Semuc Champey and the Kan'Ba Caves
Semuc Champey Travel Blog› entry 8 of 20 › view all entries
What a day! We decided to go on the organised tour from our youth hostel to Semuc Champey and the Kan'Ba Caves, as everyone had been raving about it and said that it was a 'must'. So at 9am we set off for the journey there, thinking it would be a minibus taking us. It was, however, something that could no better be described than a glorified cattle truck which took us! We all had to stand in the back bit of the truck and hold onto these metal bars which kept us from falling out. We thought that this would just be taking us down to the village where a minibus would be waiting for us (as a 4x4 was better to get up to our hostel), but twenty minutes later we were still swaying about in the back! It was a serious body work out trying to keep upright, so by the time we arrived our bodies were already feeling very tired.
We arrived and got ourselves sorted into our swimming stuff and trainers (a particularly good look, especially with my white socks) and we then went along the Cahabon river for a couple of minutes until we came to a little swing. There were about 20 of us in our group from the hostel, and we all had a go swinging out across the river for about 10m before we jumped off into the river. It was really good fun, but the river was pretty fast flowing so it was quite an effort to swim across to the side. Next we had our briefing for our visit to the caves, and were asked if any of us had any fears at all about it or any medical problems, as our guide said that he 'didn't want to leave everyone in there to bring someone out'. I was starting to get a bit nervous just listening to this, as I've never been particularly good with tight spaces especially in the dark (I'm sure James W will remember from the many times he locked me in the loo and turned the lights off), but I tried not to think about it.
Just as this briefing ended I heard someone calling my name and looked up and saw Alex Khosla, who was just about to go into the caves with a different group infront of us - was very strange! So we had a brief hello and said we'd see each other later. We all made our way to the entrance of the caves and were given a candle each, which they lit for us on the way in. It was really daunting wading through the water into the first bit of the caves, knowing that we wouldn´t be seeing sunlight again for another 2 hours! We were shown some bats in the outer cave, and then began to make our way away from the reassuring sunlight deeper into the caves. At first the water was about 1m deep which was fine, but after a few minutes we came to the first bit where we had to swim as it was too deep to pass by walking.
I wasn´t the only one who wasn´t enjoying myself greatly. Rusty definitely wasn´t at his perkiest and told me to stop asking if he was ok! So I tried to distract him and pretend that I wasn´t scared either... but I definitely was. The worst bit was when we came up to an internal waterfall. We had to blow out our candles (although most of them had gone out from the spray) and make our way through a small gap in the rocks before holding a rope and going through the waterfall to a tiny cavern behind (about 2m x1m) before making our way up another ladder.
The journey back, however, was much better, i think mostly because we knew how much there was left to go. The candle´s must have been made to almost the perfect length, as by the end mine was melting about 1 cm from my hand! I´m really glad that I did the caving, and I would recomend any one to do it.
Needless to say, it was so nice to be out in the sunshine. We walked up the river for a bit and then ´tubed´back down past the caves (basically sat and floated in a big rubber tyre) which was really nice and relaxing in the sunshine. I saw Alex again which was wierd as he was staying at the hostel where we got out of the river. We then walked back up and got our cameras before going to the bridge to jump off it into the river. The jump was apparantly 10m (although I chickened out slightly and went from the level just under the road, rather than climbing up onto the suspension! Rusty did it properly though.. twice!!
Our next stop was the Semuc Champey National Park, which was a 5'minute walk away.
We returned to the youth hostel in time for a quick shower before our Guatemalan buffet, which was, as before pretty good. We had decided that we wanted to do a canopy tour, but after discovering that this was not running, we decided to leave for Antigua the next day. Although the reception had closed by this time, so we were told to just turn up with our stuff at 8am the next morning and just see!!