Hike to Yumbilla Waterfall

  • How to visit the world's 5th highest waterfall. 

  • A half-day hike from towns of Cuispes or Pedro Ruiz in Amazonas province. 

  • Is one of many hugely-impressive waterfalls in the region. 

Hike to Catarata Chinata - Torrential Rain.jpg

One of PeruNorth's first forays into Northern Peru was in 2006, to see first-hand Catarata Gocta, which had just been claimed as the third-highest waterfall in the world. At that time, we learned that Gocta was just one of many drops from this one plateau in the Amazonas province.

Our attempt to visit another of these falls, Catarata Chinata had to be aborted when it started raining heavily. 

In the subsequent years, another of these waterfalls, Yumbilla, had been surveyed by Peru's Geographical Institute (IGN), and found to have a total drop 125 m (407 ft) higher than Gocta. So, it went to top of our list of must-see natural attractions.

Finally, in September 2017, we got to visit. This is how we did it: 

  • Arrived in the town of Pedro Ruiz at 8am. From here, we took a moto-taxi to the small town of Cuispes: this took 25 minutes and cost about $4. 
Hike to Yumbilla Waterfall - Cuispes Main Square.JPG
  • On arrival in the very sleepy main square of Cuispes, we headed to the Posada de Cuispes, probably the best-known accommodation in town. Ownership of the Posada had just changed hands to a lovely family from Lima, who were in the process of a major remodelling. Nevertheless, they had a private room available, so we checked in and asked about going to Yumbilla. 
Hike to Yumbilla Waterfall, Cuispes - Yacu Urcu Tourism Association.JPG
  • The Yaco Urco Tourism Association, which manages the various tourist attractions in the region, has a simple office in the square, where we bought our entry tickets ($3) and inquired about a guide. Sadly, no guides were available at short notice, so we just bought some snacks, jumped into another mototaxi, and drove the 15 minutes to the starting point of the hike, Chazuta, located at 2,096 m (6,877 ft) above sea level. 
  • We began trekking at 11.15am, and after some 20 minutes' hiking, we arrived at a lookout point (mirador), with great views of the plateau and countryside below. 
Hike to Yumbilla Waterfall, Cuispes - Lookout Point.jpg
  • Continuing to follow the contours of the escarpment, we passed by two smaller, but attractive waterfalls, Medio Cerro and Cristal, before arriving at Yumbilla itself at 12.45pm. 
Hike to Yumbilla Waterfall, Cuispes - Bottom of Falls.JPG
  • We spent half an hour here, eating the snacks we'd brought, taking photos, and clambering over the rocks at the foot of one of the five drops, before beginning the walk back to the starting point. 
  • We arrived back at Chazuta at 2.45 pm where our loyal mototaxista was waiting, to drive us back to Cuispes. He charged $6 for the round journey. 
  • On the whole hike, we only saw two other visitors - a Uruguayan couple - with their local guide. 
  • It is advisable to secure the services of a guide, if possible ... and not just to put some money into the local economy. There are certain paths that are off limits without a guide, as they are a little bit technical. We would certainly have liked to have seen these sections. 

All in all, a sensational half-day hike, which is sure to become more popular as its fame spreads. If you'd like to learn more about how to get to Yumbilla, just ask