Backpacking, Central America, Guatemala

Semuc Champay, The swimming pools of Guatemala,

I was traveling Guatemala back in February, and among the places I visited was Semuc Champey, a national park in the middle of the jungle, with a river flowing through areas with limestone, shaping natural pools and caves in the area. I headed off from Flores early in the morning, and after about 6 hours we arrived in Lanquin. On the way, we passed a river on the smallest ferry I’ve ever seen if it even count as one(see left in the picture below). There was also heaps of amazing views. At one point the shuttle driver even offered to stop for a while so that we could take it all in after we had been sitting with our head basically out the window for half an hour gazing at the views.

The shuttle prices variates and in my shuttle people paid everything from 125 to 150, me getting the best deal at 80GTQ. After a little wait in Lanquinseveral pickups showed up, one from each hostel. Ahead of us was a 45 min ride through the jungle standing on the back of a truck. I loved it, but it can be a little bumpy.

The entrance to the SemucChampey park was 50 GTQ and when exploring the park I would say it is unnecessary to have a guide. There is lots of signs in the park that tells you where to go for what, not to mention Maps.me is updated with the trails in the park too. They just lead you along the trail in the park, before taking you to the cave and tubing location, passing a bridge you can jump from on the way there.

It’s mainly the Mirador for the view of the river, and the riverside, for a swim, you want to go there. Outside the park you’ll find the bridge you can jump from right in front of El Portal, you have to cross it coming from any of the other hostels. Just ask the kids hanging around where it’s safe to jump and not. I didn’t end up doing the tubing as I just did the ATM Cave tour in Belize a couple of days earlier. Definitely worth the money, but expensive. From what I understood though, the price for the caving and tubing was about 60 GTQ, and to go just tip a guide and tag along with the group for that part.

No matter which hostel you choose to stay in, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the jungle. Bring enough cash! That also means that you have limited options regarding where to eat and drink. Being close to the entrance of the park was really practical that way, there are women cooking there until about 6 pm. For 25 GTQ you’ll get a big meal consisting of chicken, rice, beans, avocado and tortilla bread, way cheaper than the meals served in the hostels. Safe to say all my meals for the two days I stayed was consumed there.

Hostal El Portal

All in all, I just stayed one day, two nights, and that’s enough time to see what you want to see there. I know some people stayed longer to chill around in the hostels, understandable with no wifi, nice people, and beautiful surroundings. SemucChampey is the perfect little jungle getaway.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Ingrid
    April 21, 2018 at 12:30 am

    Being in the midst of the jungle seems to have been a great experience. Every thing seems so lush. The views are spectacular.

  • Reply
    Suja aka Sindhuja Kumar
    April 21, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Wow, what an amazing view. Spending time in a middle of a jungle is my longtime dream. Even if it is for a day or two.

  • Reply
    HOlli Shaw
    April 22, 2018 at 1:56 am

    Wow, some seriously beautiful pictures! Looks like a great place!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    April 22, 2018 at 3:09 am

    So much greenery! It’s gorgeous ❤️ This is definitely going on my travel list 😍

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