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Caving by candlelight and swimming in turquoise jungle pools

Semuc Champey, Lanquin

sunny 29 °C

This is one of those places everyone talks about but never seems to get much of a write up in the travel books. It was gorgeous.

We hopped a shuttle from Antigua and on arrival had everyone clamouring for us to stay. We ended up a El Retiro, a gorgeous place, 5 mins walk from town, right on the river, who gave us our second night free if we did the tour up to Semuc with them.

We braved the storm to head into town for dinner and found a little street vendor with rice and chicken for 10Q. Needless to say she saw us a lot over the next 3 days.

The next day we jumped right in and did the caving and Semuc tour.
It all starts by making your way into the jungle on the back of a full ute (the most common form of transport in these parts). After a bumpy but fun ride we arrived at the caves. We were handed our candles (yes you do the caves full of water by candlelight here) and made our way into the cave. Almost immediately you are thigh deep in water. As you make your way through you climb up a mini waterfall, swim through sections with one hand trying to keep your candle up with the other, and jumping into black water from 3m hoping you've got the spot right where he said there were no rocks. It was great, fun and I felt very Indiana Jones til I slipped and badly corked my thigh. Ok so I'm not quite Indie, more just clumsy.
Next we headed out to the rope swing, and jump into the river from what was a lot higher than you think. I felt slightly better about my cave slip watching how some people almost managed to kill themselves on a simple rope swing. Then we jumped in our tubes and floated down the river for a while which was really rather pleasant. A short break for lunch and obligatory chocolate from the adorable children selling it beside the river and we were off to Semuc.
Semuc Champey is a section of the river where the bulk of the water flows through a cave and out the otherside. What is left up top is a series of crystal clear, turquoise/sapphire ponds set in the middle of the jungle. It was absolutely gorgeous.
With only one other group sharing the pools with us it felt like our own little slice of paradise. Matt and I swam and lazed around in our own pool for hours, until chivvied out of the water to jump back on the ute.
We loved it so much we gave up our day by the river to head back to the pools the next day. It was a lot more crowded but still just as beautiful.

Posted by Addy21 06:11 Archived in Guatemala

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