Guatemala’s Gem – Semuc Champey

It took an eleven hour bus from Flores, and a further bumpy ride in the back of a pick up truck to get here. But it was so so worth it!

The second stop in Guatemala was the famous Semuc Champey limestone pools. We stayed in the nearby town of Lanquin to get to this beautiful natural wonder during the day. Let me say this place does not know tourism very well.

But that was the best part about it, the only way to the pools was to commission a local to give you a ride on the back of their truck. Where we hung on to metal bars during the 45 minute ride up and down the mountain. It was one of those moments where I asked myself, ‘what the heck am I doing?!’


We stayed at the hostel ‘El Retiro’ and had a private room and bathroom. It was cheap for what we got, it was more of a hotel but with a hostel price. The best part was it was right on the river and they had a full buffet dinner every night, with free seconds and thirds! It also had a sauna and they had dug out a part of the river into a sort of pool. Definitely recommended!

Two days in Semuc Champey

Day 1

After arriving super late the previous night, we spent the first day sitting riverside in our hostel with new friends. We played pool, planned the next leg of the trip, drank coffee and chatted away taking in the stunning natural surroundings.

By the afternoon we thought we should do something and we grabbed some tubes from the hotel and floated down the river. This is a highly underrated activity! The river itself was so pretty and it was so relaxing floating down slowly taking it all in. I’ll admit I ended up with a big black bruise on my butt once we hit the rapids and rocks though 😆

We did the tubing twice then jumped into the sauna, which used a real fire out the back to heat it. We downed a few Cuba Libres and jumped in the pool, all in sequence, over and over 🍻

Day 2

Day two was the main event. After we survived the trip to the pools, we climbed up the the lookout point to see the pools from the birds eye. After a month of doing a lot of drinking and sunbathing, the hike came as an embarrassing shock to the system! We were all in the same boat though.

The views were 100% worth the hike. Words don’t do it justice so luckily the pictures came out well!

We ventured back down and made it to the pools. The water glistened a beautiful turquoise green colour and we couldn’t have gotten a nicer day.

The pools actually sit above a gushing river that powers beneath the formations and spills out into a waterfall. But you would never know that when you’re on them, the setting is so tranquil and peaceful.
It didn’t take long for us to jump straight into the first pool and climb our way down to the others one by one.

The pools had lot of tiny fish swimming around, and it turned out that they were the type that feed on dead skin! It was a weird surprise but then pretty cool, like sticking your feet in one of those pools in Thailand. Except this was the real natural version.

Halfway through, the boys met a local guy who was messing around jumping in and sliding down the limestone rock head first. He told us he could show us a hidden ‘mini cave’ and we took him up on his offer. The mini cave was extremely mini, only big enough to fit your head up through the rocks and pass through pushing our nose and mouth up. It was only about 3 meters long and then we dove under the rocks and out into the pools again. Everyone managed it except me, who swam directly into the oncoming rocks. Luckily I didn’t get any bruises 😵

After pools we headed back to the river and hung out with some local kids who were fascinated by our new friend’s drone. We watched a few people jump off the bridge (hell no) and fielded multiple kids who were trying to sell chocolate and beer. I caved when some little girls came up to me and offered chocolate 🍫

We grabbed another truck back over to Lanquin. This time the ride was a bit more interesting. The storm had rolled in and it pelted down rain halfway through the drive. Everyone managed to get soaked through, it was pretty amazing how fast and stromg it came. They put the tarpaulin over and we all huddled together like in some sort of disaster movie 😂

Next stop: Antigua, Guatemala!



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