I’ve visited Yumbilla waterfalls six months ago and still I can feel the excitement of exploration which I’d experienced during my trip to the 5th tallest waterfalls in the world. Despite the fact that waterfalls are quite easy to reach (in a dry period) and a new hostel was built in a nearby village, there aren’t any tourists. In my opinion it is because of lack of information about Yumbilla and also because of great emphasis on Gocta waterfalls (Yumbillas smaller sister). On the other hand, I found that the absence of tourists going to Yumbilla is really an advantage, because you have an opportunity to live an adventure, to feel yourself like an explorer, to experience a very authentic feel of the cloud forest and the natural kindness of local people.
I didn’t know about Yumbilla’s existence until one old man whom I met in Chachapoyas market while eating a lunch told me about as he told “altiiiiiisima catarata” very high waterfall near Pedro Ruiz town. He told me that on a mountain behind Pedro Ruiz town there is a small village called Cuispes where I could find accommodation and further details on how to reach the waterfall. I rechecked info given by the man in google maps in local net café and it was true. So as I’ve been traveling without exact planning I decided to take a chance and try going to Cuispes in a search for a Yumbillas waterfall.
Pedro Ruiz is located on the most important road from Chachapoyas so it is relatively easy to get there (sometimes the road to Pedro Ruiz is closed due to the landslides). As I remember I paid 7 Soles going in a 5 seated car and in Pedro Ruiz I took a mototaxi to Cuispes for 10 Soles. As mototaxi starts crawling up to the mountain, incredible landscapes start to appear and 30 min ride does not seem anything else but entertaining.
I’ll never forget the view which I saw when I stepped got out of mototaxi in Plaza de Armas (central square) of Cuispes. Behind the little village aprox. 2 KM away, there was a huge ~300m tall and ~6km wide mountain wall (numbers calculated in google earth). I could also see two waterfalls pouring down from the top of the “wall”. This spectacular type of landscape which I’d never seen in South America before, made me feel like being near to a border with some mystical “fairytale world’’. And from that moment all my stay there had something what remembered me of dreaming a very deep dream.
In a central square of Cuispes I met Jarvik a young local man from Cuispes. He has studied agronomy in other town but came back to his village because he wants to help Cuispes to grow and make it more popular place between travelers. Jarvik and his family administrate the hostel called “La Posada de Cuispes”. He built hostel with his friend from Spain who loves Cuispes very much. The place is brand new, very cozy and the rooms are beautiful, it was really surprising to find such place in a totally non-touristic village. More information on the hostel you can find in a link here: https://www.facebook.com/laposadadecuispes. I arrived after the noon so it was already late to go on a trek to Yumbilla so I decided to walk around the village and prepare for tomorrows hike.
The more time I spent in cuispes, the more I loved it. The cows, donkeys, dogs, chickens and ducks were cruising al other the village, there were kids playing on the streets, people returning from the fields were smiling to me asking questions about me, my country, etc. In evening I ‘ve spente time chating with Jarvik. He told me the legends of Cuispes and another stories which in Cuispes are believed to be true. After the chat I enjoyed looking into incredibly bright night-sky.
In the morning I had an incredible breakfast with local fruits. Then about 8 o’clock i and Jarvik started climbing from Cuispes village towards the waterfall wall. For the first hour we were walking on a dirt road. Then we have entered the jungle and continued on a little path. It was very interesting to walk in a Jungle with Jarvik as he was showing a lots of different local medicinal plants plants and explaining how they are used to treat various diseases. The path through the jungle was very beautiful the hundred years old trees and founds of lianas looked amazing. Time to time the path went through open forest places from where we could see stunning landscapes of Cloud Forest. One hour before we reached Yumbilla we’ve found a very nice observation deck. This platform is on quite high and it is a great place to sit an enjoy calmness of jungle or watch how flocks of parrot flying disturb that calmness with they loud squealing. Later we had to cross under some waterfall that was very interesting. Finally after about three hours of easy walk by the jungle path we’ve reached Yumbilla.
It is always exciting to reach waterfalls , the more close you go the louder it becomes. And it was great to see Yumbilla world’s 5th tallest waterfall in front of you and just you (and Jarvik). I’ve been to Gocta, yes, it was impressive, but a jungle path leading to Gocta is full of another tourists and there is not so much authenticity left, whereas Yumbilla is so natural. It is impossible to explain the feeling of walking through the path with Jarvik, who sometimes helps with machete to clean the way, and finally reaching the waterfall in its natural environment.
We spent a while contemplating the waterfall had a snack and on the same day we managed to get back to Cuispes. On the way back I felt tired but very happy because of beautiful views I have seen and the stories I’ve heard from Jarvik during our walk. When we returned to La Posada, we had a nice diner and I went to sleep. In the morning I felt little sad to leave Cuispes and still sometimes today remembering my stay in Cuispes seems like beautiful dream.
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