The Best Known Waterfalls in Peru

Discovering the best waterfalls in Peru means exploring some of the biggest and most powerful cataracts in the world. Ready? Let’s dive right in.

Travel and Exploration
1 June 2023

In the grand tapestry of our planet, the nation of Peru emerges as an unparalleled marvel. Ranking as the third-largest country in South America, it’s a sensational display of nature’s boundless diversity and audacious artistry. An intoxicating blend of shimmering beaches, mighty mountains, vast deserts, and verdant rainforests teeming with the secrets of life. In fact, more than half of Peru is made up of the majestic Amazon Rainforest. Navigating through this captivating topography, a crescendo builds up, unveiling one of the country’s most underrated wonders – its waterfalls.

These Peruvian waterfalls are not merely cascades of water plummeting over cliffs. They are, instead, the heart-stopping performances of nature’s symphony. Each one, a maestro’s masterpiece, playing to the rhythm of the mountains, forests, and rivers. Prepare to be enthralled as we embark on this exploration of the very best waterfalls in Peru, starting with the tallest.

Cataratas Las Tres Hermanas

Water falling and splashing. (Credit: LITTLE DINOSAUR via Getty Images)

Nestled in the virgin forests of Otishi National Park in the department of Junín is a watersome giant. At approximately 3,000 feet tall, Cataratas Las Tres Hermanas is not only believed to be the tallest waterfall in Peru, but also the third highest in the world. Its name, which translates as the “Three Sisters Waterfall” refers to the three steps that fragment it, the first two of which are roughly 600 feet each. After its final, biggest plunge, it falls into the Río Cutevirini.

Catarata del Gocta

Catarata del Gocta in Peru (Credit: Jens Otte via Getty Images)

A perennial feature in the province of Bongara in Amazonas, it’s astonishing to think that the world was oblivious to the existence of one of Peru’s best waterfalls until 2002. And yet this was the first anyone beyond the local area had learned of the Gocta Waterfall. There’s even a legend of a mermaid who has guarded it from outsiders. At 2,530 feet tall, about twice the size of the Empire State Building, Catarata del Gocta plummets down in two steps, flowing into the Cocahuayco River. From far away it is a thin, silvery stream in the midst of a vast gorge, its immense height giving the illusion of a delicate descent. But close up there is no denying its might.

Yumbilla Falls

Yumbilla Falls, Amazonas, Peru (Credit: Guido Cavallini via Getty Images)

We remain in the Amazonas region for yet more gargantuan Peruvian waterfalls. The town of Cuispes is said to be the gateway to a “valley of waterfalls”, of which Yumbilla Falls or Catarata Yumbilla is the tallest. In fact, it is said that Yumbilla Falls might be even taller than Gocta, with measurements as high as 2,938 feet, divided into four or five tiers.

Cataratas la Chinata

Amazonas region, Utcubamba province, Peru. (Credit: imageBROKER/Peter Giovannini via Getty Images)

Chinata Falls or Cataratas la Chinata is another resident of the so-called valley of waterfalls in Amazonas. There, among the mosses, ferns and orchids, it drops some 1,903 feet in at least two steps. Its waters eventually join the Utcubamba River. Nearby is another massive member of the waterfalls of Peru, Pabellon Falls.

Catarata El Tirol

Fresh water flowing down a waterfall. (Credit: Boris SV via Getty Images)

Located in the department of Junin, the 328-foot tall Catarata El Tirol falls in three steps, embodying both the power and grace of nature’s aquatic artistry.

Waterfalls of Peru

Huancaya, North Yauyos Cocha Landscape Reserve, Lima Peru. (Credit: Milton Rodriguez via Getty Images)

Peru’s best waterfalls are not only among the largest on the planet, but some have only been revealed to the world in recent decades. This fuels the exciting possibility that there could still be more colossal watery wonders waiting to be discovered in this richly diverse country.


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