Gocta National Reserve is proposed near Cocachimba & San Pablo, in the Peruvian Amazon.
La Catarata Gocta, known locally as La Chorrera, is the world's 3rd highest waterfall (771 m), Although there is some debate regarding the measurement method.
It was found in March 2006 in the Peruvian forest by German investigators lead by Stefan Ziemendorff who took topographic measurements. It is the third highest in the world, after Angel Falls (Venezuela 972 m) & Tugela Falls (South Africa 948 m).
Legends relating to the curse of a beautiful blonde siren helped by a giant serpent protect a gold vase; & the local Juan Mendoza who disappeared enchanted by the rocks behind the waterfall.
In the same valley there are around 22 similar waterfalls.
Flora and fauna
The declaration as a national reserve could promote the conservation of flora & fauna & promote ecotourism, coupled with attractions like Kuelap.
From Chachapoyas it is a 1hr 5min journey by vehicle to the village of Cocachimba.
There are no direct collectivos running regularly to Cocachimba, so if you are not a group of 4, there are 2 options: taking the collectivos up to Pedro Ruiz (S/10) and going down on the road in the small village called Cocahuayco and from there its a 2 hours mostly uphill walk to Cocachimba. Another option is to continue with the collective to Pedro Ruiz and from there runs regular collectivos to cocachimba (S/8).
From Cocachimba it takes 2-2½ hours to hike (about 5.5 km each way) to the base of the tallest fall. A local guide will be assigned to you at the ticket office (mandatory, S/20 per group). The trail is very up & down, so do not be deceived by the walk only being 5.5 km, it feels like much more. The trail can be hot, humid and muddy. Take water & sun protection. Make sure to wear boots after rainfall. Also, take a bathing suit in case you want to swim in the pool at the base of the falls.
There is another alternative route from the village of San Pablo to the base of the first fall, but it is rarely explored.
Tours are available from Chachapoyas for around S/40 that include transport and a guide.
You can rent horses from Cocahimba for S/25 both ways or S/20 for just the return from the main fall. The horses don't go all the way, so there's still a 40-min walk each way at the end of the path. The handlers guide the horses on foot so, so no riding experience is necessary. If you're on a tour you need to advise them well in advance that you want horses - before you leave or on the drive there is best.
Fees and permits
Visitors must register & pay entrance at the office in Cocachimba. a local guide is mandatory, but could be avoided if you insist. There are others services offered such as horse riding, camping gear rental, etc., but they have yet been tested. The entrance fees are:
- Adults: S/5
- Students: S/2.5