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Hidden in the lush mountainous jungle just 11kms of the nearby town, Lanquin, Semuc Champey, is a 300 m long natural forming limestone bridge that has six turquoise blue water pools. People visit Semuc not only to enjoy swimming in the pools but also to explore the nearby water cave, or tube down the Cahabon River which disappears under the limestone bridge only to reappear miles later. Semuc Champey is definitely a do-it-yourself kind of attraction. You don't need to pay for a tour to get there nor do you need a guide. There are plenty of things to do at Shemuc Champey!
Semuc Champey Tours
Semuc Champey is truly one of Guatemala's natural wonders and the best way to fully appreciate it's beauty is not just by swimming in the pools but by seeing it from above. Take a nice 45 minute hike through the jungle to the viewpoint, 'El Mirador'. The view at the top is gorgeous, both of Semuc and the lush green mountains surrounding it. Don't be intimidate by the hike time because it is totally worth it.
No head-lamp, no helmet, no life jacket, just your bare feet, your swim wear, and a candle are all you need to explore this water cave. With this unconventional hour long cave tour, you get to climb a 10ft waterfall, squeeze in between tiny spaces, duck and dodge stalactites, see bats, and swim with one hand while balancing a candle dripping in hot wax in the other. The cave tours run every half an hour and you need a guide to explore it. It definitely is a fun thing to do at Shemuc Champey.
Take a dip into the many refreshing turquoise blue pools and chill out for a bit. Some of the pools are deep enough to dive or jump into, while others are good for relaxing in. In case you didn't have enough relaxing time in the pools, grab a tube and go river tubing down Cahabon River for about one kilometer. Most people like to start their cruise through the river by jumping off the bridge in front of the entrance to Semuc. But you don't have to. The river is pretty calm, so it's not the water rafting kind of tubing but still fun especially with a group. It's a must thing to do at Semuc Champey.
How to Get Tickets?
As for today, you can't buy tickets online to Shemuc Champey. Make sure you bring enough cash to Semuc Champey, as there is no ATM there (the closest is in Lanquin). The ticket entrance fee to the park is roughly $6 USD. You can purchase your tickets at the ticket booth on site.
How To Get Around?
Shemuc Champey can be explored by walking, swimming, or tubing. There is a free parking lot where you can park and start your tour around this area.
What Should I Wear?
You absolutely want water shoes, sun block, a hat, and maybe a coverup if it's cooler during your visit as you will likely ride back to Semuc Campey in the back of a pickup truck at dusk. Don't forget to bring your swimsuit, towel, and change of clothes.
Best Time to Visit
During the high season, Semuc Champey is over-crowded with both locals and foreigners and you don't get to fully enjoy the beauty when there is millions of people around. So go during low season, when there is 60% less people.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, you can explore Semuc Champey by yourself without a guide. It's easy to get around and you'll meet people there to explore the area together.
How To Get There?
Shuttles go from Cobán and Antigua Guatemala. You can catch a ride in a pickup truck from Lanquin for about 20Q. If you are coming from Flores Guatemala the only transport is minibusses. It is a long journey 9-11 hours, the ticket should cost 75Q. Don't buy from the people that pick you up in the bus to Flores, they will charge twice the price and sell fake tickets.
You don't need to book an all-inclusive tour from Antigua or Guatemala City. Save money by booking your own shuttle transfer, accommodation, and transport from Lanquin. Be cafeful and stay safe when you're visiting, there have been many reports of mugging around the area. Bring only the things you need when you visit.