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Gocta Falls

Gocta Falls, Peru
Gocta Falls / Elemaki, / CC BY 3.0

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 5.9190 S 77.8871 W
No:522        (list of all attractions)
Values:Geology, Visual
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
Tallest drop:540 m
Width:˜ 30 m

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.


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.

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

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.

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.


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.

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

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.


See Gocta Falls on the map of Peru!

Landmarks of Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu / Pedro Szekely, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Peru is one of the most interesting and diverse countries in the world. Many landmarks here are unique, without analogues in the world. Highlight of Peru is its archaeological heritage which is among the most interesting ones in the world as Peru has been the centre of several ancient civilizations (Chavín, Nazca, Inca and others) which developed in isolation from other civilizations except for a limited contacts with Mesoamerican civilizations. Peru is rich with great colonial architecture. Natural heritage is not less impressive - here are located some of worlds greatest canyons, waterfalls, Peru has one of the highest biodiversity levels in the world.

Waterfalls and rapids

Iguazu Falls - one of most impressive waterfalls in world
Iguazu Falls in Argentina / Brazil / L.Galuzzi, CC-BY-SA-2.5.

Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.


  1. Gocta, Catarata, World Waterfall Database. Accessed in 10.01.2016.

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