Yumbilla falls hike – a day trip from Chachapoyas Peru
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Yumbilla falls is a spectacular waterfall nestled in the mountains that surrounds the lovely town of Chachapoyas – on the border of the northern Amazon district of Peru. In this post, I will tell you all about it and how to reach this spectacular natural wonder.
If you love off the beaten path trails and being in nature by yourself you must hurry up and visit the Yumbilla falls, before it gets more and more popular.
Yumbilla falls tumbles down from a soring cliff cutting its way through a jungle forest in four tiers each time pausing in foaming pools before continuing its fall over to the next rim.
When I visited I was on my way to tick off all my South America Bucket list places during my epic journey in Latin America which I had to interrupt unexpectedly, but that’s for another post.
I didn’t include Chachapoyas in my itinerary at first, but, as always happen, I was suggested by another traveler that I shouldn’t miss that overlooked corner of Peru. I listened to him and I ended up spending 3 weeks in this cute little town that is still learning how to become touristy. I hope it stays as authentic as I found it.
I was working online as a freelancer at the time so I alternated working days at my favorite cafes (yes, WIFI was surprisingly great!) and a day of exploration where I would venture out to off-the-beaten-path places, such as the Yumbilla falls.
At the time the Yumbilla falls tour wasn’t even advertised by local agencies which, on the contrary, would promote all the other sites that were difficult to reach on your own with local bus.
All the adverts were pointing to the more touristic Gotcha Fall, definitely stunning and a must see (on your own) but sometimes overcrowded, especially on weekends.
Do you want to know how I found out about Yumbilla fall? Talking to a local vendor selling her products on the street. She was so sweet and when I told her what I was doing (exploring) she talked to me about this fall that nobody knew about but it was one of the highest falls in the world and the second-highest among Peru waterfalls.
In the beginning, I thought she was making it up. I mean how could it be that such an incredible site wasn’t advertised by the local tourism organization to do business.
But that was the truth.
When I dug further I realized that this waterfall wasn’t even on the map yet, so I asked around and I realized that it was possible to get to the fall on my own and with the help of local guides. And off I went and I had a blast. Here below I am going to tell you how I did it and how you can do it too.
Probably by now you will even find organized tour by local travel agent. I am sure of that, but where’s the fun? Right?
Yumbilla Fall hike facts
- LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: low
- TOTAL WALKING DISTANCE: 3 km /1.8 miles
- TOTAL WALKING TIME: 3.5 hours total
- STARTING POINT: 1500 mt (approx)
- MAXIMUM ALTITUDE DURING THE HIKE: 1800 mt (approx)
Yumbilla falls is 895.5 m (2,938 ft) high, with the top located 2,723.6 m (8,936 ft) above sea level and the base at 1,828.1 m (5,998 ft).
Yumbilla Falls is a waterfall located near the town of Cuispes, in the northern Peruvian region of Amazonas. This region is part of the Eastern Peruvian Andes, also known as Cordillera Oriental, more precisely, part of a mountain massif called Cerro Panhuayco. (source)
Yumbilla is part of the Bosque de Cataratas Gigantes de Cuispes (“Forest of Gigantic Waterfalls of Cuispes”) near Chachapoyas, Peru.
And in fact while you walk in this think jungle you enjoy amazing sights of many other small and bigger waterfalls scattered around the surrounding mountains, until you get to the majestic Yumbilla falls.
The walk is also paradise for birdwatchers too.
If you want to explore the Yumbilla Fall on your own here below I will tell you how, in detail.
How to visit the Yumbilla Falls on your own…but with a guide
From Chachapoyas take a taxi colectivo (shared bus) direction Gotcha Fall, and get off in Pedro Ruiz (about 1h – 30 minutes from Chachapoyas)
From there get a moto-taxi to the town of Cuispes. It’s a dirt road up in the mountains with beautiful views of the surrounding nature where you can also spot small waterfalls scattered around the mountain walls. Ask the Taxi driver to drop you off at the tourist office of Cuspides, where you will you receive instruction on how to get to the Yumbilia waterfalls. If you are alone you may want to hire a guide to come with you.
The trail is easy, but there are quite a few crossroads and very few signs on where to go.
From the tourist office to the waterfall path there is about 3 km of dirt road that is not worth hiking so you can get a taxi up to the entrance and then enjoy the walk in the woods.
During the walk you will find other waterfalls and lookouts, with spectacular views over the valley. There is not much elevation gain along the way which makes the hike a relaxing walk in the jungle.
The trail will take you to the highest part of the fall, but if you want to reach the very bottom you will need to do some rappelling with cords. So if this is something of your interest you must ask the guide in advance so that you go can go prepared with the right equipment.
Bird watchers will also have a blast and among different bird species you can also spot the spatula-tail hummingbird and the Andean cock-of-the-rock, Peru’s national bird.
How much does it cost to getting to the Yumbilla Falls (keep in mind that those cost are from 2018 – they might have slightly changed by now)
- Bus from Chachapoyas to Pedro Ruiz 10 PEN
- Motor taxi from Pedro Ruiz to Cuispes 15 PEN (because I was alone, 2 people is 10 each). The return cost me only 10, for some reason.
- Guide to the first fall 40 PEN
- Entrance to the fall 10 PEN
- Taxi to the entrance of the hike 10 PEN
Packing for the Yumbilla Falls
- Hiking boots
- Hiking pants
- mosquito repellent