Semuc Champey – a strange name but an amazing place.  We  picked this place out of the Lonely Planet, cited as unmissable and one of Guatemala´s gems.  They weren´t wrong! 

Pools at Semuc Champey, taken from the Mirador (look out point)

 

 

 

After Tikal, we overnighted in Flores to recover from those early starts.   The hostel Los Amigos was the perfect place – crushed ice lemonades and great food helped with the recovery!  We took a shuttle to Lanquin on the 23rd, along with 3 Aussies Dave, Joe & Katie, who were also heading to Semuc.  The Packed like Sardinesjourney took all day, but was pleasant enough.  Our driver was not as crazy as some of the madmen behind the wheels of minibuses on the roads, but our stomachs nearly left us many times en route.  We were dropped off at Lanquin, after hours of hairpins bends and amazing mountain scenery.   Our final 10K was covered in the back of a truck (a first for me, Jane) over bumpy ground.  We stayed at Hostal La Portal – all they had left was tents but that suited fine. 

 Beat that camp spot! Camp Spot at Semuc

Early the next morning we saw our surroundings for the first time – forested mountains leading down to a river, so beautiful.  We went to see some caves in the morning – a classic example of a tour that would never happen in the developed world!  We swam accross the river to join the tour.  We were all given a candle to light our way, and descended into the dark cave – or rather underground river!  For the next 2 hours we sloshed and swam through caves, climbed ropes and ladders, and climbed  a rockface to jump 15 feet into a cave pool!  We sampled total darkness in the deep recesses of the cave, and were then hurried back out the way we came before our candles burned out!  Indiana Jones eat your heart out.  Some travellers had the option of floating back to their hostel in inner tubes on the river.

The Timotei Shot at Semuc Champey

We spent the afternoon at the Semuc Champey National Park site.  On the way up we were accosted by cute local girls selling locally made chocolate for 5 quetzals (about 50 cent).  it tasted of woodfire and something strangely grainy.  Semuc Champey took our breath away – it is a series of natural pools, each a brilliant shade of aquamarine green – leading down to a waterfall.  In fact the bulk of the water roars underneath the pools through a tunnel (no kayakers here!), and  the remaining water flows gently through the pools, creating beautiful warm swimming environment.  The photos hardly do justice.  We liked this place so much we spent the entire of the next day here too before  heading back to Coban. 

 Trying to keep afloat for the photo!

Cocoa Fruit excitement

 

 

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