Semuc Champey – A wonder of the world

ImageThe drive to Semuc Champey was not what the travel agency said it would be – 5 to 6 hours, no way. We left Antigua at 2:00 p.m. and arrived at our jungle lodge in Semuc Champey at 12:30 a.m. It was the bumpiest, roughest road I have ever been on. Talk about a soar butt! Anywho, more about the lodge!

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Utopia was AB-SO-LUTE-LY beautiful. The lodge is completely isolated (the nearest neighbor is a 15-20 minute drive), made completely out of wood and entirely open. There are open windows all around with the only view being the jungle. The plan was to spend only 2 nights here but we ended up staying for 6 nights. I’ve never been so relaxed anywhere in my life.

My days were spent reading in a hammock, exploring the jungle, sunbathing, swimming in the Cabahon river and limestone pools, and water caving. I have never seen so many different kinds of butterflies – I saw at least 15 different kinds with one being black and blue with a wingspan of 8 inches (a blue morpho). BEAUTIFUL. I tried taking pictures but I was only effectively able to take a photo of a few of them.

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I don’t think my description of my experience here does it any justice. This is the most beautiful and serene place I have ever been, ever. The two biggest highlights of my stay there…

1. Semuc Champey Pools + Mirador Hike:Marie-Eve and I walked to and from the SC pools and hitched a ride on the back of a truck for half of it! A true Guatemalan experience. Once we got to the park we hiked up Mirador, an one-hour hike up, I mean STRAIGHT up the mountain, to a view point for a birds eye view of the pools. It was breathtaking.

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We hiked back down and took a swim in the pools. I have never seen anything pristine, exquisite…naturally beautiful. The water was turquoise, warm, crystal clear and filled with fish! I dove right in and spent the rest of the day there. Semuc is definitely a place I see myself coming back to. I hope to be able to bring my brother here one day.

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2. Water Caving:This was the coolest experience ever! Only sucky thing was that I couldn’t take my camera in there because of the water. There was a group of 6 of us with a guide to lead us through dark water caves. We lit the way with candles in hand swimming through deep pools, kicking unexpected rocks underwater and climbing up wet wooden ladders. The tour lasted for about 2 hours. I expected to get claustrophobic going deep down into the dark caves but I surprised myself and held up well. There were some really cool and scary parts of the cave, though. There was a 20 foot waterfall with a rope dangling from it. We had the option to climb up a ladder that was on the side of it or to climb up the waterfall using the rope and the rocks. I decided to be a badass and chose to climb up the waterfall. The only thing underneath me was jagged rocks and 3-feet deep water. I took the rope in my hands and started climb up searching for foot placements on the slippery rocks, water falling fast into my eyes and my face. The only thing holding me up was myself. I just about reached the top when I began to struggle to find my next foot placement. I kept my cool though and remained confident in the strength of my body. I got up okay and every one shot out a hoot and a holler. No one else gave it a try! It was a pretty sweet experience and I loved it. I’ve never had an issue climbing up things, it’s getting down that strikes up my fear of heights.  Thankfully I didn’t have climb down the waterfall though! Overall, it was an amazing experience and hope to have more like it throughout my trip!

The next day we got on a shuttle and head over to Rio Dulce. More details to come later.

Side note: I was looking to extend my trip but one way tickets back home are $475!! My round-trip ticket down here was $550 – no way is that happening. Hopefully tickets will drop and I can spend a few more weeks out here. I am in love with Central America.

Till next time Amigos!

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