Limestone Pools & Exploring Caves: Semuc Champey, Guatemala

Semuc Champey is a hidden treasure that is located off into the mountains near the town of Lanquin in Guatemala.

This is a perfect get away for any adventure lover, as well as one that is looking for pure nature and breathtaking views. This place consists of many limestone pools, with some of the most beautiful turquoise colors and caves that you will ever see.

Semuc Champey is located about 45 minutes by truck from my hotel, Utopia (totally recommended). The ride getting there was was quite an adventure in and of itself! We rode standing up in the back of a pick up truck, zipping quickly along the windy roads, holding on for dear life, as the driver swerved back and forth to miss the big holes in the road. What a ride!

Our very first activity was cave exploring. Upon entering, we were given a candle that would serve as our only source of light for our entire adventure. We then slowly eased our way into the water, quickly feeling a sense of shock from the temperature. I was more alert than ever and ready for our big adventure.

Our local guide gave us a quick briefing and prepared us mentally for the obstacles ahead.  While he was speaking, he reached his hand to touch the side of the cave to get some mud on his fingers. With the best of his ability, he drew a design on each of our faces before starting into the darkness.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect. The caves were pitch dark, and being the one in the front of the line, all I could see was the darkness in front of me. Safety and security were not on the table for the day. We set off with no helmets, lifejackets, nor any real instructions of what we are going to face.

During our one and a half hour adventure into the caves, we had to squeeze into many tight spaces, climb up ladders, swim underwater and even take a 10 feet jump off into the water, with no idea what was to be found below.

At one point I went underwater with my candle and was left with no light to lead my way. I heard the whisper of our guide come up from behind me saying, “close your eyes, hold your breath and fall down into the hole before you.” I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest. I nervously asked him,

“How far does this hole go down?! I can’t see anything. Can you please go before me so I don’t have to be the first one?”

His voice came into my ear again and he repeated “close your eyes, hold your breath and just go!”

I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my body. I took a deep breath and then fell blindly into the hole.

I made my way through the tight space with some scratches and bruises, but on an adrenaline high. We continued on through the caves until we saw a small speck of sunlight coming in from ahead. We had made it to the end!

Following our action packed cave adventure, we continued on with even more activities.  We swung out into the river from a large rope swing chair multiple times before starting our hike into the wood. After about 30 minutes hiking, we arrived to the halfway mark to see the gorgeous views and take some quick pictures before making our hike down to the natural swimming pools.

We arrived to see the most beautiful turquoise water and many different waterfalls of all different sizes. Part of the adventure was actually being brave enough to take the challenge to ride down some of them.

We ended our adventure by tubing an hour down the river, which took us directly to the entrance of our hotel. This was one of the most relaxing and best ways to end our adventure packed day.


Are you up for the adventure?

Would you be brave enough to go cave exploring?

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