Semuc Champey

Well we wished we had allocated more time to Honduras but unfortunately we had to leave and had decided to try and see two more sights in Guatemala before getting out for a few days in Belize and then trying to get a week in the south east of Mexico. We had a decision to make between going to Semuc Champey or Rio Dulce on our way up to Tikal.
It was pretty much a 50:50 call and we decided on Semuc. So it was back on the (now notorious) Guatemalan shuttle bus system. 350km to travel in a day, shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive!! Well it was both. We ended up arriving at our destination at 1am having enjoyed waiting outside a restaurant in the middle of nowhere for 3 hours for a shuttle connection (the three armed guards outside the restaurant made us think that we mightn’t be in the best place) and then the bus was packed so we ended up in the front seat for the last six hours!  
We arrived in a village called Lanquin at 1am and realised straight away that we had arrived somewhere a little different. There were no paved roads and we were a little worried that we didn’t really know where our hostel was. Luckily there were a bunch of guys waiting with 4wd trucks all shouting the names of various hostels. After everyone got themselves sorted we were off to our place.
All the accommodation options were fairly expensive (comparatively) so we were pleasantly surprised that the place was actually quite nice!! We were all staying in huts spread out along a hill next to a river with a big open air central restaurant. It all looked very nice and relaxing and we had a half a thought to stay longer.
There were loads of tours on offer but the main attraction here was Semuc Champey so we just opted to get a shuttle and do the explorations ourselves.
After having spent so long getting here we were both hoping that the effort was going to be worth it…and it was!! The place was spectacularly beautiful.
Although it looks like a series of crystal clear pools with a waterfall cascading through them it’s actually a limestone bridge. The river flows underneath but has left a quite spectacular roof. We spent the day lounging in the crystal clear waters while the fish nibbled at our feet. The only breaks we took were to go for a walk up one of the hillsides for a view over the pools and another trip to grab a bite to eat.
All in all a great day, well worth the effort.
That night after waiting a couple of hours for the shuttle back we met up with Bill and Emma for a last drink and catch up which was nice but another couple we will be catching up with again I am sure!! T

Not a bad little spot to be staying in.

Our first glimpses of the crystal clear waters of the pools in Semuc.

Just one of the waterfalls cascading down the bridge.

That split second before the tranquility is destroyed!

The local fish devouring what was left of my parasite!

Just wonderful sat enjoying the clear waters and the many pools.

It really is a beautiful place.

Half in and half out.  I have said it before but the clarity of the water had to be seen to be believed.

The river which has caused this formation.  You can see the start of the pools on the right and where the river has carved its way underground on the left.  Effectively it tunnels all the way under the pools we are swimming in.

The path through the forest up to the mirador.

The view from up top is pretty special too.  It’s not too obvious but it is actually a bridge.  The river burrows under from top left to bottom right.  Either way the result is some spectacular swimming.

Difficult to wipe the smiles off of our faces today.

This is one of the most unusual flowers we have seen.

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