So, after our night staying in a spider infested cabin in Lanquin, we set out to do what we’d come for. Visit the naturally occurring springs of Semuc Champey, formed by intense tectonic movement millennia ago.
At 8am in the morning we set off from our Hostel. As is customary in Lanquin, we got there in the back of a pick-up truck. The journey took around an hour and was roughly 10km long, which tells you a lot about the state of the roads.
On the way we picked up a French girl, who for the purpose of this blog shall be called ‘Tristesse’. When we arrived the pick-up dropped us off at the entrance and we walked over a large suspension bridge into the park. We were immediately set upon by a large group of adorable kids.
They tried as hard as they could to sell us chocolate and all sorts of trinkets, however we resisted, (I am a Yorkshireman after all). According to the locals, these children sell chocolate to tourists instead of going to school. So beware, if you buy chocolate from them, you’re encouraging truancy.
Our guide, ‘Kiki’ was a Guatemalan man with a love for London. Bedecked in his 2012 Chelsea top he shouted ‘lovely-jubbly’ in a pseudo Cockney accent at every possible moment. Kiki worked at our hostel (Vista Verde) and was a fantastic guide. Nice, approachable and knowledgeable, he even helped us with our shuttle the following day.
Firstly, he took the three of us (me, Aoife & Tristesse) into the caves to the side of the lake. If you’ve ever been caving at home before, then it’s very similar, apart from the lack of lights, helmets, clothes and regard to safety!
Once in, Kiki scraped some bat poo from the roof of the cave and drew tribal war paint on our faces. Aoife was a cat, I was a panda and Tristesse was an American Footballer…
When the tribal ritual was over we made our way through the caves, over rocky hills and down narrow ravines, until we arrived at the waterfall. Kiki led us by candlelight through a wide pool to the 15 foot waterfall.
The previous day there had been an almighty downpour, making the flow of water fierce. Normally you would climb the waterfall and jump off from the other side, unfortunately we weren’t able to do that. Instead we had to walk underneath it, which was exhilarating and breath-taking all at once.
Then we made our way back out again and on to the ‘Mirador’ which is a large viewing point at the top of a nearby mountain. From here you can look down onto the rock formations of Semuc Champey and get a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
The ascent isn’t too difficult, but it’s incredibly steep at parts and there isn’t much by the way of railings or steps. It can take between 45-60 minutes, but once at the top, it’s worth it. The view, as you can see below, is utterly brilliant.
At the bottom, we were given two hours to explore these amazing rock pools and have a well-earned swim. Again, because of the heavy rainfall, the water wasn’t its usual self. Normally it’s a shimmering, clear blue colour but when we went it was murky and green, which wasn’t ideal. Still, it didn’t take away from the experience and we had a great time.
To get between the pools you have to climb down a rocky, wet slope, which is somewhat tricky. The highlight of the day for me, was watching Aoife trying to do this on her backside. Held up by a dithering woman in front of her, Aoife lost her grip and slid 10 foot down the slippery rocks, stopping herself just before she reached the water. It was hilarious, and would have only been made better if she’d plunged in at the end.
After that we hopped back into the pick-up truck and returned back to the hostel, where we met a crazy, but hilarious Polish man by the name of Robert. Tequila, rum and beer was had by all and the next morning, instead of feeling tired from our exploits in Semuc Champey, we felt horrifically hungover.
Anyway, it was fun and we’re so glad that we met Robert and his lovely wife Dorotea. However, the next time we meet them, we might just stick to soft drinks! Below, is a quick list of the prices that we paid for our trip to Semuc Champey.
Trip – Including transfer, entrance and guide
£10 P/P with Vista Verde Hostel