Relaxing in Lanquin & Our Day Trip to the Stunning Semuc Champey

Lanquin Travel Blog

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In the shuttle on our way to Lanquin.

Well... after another full day in a shuttle from Antigua, we arrived quite late in the stunningly beautiful Lanquin.  To get to the hostel - El Retiro Lodge we drove along bumpy, windy, dirt roads... and it was worth it.  The lodge was situated on the hill side next to the river, with amazing views where ever you looked.  Their dorm rooms where wooden cabins, with showers and loos outside on the hills - you really felt like you were one with nature here... without actually camping, although you could camp if you wanted to.

We spent our first full day in Lanquin just relaxing and taking in the tranquility.

Food glorious food!
.. slept in, read our books and just did not very much at all - bliss!  Both that night and the previous... actually, in fact... every night... they had a differently themed buffet dinner... food food glorious food!  My favourite was the pasta n pizza night, which was our third dinner there... heaven on a plate I promise you!

The following day we went on our tour to Semuc Champey... this included caving, tubing and hiking up to and swimming in rockpools... an epic day... worth all the pain, sweat and fear!  The night before we organised a packed lunch for the tour via the hostel, which we picked up in the morning.  While we were waiting for our tour pick up Al left his lunch on the table, as we were using the internet.

Me, Al and Maree on the back of the bakkie.
  I happened to look over my shoulder and saw one of the hostel´s cats eating something... yip... Al´s sandwhich!  His sandwhich had tuna on it... what kitty wouldn´t go on the attack for a sandwhich like that... lol.  Shame... poor Al grabbed it back and tore off the spitty cat section.  Amazingly there was a guy sitting there who just watched the whole cat attack and made no attempt to save Al´s sarnie... people never cease to amaze me.

When our pick up arrived, it was just that... a pick-up truck... also known to us Saffa´s a bakkie... we climbed in to the back and stood the whole way with wind whipping through our hair and branches from trees narrowly missing our heads. 

On arriving at the caves we all stripped down to our swimming costumes - as the caves are partially submerged and we were informed that we would have to swim at some points.

The mouth of the cave.
  Those who had waterproof head torches put them on, the rest of us were given candles to hold... and yes... we swam holding candles... a definite challenge is trying to do breast stroke with only one arm, you sort of end up doing doggie paddle instead.  But first we had to walk up to the cave, which involved climbing rickety make shift stairs up the front of the mountain (not sure if it was a mountain, but I´ll go with that).  I happened to be at the front so was in fact the first in to the freezing cold water of the cave which surprisingly came up to my middle in the first instance.  Brrrr.

We walked and swam through the caves in single file holding our candles, following the guide.  We went behind a waterfall and on the return to the mouth of the cave we had the option of jumping off a small ledge in to the pool of water below.

Jules on the river in a tube.
  I should add it was dark and you couldn´t really see where you were jumping, or more acurately... sliding off the edge of the ledge.  Anyway, the chicken in me wanted to go down the ladder, but the crazy in me said "you can dooo iiiitttt" and I did... swollowed a whole lot of water in the process!

Once out of the cave we made our way down to the river, collecting large tire tubes on the way... for a spot of tubing in the rain.  The weather was pretty awful - cloudy, grey, cool and rainy.  I wasn´t sure what to expect as I´d never been tubing before.  Our guide decided that we should start off in snake formation i.e. you hook the feet of the person behind you under your arms so that you are linked.  I think this would have worked better if there weren´t so many of us, because a lot of the guys at the end did not put their arms in to it and just drifted along.

Semuc Champey from the view point.
  Once we were through the mini rapids we split up and i must say going solo was way more fun!  We went quite a way down the river and thankfully got a ride back up to the starting point, where we stopped to eat our packed lunches.

From here we piled back in to the bakkie to get to the park in order to hike to the rockpools of Semuc Champey.  We first hiked up to the look out point which had the most amazing views of the rockpools.  It was not easy getting up there - we climbed up more rickety stairs and natural stairs i.e. rocks and vines and tree roots with lots and lots of mud.  The views were worth all the huffing and puffing. 

After taking in the breathtaking views we hiked down to the rockpools, starting with were the river meets the pools - noisy rushing water where apparently people have died before by getting too close to the edge and falling over.

Semuc Champey - where the river meets the rockpools - Al, Maree and me.
  You would never find them alive as they would be mashed up against the rocks.

The rockpools were very mossy and slippery, so of course I kept slipping and sliding all over the place.  Once at the first rockpool Maree and Al jumped in... me being not quite as brave... slipped and slid over the moss in to water´s edge.  We swam around for a while in the first one, then moved on to the second rockpool, which I did actually jump in to... although it was only about a one meter jump.  From here Al and Jules decided to go and do this massive jump by the next waterfall.  Maree and me decided against this, but did follow them to the next rockpool before turning back.

It truely was a great day, which we ended with the pizza n pasta buffet dinner and quite a few rum and cokes... this made for sore heads the next day... made worse by the fact we were getting a shuttle to Flores.

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In the shuttle on our way to Lanqu…
In the shuttle on our way to Lanq…
Food glorious food!
Food glorious food!
Me, Al and Maree on the back of th…
Me, Al and Maree on the back of t…
The mouth of the cave.
The mouth of the cave.
Jules on the river in a tube.
Jules on the river in a tube.
Semuc Champey from the view point.
Semuc Champey from the view point.
Semuc Champey - where the river me…
Semuc Champey - where the river m…
On route to Lanquin - stunning cou…
On route to Lanquin - stunning co…
On route to Lanquin - stunning cou…
On route to Lanquin - stunning co…
A local Guatemalan man carrying co…
A local Guatemalan man carrying c…
The El Retiro Lodge.
The El Retiro Lodge.
Views around El Retiro Lodge.
Views around El Retiro Lodge.
Views around El Retiro Lodge.
Views around El Retiro Lodge.
Views around the El Retiro Lodge.
Views around the El Retiro Lodge.
Chickens!
Chickens!
I really loved the colour of this …
I really loved the colour of this…
The dorm room at El Retiro Lodge.
The dorm room at El Retiro Lodge.
A private room at El Retiro Lodge.
A private room at El Retiro Lodge.
The loos at El Retiro Lodge.
The loos at El Retiro Lodge.
The showers at El Retiro Lodge.
The showers at El Retiro Lodge.
The dinning area at El Retiro Lodg…
The dinning area at El Retiro Lod…
The bar at El Retiro Lodge.
The bar at El Retiro Lodge.
At the bar, sitting on swings - Al…
At the bar, sitting on swings - A…
Maree and me sitting on the swings…
Maree and me sitting on the swing…
The bridge by the caves... apparen…
The bridge by the caves... appare…
Walking along to the cave.
Walking along to the cave.
Walking along to the cave.
Walking along to the cave.
Walking to the caves.
Walking to the caves.
A waterfall on the way to the cave…
A waterfall on the way to the cav…
The river running near by the cave…
The river running near by the cav…
Me freezing after tubing.
Me freezing after tubing.
Tubing down the river - the other …
Tubing down the river - the other…
Heading up to the view point.
Heading up to the view point.
Jules, me, Maree and Al at the vie…
Jules, me, Maree and Al at the vi…
Semuc Champey from the view point.
Semuc Champey from the view point.
Semuc Champey from the view point.
Semuc Champey from the view point.
Semuc Champey from the view point.
Semuc Champey from the view point.
Me at the view point.
Me at the view point.
Where the river meets the rockpool…
Where the river meets the rockpoo…
Some of the group standing near wh…
Some of the group standing near w…
Semuc Champey
Semuc Champey
Me standing by the danger zone.
Me standing by the "danger zone".
Looking out over the rockpools.
Looking out over the rockpools.
Down at the rockpools.
Down at the rockpools.
Me swimming in the rockpools.
Me swimming in the rockpools.
Me and some of the others swimming.
Me and some of the others swimming.
Girly running back to Maree.
Girly running back to Maree.
Maree and me standing on the edge …
Maree and me standing on the edge…
Juls and Al swimming in the rockpo…
Juls and Al swimming in the rockp…
Heading back to Lanquin.
Heading back to Lanquin.
On the back of the bakkie.
On the back of the bakkie.
Rum and Cokes.
Rum and Cokes.
Food... glorious food!
Food... glorious food!
Nom nom nom. :)
Nom nom nom. :)
Eat pizza!
Eat pizza!
Lanquin
photo by: siri