After a month in the Amazonian city of Tarapoto, I got to the Ahuashiyacu waterfall, a place I have heard a lot of since the first time I got here. It is in fact, one of the most visited attractions in the region. Not only the 15 meters fall of water took my breath away, but the big blue butterflies that were playing around the water, and the different bird spices hanging out at the lush trees and bushes. Wherever I turned my eyes to look, I found beauty.
Getting there is relatively easy since it is located only 14 km from the Tarapoto’s city center. We hired a taxi, but you can also reach the place by bike or by a long walk.
After paying five soles ( less than 2 US$ ), we entered the path to the waterfall. The journey took us approximately 10 minutes. It was a relatively easy uphill walk, with infrastructure conditioned to the place. I enjoyed walking slowly and paying attention to my surroundings: the songs of the birds, the sound of the waters, the fresh smell of nature.
The forbidden love of Ahuashi
After crossing the first bridge, I arrived at a sculpture of a maid and her a half-man-half-bull lover. It was an artistic representation of the Ahuashiyacu’s legend that explains the origin of the waterfall.
A long time ago, Ahuashi, a beautiful maiden daughter of the boss of the tribe fell in love with Shilli, a very handsome young man. Even though both of them had a passionate romance, Ahuashi’s father didn’t approve of this relationship, because Shilli did not reciprocate his hierarchy. He had another suitor in mind for her daughter.
The powerful tribe boss ordered sorcerers to subdue her daughter’s will. Due to her beauty, the sorcerers decided to turn her into a waterfall, and they turned Shilli into a black bull that would guard the pool. After some time, Shilli escaped and climbed the mountain to the highest part, where he thought he would meet Ahuashi. However, he fell into an abyss where he remained crying. His tears became the Shilcayo River, and Ahuashi is still the beautiful waterfall. Ahuashiyacu is a composite word: Ahuashi is the maiden’s name, and “Yacu” means water in Quechua, the native language.
Even though Ahuashiyacu is visible from the path, seeing it in front of you is magnificent. The high fall of waters in the middle of the rainforest just takes your breath away. This is, in fact, the best frame for a lovely picture.
The waters are very cold, but many of the visitor’s don’t seem to bother. Almost everybody wants to take a swim in the pool. I did too and went back the waterfall as well. Words fall short to describe the experience.
How to get there:
The city of Tarapoto is accessible by plane (approx. 1 hour) or bus (approx 18 hours) from Lima.
Ahuashiyacu waterfall is located at km 12 of the highway Tarapoto-Yurimaguas. From the city center of Tarapoto, you can take a tour, a motor vehicle, a bike or just take a long walk. You can also go to the bus stop to Yurimaguas, and ask how much will they charge you to drop you at Ahuashiyacu ( it will be less than 2 US$ )