Rise and fall of the Mayans

Published: July 10th 2012
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Samuc Champey! This town well exceeded my expectations. It was a bit difficult to get to, specially driving there at night in a middle of a storm, so instead I spent the first night in Lanquin which is about 10km away. I took the first shuttle in the morning to Samuc Champey and stayed at a place called El Portal Hostel. This place was literally in the middle of nowhere, in order to get there I had to ride in the back of a pickup truck for about 45minutes through dense jungle and mountain trails on a dirt road. Once there, I signed up for the Samuc Champey tour which consisted of a decent hike to get a panoramic view of the 16 famous turquoise pools, then hiking back down and swimming in them, followed by cave expeditions via candlelight, and finally tubing down the river. The view from the mountain was absolutely magnificent. Samuc Champey consists of a 300 meter limestone bridge over the river where the river water goes under the lime stone and clean natural spring water flows over the limestone creating 16 calm pools that you can swim in. The caves were my favorite part of Samuc Champey. We were given candles and told to strip down to our bathing suits. We then hiked up along side a waterfall and entered the mountain through the waterfall's opening. The cave was dark wet and filled with bats. As we went deeper into the mountain the water level got higher and higher and eventually we were holding the candle with one hand over our heads and swimming through the cave. At one point we had to cross this massive waterfall inside of the mountain using a rope swing to get to the other side. At this point our candles were out and we had to do this in almost pitch black (one guy had a head lamp). After this our guide told us to jump off a rock in a pool of pure darkness (still inside the cave). About an hour later we eventually swam out of the cave and went tubing down the river. Back at the hostel I met up with an Italian and Canadian traveler who had similar traveling plans so we all decided to head to Flores in the morning. Flores is a tiny island town used as a port for travelers going to Tikal (Mayan ruins). We woke up at 4am this morning and took the shuttle over to Tikal to avoid all the tourists that show up later in the day. These ruins where quite impressive and massive. Since we were pretty much the only people there in the moring, we climed up most of the pyramids. We are now back in Flores to explore the city for a bit, we leave for Belize tomorrow at 5am!

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31st December 2012

Awesome pics! Samuc Champey looks like a destination I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing :)

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