Semuc Champey

Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
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Trip End Jan 16, 2013


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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Thursday, December 27, 2012

Semuc Champey is quickly becoming a popular destination for travellers. I only heard about it through word of mouth, which is how I prefer to travel really.

Semuc Champey is a natural monument near the small town of Lanquin in central Guatemala.
Lanquin itself is pretty basic, there is no ATM and most places do not except card. There is a bank that will exchange Dollars and Travellers cheques though.
The place to stay was apparently Zephyr lodge and because it was approaching New Year I thought it would be best to book ahead again.

 Zephyr lodge has some amazing views of the surrounding valley. It also has showers that look out on to the valley with no windows. Certainly made showering a lot more interesting :-)

The lodge also organises tours to Semuc Champey. It is possible to organise this yourself for a bit less but the tour is a great way to meet and get to know new people. As I was on my own I chose the latter option.
We left at 8:30 the following morning in the back of truck. This was an interesting experience itself.  


 There were quite a few of us and it was quite a windy road. The scenery was stunning though.
When we arrived at the park entrance we went straight into a cave having left everything we had except for swimming gear and a candle.



 

After the cave we went to do a swing jump. Again im pretty sure this wouldn't have been allowed in Europe because the first section of water you swing over is a series of rocks so you have to time your jump perfectly to avoid hitting them. If you were to have any hesitations then the chances of you landing badly or on rocks was quite likely! Certainly made it all the more fun, haha. I'd like to point out that no one was hurt during the tour. I did a number of jumps, one with a borrowed GoPro chest harness and my GoPro because i thought it would be interesting to see what it be like. I did the jump and when I surfaced I went to stop the recording only to find that my GoPro had come off! I couldn't believe it! I shouted for some help and luckily loads of guys jumped in to help me find it. Luck was on my side as an Aussie guy found it for me. I have uploaded the video of me doing the jump for everyone to watch.

I would have been pretty gutted if I lost it!


 
 
 Next we went to the bridge that spanned the river to go jump off that as well. There were these local kids that were just hanging out on the bridge with us. Two of them were very comfortable relaxing on one of the support cables bearing in mind we were a good 15m above the water below! 


 







 


 
Once that was done we entered the Semuc Champey park and hike for about 25 minutes in the jungle to a view point. It was pretty hot and humid that day but my good was it worth it. The view was absolutely stunning.
The pools are above a very fast flowing river and are created by the rain water running off the hills. After a well deserved rest we headed down to the pools to go check them out and swim in them.
 
The journey back to the lodge was pretty cool as the sun was beginning to set and was casting some great colours through the valley. It was slightly marred when half way through the journey we were attacked by something. To begin with no one knew what it was except for the fact it bloody hurt. One side of the truck were hopping up and down in pain. We stopped fairly quickly as the driver had been stung as well. Turns out it was a swarm of bees that had hit the left side of truck. They were nasty little buggers that left quite a painful sting. I got stung on my head! A few people got hit around their face so I considered myself fairly lucky. The driver thought it might have been some kids antagonising their nest just as we were going past. Maybe we should have bought some of their 5Q chocolate after all! lol.
 
I spent one extra day in Lanquin to explore the small town and get out of the hostel. I found this local restaurant up the road that served very and good very cheap meals. Dinner cost be 30Q which is less than 2.50! My kind of place :-)

In the evening a group of us went to the Lanquin caves. We had heard to could witness the bats coming out at sunset. We arrivied at about 4:30 and took a tour into the cave. I was pretty slippery but an interesting tour. When we came out we still had another hour before the sunset and it was dark enough for the bats to emerge so we went for a swim in the river that emerged from the cave.
At 6pm we when headed back to the entrance of the cave to sit and wait for the bats to fly out. 20 minutes they did, and they came out in their thousands! The whole event went on for about 20 minutes and it seemed like it would never stop. I think i got shat on during the spectacle but one out of thousands I thought was pretty good. We had to sit for most of the event in the dark because our torches and lights were confusing them a little. I did manage to capture a few of them passing over me though. It was an amazing experience
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