Published: January 23rd 2007January 22nd 2007
Pickup view - Lanquin
View from pickup truck on way from Lanquin to Semuc Champey
It is Monday of the second week of spanish and day #10 in Guatemala. Can´t believe it is already the second week of the trip- in some ways it feels like I just got here and in some ways, seems like I have been gone for so long. I decided to stay in Antigua for one more week with my school and the homestay family. Even though Antigua is quite touristy and I am able to speak a lot of English with the many other travelers here... it is also easy, safe, and a good jumping point for weekend adventures.
This past weekend went on a group trip to Lanquin and Semuc Champey which is in the middle of Guatemala- near Coban. Booked the trip with a fellow student at the Ixchel Spanish School on Thursday afternoon. Michele and I met during our trip to Vocan Pacaya last week and decided we should check out Semuc Champey. This area comes highly recommended by the Swiss student who was at my homestay- so I thought, why not?
It turned out to be a fabulous weekend. There were 13 of us in total on the trip (all from different schools) and
Pickup view - Lanquin 2
Pick up truck- bumpy ride, but great views
we meshed unusually well. We were from the US, Canada, Germany, Holland, and England. The downside was speaking English the entire weekend with the other students- but the upside was meeting an amazing bunch of people. Our guides, Jose and Ricardo were great- but you never knew what was around the corner. We drove most of Friday to get to Lanquin (6 hours on some pretty bumpy roads). Up early Saturday morning for a typical breakfast at the hotel and then off it was in the back of a pickup truck to get to Semuc Champey. The drive was definitely a highlight of the trip!
Once arriving at the park, we hiked up to the mirador overlooking Semuc Champey, which is a natural limestone bridge. The Rio Cohabon flows under the natural bridge, and on top are these amazing crystal clear pools of water- great for swimming and taking in the sun. Jose and Ricardo brought a rope and lasso to help us climb our way down a waterfall- although they kept telling us that it would be ¡muy tranquilo! I felt like I was on Survivor- Guatemala. Once getting down the waterfall with the rope- we could see
Ariel view from mirador at top of hike... then you hike down and get to swim in those pools...Que bueno!
where the river was rushing out from the caves. The only thing I can liken it to is a Disney attraction where they attempt to recreate a natural environment- well this was the real thing. Truly amazing. After climbing back up the waterfall (all in a bikini, mind you) we swam back through the pools of water for lunch and relaxation. It was a wonderful afternoon.
BUT- there was another adventure on the agenda! Next we headed to these caves where the entire group proceeded to follow Jose through the cave while holding a candle in one hand and treading water with the other arm! After wading through the water in the cave, we made it to a small ladder where you could climb up (candle still in one hand!) and make your way through more caves and more ladders until we reach a waterfall. WOW! It was quite the experience and really tested my fear threshold. I passed.
Not done yet! Next we tubed down the river, back to the pickup for the ride back to Lanquin while the sun sets in the distance. We ended the day at the El Retiro hotel which I would recommend
Semuc Champey waterfall
Can you see the waterfall in the back and the people climbing down it? not really, but anyways, I did that!
to anyone who can make it to Lanquin. What a great little oasis with the best buffet style dinner I have had on the trip so far.
All in all, a great weekend with great people that I hope to stay in touch with.
There are more photos below