KUÉLAP & GOCTA - AMAZON CLOUD FOREST
Located in the north of Peru in the city of Chachapoyas. Kuélap & Gocta are some of Peru's best kept treasures. Although the area has been well known to locals for centuries, it was only made known to the rest of the world in 2002 following an expedition discovery.
The ancient Inca fortress of Kuélap and the impressive free leaping waterfall of Gocta, one of the highest in the world, remain relatively cut off and is therefore not yet well known to average travellers in Peru.
At an elevation of 3000m the settlement of Kuélap is believed to have been inhabited by 300,000 people. During the Spanish conquest the impressive Amazonian land was abandoned by its citizens. There are over 550 structures inside the fortress, that can still be identified today. Due to the inactivity the cloud forest and other native flora such as orchids took over the land. Since it's accidental rediscovery in 1843 the land has been studied by numerous archaeologists and only in 1980 did the Peruvian government begin excavations and studies in the impressive region.
The Gocta Waterfall is an incredible 771m high waterfall. It was considered the third highest free leaping waterfall in the world, however it is now regarded as the fifteenth. La Chorrera, as it is referred to by locals, was discovered in 2002 by the German explorer Stefan Ziemendorff, who stumbled upon it while exploring sarcophagi located on the other side of the Utcubamba valley.
To reach the pool below the waterfall, cross the extensive valley of rainforest that surrounds it. The trail takes 5 ½ to 6 hours (return trip) from the starting point of Caserío de Cocachimba. In the area there are a total of 22 waterfalls that get bigger and more impressive during the rainy season (December-March).