Days 129-130, Lanquín and Semuc Champey

In order to save some money, we arranged a ride from Río Dulce to Lanquín via a shuttle that made that commute into Lanquín everyday. The ad we responded to mentioned that it took some backroads which made it a more direct ride; however, these were not your typical backroads, these were through the mountains and countryside of Guatemala’s poorest villages. Only the first hour of the road was paved and the rest of the ride was up and down roads left untouched by the rest of civilization. To make a long story short, we were not prepared mentally and physically for that ride and now we know better. I only had enough energy to capture a handful of photos that day before arriving in Lanquín.

We got to Lanquín at night and checked into a really eco-friendly hostel called El Retiro. Unfortunately for us, we got there too late and they only had dorm beds available. Considering that we were both getting sick (and running high fevers) we took whatever we could get. That night was miserable. Luckily, once morning came, we discovered that it was a pretty beautiful place. We were surrounded by mountains and lots of beautiful scenery. We prepared for a guided tour to Semuc Champey, one of Guatemala’s most beautiful spots. It’s a natural limestone bridge with springs that are DIVINE – all the while, a gushing river runs beneath them.

Our tour included swimming in caves, tubing in the Cahabòn River, hiking up El Mirador for a great view, and swimming in the natural pools. I was advised against taking my camera into the caves (duh) and into the river (duh) so I only got to capture a couple of places.  I will say that swimming in those caves was a lot of fun – we were in there with only candlesticks to light our way and it felt completely isolated. Apparently, the water was also freezing but I wouldn’t know about that – I was running a high fever and it felt heavenly.

This is where the river and bridge separate – the river continues into an underground stream while the bridge creates the beautiful pools you see above.

Caution – when swimming in dark caves with nothing but candlesticks, you might bump your face into rocks. Oops.

Honestly, even though the ride into Lanquín was terrible, I wish we would have spent more time there and skipped Río Dulce and Lívingston. We could have spent an entire week there and not have been bored. Oh well, it just means we’ll have to go back :) This was our last destination before heading back to Guatemala City for one final dinner with my family and our flight back to the States. It was the ending we needed to a trip with lots of ups and downs.

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