A Stoddart in South America

Semuc Champey: paradise in the jungle

This weekend I ventured out on my first trip since arriving in Guatemala. Destination: Semuc Champey. It is a natural monument consisting of a 300m limestone bridge, under which the Cahabón River flows and on top of which seven stepped turquoise pools can be found. This is what I was going for! The whole site is in the jungle, somewhere in the middle of nowhere and as I found out, quite difficult to get to.

So off I went on Friday morning, skipping my last Spanish lesson to get the 8am minibus to Lanquin. The closest form of civilisation. Once again in an overfill minibus. Once we got past the chaos that is Guatemala City the views became more rural and we headed up into the hills. During the lunch stop I decided to Google the hostel to get an idea of what I could expect. To my horror I found out that not only did the hostel not have wifi (not really a problem after 2.5 weeks in Cuba, but still), it didn't have hot water and only had electricity between 6-10pm! Reading through reviews it was also mentioned taut some of the rooms were open and therefore had lots of bugs, creepy crawlers and mosquitoes! I was ready to turn back and head for my nice comfy house in Antigua, but I'd come that far... So I continued with a heavy heart. The journey should have taken 8 hours. It took 10. And then we were only at Lanquin. The hostel I was staying in was another 45 minutes, standing up in the back of a caged pick up truck, driving on a dirt track with lots of potholes, plenty of stones and lots of ups and downs. A great workout! In the pickup I met a Dutch guy, an American girl, an Italian girl and 2 Italian guys. Who ends up being my roommates for the weekend (with the exception of the Italian guys). By the time we made it to the hostel it was pitch black! I had no idea where we were... All I could make out was the dark outlines of trees and maybe the occasional human. After a pretty restless night being kept awake by the loud cricket chirping, I woke and opened the pieces of material acting as curtains to see the view. And what a view it was! The hostel was literally on the river! The restaurant terrace was even overhanging the river. It was amazing! We had a few hours before the tour started so the four of us enjoyed a peaceful breakfast, overlooking the river. After breakfast we were given some more information about the days activities. Much to my disappointment, we had to hike for 1 hour, over a mountain to get to the turquoise pools. After last weekend I swore I would never hike again, but here I was one week later going on another hike! And it was difficult. Again, I almost thought I wouldn't make it. But thanks to the American for making me laugh historically all the way and the Dutchy for saying we were almost there alot (most of which was a lie!) and offering to carry my backpack, I made it to the top. And to the viewpoint. And wow! It was breathtaking! The water was clear, crystal turquoise, flowering between the different pools and all set in the middle of nothingness! I couldn't wait to get down there and dive in! The only thing separating me from the crystal waters? A 20ish minute decent and then we were locking up our belongings and jumping in. The water was refreshingly cool and so clear! So welcome after the hike. This was definitely the highlight of the weekend. We swam and floated lazily around all seven pools, before returning for lunch. Other activities included going into a cave system. With only a candle to light the way. This got interesting in the parts where we had to swim. Without letting the candle go out or get wet. I went barefoot (which in hindsight was a mistake) and I'm sure I broke 4 toes, have numerous bruises and one pretty painful cut on my foot, thanks to not being able to see the submerged (sharp!) rocks. The afternoon ended anticlimactically with tubing down the river. Which was basically just sitting in an inflatable ring for 30 minutes, trying to avoid the odd rock. A bit like the lazy river at Wet 'n Wild. Saturday night was spent playing cards with the (ever expanding) group and drinking cocktails in the happy hour.

Sunday was travelling back. This time the journey only took 7 hours because our driver was a loonatic, tailgater that either had a hot date in Antigua or he was just tired of living...

And what better way to end a weekend like this? Playing darts at the local British pub, whilst drinking their home-brewed cider with your new found friends... Perfect!




Perfect you co quered a lot of fears and saw paradise


Sounds like a pretty amazing weekend! Definitely not jealous at all. At all.


I see that you are having a great time! And the more hikes you'll do, the easiest it will become! ;-)

{{ reactie.poster_name }}


Laat een reactie achter!

De volgende fout is opgetreden
  • {{ error }}
{{ reactieForm.errorMessage }}
Je reactie is opgeslagen!