Published: May 6th 2012April 18th 2012
We seem to have made use of most forms of transport recently
We found the caves between Tikal and Guatamala City!So as I said in my previous blog we found a great guy called Jimmy in Flores who advised us on a much more interesting passage through his country so we could see some more best bits... This started with a mammoth 10 hour journey through what I can only describe as the most beautiful lush scenery we've seen. It's a bit like a grand prix circuit with hills mind, and has rally drivers to match, so we were all very glad when we arrived at Coban for what we thought was a short transfer to our hostel..... Oh no! Two hours more on what can only be described as dirt tracks for the main, and we arrived feeling more than just a little bit sick... We'd arrived at Lanquin and still weren't there... Here we transferred into the 4x4 equivalent.... A van with open back for the 6 of us to stand in with our luggage, to bump down the 11k passage down to El Portal Eco Hostel at the entrance to Semuc Champey.
We'd already spent a good 9
hours on the bus with one of the couples, Alex and Kayla and had now been joined by Marco and Mikala, two dive instructors who had spent the last two years in Thailand, moved to take up jobs in Utila (Honduras) and quickly realised it wasn't gonna work so joined us travellers. They were all great and I think Mikala has pretty much made my mind up on doing my divemasters.....
The view from our standing position at the back of this truck of the valley as we descended, I honestly don't think can be beaten, mainly because all of this trip was like an adventure into the unknown and so far despite the long journey we'd been wowed every step of the way and this was about to continue!
Unfortunately they were fully booked in private rooms with shared bathrooms and that's what Jimmy had agreed as a Brucie bonus for us, so we were upgraded to a private room with en suite and 4 beds in case we fell out!!!
Time for beers and tea and again another surprise....Salsa Dancing... Or at least we could watch the salsa dancing of Tico, one of the employees and a group
The 8th wonder of the world
You can see why Guatemalans think so
who had been staying there. Certainly kept us well entertained as did the company of some great people but after our journeys to get there and after seeing the Agenda for our day of activities the next day, which looked like an agenda for one of my typical days at work.... We all snuck off to bed before the electricity was switched off at 10pm sharp!
Now we love nature as you know but Cockerels!!!!! Need I say more......
Hence not quite as long a lie in as we would have liked but once we opened the door and saw the mist over the valley and smelt the pancakes and coffee we were glad we were up.....ready for our monstrous day of 'fun stuff'..... Here's the Agenda so you can feel the anticipation
10am Leave hostel for days activities
10.05am enter Semuc Champey
10.10am trek vertical climb to mirador 400 metres, rating difficult!
11am 15 minutes to take photos
11.15am trek down to rio Cahabin
11.30am swimming in pools
1pm walk back to hostel and order lunch
1.15pm river tubing
1.45pm bridge jump
2.45pm trek to Grutas K Anba caves
5pm return to hostel
Are you exhausted yet!!!!
Well at 10am as we were finishing brushing our teeth the whistle blew, literally and we were off!!!!
The trek up to the look out certainly got your heart racing but wow was it worth it. This place has been called the 8th wonder of the world and you can certainly see why. It is breathtaking .... The river is immense and certainly grade 5 rapid material, yet it almost disappears beneath the ground and instead on top are the most exquisite turquoise pools that you can just chill out in, swim in, jump and dive into, have your feet eaten by little fish (like you'd pay £20 for 20 mins for in London) and even some mini caves you can swim in.... And that's exactly what we all did after the sweaty trek up and down where we caught a howler monkey just checking us out and some deadly furry huge catapiller, crossing the path. What a place!
After we'd walked back and ordered lunch we did the tubing, which was such a laugh.... You trek down in your bikini and flip flops, which you
turn into hand paddles when you get down to the river and once you've settled yourself in the huge rubber ring, squealed at the temperature of the river and been pushed out into the current you start using your flip flops to row with for want of a better description .. ... It's really fun! Especially if you don't think too hard about the fact there could be crocs in the river!!!
Next we trekked back up river to 'the bridge' for you know what!!! Surprisingly Jon wasn't first off but he did go... The jump itself isn't that bad its getting yourself out of that current quick, or you'd end up god knows how far down stream, that is the tough bit... Not to mention the climb back up the bank, which no one did too well with!!!
After lunch it was time for the caving! Now for me this was probably a bit like horse riding... I love the idea but have an anaphylactic shock if I so much as touch them and even running past them makes me wheezy.... So for someone who hates confined spaces and who hates surprises, especially of the scary kind.... Why was
This is the life
chilling out and taking in the beautiful scenery
it not until I was well inside the caves, had fallen over a few times, stubbed my toes countless times and worked myself up into a state of dread at having to do a 2 meter drop into the unknown with a waterfall gushing over you and pushing you down.... Oh and have I forgot to mention all by candle light!!!! So I'm glad I did it but not sure there will be a rerun!!! Jon did another jump with our crazy new comrades Mikala (who usually went first), and Marco, in the pitch black into a pool surrounded by rocks that can't have been more than 3 meters in diameter!
So after all that it was back for a good rinse and hearty tea followed by more great conversations and plenty of beers and rum!
What a place, we even think it maybe one of our top ones.... Everything about these two days have been special, from the great people who we got to know at the great hostel which only has electricity for 4 hours a day, stay here nowhere else will do! To the 8th wonder of the world......
Candles at the ready
candles and water, we weren´t sure they were the best mix
Jimmy we owe you one.....
A lot better than a night bus to Guatemala City!!!!!
There are more photos below