- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
There are two alternatives for today's excursion:
Gocta. We drive to the village of Cocachimba, the trailhead for this lovely walk through forest and farmland to the foot of the world’s third highest waterfall. Amazingly, the existence of these falls was not known to the world until they were spotted by a German explorer in 2006! Local people lived in fear of them and stayed away, owing to their ancient legend of a dangerous enchantress, the siren who lived in the falls. Our walk takes approximately three hours each way, and along the route we have a good chance of spotting the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Peru’s national bird. The male of this large, brilliantly colored red-and-black member of the cotinga family sports a huge crest that completely envelops its beak. When the males gather they hop from branch to branch through the trees, insulting each other with loud squawks and screeches in an attempt to attract females. We hear the thunder of Gocta before we see the falls, a huge two-stage torrent of water falling from the towering limestone cliffs characteristic of the entire region. When we are close they are so high that the rim of the falls, 771m/2,528ft above us, seems to be lost in the sky. We can spend some time here enjoying the refreshing mist of the falls and enjoying the surrounding forest, viewing hummingbirds, toucanets, and, with luck, a troupe or two of capuchin or woolly monkeys. During the dry season when the volume of water is not too ferocious, those willing to face the chilly waters (and perhaps the siren!) can bathe in the pool beneath the falls. We hike back to Cocachimba and return to Chachapoyas in time for dinner.
Karajía. We drive half and hour from Chachapoyas to the village of Caclic, and then take a side road for about 1.5 hours, before beginning a descent of 300m/1000ft, to the clifftop at Cruz Pata, then hike a short way to the foot of even higher cliffs. Here we can look across a vertical cliff face to a completely inaccessible cave where the ancient Chachapoyans somehow installed nine tall clay figures, up to some 3m high, inside which the bodies of chieftains and perhaps their families were laid. The heads have angular, stylized faces, made of clay, while the bodies of the figures were made on site of wattle and clay, which was then covered in brightly painted designs. How the ancient Chachapoyans reached this place to create this burial site for their elites is still a mystery. We return to the city of Chachapoyas in the afternoon.