip, and as said we will follow you.
Best regards Frank and Joke
the Netherlands

by Frank and Joke van der Veer

To "The Intrepids" - Wow. What a grand adventure you're having! Thanks so much for sharing "the road less traveled" with us - a real motivator as we think about how we want to travel and experience a place. rg

by Chuck and Robin

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