After San Pedro I wasn’t sure where to next. It was quite a direct route to El Salvador from Antigua but everybody I had spoken to had high praises of Semuc Champey and its limestone pools and caves. I had met some other Aussie travellers: Max and Carmen in San Pedro who were on their way there so I decided to tag along as well for the 8 hour bus ride.
Now I’ve previously documented previous death bus experience but getting in and out of Semuc is a bitch with access to the nearby village of Lanquin by bus only with the final 20km stretch over a rough, windy and rocky road. It not only stops there. From Lanquin, it’s another 12km along a rough patch of road to Semuc Champey. The best part is that all 15 or so people are herded onto the back of a truck and carted off standing upright with only the side or middle bars to hang onto. Needless to say, you make a few close friends over the 30min trip. Those above 5’11 in height need to keep an eye out for overhanging branches.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here on in as there isn’t much else to talk about. I was there for a total of four days which is the most you’d want to stay here. In that time we went tubing down the river, swimming and diving in the caves, hiked to the viewpoint in the national park followed by swimming in the torquise coloured waters of the pools above the Cahabón River in Semuc Champey National Park. In between those activities was just alot of chilling out and playing giant Jenga and drinking beer bongs. Standard hostel malarky pretty much. Overall, there were plenty of relaxing moments taking in the beauty of the surrouding mountains and rivers mixed in with plenty of WTF moments with a guide telling you to jump off a 3 metre jump into a pool under a cave waterfall with only a candle for lighting.
Although off the beaten track, Semuc Champey is defintely well worth the trip and beating your body will be subjected to on the rocky roads into Lanquin and for even longer on the way out if you are moving on to Livingstone and into Honduras.
I stayed at the Zephyr Lodge which overlooked the river where you can go tubing and has views of the surrounding valleys. The food isn’t much chop to rave about but they have decent gringo food and themed dinners each night and other activities to keep the guests amused as there isn’t much else to do in the village.