The most famous falls in the world are without a doubt the Niagara Falls in North America, the Victoria Falls in Africa and the Iguassu Falls in South America. The Iguassu Falls, located on the tri-frontier between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay are probably the best known on the continent due to their sheer size and the large number of individual falls comprising these magnificent falls.
Nevertheless South America has so much more to offer when it comes to waterfalls. Few know that the highest falls in the world, with a free drop of 979 meters- the Angel Falls, are located in the South of Venezuela. Part of the reason they are not widely known is that these falls are hard to reach due to almost non existent infrastructure and the dense jungle surrounding the area.
Even lesser known are the Peruvian Gocta falls located in North Peru around Chachapoyas. The Gocta Falls have been known in the area for centuries but it was not until 2002 that a German engineer truly saw the size of the Gocta Falls and measured that they could easily fall into the top ten highest falls on earth. The Peruvian Government sent out an official visit measuring the falls. They measured the falls to be 771 meters high. The falls are divided in two sections with the tallest section measuring 540 meters. When taking into account the complete height of the falls, the falls rank 14th among the world’s highest falls. When taking into account the height of the highest single fall the Gocta Falls rank 17th.
The falls are fed from the Peruvian Andes making that the falls have water all year round. Nevertheless the water level in the rainy season is much higher than in the dry season. The falls are located in an area about 2800 meters above sea-level which is known for its virgin rainforest. The region is not widely travelled and one of the true unknown gems Peru has to offer to outdoor enthusiasts. The closest city is the city of Chachapoyas at about 5 hours walking. The walk will take you through amazing rain and cloud forests pass dozens of other waterfalls and through areas with an abundant fauna and flora. Chachapoyas is also known for the closely located ruins of Kuelap, one of the few remnants of the Chachapoyas culture, one of the few that resisted against the Inca.
The area has not been developed for tourism as much as the South of Peru but this makes it all the more challenging to visit the region and enjoy the amazing diversity of countryside, people, nature and culture. North Peru with its Gocta falls definitely a region not to be missed.
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