Beautiful Semuc

Semuc Champey Travel Blog

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The natural pools - nature at her finest

There are a few places on the Gringo Trail that are mentionned time and time again.  Semuc Champey is one such place.  Now you won't hearabout it in brochures or hear about it when people discuss Tikal, but along the "trail" it's status is clear.  Miss it and miss out.  I was one such person who had heard the whispers but had no idea what to expect or really what the place was.  That was until I picked up the trail in Guate and learnt about the natural pools. 

As always there was a bus journeyt to endure.  This was a 12 hour shuttle bus ride, not only with my knees under my chin but also with a gaggle (14 to be exact) American peace core workers who frankly gave me no peace and illicited a less than peacful reaction in me.  It was arduous on many fronts.

  Fortunately there was a lovely Israeli couple on the bus, Arnon and Hagar, who shared my pain, rolled their eyes with me and also silently prayed that the bus would break down and we'd have to part ways.  No such luck.  All was redeemed when we pulled into Lanquin, a town a few KM from the natural pools.  For around 500 quetzals we could organise a full day tour to the pools the following day. Arnon, Hagar and I signed up and crawled into our lovely huts in the forest resort of El Retiro.  Peace at last.

The day at the pools was incredible.  The sun shone brightly, the sky was a brilliant blue and the group was eager for adventure.  We set off in the back of the truck winding along the narrow roads from the town to the pools.

Sturdy footwear for caving
  It was a bumpy ride where the well practiced locals barley budged whilst we bumped, stumbled and fell about the place clinging on for dear life.  We finally arrived at the pools and Elvis (yep another Elvis, apparently he splits his time between Guate and Peru these days) our guide took us through.  The walkways were beautiful forested paths and the views of the azul pools took my breathe away.  Nature has worked her wonders here.  From the mirador heights we worked down to the pools and then you had to tombstone from pool to pool.  Not my favourite past time it has to be said.  The photos go some way to show the majesty of the place but you have to see it with your own eyes.

After an hour of relaxing in the pools we took on our next adventure, caving!  With hardy footwear (!) that only a Central American country could get away with we ventured into the caves.

Not for the faint hearted
 With our hardy torches (aka candles) in hand we spent the next hour wading through the water, swimming when possible, squeezin through gaps swerving rocks and boulders and eventually came to a large open cave where the guys could tombstone from great heights to their hearts content.  I watched from a safe distance!

The last adventure was swing jumping into the lake (when I say jump, JUMP! Don't come back!) to float down the river tubing.  I could become accostomed to this!  The boys threw themselves off the bridges over 6ft high and Elvis dove.  I stuck to the wing jump.

Exhausting day but it wasn't complete yet.  Lanquin is famous for one other thing and when the sun sets there is only one place to be.  Deh neh neh neh neh Deh neh neh neh neh BAT CAVE! Lanquin's bats migrate daily from the depths of the caves to the wide open night sky and are so famous and sought after by tourists that the local council built a walkway and bridge and viewing platform to view this spectacular migration.  I personally prefer  the penguin migration in Melbourne but hell you've got to check these things out!

Tomorrow to Flores and the final stop in Guatemala for me.  Tikal beckons.

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The natural pools - nature at her …
The natural pools - nature at her…
Sturdy footwear for caving
Sturdy footwear for caving
Not for the faint hearted
Not for the faint hearted
Beautiful old temples on route to …
Beautiful old temples on route to…
Holy Cow Batman - The Lanquin Bat …
Holy Cow Batman - The Lanquin Bat…
Semuc Champey Hotels & Accommodations review
Beautiful wooden huts set in the forest. Good food, good showers and comfy beds.
Semuc Champey
photo by: jlchatham