It’s said that the Semuc Champey Natural Monument for many travelers is the most beautiful place in Guatemala, all due to the exuberant vegetation that surrounds it, as well as the beauty of its pools.
All the travelers that arrive here have clear that they come to see (and to take) the same photo that was seen a thousand times. If you do a quick search on Google, you already know the exact landscape that you’ll find.
How to Get There?
The natural monument is located in the Lanquin municipality, in the heart of Guatemala, about 65 kilometers from Coban, town that serves as a base to visit Semuc Champey. It’s a charming rural town, remember to visit the fruit and vegetable market that is installed every morning.
The journey from Antigua to Lanquin is 300 kilometers and it’s quite tiring. The duration of the road trip is about 6-7 hours on rustic roads. There are two public transport departures every day, one at 8:00 a.m. and the other at 2:00 p.m., there is the option of hiring transportation with the hotel where you stay in Antigua.
Semuc Champey (whose meaning is “where the river hides under the stones”) is the main attraction of this trip. The roads to the place are well signposted, but if the traveler likes it, isn’t difficult to hire a local guide.
What to do?
The first thing is going to the viewpoint, from where you can see the pools and enjoy the landscape. It takes about 40 minutes to climb, but everything depends on the physical condition of the traveler. Then you go down on another path to the pools, this tour is about half an hour.
Many lodges offer round trip transportation to Semuc Champey, as well as guided tours. Another option is going to the town on the first morning and pick up a truck. Those vehicles make the round trip several times a day and is quite cheap.
And why go first to the viewpoint? Well, because the heat and humidity that makes harder the hike. The best thing is to arrive at the first hour, climb the so-called “staircase of hell”, enjoy the breathtaking views and take photos while you drink a soda, go down to the pools and take a refreshing bath.
Where to Stay?
There are many accommodations in Lanquín, almost all far from the center of the town. So it’s very likely that upon arrival, there is staff members of the lodges waiting for the tourists who made reservations at the bus stop to take them to the hotel.
Some tips to visit Semuc Champey
It’s advisable to bring food for the whole day. At the doorway of the monument there are places that sell food, but although it looks very good, for safety, the recommended thing is to avoid food from street stalls.
Also is a good idea to carry plenty of water, especially for the climb, which can be a bit long and heavy due to the heat and humidity. You can buy drinks at the entrance and inside, there are always local people selling drinks and coconuts.
If you aren’t exactly in good shape, don’t be afraid to climb to the viewpoint. You just have to take it easy. They are a few steps on a ladder with a medium-high difficulty. What makes it heavy is the heat and humidity, so earlier in the morning, the better.
On the way down, the award is to bathe in the pools of turquoise water. Here you can spend as much time as you want and there are several to enjoy. The depth of the pools goes from one to three meters. If you go with children, keep an eye on them.