Visit the inspiring Gocta waterfall and pre-Inca sites in forest covered mountains.

Suitable for families looking for an adventure, we stay at Gocta Lodge in an area teeming with wildlife.

The star of the show is the recently discovered Gocta waterfall, along with the pre-Inca ruins of Kuelap, which we can visit.

 

More on Gocta waterfall

We drive north through verdant coffee producing regions and on into seja de selva, meaning eyebrow of the jungle, an area of stunning virgin cloud forest.

Gocta Lodge is our base and from where we have fabulous views of the Gocta falls.

A full day trek takes us from the lodge to the long drop waterfall , one of the highest waterfalls in the world.

Local guides accompany each visit giving detailed explanations of the history, geography and culture.

 

Kuelap tour

The world-famous citadel of Kuelap is a highlight, not much can match the sheer scale of mystery shrouding this ancient summit city in the clouds.

Each day we venture out to explore some of the pre Inca – Chachapoya sites, mummy museums and local markets. Read more about Chachapoya culture in our blog.

Travelling to Gocta feels like travelling as it used to be – adventurous, away from the crowds and to beautiful, unspoilt areas.



Trip Highlights

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  • Views from your lodge over the wonderful Gocta waterfall.

  • Visit the mysterious Kuelap ruins, pre-Inca sites atop a mountain.

  • Gocta Lodge offers the perfect mix of isolation and relaxation, with its lovely rooms, swimming pool and views.

  • Expert guides to show you around the wildlife-rich forests.

We felt very privileged to be seeing parts of Peru that so few tourists are able to visit.

B. Legg, Gocta

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Tarapoto, transfer in to hotel (D)

On your arrival at Tarapoto airport you’ll be met and taken into the heart of Tarapoto to your hotel. (1 night hotel, with dinner).

Tarapoto is a busy jungle city, with a central plaza, perfect for sipping a cool beer and watching life go by, in moto-taxis.

A refreshing dip in the pool is a great way to wind down after Lima’s busy streets.

Day 2: Full day drive north to Gocta, hotel (B,L,D)

After a good breakfast we head off by private bus on the 330 km journey towards Gocta.

After 2 hours we reach Moyobamba, where we stop for a visit to a beautiful orchid farm at Wakanki. We continue our drive through the stunning forests of Alto Mayo beginning our ascent all the way to Abra Patricia, where we may be able to visit the biological station of Lechucita Bigotona. Box lunch and walk the trails of high forest.

We then continue our journey to Gocta, arriving at 17:00. A refreshing dip in the pool or cold drink overlooking the stunning mountain views precedes a delicious dinner. Situated at an altitude of 1,800m/5,905ft, the lodge enjoys a year round spring climate.

Day 3: Full day trek to Gocta Falls, hotel (B,L,D)

After breakfast we get ready for our 6km trek to the amazing Gocta Falls, back drop to the village of Cocachimba and our lodge. It takes a couple of hours of walk, through local famlands and then verdant forest with plenty of interesting flowers and birds en-route.

A local guide from the village will explain community life in this remote part of northern Peru.

Cocachimba, the nearest village to the falls has organised a rota system for local guides and horse-men to accompany visitors. They have set up a vistor centre and sell maps, books and some locally produced crafts.

A refreshing dip in the pool beneath the falls and welcome snack await, then we set off back to the Lodge, arriving mid afternoon for some well deserved rest and relaxation.

Day 4: Guided visit to Kuelap, hotel (B,L,D)

After breakast this morning we set off on a 3 hour drive to the mountain top citadel of Kuelap, visiting picturesque Andean villages along the route.

We enjoy a guided tour of Kuelap (Spanish-speaking guide only) , South America’s largest ancient stone construction.

We explore the many ceremonial constructions, aqueducts and retaining walls, then have lunch in nearby village before making a visit to the local town of Chachapoyas.

Day 5: Full day visit to Revash and Leymebamba, hotel (B,L,D)

After breakast this morning we set off on a drive to the cliff side burial chambers of Revash. A hike of an hour or so each way allows us to get up close to the site.

We then visit the small andean town of Leymebamba for lunch and a wander around before visiting Peru’s new Centro Mallqui Museum. The Austrians donated the museum to house the 219 mummies found in a unique discovery in 1997, in the nearby Laguna de los Cóndores.

It has been one of the most important archaeological find in the Andes in the last 20 years. It is an excellent museum. In the afternoon we return to our lodge.

Day 6: Drive to Tarapoto, jungle lodge (B,L,D)

After breakfast we set off on our return journey to Tarapoto, heading towards the jungle lodge on the banks of the River Huallaga.

We make a short stop to see the Spatula Tail hummingbird and the Colibri Observation Centre. We continue our journey to Moyobamba, stopping for lunch before continuing to our jungle lodge.

Day 7: Depart, fly to Lima (B)

This morning you can head out for an early morning hike to spot some of the Amazon wildlife.

We then head off to visit some local waterfalls, with a walk through this verdant forest.

After lunch back at the lodge we transfer to Tarapoto airport for our flight to Lima.


Prices From $1,357 / £1,151 per person

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What's Included?

Transfer in from Tarapoto airport, hotels and meals as listed, en-suite rooms, swimming pools at each lodge, all excursions, private transport throughout, all entry fees.

What's Not Included?

International or domestic flights Lima to Tarapoto, tips, alcoholic drinks, items of a personal nature.


Accommodation

Lodge based accommodation, en-suite rooms with swimming pool at Gocta Lodge.

Tour Staff

Local guides will show you around the area that they know so well.


Meals

Meals are served at Gocta Lodge and almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please ask in advance.

The chefs there serve a mix of Peruvian food and local produce, and can also produce international cuisine if required.

They use lots of fresh, local ingredients. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables grow in this very fertile area, from tropical plants to crops.

Activity Level

A high  level of fitness is not required for this tour, but the more active you are, the most you will enjoy the trip.

You can choose your own level of adventure. There is no altitude to worry about. Being able to walk 2-3 hours at a time on uneven terrain is an advantage.

It does go to remote locations but some drives are long.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Peru

Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.

The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.

The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.

Geography of Peru

Peru is made up of 3 distinct geographical areas: the coast, the mountains and the jungle.

The costa or coastal region is a narrow ribbon of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11% of the country and holds more than 40% of the population.

The cold Humboldt current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities like the capital Lima from May to November.

Heading east, you’re soon climbing above the garua and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers some 25% of Peru’s territory and contains 50% of the population. The sierra inhabitants are mainly Indigenous or Mestizo, and many still speak Quechua or Aymara.

The sierra contains dozens of 6,000-metre snow peaks and volcanoes, including Huascaran (6,768m) the highest mountain in the tropics. The deep valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal systems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today.

The eastern Andes are heavily forested up to 3,350m and sweep down into the Amazon Basin.

Peru’s selva or jungle makes up almost two thirds of the country’s area, but holds only about 6% of the population: the only towns with significant populations are Iquitos and Pucallpa.

 

Weather in Amazon of Peru

The Amazon rainforest

Year-round, weather conditions are hot and humid and there is always the risk of rain

There is a ‘dry season’ in Tambopata and Manu between May and October. The average daytime high temperature is between 25°C and 34°C and the average nighttime low is between 16°C and 22°C. Heavy downpours typically occur every few days.

Around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Manu and Tambopata and 1,400 mm in Iquitos – occurs in the wet season Nov-April.

On rare occasions, between May and September, cold fronts from Argentina – ‘friajes’ – can sweep into southwest Amazonia and push temperatures down to 9° C. (Friajes usually last between 1 and 3 days).

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.

 

Overview

When planning for the varied climatic conditions you will encounter across Peru, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system.

The sun is very strong throughout the country, so good sun cream, a hat and sunglasses are vital.

It can also get very cold at night time especially in the mountains. Jumpers, fleeces and warms hats – which you can buy there – are also essential.

Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.

Below is a more detailed guide.

 

Detailed kit list

  • Medium weight parka or a down jacket.
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers. The jacket needs to be water proof and roomy. Side-zip pants are recommended.
  • 2-3 long-sleeve shirts – no cotton
  • 2-3 short-sleeve T-shirts – no cotton
  • 2 pair of hiking trousers- cotton or synthetic material (no jeans)
  • 1 fleece or sweat trousers (for cold evenings)
  • 2 pair hiking shorts
  • Long thermals – synthetic or wool – light to medium weight top & bottoms.
  • 2-3 mid-weight (wool or synthetic) socks.
  • 2-3 liner socks if needed
  • Athletic-type socks, several pairs, city use
  • Hiking boots that are waterproof and well broken-in.
  • Running/tennis shoes or sandals are very comfortable when you are in cities
  • 1 lightweight wool sweater or windproof fleece
  • 1 wool or synthetic warm hat.
  • 1 light sun hat with a wide brim.
  • 1 pair of medium-weight wool or synthetic gloves
  • Broad-brimmed sunhat, essential.
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Scarf for cold.
  • Bandanna – to protect neck from strong sun.
  • Daypack (at least 30 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Water bottle (2 litres approx.) & purification tablets.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Insect repellent (just in case)
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Penknife.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Plastic bags – ‘Zip-loc’ & tough bin liners.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!).
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other to help pass the time.
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.

 

Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport.
  • U.S. dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Any inoculation certificates.
  • Personal & medical insurance certificates.
  • Presents e.g. Postcards from home.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smart clothes for night life.

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.

 

What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.

 

Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.

 

I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.


Peru’s Amazon Rainforest

Peru boasts in its Amazonian region a vast swathe of world-class tropical wilderness with several rain forest and cloud forest reserves which are home to an immense diversity of wildlife.

Accessible from Lima, Iquitos or Cusco, the Amazon jungle is just a short flight away.

In Peru’s southeast lies the extraordinary region comprising the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene and Manu National Parks, with the greatest animal and plant diversity anywhere in the world.

Whether you choose to base yourself at a comfortable lodge or enjoy a more demanding camping trip, you can be sure of a unique, exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

Arequipa & Colca Canyon, Peru

The beautiful colonial city of Arequipa is replete with history and culture, and is the gateway to the condors of Colca Canyon.

Nestled at 2,325m/7,627ft, the ‘white city’ sits at the foot of three tremendous volcanoes: El Misti (5,821m/19,098ft), Chachani (6,075m/19,930ft) and Pichu Pichu (5,542m/18,182ft).

Arequipa’s attractions include the Cathedral, Compañía de Jesús Church, Santa Catalina Convent and the Dama de Ampato (Juanita Mummy) Museum.

With a year-round spring climate and sunshine guaranteed for 300 days of the year, it is the perfect place to begin acclimatising before continuing upwards.

Nearby is the famous Colca Canyon. At hundred kilometres long, this incredible gorge  is said to reach a maximum depth of 3,400m/11,155ft – twice that of the Grand Canyon.

An overnight tour to Colca gives you the chance to see the iconic, soaring condors of the canyon.

Cusco, Peru

Cusco is the archaeological and cultural capital of South America.

The one-time centre of the vast Inca Empire is a bustling highland city with bags of character.

Its whitewashed streets and plazas feature a fascinating blend of Inca and Spanish colonial stonework and offer endless possibilities for exploration.

You don’t have to venture far to find outstanding examples of high quality Inca architecture, including the monumental temple fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

There is also the fertile farming land of the Sacred Valley on the doorstep,  with many Inca terraces, temples and fortresses, plus colourful local markets and small villages.

At night, Cusco offers an excellent array or restaurants and bars plus the continent’s best Andean folk music scene.

Kuelap, Peru

In the northeast of Peru lies Kuelap – the jewel in the massive archaeological crown of the Chachapoyas Cloud People.

The mystical structure of Kuelap – dubbed the Peru’s second Machu Picchu by locals – is 1,200 years old.

It features massive limestone walls towering 60 feet, pottery, bones and hundreds of mysterious round stone structures, and away from the crowds of other sites.

This is a remote area of sub-tropical valleys, half way down the eastern slopes of the Andes. The jungle is impenetrable, dense with low trees, bromeliads, bamboos, orchids and mosses.

Lake Titicaca, Peru

Lake Titicaca, at around 4,000m/13,123ft above sea level, is a vast shimmering body of water on the Peru/Bolivia border.

It is the world’s highest navigable lake, set against a breathtaking background of towering ice-covered Andean mountain peaks.

The islands and shoreline of Lake Titicaca support many Indian communities, including the well known floating islands of Uros and the more remote islands of Taquile and Amantani. Here, traditions are strong and it appears time really does stand.

Agriculture, fishing, knitting and weaving are important to the islanders and by staying a day or two you gain just a small insights into this traditional way of life.

Islanders welcome tourists into their homes and this is a wonderful opportunity to experience island life.

Lima, Peru

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant bustling place with a wide variety of things to do.

Stroll or bike around the historic centre, visiting the many museums or just chilling out in a café or restaurant in Miraflores.

In Parque Kennedy you can sit outside in Parisian fashion and watch the world go by in cafes and restaurants, or walk to the shore and the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

There are a number of artisan shops & market stalls, plus a big silver jewellery trade, and a burgeoning number of top end restaurants with delicious food.

The centre of Lima is home to impressive Colonial architecture – Plaza de Armas has the Palace, official residence of the president, on one side, and on another is the Cathedral.

San Francisco Church, home of the Catacombs, is well worth a visit, as is the Inquisition museum.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Nothing says Peru quite the way Machu Picchu does.

The Lost City of the Incas, perches dramatically on a ridge-top 400 metres above the Urubamba river. The extensive site, with its many terraces, temples and palaces, is set amid a beautiful landscape of deep gorges and thickly forested mountains.

When Machu Picchu was rediscovered early in the 20th century and cleared of forest, it was found to be very well preserved. It has since presented archaeologists with many unanswered questions regarding the role it played in Inca times.

The sense of grandeur, whether you arrive on the Inca Trail or not, is impressive.

Try to arrive early at the site to enjoy it at its best – and late afternoon can often see you almost alone in the ruins.

The Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash, Peru

North east of Lima, the Cordillera Blanca offers fantastic mountain scenery and some of the best trekking and climbing in the Andes.

The Cordillera Blanca boasts dozens of peaks over 6,000 metres, including Peru’s highest Huascaran at 6,768m/22,205ft above sea level.

The Blanca range also contains the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers.

This is an ideal destination for treks, from just a few to 12 days or so and also an ideal starting place for learning or improving mountaineering skills.

The nearby Huayhuash mountain range contains a dazzling array of snow peaks including seven summits above 6,000 metres.

This is a trekking paradise with breathtaking majestic panoramas and stunningly remote and picturesque camping spots. There is no better place to visit to get away from it all.

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