Blogs from Semuc Champey, Verapaz Region, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean


Here's what we got ourselves into so far out in the middle of nowhere...The beautiful, quiet, friendly Utopia eco-hostel set on a cacao farm only 3km from caves we could go exploring and the greenish blue pools of cool water at Semuc Champey that we could swim in. Our first thought upon arrival was that we could stay here a very long time. In fact, we were only booked in for 3 nights originally but we booked in for a 4th straight away. We thought we'd stay in the dorm but the opportunity to sleep in hammocks presented itself and we couldn't pass it up. Being set on a cacao farm was the perfect excuse to go on a chocolate tour which started out on the farm with a look and taste of the raw cacao ... read more
In the Caves...
Death Defying Jump

One of the last places I visited in Guatemala was just about right in the center of the country and far from everything - the limestone pools at Semuc Champey. This would have been a great place to have a waterproof camera... US$ ≈ 7.7 Guatemalan quetzales (Q) ≈ 13 Mexican pesos (M$) Cobán Like most travelers, I merely passed through Cobán on the way from Guate to Lanquín and had to spend the night after a late arrival. Not much to see in town but nice vibe and friendly people. Very different from Antigua where I had left in the morning. Accommodation and food First looked at Hotel Central as it was on the way from the Monja Blanca bus stop to the center. Q80 for a single but it was full. Then looked at ... read more
Limestone Pools From the Mirador
Río Cahabón

Wczoraj autobusem turystycznym dojechalem do Semuc Champey. Tym razem nie zdecydowalem sie na chicken busaze wzgledu na odleglosc i duza liczbe przesiadek. Droga z Antigua do Semuc Chempey zajmuje minimum 8 godzin (autobus turystyczny) i ostatnie 30-40 km jedzie sie jeepem szutrowa droga :-) Cala podroz jest bardzo meczaca. Zarowno ze wzgledu na jakosc drog jak i upal. Ale na koncu czeka raj, czyli Semuc Champey:-) Miejsce to so seria niezykle malowniczych kaskad i basenow z turkusowa woda, w ktorych, pomimo tego, ze jest to park narodowy, mozna sie kapac. Dosyc odlegla lokalizacja miejsca i ciezki dojazd sprawiaja, ze nie ma tutaj zbyt wielu turystow. Jadac do Semuc Champey mijamy miasto Coban, zalozone przez niemieckich kolonistow w czasach boomu na kawe i da sie tutaj wyczuc pruskiego ducha:-) Jest czysciej i architektura jakas taka znajoma. Na ... read more
Baseny w Semuc Champey
Jedno z kapielisk

As we were warily wading through the passages of a pitch black water-filled cave with a candle in hand, hearing the sounds of interior waterfalls and squeezing between rock formations, the thought crossed my mind that Indiana Jones is just a film, but this is the real thing. Deep in the jungles of Guatemala after a 15 hour journey over bumpy, rain-ruined roads, we had found ourselves in the village of Lanquin and exploring nearby Semuc Champey. We had been looking forward to visiting Guatemala to such an extent that it was often a little hard to appreciate the other places we were exploring. Now that we are here, I’ve realised that even the greatest expectations could not possibly lead to a sense of being underwhelmed in what must be Central America’s greatest jewel. Guatemala is ... read more
The natural rock bridge and swimming pools of Semuc Champey
Look at the colour of that water!
One of the better swimming spots in the world.

Today we did our first official tour, our guide started by pointing out plants along our walk, there was some pod he opened up and it was orange inside he shoved his finger in there and began to paint streaks on all our faces. He pointed out coffee, coco, and some interesting spices. We entered the park and hiked up a mountain for maybe 45 minutes, it was grueling and quite steep in places. As I grabbed the earth to climb up I envisioned mistakenly placing my hand on a snake or some poisonous creature. After all at breakfast there was a trantula although that seemed to be the least scary thing of the day. One of the locals picked it up and it even crawled on someone's chest. At the top there was a viewpoint ... read more

Well 12-12-12 was spent on a bus for a long time driving on some crazy roads to Semuc Champey. It rained heavily for the first time since we left the states. We had a lot of really cool people on the bus with us. I say bus but it was actually just a large van. There was a woman named Elaina from the states who had lived in Guatemala and spoke fluint Spanish so we had are own personal translator for a bit. She was traveling with 3 friends who were natives, they were a fun bunch. There were 4 others from the states and a guy from the UK and a young girl from Germany. We had no idea that we would arrive at Semuc Champey after dark and had no reservations anywhere. It was ... read more

What a day of adventure and how! We set the alarm for 6:15 a.m. for pick up from the hotel at 7:00 (the first alarm on this trip!). We had a boxed breakfast prepared for us the night before, so we were packed, supplied and on our way. The driver of the van also picked up another couple - - the French folk that were on our bus yesterday! Then on to Café D’Acuna for breakfast (included, but we did not know it when we commissioned the box breakfasts). It was very good food, however, we were left there for an hour and a half. Clay is a slow eater, but that was a bit much. Our patience wore thin because we were told nothing beforehand and we just sat, and sat, and sat. After pick ... read more

Our hostel, Zephyr Lodge, is beautifully located in the middle of a mountainous jungle. The views from everywhere are fantastic. We caught an 8:30am tour to Semuc Champey, which is Mayan for "water running under rocks." Semuc Champey is supposed to be one of the prettiest natural wonderlands in the world. It began with us all piling in the back of a truck for a bumpy, hour-long, standing ride. We arrived, left all our of stuff, received a candle, and headed for the bat caves. It was pitch-black without the light from our candle. We swam, climbed, and jumped through the tunnels of the cave. This is definitely one of the most amazing excursions I have ever done. After the caves, we headed to the rope swing and bridge jump. The rope swing was amazing. You ... read more
Zephyr Dorms
River Swing Jump
Bridge Jump

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 ... read more
The long and not so winding road
The 8th wonder of the world
Probably the best swimming pools in the world

I have a rule that I don’t leave a place until I have posted pics and blogged about it. I broke that rule about 10 days ago. You see, the day I headed to Semuc Champey, I was writing an infringement analysis process test that the engineers in India took today. I was on course to write 30 questions a day, when I left on the 7 hour jungle drive to Semuc from Antigua, Guatemala. Upon arrival at the El Portal Inn, at the entrance to Semuc, I learned that the hostel only had 4 hours of electricity per day. My computer batteries were dead from writing questions on the drive there, and there was no power on arrival, so I lost two days of work. You can’t bring your B game when you work with ... read more
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