If you want to impress your friends who know Peru only for sites like Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca, show them pictures of your hike to the Gocta Cataracts. Listed as the 16th tallest waterfall in the world, this isolated treasure is just beginning to be recognized as a major attraction in the country, meaning that while the falls are still relatively isolated there's enough tourism infrastructure in place to make finding a guide relatively easy. Experiencing an incredible adventure while supporting local industry? We call that a win-win.
To begin your trek, you'll need to make your way to the small town of Cocachimba which is situated on the trail-head directly south of Gocta. This is almost always done by way of its larger, neighboring town of Chachapoyas, from which its possible to book a hike as well. However, starting from the latter, just bear in mind that what you gain in convenience you lose in an additional 1-hr drive each way to and from the trail on the day of the hike. Once you begin your trek, you'll spend around 2 hours hiking along a well-maintained path through the virgin jungle of northern Peru, culminating in a truly breathtaking 771 meter (2,531 ft) cascade that cuts gloriously through the Amazon. You can cool off in the pool at the fall's base (beware the fierce wind generated by the falls, as well as the mermaid who's purported to guard its black waters), or just content yourself with marveling at this incredible spectacle of nature before the 2 hour trek back out. If bumpy roads, near-complete seclusion and off the beaten path adventures are your cup of tea, this is one waterfall you don't want to pass up.