Lanquin, El Retiro and Semuc Champay Caves

Lanquin Travel Blog

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The morning shuttle was uneventful except for the driver tying to charge us four and a half times what the locals pay for the trip they pay 7, we pay 25 hell no! We ended up at 20 only because our brains were not functioning at 4.30am... The ride was ok for the firt 45 minutes until they started piling the people on. Within 15 minutes we literally doubled the number of people in the van from the US version of a full van (all the seats are taken, 15 people) to a Guate full van (its never really full FYI... only boats can be full and thats only because they can sink!!) of 25+. Lisa really enjoyed an old woman sitting half on her lap and some guy passing gas behind us all WAY before she got her coffee.

We arrived in Lankin around 7am and made our way to El Retiro... the best place around for backpackers!

This place is cool... we got there at 7.15pm and hung out while they mad the first pot of coffee (we were so psyched) and waited for reception to open so we could have a chance at getting a room. This place is really popular... they have a great atmospshere, amazing food/ drinks, cool people and tours. We signed up for the cave tour to Semuc Champey that was leaving at 9.30am and for river raafting that was the next day. Lisa and I ended up with a private room (shared bath-naturally meaning a hole in the ground and a cold shower that required the use of sandals) and all the girls got hammocks or dorm beds.

After a tasty breakfast we jumped in the back of two pick up trucks for the 30 minute ride to the caves. The scenery is amazing...and the roads very bumpy!

We never imagined that the cave tour could be so amazing. It consisted of all of us swimming around in these dark bat caves lit soley by candles we were holding above our heads. It was absolutely magical. We walked and then swam through these caves as they deepened, only to end up in a formation at the end...told the best was yet to come. We were led in groups of 5, Joe and i lucky enough to be in the first group...so we were not yet aware what was in store for us. Little did we know that the guide would be bringing up to climb under a towering waterfall. Water poured over our heads as we searched for a ladder on the opposing side. We were shaking. Maybe partly from cold, and partly from adrenaline...but it was one of the most insane and amazing things we have ever gotten to experience. Only in Guatemala do they allow you to do this kind of stuff. It´s absolutely crazy. After we left the waterfall we went back through the cave and exited the cave. We played on the rope swing into the lake, had lunch, and then jumped off a huge freaking bridge into the water....yes i did it too...not just joe- soo scary!! We then went to these beautiful limestone jungle pools situated above the river. There were many beautiful falls, some great hikes and views. The last fall was HUGE. Our guide led us down it(big surprise) via rope ladder and we were able to explore behind it.  Again, only in guatemala! Then we headed back to El Ritero tired and hungry for the famous wednesday night bbq.

We stuffed ourselves and headed to bed so we would be ready for a funfilled day of rafting.


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Lanquin
photo by: siri