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Gocta Falls

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 5.9190 S 77.8871 W
No:522        (list of all attractions)
Category:Waterfalls
Values:Geology, Visual
Rank:2
Address:South America, Peru, southern part of Amazonas Region, Bongará Province, some 5 km north from Cocachimba
Name in Spanish:Catarata del Gocta (named after nearby village)
Height:771 m
Drops:2
Tallest drop:540 m
Width:˜ 30 m
Stream:Cocahuayco
Gocta Falls, Peru
Gocta Falls / Elemaki, / CC BY 3.0

Gocta Falls have enormous height - 771 m, are located in a beautiful natural setting and have abundance of water throughout the year. Nevertheless this great waterfall became known to the world only in 2002.

Upper cascade of Gocta Falls, Peru
Upper cascade of Gocta Falls / Jorge Gobbi, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Description

Gocta Falls are located in the southern part of Amazonas Region - an area rich with world-class waterfalls. This waterfall has formed on Cocahuayco River and starts at the height of some 2.6 km.

The river is fairly large - the average volume of the stream is some 6 m³ per second and the river is some 10 - 30 m wide, but after heavy rain - even 60 m wide.

Waterfall has two main drops. The upper one is approximately 210 - 215 m tall and represents a freely falling waterfall which hits the cliff ledges only at its lower part.

After this leap the river flows down a steep mountainside for some 250 - 300 m and there comes the next leap - the tallest one. This approximately 540 m tall leap is almost vertical: at the beginning it flows down along nearly vertical slope and then proceeds as a freefall plunge deep in the canyon.

Lower cascade of Gocta Falls, Peru
Lower cascade of Gocta Falls / Dave Lonsdale, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

This waterfall can be observed from many viewpoints because it falls into an impressive amphitheatre. To the southeast from Gocta Falls in this amphitheatre are falling several more tall waterfalls.

History

Just like the nearby (12 km to the north) Yumbilla Falls Gocta Falls were known to locals for centuries. Locals could see the waterfall every day from the nearby Gocta village. Nevertheless local people had a fear from this waterfall - there were tales about evil spirit - a kind of syren living at the base of the falls. None should walk near this place if he wanted to stay alive. There are even stories about a certain man - Juan Mendoza - who reportedly was turned into a stone below the falls. Thus locals did not tell to the outsiders about this magnificent waterfall and it was unknown to the world until recently.

Wider world learned about the falls only in 2002 when these falls were observed by German engineer Stefan Ziemendorff who participated in the development of water treatment plants in Peru. He recognised that these falls are among world's tallest ones. He measured the height of the falls in the early 2006. Total measured height was 771 m with a possible mistake of 13.5 m. Since then this gorgeous monument of nature is increasingly popular tourist destination.

Map

See Gocta Falls on the map of Peru!

 

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